Exploring the North: road trips to remember

Northern countries have special sharm – you feel it from the first view you see arriving there. Iceland is one of the places where you can commit with the nature to the fullest. So if you are into such things  and beautiful North landscapes I highly reccommend those two road trips, wich must be on every north lover’s checklist. Also do not forget about  the advices on arranging the coolest road trips of the North, wich were on the previous article!

Myvatn / Iceland Highlights

Iceland – Ring Road

Iceland is the most mystical and probably also the most lonely island of Europe and therefore almost made for a road trip. Especially thanks to the ring road that goes around the whole island. For your circumnavigation of the island, it is best to start in the capital Reykjavik and then head south to the small town of Vík í Mdal. Here you have to see the Chancem one of the absolutely coolest beaches of the world, the Black Sand Beach.

On your way you can stop at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This is not only one of the highest on the island, but you can also walk behind the waterfall. Further east you pass the ice lagoon Jökulsárlón. Here you can really get close to the blue shimmering icebergs and if you are lucky you can even see some hard boiled seals floating around in the icy floods.

Especially at sunrise the glacier lake is a really horny sight. Since a glacier hike on the small island is a must, you can do it right in the adjacent Vatnajökull National Park. As soon as you continue driving along the east coast, you may even come across some reindeers that are only found in the east of the island.

In the north of the island you should definitely plan a bit more time in the area around Matn. Here you are surrounded by volcanic craters, bubbling mud pools and crystal clear lakes. After your discovery tour you can relax in the Matn Natural Bath. Before you venture into the west of Iceland, you can experience how the islanders lived here in the 19th century in the Glaumbaer museum complex. On your way back to Reykjavik, you should make a short detour to the deserted Vatnsnes peninsula and the Grábrók volcanic crater.

 From Hamburg to Scandinavia

The Scandinavian countries exert a real attraction on me and I think a road trip is really appropriate in order to get to see as much of these countries as possible. The best way is to start in Hamburg and head for Denmark to Odense. Here you can marvel at a real Viking ship before you go on to Copenhagen. Of course you can’t miss the classics like the little mermaid and Nyhavn.

But before you set off for Sweden, you should definitely get a Smørrebrød – there’s one at every corner and it tastes great. In Stockholm you need time again to explore the many beautiful corners of the city. A boat trip to the archipelago is also a must.

Through the interior, the Lake Country, you drive once through whole Sweden up to Oslo. Take your time to enjoy the beautiful landscape and take lots of pictures. Here it is good to have rental cars 24h to help you incase of anything during your ride.

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The coolest road trips of the North

Here is my guide how to organize a road trip from Switzerland to Mongolia for those who want to feel the Eastern spirit! Don’t forget to think ahead of the way of getting ypur vehicle with you or simply rent a car at 24hrs or even longer. Also check out my previous guide on the best epic road trips in the world here!

Switzerland to Mongolia

Driving by car from Bern to Ulaanbaatar is by far one of the most blatant road trip adventures ever. We start in the Swiss capital, cross the Alps and head south to Italy. Shortly after you have crossed the border, you have the opportunity to get to know Italy from its wild side on a hike through the Val Grande National Park. Before you continue to the port of Ancona, you can make a short detour to Venice – don’t miss the deserted Piazza San Marco at sunrise.

Arriving to Ancona

Once you arrive in Ancona, take the ferry to Igoumenitsa on the Greek coast. At the edge of the Pindos National Park, which will surely knock you down with its deserted mountains, you continue to Kastoria. There you can visit the Disipilio settlement and get an idea of how the ancient Greeks lived about 5,500 B.C. – it’s amazing to see this with your own eyes!

Afterwards we continue via Thessaloniki to Xanthi. Here you can satisfy your adrenaline addiction with rafting, kayaking or mountain biking on and around the river Nestos before you continue to Istanbul. In the Turkish capital you can mingle with the locals in the Galata district and experience the very special flair of this city.

Entering Georgia

Shortly before you enter Georgia, you have the opportunity to get to know Turkey from a completely different side on a hike through the mountains at the coast in Trabzon. From Sumela Monastery, which seems to stick to a steep rock face, you have a really great view over the mountains. In Georgia, the steppe awaits you with a landscape as if from another world. The cave monasteries Dawit Garedscha in the east of the country are particularly blatant. Thanks to their remote location, you will hardly meet any other travellers here, but a lot of friendly locals.

Across Azerbaijan

Next, you’ll travel across Azerbaijan until you reach the capital Baku on the east coast. From Baku you can take the ferry to Aktau in Kazakhstan. There, dusty roads await you, which will lead you through the dry desert to the mountains. Here in the mountains the world looks quite different: The greenery is really good for your eye after the dry expanse of the desert. If you meet local nomads by chance, stop and spend some time with this very special people – a unique experience!

On the way to Russia

On your way up to Russia, make a short stop in Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, more precisely in the Ala Archa National Park – it’s time for a little thrill when you climb one of the snow-capped peaks. Now you could either drive directly to Mongolia or make a detour over the mountains of Russia. It is clear that your destination is getting closer and closer on this road trip.

