The Pacific Coast Highway is hands-down one of the most legendary drives in the entire world. Check out some of the absolute must-visit spots along this famous road.
Pacific Coast Highway- Before You Leave
What Time Of The Year Is Best To Drive The PCH
The best time to do the Pacific Coast Highway drive is anywhere from early spring to late fall. Note that the highway is at its absolute busiest during the hottest summer months. Head here in either spring or fall to beat the crowds.
Which Direction To Drive The Pacific Coast Highway
We recommend driving along the PCH southbound. Primarily because that way you’ll always be closer to the coast. That way, you can enjoy the gorgeous views without being obstructed by oncoming traffic. Most of the overlooks and vista points are located by the coast, and making a right turn when heading southbound is simply more convenient.
What’s more, . However, this all boils down to personal preference. No matter whether you choose to start up north in San Francisco or down in LA, you can rent a car for a one-way rental and drop it off in the other city. Unless you choose to extend the trip and head inland to some of the glorious spots across California, Nevada, or Utah.
Must-Visit Places Along The Pacific Coast Highway
Click one of the links below to quickly jump to each section of the travel guide.
Your Pacific Coast Highway road trip begins (or finishes?) in the charming city of San Francisco. If you have the time, it’s definitely worth exploring San Francisco for a few days before heading further. You can check out our California Road Trip Guide to see our favorite must-see attractions in town. Don’t miss the Transamerica Pyramid, Chinatown, and a boat tour to Alcatraz.
Rentalmoose insider tip: Smash-and-grab break-ins remain painfully popular in San Francisco. Remember to keep all valuables outside of your rental car. Leaving phones, bags, and electronics in plain sight encourages thieves to try their luck.
Devil’s Slide Trail
As you head southbound along Highway 1 out of San Francisco, stop at the Devil’s Slide. This gorgeous promontory is the first of many dramatic landscapes you’re about to see during your drive down the PCH.
The name of this spot is not accidental- there’s a paved pedestrian path here that used to be a part of the Pacific Coast Highway.
Quick history lesson: Devil’s Slide was famous for its frequent closures caused by landslides. The road was shut down for good in 2013, but major landslides caused disruptions as early as the 1930s. Today, pedestrians and bicyclists can enjoy a hike down the former part of Highway 1, while cars have to use the Tom Lantos Tunnels instead.
It’s the perfect spot to stretch your legs before driving further.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse
As you continue along the dramatic coastline, leaving Devil’s Slide behind, allocate plenty of time to stop at countless overlooks to admire the scenery. Don’t rush this drive- it’s best to leave San Francisco in the morning and prepare to spend the entire day driving down this Scenic Byway. Afterall, Pacific Coast Highway is considered one of the best roads in the world.
Don’t miss the Pigeon Point Lighthouse- a landmark roughly halfway between Devil’s Slide and Santa Cruz. The Pigeon Point Viewpoint parking lot is easy to miss- it’ll be on the right side if you’re driving from San Francisco, just a few hundred yards after a slight left bend. You can leave your car there and walk for better views of the lighthouse, too.
As you continue further south, the Pacific Coast Highway will lead you to the iconic town of Santa Cruz. A stop here is an absolute must, even if it’s only for a quick photo or two.
You’ll quickly notice that Santa Cruz has this classic Californian surf town vibe. Take it all in at the vibrant downtown, or head down to Cowell Beach and stroll down the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. You can park your rental car directly on the Santa Cruz Wharf ($1 per hour).
Monterey is a famous coastal town just a short drive south of Santa Cruz. You won’t miss it- the Pacific Coast Highway passes right through Monterey.
If you have the time, do consider driving down the scenic 17-Mile Drive. This scenic drive has 17 different overlooks that offer breathtaking coastal views. Note that it costs around $10 to enter this road unless you spend over $35 at local resorts at Pebble Beach.
You can also drop by the Monterey Harbor right in the heart of this cute town, although we do prefer the one in Santa Cruz. Cannery Row has some of the best local eateries.
Auto fans should definitely pop by the Monterey Car Week. This week-long car show takes place every summer, during which you can admire some of the world’s most elegant cars, both classic and modern, at various events in the area.
Big Sur is the main reason why so many tourists flock to the Pacific Coast Highway each year. This picturesque region of California is located roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and Highway 1 will take you right across it. Photos really don’t do it justice. These landscapes are simply incredible.
The Big Sur is also why we recommend driving down the PCH southbound. You’ll be directly by the coast. That way, you can expect unobstructed views of all these scenic spots on your road trip.
Don’t miss a photo opportunity at the legendary Bixby Creek Bridge. Pull over at the overlook and admire one of the world’s most iconic coasts.
Cottages Grocery Restaurant- Food Stop At The Big Sur
The majority of the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles remains untouched. In practice, this means that restaurants aren’t as easy to come by as you might expect, at least by American standards. The last time we drove down the Pacific Coast Highway in March 2022, we ended up stopping at Cottages Grocery Restaurant for lunch.
This cute eatery has an adorable local ambiance, as well as delicious food. It’s not a popular pick by any means. In fact, it’s a little hidden gem despite being situated right on the Pacific Coast Highway. Come by, you won’t regret it!
Piedras Blancas- Elephant Seal Vista Point
You may have spotted elephant seals already, either chilling at one of the piers in San Francisco or sunbathing somewhere along the Big Sur. However, the Vista Point at Piedras Blancas is easily the best and most accessible spot to observe these glorious creatures.
Admire these playful animals from a viewing platform just meters above the sandy beach. There’s a large complimentary car park directly by the platform.
San Simeon & Hearst Castle
This next stop along the PCH is just a couple of minutes south of the Elephant Seal Vista Point.
You can turn left off the Pacific Coast Highway to reach Hearst Castle. This extravagant property was built back in the 20th century and can be explored on a guided tour.
Hearst Castle is expected to re-open in the first half of May 2022, following a closure caused by a storm that damaged the access road. We were there back in March when the castle was still closed. Nonetheless, it looks spectacular in pictures.
Cambria is another cute coastal village that you’ll drive through during your Pacific Coast Highway road trip. This tiny town makes for a great spot to stop and stretch your legs for a while. Walk the pretty boardwalk, dine at one of the local restaurants, or simply take in the views at Moonstone Beach.
Morro Bay State Park
The State Park at Morro Bay is perhaps the best spot along the Pacific Coast Highway to look for local wildlife. If you’re lucky, you may find cute animals such as sea otters or colorful monarch butterflies. Hike down one of the park’s numerous trails and try your luck. Keep your eyes wide open!
This may be a bit of a controversial opinion. We found the stretch of Highway 1 from Morro Bay through to Santa Barbara to be the least exciting part of the journey. This could have been because the Pacific Coast Highway isn’t exactly on the coast between these two towns, or because we chose not to stop at one of the wineries near Los Olivos. Either way, this part of the PCH was a little underwhelming after the jaw-dropping landscapes of the Big Sur.
As you approach Santa Barbara, you’ll find yourself back on the Californian coast. There are a couple of overlooks and pretty beaches between Gaviota Beach and the town of Santa Barbara, take your pick.
Once you’re in Santa Barbara, consider popping by Stearns Wharf– a pier lined with restaurants, bars, and shops right by the heart of this coastal town. Afterward, you can stroll down the sandy East Beach and make your way over to the Santa Barbara Zoo.
Locals often hang out at Hendry’s Beach, also known as Arroyo Burro Beach. There, you’ll find anything from barbecues and picnic tables to restaurants and shops. Note that many people bring their dogs to enjoy the beach with them.
Let’s get one thing straight- everyone has heard of Malibu. This is the place to be. Driving along the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu is an absolute must. At the very least, you’ll get proper bragging rights for seeing this lavish town.
There are a couple of public beaches where anyone is free to sunbathe, go for a dip in the Pacific Ocean, or just hang out for an hour or two. The famous Billionaire’s Beach, also known as Carbon Beach, is off-limits unless you own one of the outrageously expensive beachfront properties there. The houses, both on the coast and further up in the hills, are a cool sight to see, too.
