Epic coastal road journeys around the world
Have you ever wondered what are the coolest coastal road trips in the world? Imagine the scene, you are cruising along a windy coastal highway, windows down, your favorite playlist on the car stereo. Total happiness.
There is a real sense of freedom and romance to be had with a classic coastal road trip, especially if your ride includes dreamy coastal scenery, quirky pit stops, challenging roads, and fun passengers.
A coastal road is the perfect road trip for lovers of the sea and those looking for adventures and travel memories that will last a lifetime.
If you are hiring a car for your coast road trip, make sure you have decent car insurance, travel essentials, a slamming playlist, and a cool road trip buddy to make sure your trip is awesome. .
Also take the time to plan your trip and research the best road travel destinations based on your budget and schedule. Some coastal road trips are longer than others and accommodation prices may vary depending on the time of year you visit the chosen destination.
Here is my list of some of the best coastal road trips in the world, so you can plan your future driving adventure.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Great Ocean Road in Australia (also known as the B100) is a 151 mile stretch of asphalt motorway that connects the Victorian towns of Torquay and Allansford. Along the way you will see the sensational limestone cliffs and coastal views of southwest Victoria.
There are also many iconic sites, points of interest and picturesque “selfie spots” along the way.
Drive past sheer ocean cliffs to see unspoiled surf beaches, quaint little towns, and intriguing rainforests on one of the world’s best road trips.
Some of the sites you won’t want to miss along the way include the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone piles rising out of the ocean.
Despite the name, only seven of the apostles are still standing as the coastal weathering means some have eroded and returned to the sea. You can also visit Bells Beach, a world famous surf beach, and The Kinnett River Koala Walk (also known as Gray River Road).
Chapman’s Peak Drive, South Africa
Chapman’s Peak Drive is a 5.5 mile drive from Noordhoek to Hout Bay in southwestern South Africa, near Cape Town. This popular coastal road is known as one of the most beautiful in the world. There are 114 amazing curves on this route with spectacular 180 degree views of the Atlantic coast.
The road is named after Chapman’s Peak, a 593-kilometer (1,954-foot) mountain located along the rocky shore. You can walk to the top of the mountain for even more amazing views in two to three hours. If you’re looking for more to do along the way, check out Cape Point Nature Reserve, Hout Bay, or Cape Point Route.
Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway
Atlantic Ocean Road is a five mile paved road along the northwest coast of Norway. This drive is perfect for adventurers as it looks like a roller coaster with its eight curved bridges. The road connects the fjord towns of Kristiansund and Molde and was completed in 1989 after six years of construction.
The Atlantic Ocean Road is named as one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world. This road was a toll road until 1999, but now drivers can use the road for free.
The Storseisundet Bridge is the tallest of the eight bridges on the route. Seen from certain angles, it looks like you are going to fall straight into the sea.
Aberdeenshire Coastal Path, Scotland
The Aberdeenshire Coastal Path covers 165 miles of stunning Scottish scenery, including dramatic cliffs, scenic beaches, historic castles and pretty fishing villages.
For a relatively short road trip itinerary, there is an incredible amount of diversity. The trip begins at St Cyrus Nature Reserve where passing whales can sometimes be seen from the shore.
Further down the road you will find other nature reserves with playful puffins and seals.
The coastal path also leads to Dunnottar Castle, one of Scotland’s most photogenic, and at Cruden Bay you can find Slains Castle, which is said to have inspired Dracula’s novels.
Another unusual attraction is the Peterhead Prison Museum, the Scottish answer to Alcatraz. One of the favorite road trip stops is Rattray Head, with its immense sand dunes, golden beach and picturesque whitewashed lighthouse.
Other highlights are the collapsed Sea Cave of the Buchan Bullers and the photogenic villages of Pennan, Crovie and Gardenstown.
Pacific Coast Highway, California
One of the most beautiful roads in the United States, the Pacific Coast Highway, [also known as Highway One], offers epic views along the California coast.
