10 Virtual Road Trips That’ll Inspire You to Plan Your Next Big Adventure
Virtual travel experiences are wonderful for many reasons — sourcing inspiration, armchair escapism — but above all, they offer a sense of what to expect before you go. If you’ve been dreaming of a summer road trip, you don’t have to pour over Google Maps or online forums for pro trips — you can hit the pavement virtually to experience the journey for yourself. From the comfort of your at-home perch, sit back and let the scenery pass you by. If an overlook or beach catches your eye, schedule a stop in your future excursion. These are some of the world’s most iconic road trips — showcased virtually — so you can stop dreaming and start planning.
Ring Road, Iceland
Iconic and exotic, this road trip is for those who want to accomplish something — and see great things while doing it. Iceland’s Ring Road (or Route 1) takes you around the entire island, providing travelers with a feel for the countryside, coastline, and, of course, the country’s iconic attractions. Watch for rip-roaring waterfalls and volcanoes as you enjoy a virtual tour of the island via a road trip.
Pacific Coast Highway, California
When it comes to coastal drives, it’s hard to beat the Pacific Coast Highway (or Highway 1). The road trip takes travelers along the California coastline on a journey that guarantees ocean views, wildlife, and most often, a healthy dose of California sunshine. This virtual trip is split into parts, but to whet your appetite, we’ve included the section running from downtown Monterey to the start of Nacimiento-Fergusson Road.
Silk Road, Central Asia
If you’ve ever dreamed of leaving your sedan behind for the thrill of a motorcycle journey somewhere exotic, now’s your chance. This virtual road trip on the historic Silk Road starts and ends in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, taking you on a digital 3,700-mile drive through Central Asia.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
If a trip to Grand Canyon National Park isn’t in your near future, there’s no reason you can’t start planning and dreaming now. Take the scenic Desert View Drive on the South Rim of the canyon, making a stop to peek over Grandview Point or check out Desert View Watchtower — virtually. And while you’re in the area, why not enjoy a virtual hike to get up close and personal with the park’s beautiful bands of red rock.
Trollstigen Road, Norway
If a drive through Norway’s dramatic mountains piques your interest, this virtual trip along the historic Trollstigen Road will certainly capture your attention (and spur trip-planning motivation) with its hairpin turns and steep inclines.
Builth Wells to Brecon, Wales
The small country of Wales doesn’t get a lot of attention, but the destination’s lush fields and coastal landscapes provide the makings of a visually stunning road trip that’s known and loved by drivers worldwide. In this virtual journey, you’ll cruise by rich, green forests and rolling hills — and if you keep an eye out, you may even see a sheep or two.
Route 66, U.S.
No road trip may be more well-known — in the U.S. at least — than Route 66, a drive that takes travelers back in time to the era of kitschy motels, greasy diners, and hidden gems. The route historically starts in Santa Monica, California, but this virtual road trip kicks off in Winslow, Arizona, where you’ll hop on the road and head northeast until you reach Chicago. Along the way, make sure to get your fill of all the nostalgia that makes this trip one-of-a-kind.
Lairg to Laxford Bridge, Scotland
The Scottish Highlands are rich in history — and views. This virtual excursion from Lairg to Laxford Bridge is one of the country’s most stunning road trips. Feel the momentum build as you climb into the hills, pass sprawling bodies of water, and experience the lush, green Scottish countryside. The cherry on top is this virtual road trip’s 360-degree feature, which ensures you won’t miss a thing.
Verdon Gorge, France
Chances are, you’ve seen photos of this river canyon’s steep walls and surreal Caribbean-blue waters — and if you have, it’s probably stuck with you. If nothing else, this virtual road trip around the gorge will prepare you for the real thing; a drive that’s full of hairpin turns and sharp drop-offs. If you have time on your virtual excursion, swing through the Sentier Blanc-Martel trail or visit the 12th-century Notre Dame de Beauvoir chapel in the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, Utah
Easily one of the most scenic drives in the U.S., this highway takes you through Utah’s Zion National Park, home to stunning red cliffs and Mars-like landscapes. It’s a good thing this road trip is virtual, as keeping your eyes on the road is near impossible. Sit back and enjoy the views, then get started on planning your own real-life road trip along the stunning Zion-Mount Carmel Highway.