As you come towards the end of your Pacific Coast Highway road trip, consider stopping at Cafe Habana for dinner. This trendy eatery offers a variety of Cuban and Mexican dishes. Dining here won’t break the bank, at least in comparison with some of the other restaurants in Malibu.
Your Pacific Coast Highway road trip has come to an end! The final stretch of the PCH from Malibu to Los Angeles can get quite busy, especially during peak hours, so plan your trip accordingly. You could always extend the road trip and drive along Highway 1 further south until you reach San Diego.
Once you’re in Los Angeles, however, don’t miss the famous Santa Monica Pier. Stroll down the lengthy pier, check out the iconic theme park, get a photo at the end of Historic Route 66, or dine at one of the restaurants. Be sure to walk all the way until the end of the pier for the best views of the coast, too.
You can then continue south for a few miles until you reach Venice. Here, be sure to check out the boardwalk at Venice Beach, people-watch at one of the cafes, or play basketball at one of the courts. Don’t miss the nearby Venice Canals, as they’ve been featured in countless movies and TV shows. Californication, to name one of many.
Bonus- Rent A Car To Drive The Pacific Coast Highway
Unsurprisingly, a private car is the absolute best way to make the most of a trip along the legendary PCH. Our partners offer one-way rentals from multiple locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In fact, we serve over 15 000 different locations worldwide.
Get your car from Rentalmoose. We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.
The scenic Highway 395 makes for one of the best road trips you could take in SoCal. Afterall, who wouldn’t want to drive across diverse landscapes and endless natural beauty, with two of the area’s most spectacular National Parks just a small detour away? Check out our road trip guide from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe along Highway 395.
Must-See Spots When Driving From LA To Lake Tahoe
Some of the best attractions along this Highway 395 road trip include:
Without further ado, let’s dive into this LA to Lake Tahoe road trip guide!
This Highway 395 road trip begins in the legendary City of Angels.
For your maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly from LAX. Note that airport pickup is usually subject to an extra fee added on top of your rental bill. If you want to avoid a premium location surcharge, it’s best to pick up your rental car somewhere in the city.
Also, most rental companies have their LAX offices outside of the terminal itself. After you’ve collected your luggage, head over and take a complimentary shuttle bus to the rental company. It should be a 5-minute ride.
What are the best things to do in Los Angeles?
Despite what some first-timers may think, there is a lot more to Los Angeles than just Hollywood or the Walk of Fame. Mulholland Drive, for example, is easily one of the best driving roads in this part of California. You can spot hundreds of bikers and petrolheads enjoying this chicane-filled drive each day.
Rentalmoose insider tip: Don’t forget to stop at the Mulholland Scenic Overlook for those classic views of the skyline! Check the map for the exact location.
The two LA attractions listed below are simply ideal for fans of the outdoors. We all need a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy city every now and again.
Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon Park is the perfect getaway located in the Hills above the city. You can enjoy an early morning jog, or simply hike up to admire unbeatable views of the Los Angeles skyline.
The North Entrance of the park can be accessed directly off Mulholland Drive. That way, you can stop for a hike while driving down LA’s favorite scenic drive. What a fun way to spend the day!
The park is open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week. Entrance is free of charge. Your vehicle can be parked at the North Entrance off Mulholland Drive.
Griffith Observatory & Griffith Park
Griffith Park isn’t exactly a hidden gem. In fact, you have probably already seen it plenty of times in various Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows. Nonetheless, the iconic Griffith Observatory is the place to admire those picture-perfect views overlooking the LA skyline.
After a memorable night in one of the best hotels in Los Angeles (these are our favorite picks in town), it’s time to hit the road and begin your Highway 395 road trip to Lake Tahoe.
Red Rock Canyon State Park
To be completely honest, the Southernmost tip of Highway 395 is a little underwhelming. The route starts in the town of Victorville and the first stretch isn’t exactly picture-perfect. That’s why we recommend taking the chicane-filled Angeles Crest Highway via the Angeles National Forest. You will then reach Red Rock Canyon State Park via Lancaster instead. It is a much more exciting drive.
The scenic Red Rock Canyon State Park is located roughly 2 hours north of Los Angeles. Once you’re here, you can admire jaw-dropping natural beauty. The park borders the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada, it’s filled with scenic canyons and hiking trails that overlook it all.
You can access the hiking trails via the park’s dirt road network. It’s open to any street-legal car, so you can safely drive around in your rental car!
Camping at Red Rock Canyon State Park
Moreover, travelers who wish to spend the night here can set camp at one of the 50 campsites situated at the Ricardo Campground. Up to 8 friends can share one campsite at $25 per site, no campgrounds for larger groups are available.
Lone Pine & Mount Whitney
After spending some time at the Red Rock Canyon SP, it’s time to head north into the beautiful landscapes of Sierra Nevada. A short 20-mile drive up will take you to the iconic Highway 395. Follow it for around an hour, until you reach the cute town of Lone Pine.
A slight detour to Death Valley National Park is an absolute must, especially if you haven’t been to this park before. You could even extend the trip further to see the Grand Canyon over in Arizona, too!
The village is a well-known spot for fishing. It’s also surrounded by some more spectacular natural beauty, complete with winding hiking trails to take it all in. These are some of the must-do attractions in Lone Pine.
Museum of Western Film History
Movie buffs have to drop by the Museum of Western Film History. The museum gallery is full of Western memorabilia that any enthusiast will love. Visitors can get an insightful look at how some of the most iconic Western movies were made.
You can watch a Western movie at what is perhaps the world’s best Western cinema, located within the premises. The cozy theatre can sit up to 85 guests.
The museum is open 10AM to 4PM Thursday to Monday.
Fishing in Lone Pine
Like we mentioned previously, the Lone Pine area is a popular spot among fishing fans who visit Sierra Nevada. There are plenty of fishing spots to choose from in and around Lone Pine, such as:
Check out this blog post by the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce for a guide on fishing in the Lone Pine area.
Hiking & Enjoying The Outdoors
Without a doubt, the best thing you can do in Lone Pine is simply enjoying the outdoors. There are lots of hiking trails, such as the Mobius Arch Loop Trailhead that will take you to the iconic Mobius Arch rock formation.
The Mt. Whitney Trailhead is worth paying a visit, too. From there, you could hike over to the Lone Pine Lake, which is around 6 miles (10km).
Whitney Portal Road Scenic Drive
Don’t let the short length of Whitney Portal Road fool you, this scenic drive is an absolute must-visit! The 13-mile (19km) scenic drive will take you through the heights of Alabama Hills. Movie buffs will instantly recognize this scenery from hundreds of Western films that were shot here. This area was also featured in High Sierra, an absolute classic from 1941 starring Humphrey Bogart.
Stay The Night
Before continuing further, Rentalmoose recommends spending the night in Lone Pine. Consider checking in at the cozy Dow Villa Motel. This family owned business has been welcoming guests ever since its opening in the 50s! Make the most out of the outdoor pool while you’re here.
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Technically, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest does require a small detour off of Highway 395. However, much like the Death Valley NP, it is highly recommended to visit it during a drive from LA to Lake Tahoe. You will not regret adding merely an hour of driving, that’s for sure!
If, somehow, you’re still not convinced about adding Bristlecone Pine Forest to your road trip itinerary, you’ll definitely want to keep reading.
This precious spot is home to some of the oldest trees found on our planet.
Many of the trees found in the Bristlecone Pine Forest are more than 4000 years old!
You can get more information about the area at the visitor center located at Schulman Grove. It’s open throughout the summer between 10AM and 5PM Thursday to Sunday.
After a hike through the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, it’s time to continue along Highway 395 until you reach Bishop, another stop worth making during a road trip from LA to Lake Tahoe.