Focus on the stretch from Monterey to Malibu and you won’t be disappointed. Stop at lookouts to watch adorable seals and sea lions play in the ocean. The trip begins in San Juan Capistrano and ends in Mendocino County.
The Pacific Coast Highway is 655 miles in length and you can potentially make the trip in around five to six hours, but you’ll miss out on some great stops if you rush the ride.
There are quirky restaurants, expansive parks, sandy beaches, and even seal watching to explore along the way.
Some highlights of the road trip include snapping a photo before crossing the iconic Bixby Bridge, a favorite scene from the HBO series Big Little Lies. Walk in luxury to Hearst Castle. Play in the surf at Malibu Beach and stroll along the Santa Monica Pier. There are so many fun things to do on this California coastal road.
If you only have time for a day trip from San Francisco, drive to Nepenthe, a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal and admire the ocean views from the edge of a cliff, before to turn around.
Giant’s Causeway Coastal Road, Ireland
Causeway Coastal Route in Ireland, also known as Giant’s Causeway Road, begins in Belfast and goes to Derry-Londonderry. This iconic road trip continues to gain popularity with TV shows like Game of Thrones and Derry Girls, showcasing Ireland’s landscapes and showcasing its raw beauty, history and heritage.
You can tackle this epic road trip all at once, or you can split it up into multiple tours, depending on your time and budget.
Driving down the Giant’s Causeway Coastal Road is a leisurely way to experience Ireland’s beautiful coastal scenery and there are plenty of major sights and landmarks to accompany it.
Discover lush countryside, historic castles, welcoming towns and mesmerizing coastal views as you travel along coastal roads and countryside.
Stop to eat, shop, and explore some of Atrim’s Nine Glens (valleys) where you will find story-telling villages, local cuisine and centuries of history.
Some of the main highlights of the route include the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, and the Old Bushmills Distillery.
Road to Hana, Island of Maui, Hawaii
The drive to Hana on the island of Maui is 64 miles long and offers breathtaking views of the coast, but is not for the faint of heart.
It is one of the most difficult coastal roads in the world to drive, so you better get ready for a daring adventure on the road.
There are 59 single track bridges and 617 amazing switchbacks or hairpin bends with sheer drops straight into the ocean.
The road to Hana is also known as the Divorce Road, as the nerve-wracking driving can cause arguments between spouses as they travel it.
The road connects Kahului with the more secluded community of Hana and offers drivers the opportunity to stop and take photos of all the spectacular waterfalls along the way.
Route du Cap Corse, France
The road to Cap Corse on the northeastern island of Corsica, France, is also known as the D80. This winding road is 110 km long and offers spectacular ocean views as well as a glimpse of many charming villages. The average speed of movement on the road to Cap Corse is 40 kilometers per hour.
The majority of visitors travel the Cap Corse route counterclockwise to take in the breathtaking views of sunrise and sunset.
Coastal views are best to the east in the morning and to the west in the evening.
If you are planning to spend two days on this route you will not be disappointed, there are many amazing villages, shops, restaurants, beaches and harbors to explore.
Atlantic Highway, Cornwall and Devon, UK
Take in sunny, coastal views of the UK on the Atlantic Highway, a 70 mile section of the A39, and see the highlights of Devon and Cornwall.
Discover fishing villages, sandy beaches and vast national parks on the wheel of this 77-mile trip from Barnstaple in Devon to the surf capital of Newquay in Cornwall.
The route winds along the coast and also heads inland in some sections, allowing you to visit attractive attractions and high-quality accommodation in the southwest.
Your journey begins in the historic town of Barnstaple, the social hub of North Devon. Start your coastal road adventure by having a cocktail and sharing a board in the cozy Claytons Lounge Bar and booking a night at a nearby vacation cabin.
Follow the A39 towards Wadebridge and Bude, stopping for cream teas, sea views, and heritage hot spots.
Spend time in the seaside resort of Bude and enjoy scenic coastal walks, great pub lunches and canal boating.
Be sure to check out Bude’s epic, free tide pool. It is a beautiful swimming pool partly natural and man-made in the rocks of Summerleaze Beach.