Mongolia’s route

On the way to Ulaanbaatar a short detour to the north to Chöwsgöl Nuur, a lake called the Blue Pearl of Mongolia and rightly so – the landscape here is simply madness! But now it’s on a direct route to the Mongolian capital and thus to the end of your mega road trip adventure.

If you’re a North person follow my blog, because in the next post I will tell you how to explore the North with best road trips to remember!

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Best epic road trips in the world

Roadtrip from New Zealand to South Island will bring you a lot of new memories and bright moments that will stay with you forever! If you are a lover of road trips adventures get a car and go after this! If you want more ideas of road adventures read my next guide on planning the coolest road trips of the North!

New Zealand – South Island

For a roadtrip in a country like New Zealand it’s best to rent a campervan. Then you are not dependent on accommodation or even camping sites and can change your plans spontaneously.

We start in Christchurch on the east coast of the island. From here we head west on the Scenic Inland Route to Lake Tekapo. For the trip there you can plan a bit more time, because you will certainly stop often to take pictures and admire the horny landscape. Once you arrive at Lake Tekapo, reserve a nice spot by the lake for the sunset, which is a hundred times more beautiful here than elsewhere.

Then we continue to Wanaka. On your way there you should definitely make a detour to Omarama and have a look at the clay cliffs. In Wanaka you have the opportunity to deep canyon through a gorge and experience a real adventure, including jumps into the water up to 14 meters high!

Canada – Icefields Parkway

Canada is probably the ultimate road trip country! The horny landscapes and the wild animals alone make almost every minute a real adventure. During our Canada trip we were especially taken by the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper.

Right after the small village Lake Louise we start on Route 93. The road takes you past many lakes, if you don’t want to stop at all, then at least choose Peyto Lake. The best view of Peyto Lake is from Bow Summit, the highest point of the park. To let your eyes wander over the typical wide landscape, stop at the Saskatchewan River Crossing. Here three rivers flow together in an open valley and offer an ingenious picture.

Another great vantage point is the parking lot near Panther Falls, which overlooks part of Icefields Parway. Then continue to Columbia Icefield, which is the largest accumulation of ice south of the Arctic Circle and provides a truly blatant landscape. If you’ve been on the glacier ice enough, the road will take you next to Athabasca Falls.

Behind the 23 metre high waterfall is the turquoise blue Athabasca River, which winds its way through the valley. For the last leg to Jasper you can take the smaller road 93A instead of the Icefields Parkway. As it is only through the forest, you have a better chance of encountering wild animals such as bears or moose.

If you can’t afford to take your car with you on these routes there are many of choices of rental cars 24h. Using this service you will avoid all the comlications, so get on the board and fill your life with adventures!

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Open road adventures: epic drives of the world

Just sit in your car and drive off, without any rules, but with good music and lots of time – the hottest feeling in the world! On a roadtrip you get to know a foreign country and its people. No tour guides, no full dormitories in the hostel and no program. Just you, your car, the road and endless possibilities – a road trip promises pure adventure!

Try new features of car comparison websites to pick the best offer of car rental on the spot and your trip will go easy and comfortable!

Hermanus South Africa Garden Route

 South Africa – Durban to Cape Town

When it comes to road trips, the route between Durban and Cape Town in South Africa is definitely on your list. The Indian Ocean coast awaits you with some adventures. We start in the southeastern city of Durban along the N2 towards East London. In Mthatha, you first have to get off the national road and head for the coast, more precisely to Coffee Bay. Here the Wild Coast lives up to its name and especially the “Hole in the Wall”, a rock arch in the bay is worth a short hike.

The start of the Garden Route

Next stop is Kei Mouth, where you can chill on the beach or surf at Wacky Point before continuing via East London to Port Alfred. Here you can canoe the Kowi River. Afterwards you continue along the sunniest coast of South Africa to the start of the Garden Route in Port Elizabeth.

On the N2 you will arrive first at Storms River in Tsitsikamma National Park. There you can plunge from Bloukrans Bridge 216 meters with the bungee rope into the depth! The several-day hike along the Otter Trail is also really ingenious.

Passing Plettenberg Bay

A little further you pass Plettenberg Bay. Here a hike in the Robberg Island Nature Reserve is worthwhile. Or you can throw yourself into the sea with snorkel and diving goggles and swim amidst wild and super curious seals – an unforgettable experience!

In neighboring Knysna, it’s a bit quieter while you explore the elephant reservoir by mountain bike. If you take a short detour via Oudtshoorn, you will be rewarded with a cave adventure in the Cango Caves and a crocodile dive at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.

On the way to Cape Town

Back on the N2, Chapman’s Peak Drive begins just before Cape Town, giving you breathtaking views! Make sure you stop at the Cape of Good Hope and walk down from the parking lot to the infamous Cape. You should also stop at Noordhoek Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches around Cape Town and often deserted!

Also in Cape Town itself some adventures and good coffee are waiting for you: Fly down from Lion’s Head with a paraglider or surf into the waves on Bloubergstrand Beach.

Look up for my next list of the best epic road trips in the world and some tips on the routes and places to visit on the way.

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