Bishop is yet another cute town that’s situated along Highway 395. It makes for one of the favorite local getaways from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Its beautiful surrounding area makes for a great destination to visit on your drive up to Lake Tahoe.
Climbing the Buttermilks
Those who are into climbing are probably well aware of what Bishop has to offer. The nearby Buttermilks feature some of the region’s most accessible and diverse climbing areas. Every climber can have a great time enjoying these impressive boulders, no matter the skill level.
The climbs here range from beginner-friendly ones, all the way to some of the country’s most challenging routes. The Buttermilks are located only a short drive west out of Bishop. Simply follow the appropriately-named Buttermilk Road along the McGee Creek.
Nature in Bishop
As Bishop is famous for its scenic natural setting, it is an absolute must to visit at least a few of the best sites in the area. Hike up and down the challenging trailheads, go on a thrilling mountain biking adventure, or simply take in the views from the comfort of your vehicle.
Either way,you simply have to enjoy the outdoors when in Bishop.
The Four Lakes in the Bishop Creek Basin
The scenic Bishop Creek Basin is home to four spectacular lakes. Ideally, you’d want to visit all of them as each one offers a different landscape. If you only have the time to see one of them, we recommend going to the South Lake.
A short 45-minute drive along Highway 395 will take you to the scenic town of Mammoth Lakes. Without a doubt, this may just be the most exciting stopover during this road trip. If you only had the time for one break between Lake Tahoe and Los Angeles, I’d strongly recommend to make it here.
Mammoth Lakes is full of attractions, no matter the time of the year. During the magical winter, you should definitely head up to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. This resort is often considered to be the best of its kind in all of California!
Mammoth Mountain is easily the best place to go skiing in California. First-timers, as well as experienced skiers and snowboarders are all bound to have a good time here. If you’re not particularly into skiing, you can simply take the scenic gondola ride up to the summit. The views from there are magnificent.
Mammoth Mountain is a year-long destination. During the summer, travelers can play a game of golf or try out mountain biking. You can find more details about Mammoth Mountain on its official website.
Detour to Yosemite National Park
Did you know that one of the US’ best National Parks is just a small detour away? If you haven’t been to Yosemite NP before, it is strongly recommended to add a few days to your itinerary and visit it. You will not regret it, that’s for sure.
You can check out a guide around Yosemite National Park right here. Note that reservations are no longer required to enter the park!
Play Golf High Above Sea Level
Golf enthusiasts will surely have a good time when in Mammoth Lakes, as the town is home to two spectacular alpine golf courses:
Snowcreek Golf Course
Sierra Star Golf Course
You cannot go wrong with the Snowcreek golf resort. It was the first golf course in Mammoth Lakes, and is often considered to be the best one around. However, its elevation isn’t as high above sea level as the Sierra Star course.
Travelers can enjoy a game of golf accompanied by dramatic backdrops at each of the resorts. In addition, the Sierra Star golf course is also the highest-elevation 18-hole course in the entire state. You can see a driving increase of up to 10% when playing at this altitude, according to some experts.
This is it, the longest driving segment of the drive from LA to Lake Tahoe. Follow the road up north for a little over 2 and a half hours, all the way until you reach the spectacular Lake Tahoe. The equally-amazing drive is perhaps the prettiest part of California’s stretch of Highway 395, too.
Welcome to one of the most beautiful lakes in the West part of the US! There are so many great attractions and fantastic things to do in this part of Lake Tahoe, it’d be impossible to list them all. Nonetheless, these are our top picks.
Did you know that Lake Tahoe has its very own castle? The magical Vikingsholm is tucked away in the Emerald Bay, down at the southern tip of the lake.
Emerald Bay was the first destination where wealthy Californians would build their holiday homes in the late 1800s. The land where Vikingsholm is has seen summer cabins for over two centuries, though the beautiful castle erected in the late 1920s. It still remains here today, making for a truly magnificent spot.
You’ll probably quickly realize that Vikingsholm doesn’t exactly look like your typical North American building. The unique name is another giveaway of the property’s Scandinavian descent. In fact, Vikingsholm was commissioned by Mrs Lora Josephine Knight who had been in love with Scandinavian fjords. The natural setting of Lake Tahoe reminded her of Northern Europe.
Today, Vikingsholm welcomes tourists from across the planet. You can learn more about the property and all of its secrets during a guided tour.
Note that the property is 1-mile away from the car park, it is only accessible on foot or by boat.
Swimming & Sunbathing
Unwinding at a sandy beach does sound like the ideal way to spend the day. A well-deserved afternoon of relaxation isn’t exactly a road trip essential, though it certainly wouldn’t hurt. You should make the most out of the fact that swimming is permitted in Lake Tahoe. Enjoy the crystal-clear waters and impressive alpine backdrops!
These are some of the best beaches at South Lake Tahoe.
Zephyr Cove Beach
South Lake Tahoe- Where To Stay
Travelers who wish to stay at a fun-packed resort should certainly consider booking a room or suite at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Resort. The 3-star property features spacious and modern rooms, though those who stay here will probably hang around the casino downstairs. Moreover, you can expect tons of live shows, cool bars to spend the evening at, and much more!
Alternatively, you could opt for the waterfront Beach Retreat & Lodge. The 3-star property boasts modern rooms that overlook the lake, three waterfront restaurants, and a marina with kayaks and boat rentals.
After you’re done with your Highway 395 road trip, you could drive over to San Francisco and drop your rental car off there. Alternatively, you could drive back from Lake Tahoe to Los Angeles via the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, one of the best driving roads on the planet.
Bonus- Rent A Car To Drive From LA To Lake Tahoe
Like any other road trip, the answer is largely subjective. If you’re a fan of sports cars, you’ll surely enjoy a lavish roadster or a classic American muscle car. No matter what car you’re after, Rentalmoose has got you covered. Browse through options from the industry leaders and ensure you get the best deal with Rentalmoose.
If you’re hesitant about renting a car for the Highway 395 road trip and would rather use your own vehicle, check out this blog post. It may just change your mind.
Don’t forget to use Rentalmoose to find the best rental car deal for this road trip!
Get your car from Rentalmoose, we plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.
Scenic drives are the core of any great road trip. Check out 20 of the best driving roads ever. How many of them are on your travel bucket list already?
We’ve compiled a list of 20 of our favorite roads in Europe and the US. Some of them offer spectacular views along the way, while others are simply a joy to drive on.
Check out the map below to see exactly where each road is located. That way, you can easily plan your next road trip around these locations. Take a look at our travel guides for more travel inspiration around some of the best locations worldwide.
Without further ado, let’s jump into each one of the best driving roads in the world!
The 10 Best Driving Roads in Europe
Picking just one as our favorite driving road would be nearly impossible, let alone sorting them from best to worst. Instead, the roads below are listed in random order.
Furka Pass- The Best Mountain Pass in Europe
Picking the best mountain pass in Europe is a difficult task, as there are so many jaw-dropping drives to choose from.
The Swiss Furka Pass, however, has got to be one of the best mountain passes in the entire world. The 35-kilometer road will take you along tens of chicanes, all while overlooking the Swiss Alps.
One of the highlights of the Furka Pass is the abandoned Belvedere Hotel which sits at one of the hairpins. Over the last years, this eerie structure became favored among photographers. Don’t forget to stop and take a photo of this hotel!
This Italian mountain pass features a continuous 25-kilometer long climb. When driving here, you’ll see many cyclists who challenge themselves to make it all the way to the top.
Stelvio Pass is ideal for fans of tight hairpins, as there are 48 of them in total! Expect beautiful scenery along virtually the entire journey.
Location: North of Italy, Eastern Alps
Iceland’s Ring Road
Iceland is a truly fascinating country. The landscapes found here are unlike any other in the world, hence Iceland should definitely land on the bucket list of any traveler.
The best way of getting around the country is by car, as it’s the most convenient way to access all parts of the island. Some of the must-visit natural beauty here is rather remote, and it is barely possible to get around without a private car.
