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Best road trips in the world: Desert drives, coastal views and winding adventures

The expert's guide

Text: Janice Sim


Fuel up, it's time for a drive

There is nothing quite like renting a vintage favourite, winding down the window to catch the breeze and hitting the open road to explore unchartered territories. That's the beauty of venturing on a road trip — you'll never know what you might find.

Luxury tour operator, Scott Dunn, is no stranger to off-the-beaten-path experiences, having curated itineraries for the most discerning travellers. And now the elite team has come together to sum up a list of the most incredible road trips, of desert drives, coastal cruises or even a gourmet drive-through. There's something for everyone in here.

THE COASTAL ROUTE
Off-the-beaten-track in Greece

If you're looking to step back in time to discover the authentic Greek way of life, start in the mystical Athens, with a stay at King George Palace. A private guide will lead you through all the iconic sites — from the impressive Parthenon to the world-famous Acropolis, before you head on to meet the locals in Peloponnese villages. For travellers weary of the wheel, take a break with actitives like hiking, kayaking or quad biking through the scenic surrounds. You'll then hit up the south — marvelling at the well-reserved Mani Peninsula, Byzantine churches and rustic stone towers, before winding down at Kinsterna Hotel & Spa. Finally, your journey will get its curtain call at the medieval walled town of Monemvasia.

Best road trips

IN THE DESERT 
Highlights of Namibia

This trip starts off on a high — quite literally. At the Namib Naukluft National Park, you'll find rust-coloured dunes of Sossusvlei, of which you'll take a hike to the tallest dune, before embarking on a walk within the eerie treescape of Dead Vlei. Of course, here's where you whip out your trusty DSLR or iPhone XS that easily does the view justice. The road trip continues to Swakopmund, Namibia's quaint coastal town with an abundance of good restaurants serving up delicious seafood. Thrill seeks can opt for a quad bike tour, sandboarding or even kayaking with seals. After a two-night stay, ride on to the dramatic landscapes of Damaraland. Your final stop is at the inspiring home of AfriCat Foundation, Okonijima — where rescued big cats are rehabilitated and given a home.

Best road trips

ISLANDS AT THE FOREFRONT
Iceland wilderness adventure

After touching down in Iceland,  fall in love with the charming Reykjavik with an overnight stay, before embarking on a journey along the Snaefellsnes Pennisula to Hvalfjörður. You'll make frequent pit-stops here — mainly gazing at unmissable geological formations such as Glýmur, the country's highest waterfall or the unique Eldborg crater. It is at Snaefellsnes where you'll take on riding lessons on Icelandic horses as well as spot sperm whales and orcas in Iceland. On your way back inland, your adventure passes through Borganfjordur, with a night spent at Hotel Husafell, before continuing south with the last stop to explore the Vidgelmir lava tube and its fascinating rock formation. You'll then come full circle back at Reykjavik, where the last night can be spent exploring the city and sampling one of its renowned restaurants.

Best road trips

THE BRADY BUNCH ESCAPE
Amman to The Dead Sea

Those with kids will appreciate this one. The trip starts in the captial of Amman, where a guide will bring families on an informative walking tour — visiting highlights such as the Roman Theatre and the Citadel to learn about the city's ancient heritage. You and your fam will then take a three and a half hour drive from Amman to Petra; where dramatic vistas, colourful caves and mysterious temples will make the long journey worth the while. Where to spend the night? In a breathtaking setting camping under the stars. After which, complete the trip in Jordan with a soak or float in the Dead Sea. Proceed to stay at Kempinski Ishtar for the perfect end to your memorable voyage.

Best road trips

THE CULINARY ROAD TRIP
San Francisco to Napa Valley, California

The best trips are the ones spent feasting, we officially proclaim. This luxury road trip starts off in San Francisco, fuelled by a drive north across the Golden Gate bridge for a stay at Cavallo Point. While you're there, learn something new in a cooking class or take part in a special workshop on local and ancient produce. Your next stop is Napa Valley, which boasts some of the finest farm-to-fork restaurants. The journey then leads you to the stunning Sonoma Valley for a stay at Farmhouse Inn and Restarant, crowned with its own Michelin starred chef. While you're there, schedule a wine tasting with a local bio-dynamic producer at Littorai, as well as a day out with a wine-buff and beer sommelier to do some much-needed local sampling. Your drive then loops back to San Fran, hopefully with bags full of wines to keep you sated post-vacation.

Road trips

All road trips are available for booking via Scott Dunn here. 

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