9 Best International Road Trips, According to Travel + Leisure's A-List Advisors

Exploring new places by car gives you flexibility and freedom to go at your own pace.

Famous best alpine place of the world, Santa Maddalena village with Dolomites mountains in background, Val di Funes valley, Trentino Alto Adige region, Italy,
Santa Maddalena village with the Dolomites Mountains in background, in Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy,. Photo: Taras Dzoba/Getty Images

One silver lining of the pandemic: a new era of road tripping has begun. Travelers have taken to the open road across the U.S., exploring scenic routes from northern California to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

But these four-wheel adventures aren't limited to domestic trips – in fact, driving through countries that aren't our own can be a fantastic way to glean insights into local culture and less-visited destinations. To help you brainstorm, we asked Travel + Leisure's A-List of travel advisors for their favorite international road trips – including the best stops for snacks and sites along the way.


"This naturally diverse and culturally rich country is often overlooked, but would make a wonderful road trip adventure. I'd suggest an eight-day itinerary that starts on the Istrian coastline in the town of Portorož, known for its restorative salt-water baths and health resorts. Another stop is the Goriska Brda wine region in the western part of the country to taste wines, olive oils, and fruit. In Lower Carniola, visit the Lipica Stud Farm, the original home of Lipizzaner horses, and then, to finish the trip, arrive in the capital of Ljubljana. No trip to Ljubljana is complete without taking a tour of the Ljubljanica River in a handmade wooden boat, and riding the funicular up to see the Ljubljana Castle." — Jessica Griscavage, Runway Travel

landscape during sunset on one of the most beautiful beaches in the city of Sines, Costa Vicentina, Portugal
Sunset over Portugal's Costa Vicentina. PauloMachado/Getty Images


"On a two-week solo journey, I picked up a car in Lisbon and drove down to Sagres, one of the most stunning and unpopulated areas in the Algarve. Then I drove up Costa Vicentina (the Vicentine Coast) where I stayed at a country estate in the middle of a protected nature reserve. After heading north to Porto, the country's second-largest city, I headed out to the gorgeous Douro Valley for 48 hours of hiking, boating, and of course, wine. My next stop was the peak of Serra da Estrela, the tallest mountain in continental Portugal. This was a challenge for me as it was my first major mountain drive — 4,101 feet high with no guardrails! Eventually I headed down to the coast where I spent my last two days at Areias do Seixo, a chic eco-friendly property on the beach, just an hour's drive from Lisbon." — Sheree M. Mitchell, Immersa Global


"On a three-week self-drive circumnavigating the country of Namibia, I stayed at the best lodges amid dramatic, ever-changing scenery. It's totally safe, doable, and highly recommended if you have the time to slow down and allow the journey to unfold." — Tesa Totengco, Travels with Tesa

Northern Italy

"The Trentino-Alto Adige region in northern Italy is a wonderful option to beat the oppressive summer heat on the Padana Plain. Driving around the mountains provides a chance to enjoy a slower pace with wholesome pleasures, like enjoying the crisp air on a chair lift (and pausing at the top for a snack of strudel). Other hallmark foods in this region: sparkling Trentodoc spumante wine, apples, speck, and pasteurized mountain cheeses served with hearty brown bread." — Joyce Falcone, The Italian Concierge

Blurred street motion during car drive on garden route in South Africa
The Garden Route in South Africa. assalve/Getty Images

South Africa

"Here's a must-do: driving South Africa's Garden Route in the Western Cape Province–it's beautiful, with great food, nature, sweeping beaches, and activities ranging from tanning, to safari game drives, to golfing." — Kent Redding, Africa Adventure Consultants

Cornwall, England

"Cornwall in the Southwest of England! Because it is its own micro climate, the area has especially beautiful gardens (which is saying something in Britain) that bloom several weeks ahead of the rest of the country. The stately homes there are gorgeous, the food is five-star level, and the coastline views spectacular." — Ellen LeCompte, Travel Experts

Beautiful white horses running on the water under flying flamingos at soft sunset light, Parc Regional de Camargue, Bouches-du-rhone, Provence - Alpes - Cote d'Azur, south France
Wild horses in the Camargue National Park in southern France. Lara_Uhryn/Getty Images

South of France

"It's hard to beat and easy to do: Rent a nice convertible and drive along the coast of the south of France, visiting small gems like Les Baux de Provence commune, exploring the Camargue nature area outside Marseille, seeing the cultural highlights of Arles or Avignon, hitting the race track of Le Castellet or the beach in Antibes, and dining in fantastic restaurants at every stop. There are so many places to include — Cannes, Monaco — no wonder they call it a "route du bonheur" (a route of happiness)." — Rob Clabbers, Q Cruise + Travel

Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland West Coast
The Wild Atlantic Way on Ireland's west coast. Andrea Pistolesi/Getty Images

Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

"Definitely Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. You can't do it all in one trip, but you can break it into a couple different vacations. There are wild, rugged coasts, villages and towns full of character, and the best seafood, plus hiking, kayaking, and fishing. Four national parks exist within just a few miles of the ocean!" — Jonathan Epstein, Celebrated Experiences

Ladakh, India

"The best road trip I've ever taken was in India's Ladakh region, from the city of Leh to the Nubra Valley. It's a mountainous road that reaches over 18,000 feet and is primarily used by the Indian army for military training. The road winds up to the peak and then meanders slowly down into the valley — it was an amazing experience." — Carole Cambata, Greaves Tours

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