The main road in Iceland, also known as the Ring Road, will conveniently take you around the best spots in the country. Expect absolutely jaw-dropping natural beauty. The landscapes will be spectacular nearly every single kilometer of the journey, and there are over 1300 of them in total.
Once you visit Iceland for the first time, you’ll definitely keep coming back for more. You have been warned.
The Atlantic Ocean Road in the northern tip of Norway is the shortest road on our list. In fact, it is merely 8 kilometers long. Don’t underestimate it based on its length, as it is nothing short of astonishing!
This scenic drive is a part of County Road 64, the rest of the route features great views of lush greenery and cute villages, while also opening up to the ocean practically the entire time. The Atlantic Ocean Tunnel is further down the road, too.
The surrounding area is worth a visit, too. Once you’re here, be sure to keep driving along the coast for some more unforgettable scenery.
Location: North of Norway, near Elnesvagen
Until recently, the Transfagarasan was very underrated. Afterall, most travelers head to the Alps to drive down the most spectacular mountain passes. Believe it or not, one of the best driving roads in the world is actually located in Romania.
This mountain pass rose to fame after being featured in 2009 in BBC’s Top Gear. The hosts actually praised the highway and dubbed it the best driving road in the world.
Unsurprisingly, the Transfagarasan quickly became one of the most frequently visited destinations in the country.
The Transfagarasan is the ideal extension of a Balkan road trip. We happen to have a travel guide around the Balkan coast, curated for those who travel by car.
Location: Central Romania, 3 hours away from Bucharest
Gorges du Verdon
Gorges du Verdon is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Europe. In reality, its landscape is very different from the one in Arizona.
This national park in the South of France is known for its turquoise-colored water and vibrant greenery, all situated between dramatic cliffs and mountains. These are not the views you’d expect in the South of France, that’s for sure!
You can expect jaw-dropping views of endless natural beauty, at some points 800 meters below the road you’re driving on. Not the best place to be if you fear heights!
What’s best, the next road is just a drive away from Gorges du Verdon. This means you can see 2 of the best driving roads in Europe in one day.
Location: South of France, 2 hours 20 minutes from Nice
The famous Route Napoleon is perhaps the most famous driving road in France. It has earned a spot on our list, as it is one of the best drives in Europe.
Back in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte took this exact route when returning from Elba. He had 1200 soldiers with him, ready to conquer Paris and to be ruled by Napoleon once again.
This chicane-filled drive spans 315 kilometers in length, beginning right outside of Cannes. Continue driving uphill all the way until Grenoble. From there, you can either head back to the coast or continue deeper into France. You may also head East into the Swiss Alps for a total change of scenery.
Location: South of France, begins outside of Cannes
North Coast 500
It goes without saying that Scotland has to land on the bucket list of any traveler. The North Coast 500 is just another reason to visit this magical land. Oh, and this road happens to be one of the best driving roads in the world, too!
This scenic drive will take you on a 500-mile long journey around the Scottish highlands, accompanied by waterfront views for a large chunk of the journey.
It’s best to begin the trip in Inverness, as you can enter the road there. Go in either direction, and you will end up back in Inverness 500 miles later.
Location: Northern tip of Scotland
Good luck typing in the name of this street into your GPS app. Surely, The Black Forest High Road is easier to remember than the lengthy Schwarzwaldhochstrasse.
This scenic drive, just like the entirety of The Black Forest, remains massively underrated. While the majority of the tourists flock to Bavaria, this beautiful forest is often overlooked.
The recommended way to drive down the B500 is by starting in the spa town of Baden-Baden. Then, make your way uphill and continue through the hairpin-filled High Road.
Check out this guide to find out the best places to visit in the Black Forest. You’ll also see some must-visit spots in Strasbourg and Northern Switzerland, too.
Location: South-west Germany, near Strasbourg
I know what you’re thinking- isn’t the Nurburgring a race track?
Well, it is theoretically classified as a one-way toll road. At least by insurance companies.
The Nurburgring may not have the panoramic views as the other roads on this list. However, it is one of the best driving roads on the planet. Given that you classify it as a road and not a race track, that is.
The Nurburgring hosts frequent Touristenfahrten, or public track days. On those days, virtually any driver can test their skills on this challenging track.
Many insurance companies don’t cover driving on the ring. Double-check before coming on the track, as crashes here happen rather frequently.
Location: 1 hour South of Cologne, Germany
Are you looking for more of the best driving roads in Europe? Check out our short guide on Instagram, where we showcase a different selection of our favorite drives in The Old Continent!
This otherworldly scenic drive will take you right through the very heart of the Glacier National Park in Montana. The Going To The Sun Road is actually one of the best attractions in this park, and the main route that connects the must-see points in Glacier NP.
Expect wonderful scenery that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to the heart of the Alps, all while actually being in Montana.
Don’t miss the cute Red Jammers. This fleet of red buses from the 1930s continue to offer guided tours of the road. You’re bound to see them as you drive along.
You simply cannot miss the Going To The Sun Road, as it’s one of the best scenic drives in the US.
Location: Glacier National Park, Montana
Pacific Coast Highway
You will have definitely seen the Bixby Creek Bridge in at least one Hollywood movie. Afterall, this part of the Pacific Coast Highway in California was the shooting location for countless films, including Iron Man or the Fast & Furious.
No wonder this coastal highway is considered by many, including us, to be one of the best drives in the US. It should come as no surprise that we’ve included it on our Ultimate California Road Trip guide.
The entire Pacific Coast Highway is actually over 1000 kilometers (600 miles) long, making it the longest state route in all of sunny California.
Renting a convertible and driving off into the sunset as you watch the Pacific Ocean is surely a mesmerizing experience, no doubt.
The road that connects the scenic Keys to the rest of Florida is simply breathtaking.
Take the US1 south from Homestead and continue down the Overseas Highway. You’ll see turquoise water, scenic Keys, and the iconic 7-Mile Bridge. Key West lays at the end of the road, which is the Southernmost point of the Continental US.
We believe this magical drive deserves a spot as one of the best roads in the US. Naturally, we’ve included it in our Florida road trip itinerary.
Location: South of Florida, 1 hour from Miami
White Rim Road
Utah is quite a dramatic change of scenery from the coast of Florida, that’s for sure. If you haven’t seen these kind of landscapes before, you may feel as if you were on the surface of another planet.
The White Rim Road should land on the bucket list of any off-roading enthusiast. This 100-mile (160km) long trail will take you around the natural beauty of Canyonlands National Park. Expect to stop nearly all the time, as the photo opportunities are just endless.
Visitors who obtain permits can spend multiple days on the trail and camp at the designated campgrounds along the White Rim Road. Spend up to 3 days to explore this region to the fullest!
The unique natural beauty of Utah is unlike any other place in the world. There are tens of parks worth visiting scattered around the state. Check out this curated travel guide and plan your ideal Utah road trip, seeing the best of what the state has to offer along the way.
This road is an absolute treat for any petrolhead visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. This exciting driving road is only a short drive away from the Smokies!
The Tail of The Dragon (US129) is praised as America’s #1 driving road for sports cars and motorcycles. It packs a whopping 318 curves in total along the 11-mile route. Expect to see hundreds of fellow petrolheads roaming up and down the road, especially during peak season.
Location: west of The Great Smoky Mountains NP, NC
Mulholland Drive is the ideal getaway for a scenic joyride away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood. One of the best driving roads in this part of California also doubles as a great tourist attraction, as there are plenty of overlooks that offer panoramic views of the Los Angeles skyline.
Mulholland Drive is only around 35 kilometers (21 miles) long and it is the perfect spot to spend an hour or two. Don’t forget to take your camera as you enjoy the views at one of the overlooks!
As far as the driving itself goes, expect a ton of chicanes and a couple of switchbacks. Perhaps it’s not as extreme as the White Rim Road in Utah, but it can still offer plenty of fun within the LA area.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Pikes Peak is a well-known name for any car freak. Every year, the world-class Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is organized on this road. Hundreds of racing drivers attempt to drive up to the peak as fast as possible, every year since 1916.
