7 Road Trips To Do Before You Die

Picture of By Craig Ranson
By Craig Ranson

Managing Director – Bridge Classic Cars

With 2020 being a strange, difficult and particularly stationary year for many, we thought we’d set our sights on the new year. To get your petrol head wanderlust minds ticking, we wanted to take a look at some epic road trips, from small and local to long and international. There’s something here for everyone.

When it comes to road trips, there are various ways you may choose to go about it. Some plan theirs around motoring events or cultural checkpoints, others may be all about the landscape of the journey. You may plan your trip with a certain car in mind or with the location taking centre stage. But however you go about it, you’re in for a memory making experience.

Through the Dragon’s Heart: Llandrillo to Llandudno.

We start with a short and sweet route, however, it is not one to be overlooked. Travelling from Llandrillo to Llandudno passing through Snowdonia via the mountainous A55 really is a pass straight through the dragon’s heart. As you wind your way through Snowdonia National park, you’ll encounter rolling hills, might peaks, glacial lakes and darling villages. Stopping off in Cym Idwal for a walk around the lake or up into the peaks is a well-advised stop off. Additionally, taking a lunch break in Betws Y Coed to see Swallow Falls. Finishing in Llandudno rewards you with a traditional seafront, local ice-cream and tea shops, but for the more adventurous, I’d advise driving to the top of the Great Orme where you will be greeted with a stunning view-point. As you wind your way around the limestone headland, you’ll see everything from seals to daring climbing who teeter off ledges above your motor. This route treats you with views that vary from mountains to seaside, with chances to both hike and eat.

You can find more variations of this route here.

Snake Pass – Peak District

At 42 miles long, its another short and sweet road trip. Rather than the more open roads of Snowdonia, this pass travels through Derbyshire’s section of the Peak District. You’ll be experiencing tight turns and forest framed tarmac that leads you through the Pennines and Ladybower Reservoir. Following the A57 you can expect magnificent views of the National Trust’s High Peak Estate.

French Riviera to Monaco

From glamorous cities to white sand beaches, this route gives you the best of both worlds. Great food, fine wine, European high culture and the mecca of European motorists: Monaco. This route is around 76 miles and can be done in less than a week, leaving time to explore all major locations. Recommended by Vogue, it goes without saying that this trip is filled with stunning visuals worthy of gracing any classic car wing mirror.

Starting in Nice, you could take the quicker mountainous Grande Corniche to Monaco, or if you have time, take the Basse Corniche, the longer coastal route. Once you’ve arrived in Monaco, visiting the Monaco Top Cars Collection and Saint Nicholas Cathedral must be among your top stops. From Monaco, head to Cannes where you can then visit the Lerins Islands. From Cannes, head down to Saint Tropez to enjoy the stunning white sand beaches and crisp blue waters. If you can afford a longer route, head up to Verdon Gorge before heading back down to the coast. This stunning river canyon is well worth the detour.

Portugal to Morocco

If you’re after some sand, sun and wine, then Portugal to Morocco is the way to go. Beginning in Porto and finishing in Tangier, there’s plenty in-between to keep your taste buds going. This is the ideal classic car road trip, with fine wines and great cheeses on the agenda. You’ll need 10-14 days for this trip but it’s well worth the expedition. Travel 42 miles from Porto to Amarante to experience some fines wines and excellent cheeses. Then head to Figueira Da Foz, another 118 miles where you’ll find a bustling coast, ideal for surfers. The next stop takes you 90 miles down the road to Perniche where you can indulge in fresh seafood and a walled historic centre. Travel onwards to Ericeira, another 60 miles where you’ll find a natural harbour between Cascais and Peniche that holds 30-metre high sandstone cliffs and more stunning beaches. From here, travel to Lisbon to discover stunning white-domed cathedrals and bohemian bars. Get back on the road and travel s170 miles south to Algarve where you can explore Cliff Richards wine estate; Quinta Do Miradouro. Algarve to Algeciras is the longest stretch of 235 miles where upon arrival, you can explore more beautiful beaches before taking the ferry to Tangier, Morroco, which serves as a warm introduction to Afro-Arabic culture.

You can see other classic car recommended road trips here.

Route 66

One of the most famous road trips of all time is well worth experiencing. The majority of Route 66 is still accessible and it’s decorated with motels, diners and gas stations. This route, although accessible to any vehicle, is best experienced in an American motor or beat generation VW Camper. Starting in Chicago and taking the highway through Chicago, Pontiac, Springfield, St Louis, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Winslow, The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and ending in Los Angeles. This route is the perfect mix between open sky country and historic cities. You’ll experience national parks, bustling cities and beautiful coastlines of LA.

Travellers are advised to stick to Spring or Autumn to avoid summertime ’66 traffic. Guidebooks and maps are essential for this trip as satnavs have been known to lead people astray. This 2,448-mile trip is best enjoyed over 3-4 weeks however you can opt to just explore sections of Route 66 for a shorter road trip.

The Epic Overland: UK to Singapore

This 11,806-mile trip is not for the faint-hearted. This route can be done from London to Singapore or in reverse from Singapore to London in an alternative route. It follows in the footsteps of the historic ‘First Overland’ expedition in 1955 done in a Land Rover 86″ station wagon by the Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition team. This epic road trip was the first of its kind and a publicity stunt done by Land Rover in support of their Series One Station Wagons. The original route passed through France, Monaco, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Malaya and Singapore

This iconic expedition was recently recreated in reverse where a modern team ventured from Singapore to London.

Although originally done in a Land Rover, this route could be tackled in any car however a sturdy 4×4 is advised.

The Pan-American Highway

Last but by no means least is the Pan-American Highway. Stretching from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, this road trip is an epic 30,000 miles. The highway is the worlds longest motorable road and is made up of a network of roads crossing through The USA, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina. You can see a more in-depth look at the route here.

There are many other epic road trips such as Cairo to Capetown, Cairns to Brisbane, and John O’Groats to Landsend. Whether its a modern car or a timeless classic you’re wanting to take on your adventure, the road is out there.

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