The route winds around over a hundred curves before making its way to the summit, some 31 kilometers (19miles) later. The majority of the Highway remains open-year round, depending on the amount of snow.
The Artists Drive in Death Valley National Park is yet another chance to witness absolutely otherworldly landscapes, somewhat similar to the ones you can find in Utah.
While Artists Drive is nothing short of an amazing attraction, it is certainly worth visiting for the panoramic views. It may not be as good of a driving road as The Tail of The Dragon, as it’s a one-way 10-mile long road with a low speed limit. The road lacks tight chicanes that are adored by motorcyclists and sports car owners alike.
Star Wars fans may recognize this area. Parts of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope were filmed within this National Park.
Highway 163 that cuts through Monument Valley could be the most iconic road in the country, perhaps except for the historic Route 66. The seemingly endless straight road is a far cry from the mountain passes of Europe or winding Colorado hill climbs. Instead, this road is all about the views.
Monument Valley is one of those places that you have to visit to really grasp their enormous scale. The desert-like landscape is nothing short of monumental, and the large boulders that dominate the skyline simply complete the experience.
Expect dramatic views and not many corners.
Monument Valley is a must when passing through Arizona and Utah.
Location: Utah, Arizona
There you have it! Those are the 20 best driving roads in the world. Looking for more travel inspiration? Be sure to check out this blog post on 7 of the longest roads on the planet.
Be sure to add them to your travel bucket list!
Need a rental car to drive down these spectacular roads? No problem!
Head over to Rentalmoose and find the best rental car deal for your next journey. Our web platform serves over 15 000 locations worldwide, along with thousands of offers from the most trusted rental companies.
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This travel guide will take you on a journey across the best places to visit in Nevada, United States. The 1200-mile road trip will take you to Las Vegas, The Great Basin National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Yosemite National Park. You’ll also see some of the area’s less-popular, yet equally beautiful State Parks. Check out our ultimate Nevada road trip itinerary!
Before you go: What are the must-see National Parks in the west US?
The West of the US is home to nearly 30 different National Parks. You can find the most parks around California, Utah, and Nevada. Some of the best National Parks on the West side of the US include:
National Park lovers should definitely take a look at this blog post, where we list out the 7 best National Park road trips you need to add to your bucket list next year!
Road Trip Extension to Utah’s National & State Parks
Why not extend your road trip to see even more spectacular National and State Parks? Utah is home to some otherworldly parks, such as Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Arches. Click here to check out our road trip itinerary around Utah’s best national parks and extend your road trip further!
Road Trip Extension to Arizona and The Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon National Park is an absolute must-see for any tourist visiting this part of the US. Click here to check out our curated travel guide to The Grand Canyon National Park and extend your road trip further!
Your National Park Road Trip begins in Las Vegas, dubbed the Sin City. For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly from the McCarran International Airport. Find the perfect rental car for this road trip via our online platform.
What is Las Vegas known for?
The unarguable highlight of Las Vegas is the city’s countless casinos, extravagant resorts, and vivid entertainment venues. If you’re looking for the best nightlife in Vegas, take a look at this travel guide. As this road trip itinerary is made especially for nature lovers, we’ll skip out on the city’s craze and instead focus on the spectacular natural beauty around Las Vegas.
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
The Tule Springs Fossil Beds is a spectacular site just north of Las Vegas. The area, once home to mammoths, camels, and lions, is a fresh addition to the list of the American National Monuments. In fact, it was recognized as a National Monument in 2014.
As the park has only been open for a couple of years, there is no visitor center and the facilities are rather limited. You can leave your car by the side of the road and reach the monument on foot. On the other hand, admission is free of charge.
The Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is open between sunrise and sunset from Monday through Sunday, 365 days a year.
Lake Mead is an artificial reservoir that was America’s first-ever National Recreation Area. It is only about 25 miles out of the center of Las Vegas, and is definitely worth the slight detour!
This National Park is packed with fun attractions to spend the day (and night!). You can hike around the massive slot canyons, swim in the clear waters, or get a different perspective during a boat tour of the lake. After dusk falls, the night skies are ideal for stargazing.
When in Lake Mead, you can’t skip the iconic Hoover Dam!
Consider spending the night at one of the local campgrounds. Keep in mind that there is no reservation system, spots are subject to a first-come, first-serve availability.
You can learn more about Lake Mead and its local attractions on the park’s official website.
An entrance pass to Lake Mead costs $25 per vehicle, it is valid from 7 days from the date of purchase.
Rentalmoose insider tip: be sure to see the Valley of Fire State Park, located pretty much right after the Lake Mead park. Alternatively, you can drive through both of these parks on your way back to Las Vegas from the Cathedral Gorge State Park.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is perhaps the favorite local escape from the Las Vegas craze. On top of tens of various hiking trails, Red Rock Canyon is known for its spectacular 13-mile-long Scenic Drive. Scenic driving roads are the highlight of any proper road trip, and this is no exception.
The stunning Scenic Drive is open all year from 6 AM until the late afternoon. A 1-day entry pass costs $15 per vehicle.
Learn more about the Red Rock Canyon on the park’s website.
Where to stay in Las Vegas?
Within Las Vegas itself, the majority of the extravagant resorts, casinos, and restaurants have reopened since the COVID-19 outbreak. Room rates for the city’s iconic hotels are still lower than last year, this could be the perfect time to try out a 5-star resort that would usually be out of the budget.
Consider booking a room at the lavish 5-star Venetian Hotel, right on the famous Las Vegas Strip. The resort is full of attractions, including a casino, an outdoor pool, restaurants, as well as spacious rooms and suites.
Flamingo Las Vegas
Staying along the world-class Las Vegas strip does not have to break the bank, and the 3-star Flamingo Hotel proves it. The renovated hotel is situated between lavish resorts, yet the rooms here are available for a fraction of the price. Some of the amenities include a variety of restaurants, an outdoor pool, and a spa.
Head towards California, leaving behind the lively city of Las Vegas. After roughly 2 hours behind the wheel, you will arrive at the Death Valley National Park.
Admission to the Death Valley National Park will cost you $25 per vehicle (with unlimited re-entry). The pass is valid for 7 days from the date of purchase. Consult the park’s official website for details and local alerts.
What is there to do in Death Valley?
Once you’re inside the National Park, be sure to stop by the famous Badwater Basin. The giant salt flat spans across the horizon, it is also one of the hottest spots in all of the United States! Be sure to stay hydrated, it is not recommended to stay in the Basin for too long during the hottest months.
Artists Drive is a spectacular one-way scenic driving road. The drive is around 9 miles long and takes below 30 minutes to complete. The panoramic views along the way make Artists Drive an absolute must-see when visiting Death Valley.
Zabriskie Point is the most popular lookout in the park, be sure to drop by when driving around Death Valley. For the best views and absolutely magical experience, come here during sunrise or sunset.
Drive up to the Ubehebe crater located in the Northern part of Death Valley National Park. Admire the views from the car park, you can even walk around the rim of the crater during the winter months. The drive up to the crater itself is an attraction on its own, as well.
Wildrose Charcoal Kilns
Drive up the scenic Emigrant Canyon Road. At the end of the road, at around 5000 feet (1500 meters) above sea level, you will find a complex of 10 charcoal kilns. These are believed to be the best-preserved examples of such kilns in this part of the country. Charcoal kilns aside, the drive up the mountain will provide unbeatable views, too.
As you drive across Death Valley National Park, be sure to stop at the Father Crowley Overlook. Leave your car at the car park and admire a panoramic view of the Rainbow Canyon. If you’re lucky, you might see low-flying fighter jets, as the area is frequently used for military training.
Leave Death Valley behind and continue North towards Yosemite. Death Valley is around 3 hours away by car from Yosemite National Park, and it is the third stop on your road trip itinerary.
Is Yosemite open?
YES! From the 1st of March onwards, reservations are no longer required to enter Yosemite National Park! Find out more about visiting Yosemite during COVID-19 right here.
Can you drive within Yosemite?
Yosemite National Park can be accessed by private vehicles, making it the perfect park to see during a road trip. However, some of the roads can remain closed during winter. Consult the park’s website for current closures.
How much does it cost to go to Yosemite?
As of 2021, the admission cost to enter Yosemite National Park is $35 per vehicle. An admission ticket is valid for 7 days from purchase, with unlimited re-entries.
What to see at Yosemite National Park?
Although there are tens, if not hundreds, of beautiful spots worth visiting in Yosemite, we have listed the major must-see attractions below. Be sure not to miss these activities during your road trip to Yosemite National Park!
Once you enter Yosemite National Park, make sure to pay a visit to the Tuolumne Meadows. This peaceful Highland is home to wonderful, moderate hiking trails.
You can learn about the local history at the Parsons Memorial Lodge, right by the Pacific Crest Trail.
Keep in mind that Tuolumne Meadows is only accessible between June and October.
Next, drive to the heart of the Yosemite Valley. Stop by the El Capitan Meadows and photograph El Capitan, the world’s largest granite monolith.
Take a pair of binoculars and try to spot rock climbers as they try to reach the top of El Capitan. Travelers can stretch their legs and enjoy a hike along the El Capitan trail. Afterward, you can enjoy a picnic at the El Capitan Picnic Area just off Northside Drive.
Yosemite Falls are divided into the Upper, Middle, and Lower waterfalls. The three waterfalls combined make up the highest waterfall in all of North America, spanning a whopping 2425 feet (739 meters).
If you’re a beginner hiker, be sure to stroll around the easily-accessible Lower Falls. Advanced hikers can take the advanced trailhead to reach the Upper Falls.
When visiting Yosemite Falls during Spring and early Summer, be sure to take rain gear and dress appropriately.
The Half Dome is perhaps the most famous landmark in Yosemite and an absolute must-see on any road trip to this National Park.
Travelers can admire the Half Dome during a hike down to Mirror Lake, the trailhead begins by the Yosemite Valley Stables by the Merced River.
If you’re an experienced hiker, you can hike along the hard Half Dome Trailhead. Note that a permit is required to access the trailhead, it is recommended only for highly-advanced hikers.
Before leaving Yosemite National Park, be sure to drive up to Glacier Point. Drive down Wawona Road, leaving behind Yosemite Valley (don’t worry, you’ll pass it again on your way out of the park!). Then, turn left into Glacier Point Road. Drive until you reach the end of the road.
Glacier Point will provide you with unbeatable views of Yosemite Valley, more than 7000 feet above sea level. For the most magical experience, consider heading to the overlook during sunset.
Keep in mind that Glacier Point Road, the only way to access the overlook by car, remains closed during winter. What’s more, the drive will be closed to all traffic in 2021 and the only way to access the overlook will be via hard trailheads, such as the Four Mile Trail.
As you return back from Glacier Point, enjoy the view as you pass the Wawona Tunnel. The scenic Wawona Tunnel opens up to panoramic views of Yosemite Valley. You can stop by the Wawona Tunnel View to enjoy the view, it’s located right by the exit of the tunnel.
The Ahwahnee Dining Room
A day of exploring Yosemite National Park will surely make you hungry. Don’t miss the grand Dining Room located in the famous Ahwahnee Lodge. Movie fans might find this lodge familiar, as the monumental interior of the Ahwahnee inspired Stanley Kubrick when creating The Shining’s Overlook Hotel.
The Dining Room is open all year long for breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. Despite suspending tableside service, guests can still enjoy their delicious meals while admiring panoramic views of the Valley.
Before setting off back to Nevada, consider spending the night in Yosemite National Park. You can’t go wrong with the iconic Ahwahnee. Enjoy cozy rooms with unbeatable views, as well as luxurious facilities such as a heated pool and legendary dining at the Dining Room.
Leave Yosemite National Park and drive back to Nevada. Although the next National Park on this road trip is the Great Basin, around 7 hours from Yosemite, there are lots of cool spots around Nevada worth dropping by along the way.
Detour to Goldfield
You can make a small detour and head south from the town of Tonopah. Continue driving for around half an hour until you reach Goldfield. This small town is home to quirky attractions, such as the International Car Forest.
Enjoy a refreshment at the Santa Fe Saloon in Goldfield, the town’s oldest continuously-run business. It has been welcoming guests since 1905!
Nevada’s Lunar Crater
The Lunar Crater was first recognized as a National Natural Landmark back in 1973. Turn right off of the US-6 and follow the dirt road that will take you around the crater.
The crater is 430 feet (130 meters) deep and makes a cool sight to see. Perhaps it’s not as impressive as the Yosemite Valley, but it can make a great addition to your National Park road trip.
For the best views, stop at the elevated overlook along the east rim of the crater.
The drive to Great Basin National Park is around 3 hours. If you’re tired, consider spending the night at Lane’s Ranch Motel by Preston. There isn’t much of a choice, as the cozy 3-star motel is essentially the only hotel in the area. Click here for directions.
The last major stop before heading back to the south of Nevada is the spectacular Great Basin National Park, an absolute must during your Nevada road trip. The Great Basin provides a dramatic change of scenery compared to the rest of Nevada.
The entrance to the Great Basin National Park is free of charge. However, do note that some activities within the park may require a special permit. Admission to the Lehman Caves is not free of charge, either.
What to do in Great Basin National Park?
Lehman Cave Tours
Once you drive into the Great Basin National Park, be sure to stop at the Lehman Caves. Admire impressive rock formations while strolling around two natural caves within the complex.
You can enjoy a tour of the two caves guided by the park rangers. Check the park’s website for information on ticketing and the opening hours. The cave tours are available year-round.
Keep in mind that the temperature in the cave is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Dress appropriately. Admission to the Lehman Caves is not free of charge.
Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive
The route to Wheeler peak is yet another Scenic Drive during this road trip to national parks. This wonderful road stretches for 12 miles and will take you up to the majority of the attractions in this national park.
Drop by Mather Overlook, a viewpoint around halfway up the road, for a great photo opportunity. Don’t forget to post your photos online using #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a free rental car for your next trip!
Note that the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is closed during Winter. Consult the park’s official website for current closures and other safety alerts.
Once you reach the end of the drive, drop your car off at the Bristlecone Parking Lot and continue exploring on foot!
Alpine Lakes Trailhead
Drop off your car at the car park and follow the Alpine Lakes Trailhead. The trail forms a 2.7 mile (4.4km) loop, passing two pristine Alpine lakes: Stella Lake and Teresa Lake. What’s more, the trail offers panoramic views of Wheeler Peak for that perfect photo from your road trip.
Before heading back to your car, hike up the Bristlecone Trail. This trailhead is famous and an absolute must-see during your visit to the Great Basin National Park.
When following the Bristlecone Trail, you will stumble upon the oldest organisms on Earth. Bristlecone pines are significant trees that can be found in this part of the park, they date back to ancient times!
Great Basin National Park has some of the darkest skies in all of the US. Why not take advantage of the dark skies and enjoy some stargazing before continuing on your road trip?
Book your room at the Stargazer Inn, located just minutes outside of the park itself. The small hotel features quiet rooms and a seasonal restaurant. Check their website for details.
Your final stop on this road trip before making your way back to Las Vegas is the monumental Cathedral Gorge State Park. This State Park is only around a 2-hour drive away from the Great Basin National Park.
Cathedral Gorge State Park features otherworldly slot canyons that were formed over thousands of years. It is also one of the original State Parks in Nevada.
Find information regarding current pricing and closures on the state park’s official website. As of October 2020, the admission fee to the park is $5 per vehicle.
What to do in Cathedral Gorge State Park?
Cathedral Gorge State Park Visitor center
Be sure to drop by the visitor center during your road trip to the Cathedral Gorge State Park. Inside, you can gather insight about the park and its local history before setting off to explore it yourself.
Bullionville Cemetery Trailhead
After a short peek in the Visitor Center, it’s time to explore the park! Follow the Bullionville Cemetery Trail, it will lead you to an eerie cemetery that’s been around since the early 1900s.
Miller Point is perhaps the best trail and attraction within this state park. If you’re only dropping by for a short visit, be sure not to miss this beautiful trailhead. You’ll get to see the absolute best parts of the park, including breathtaking slot canyons. Not to mention that an elevated overlook will open up to spectacular, panoramic views, perfect for another photo opportunity in the Cathedral Gorge State Park.
This curated road trip itinerary will take you along the best scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains. Explore the best driving roads, as well as the best things to do in the Smokies. Check out our curated travel guide around the Smokies.
This is what you can expect to find in our blog post.
If you’re a fan of National Parks, check out this blog post to learn about the top 7 National Parks you need to visit as soon as possible!
Can you drive through the Smoky Mountains National Park?
Absolutely! The Smokies are one of the best parks in the United States to be explored by car. The must-see attractions are scattered around the large park, and the best way of getting around is by car, either your personal vehicle or a rental car.
Find your ideal rental car for this road trip via Rentalmoose.
How long does it take to drive through the Smoky Mountains?
Technically speaking, you could drive through the Smokies in just a day. However, seeing the Smoky Mountains in just a day means lots of driving, as well as having to miss out on some great attractions.
Rentalmoose recommends spending at least three days driving around the Smoky Mountains. Some of the attractions in the park can only be accessed by a long hike, it’s best to spend at least three days here if you want to see all of what the park has to offer.
Can you drive to the top of the Smoky Mountains?
Yes! Don’t miss Clingman’s Dome Road. This scenic road will take you right up to the summit of the tallest mountain within the park.
This road is seasonal and remains closed during winter.
What is the closest airport to the Smoky Mountains?
McGhee Tyson Airport- Knoxville, TN
Domestic travelers can fly into the McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, around an hour away from the Smokies. Keep in mind that this is a regional airport with a limited amount of facilities. International travelers might have a hard time trying to find flights here.
Hartsfield Jackson- Atlanta, GA
Wait a minute, isn’t Atlanta all the way in Georgia?
Yes, Atlanta is in another state. However, the drive from Atlanta to the Smokies will only take you around 3 and a half hours!
What’s more, Atlanta is home to the Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. This is a major airport with lots of facilities for travelers, including a selection of rental cars. Click here to check out rental cars at this location.
Drive: The Best Scenic Drives in the Smokies
Driving down the best scenic drives is an essential part of any great road trip. You’ll be happy to know that the Smoky Mountains are home to tens, if not hundreds, of different scenic drives. Although nearly every road in the park is scenic, make sure you don’t miss the following 8 scenic drives when driving in the Smoky Mountains.
For the ultimate experience, it’s best to pair the following scenic drives with the best attractions in the Smokies (you’ll find them further below).
Newfound Gap Road
If you follow our road trip itinerary precisely, the Newfound Gap Road (US 441) will be the scenic road you’ll drive on in the Smokies. This 31-mile (50 kilometers) Great Smoky Mountains scenic drive will take you to the heart of the Smokies, passing many of the park’s best attractions along the way.
Pullouts and parking lots are plentiful, paired with panoramic overlooks that guarantee the best views of the Smokies. Some of the best attractions that you’ll find while driving down this road include the Newfound Gap, Alum Cave Bluffs, and Chimney Tops.
Rentalmoose insider tip: When driving down this scenic road, don’t miss the seasonal Clingman’s Dome road, too!
Newfound Gap Road can be accessed free of charge, just like the rest of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Little River Road
Little River Road is a great scenic drive that will take you from Gatlinburg to Townsend. This scenic drive spans 18 miles(29 kilometers) and ends at the Cades Cove Loop Road, another drive that’s a worthy addition to your road trip itinerary.
Along the way, you will see lots of trailheads and attractions, such as the Laurel Falls Trail. You can even spot a waterfall that’s directly next to the road! The Sinks waterfalls are hard to miss, as the scenic drive passes directly next to them.
Cades Cove Loop Road
The 11-mile (18 kilometers) long, one-way Cades Cove Loop Road is perhaps the most popular scenic drive in the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a fantastic way to explore some of the park’s wonderful scenery, especially the Fall Foliage if you’re here during Autumn, all from the comfort of your car. There are plenty of pullouts where you can stop to take in the panoramic views.
If you wish to stretch your legs, stroll down one of the many hiking trails located off of Cades Cove Loop Road. Some of the best attractions along this scenic drive include Abrams Falls Trail and Cades Cove.
Cades Cove Loop Road can be accessed free of charge, like the entire national park.
Rich Mountain Road
Rich Mountain Road is one of the best-kept secrets of the Smoky Mountains. This one-way, gravel scenic drive stretches for 8 miles (13 kilometers). Drive down the road all the way, and you will end up in Tuckaleechee right by Townsend.
If you want to stretch your legs, hike the Rich Mountain trailhead right off the gravel road. Note that there isn’t any car park by the trail, make sure you won’t block the road if you choose to leave your car along Rich Mountain Road.
Rich Mountain Road is closed during winter.
The Foothills Parkway is another absolute must-drive on your Great Smoky Mountains itinerary. This elevated scenic road begins in Wears Valley, and can take you all the way to the Tail of The Dragon. It’s a great way to take in the spectacular views around the Smokies.
Foothills Parkway is open all year long.
Wears Valley Road
This 15-mile (24 kilometers) scenic drive will take you from Townsend down to Pigeon Forge. As Wears Valley Road is away from the center of the park, you can expect less traffic and a calmer experience overall. This scenic drive is the best scenic route to Pigeon Forge, TN.
Getting hungry? Drop by the charming Friendly Falls for a quick snack accompanied by the glorious waterfalls.
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a beautiful scenic drive. The 5.5 miles (8.9 kilometers) long one-way loop begins in Gatlinburg. Along this scenic drive, you will be able to see the spectacular scenery of the Smokies, as well as well-preserved historic cabins and grist mills.
There are various overlooks where you can stop and take in the scenery. There are some more great hiking trails that begin at the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, such as the Noah Bud Ogle Place Nature Trail.
The Tail of The Dragon
The Tail of The Dragon is a scenic route that’s an absolute treat for any petrolhead visiting the Smoky Mountain roads. This 11-mile (18 kilometers) driving road features over 300 curves! This drive is a real treat for any car enthusiast or biker who is on a Smoky Mountain road trip.
See: What are the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains?
As much as we all love driving down the best scenic drives on any proper road trip, it’s crucial to get out of the car and experience the natural wonderland of the Smokies up close. Below, you’ll find a list of the absolute must-see attractions and the best things to do when visiting the Smoky Mountains.
Pass the village of Cherokee and enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The scenic driving will begin as soon as you enter the park! Follow the Newfound Gap Road and turn left into Clingman’s Dome Road. This seasonal road (closed during winter) will take you up to the summit of Clingman’s Dome, the tallest mountain in the entire park.
Once you’re at the end of Clingman’s Dome Road, find an empty parking spot and enjoy the panoramic views at nearly 6500 feet (2000 meters) above sea level! Take the short hike up to the observation deck for the most breathtaking view.
Drop by the visitor center to pick up a handy map of the park.
You can see up to six states from the summit of Clingman’s Dome on a clear day.
Andrews Bald is a picturesque field, the highest in all of Smoky Mountains, that can only be accessed on foot. The 3.5-mile hike is worth it to admire the panoramic views. Visiting Andrews Bald is a great way to escape the crowds that you might run into at the peak of Clingman’s Dome!
To get to Andrews Bald, you have to make your way to the summit of Clingman’s Dome. The trailhead is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) round-trip.
After you return back down from Climgan’s Dome, don’t miss the Newfound Gap. Turn left from Clingman’s Dome Road and enter the nearest car park on your right, along the Newfound Gap Road. Drop your car off at the spacious Newfound Gap Car Park and admire the views.
The view from Newfound Gap is arguably less exciting than the view from the summit of Clingman’s Dome, though it is a great alternative if the Clingman’s Dome Road is inaccessible.
Alum Cave Trail
As you make your way along the chicane-filled main road, enter the small Alum Cave Bluffs Parking Area. From here, you can follow the Alum Cave Trail up to the summit of Mt. LeConte, the third-tallest mountain in this national park. Along the way, you will pass by the 100-feet high Alum Cave Bluffs and the Arch Rock.
The Mount LeConte Lodge is located near the summit, it’s the only lodge within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The total round-trip distance of this trailhead is 11 miles.
The Chimney Tops Trail is infamous for its steep final section.
There are two ways to access the Chimney Tops: you can approach it from the northern end of the trailhead located right off the main road, or take the longer route that begins at the Newfound gap.
The hike, starting at the northern end, is 3.3 miles (5.3 km) round-trip. It is a moderate hike, not recommended for novice hikers.
If you want to enjoy similar views without the difficult hike, consider going to the Chimney Tops Overlook further down the road.
As you continue further into the Smokies, don’t miss the left turn into Fighting Creek Gap Road. Drive down the scenic road until you reach the Laurel Falls parking area. Drop off your car and follow the Laurel Falls trail.
This intermediate 2.6-mile (4.2 km) round-trip trailhead will take you up to the stunning Laurel Falls. It is very accessible, the entire hike is paved. Keep in mind that due to its proximity to Gatlinburg, the trailhead tends to be crowded.
After hiking to Laurel Falls, continue driving along the Fighting Creek Gap Road and turn left into Elkmont Road. This part of the park is a must-see for history fans, it was first established in 1840 and became a ghost town overtime. Today, some of the historic buildings are preserved and can be visited by the general public.
Elkmont is also home to some more hiking trails, including the Elkmont Nature Trailhead, as well as a campground where you can spend the night. Get more details on thecampsite here.
Drive back down Elkmont Road and turn left into Little River Gorge Road. Follow the hairpins and chicanes until you see The Sinks Parking Lot on your left.
The Sinks are the most accessible waterfalls in the Smokies, they’re practically right next to the road! If you have limited time, or don’t want to hike up to Laurel Falls, The Sinks are your best bet.
From here, you can also hike the Meigs Creek Trail. This moderate trailhead will take you along the calm Meigs Creek. The total length is 7 miles (11 kilometers) round-trip.
Abrams Falls is a spectacular site off of Cades Cove Loop Road, a scenic drive here is already an attraction in itself. As you drive down the loop road, turn right into Abrams Falls Road. You can leave your car at the large car park right by the end of the road and follow the Abrams Falls Trail on foot.
The Abrams Falls Trail is around 5 miles (8 km) long round-trip.
You can also pop by Cades Cove down the one-way road, where you will find well-preserved historic homesteads.
Grotto Falls is located off the scenic Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a picturesque driving road which is a major attraction in its own right.
You can leave your rental car at the Grotto Falls Parking and continue along the 3-mile (5 kilometers)Trillium Gap Trail to reach Grotto Falls. This easy hike is perfect for families.
The northern part of the park is home to the Ramsey Cascades, the tallest waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Ramsey Cascades Trail begins at the end of Ramsey Prong Road, you can access it by driving down on Greenbrier Road from East Parkway.
The trail is 8 miles (13 kilometers) long round-trip, and it is one of the most difficult hikes in the park. The total elevation gain is 2190 feet (670 meters), and the trailhead features some really steep sections! It is only recommended to reach Ramsey Cascades for experienced hikers in good shape. Otherwise, this may not be the best spot for you.
Stay: Where can you stay in the Great Smoky Mountains?
The smoky Mountains and the surrounding area provide lots of great accommodation options. Find anything from camping under the stars up to a luxurious lodge.
If you want to try out glamping (a luxurious form of camping), give Under Canvas a shot. The award-winning resort, situated between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, welcomes guests between May and November. The luxurious property features lavish tents, as well as an array of complimentary camping activities during your stay.
The Appy Lodge
The Appy Lodge is a luxurious lodge located in Gatlinburg. The lodge, beautifully situated right by the heart of the Smokies, features spacious and well-equipped rooms, as well as amenities such as an outdoor pool.
Don’t have a car you can take on a road trip? No problem!
Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!
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Greece is one of the hottest travel destinations in Europe, what better way to explore than with a week-long road trip? See the best archeological sites, dreamy beaches, and natural beauty with this comprehensive travel guide.
Tags: Travel guide, road trip, drop-off at another location, Greece, Beach
This travel guide takes you on an exciting Greece road trip starting in Athens, the capital of Greece. Then, you’ll go inland towards Delphi, before spending a night in the coastal city of Volos.
Next, you’ll get to see the otherwordly hanging monasteries of Meteora, before stopping overnight in Litochoro at the foot of Mt. Olympus.
Finish off with a stop at The Royal Tombs of Aigai and an unforgettable night in Thessaloniki.
How long does it take to complete this road trip?
The total driving distance is around 850 kilometers. With that in mind, Rentalmoose recommends dedicating at least 5 days for this road trip. To fully explore the best of what each location has to offer, spend at least 10 days on the road.
What is the best time of the year to visit Greece?
The best time of the year to go on a road trip in Greece is during the sunny months, typically between May and September. The weather is the hottest during July and August, but it is also the peak of the tourist season.
You can avoid hordes of tourists while still catching a glimpse of the perfect weather when you visit during June and early September.
Road trip extensions
Your Greece road trip doesn’t have to end here! Extend your road trip and visit some of the country’s most picturesque islands. Rentalmoose recommends going to Rhodes or Santorini.
Forget South East Asia, the Turkish Riviera is dubbed one of the world’s best summer getaways. Party your heart out in Bodrum, swim in the Blue Lagoon, and enjoy the world-famous Turkish breakfast in Antalya.Click here for the guide.
Why should you rent a car in Greece?
Mainland Greece is ideal to be explored by rental car. The roads are, for the most part, well-maintained, and there are some magnificent scenic drives around Meteora, Delphi, and Mount Olympus. A road trip in Greece is a great way to see the country.
Outside of Athens, public transport tends to be rather hectic for international tourists. Most ticketing booths and schedules are available in Greek only, and buses travel between cities quite irregularly.
A rental car is definitely the best way of getting around mainland Greece.
Don’t forget to take check-in photos when picking up your rental car to qualify for a 50% rebate from the excess coverage fee!
Are there toll roads in Greece?
There is a fair amount of toll highways and paid roads around Greece. Fees can be settled when passing toll booths, mostly in cash though some booths will accept credit cards depending on the highway operator. Take cash to pay the highway tolls, just in case.
Yes! As Greece is a member of the European Union, tourists can use their domestic driving licenses issued in other EU-member states.
Travelers who do not have a driving license issued in an EU-country should obtain an International Driving Permit (click here to learn all about them).
Driving around Athens may become chaotic if you’re not familiar with the unsaid rules that everyone seems to follow. Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car when leaving Athens and using public transport to get around the capital.
Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into this Greece road trip itinerary!
The Acropolis photographed by Leonhard Niederwimmer
This road trip kicks off in what could very well be the most fascinating city in this part of Europe. Welcome to Athens!
For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car at Athens International Airport. Browse through car rental options that support drop-off at another location via Rentalmoose.
Don’t forget to take check-in photos of the car to qualify for a 50% rebate from the excess coverage fee.
Rentalmoose insider tip: Athens is infamous for its notorious traffic jams. Get around the city using public transport and rent your car once you’re ready to leave town.
What can’t you miss in Athens?
Parthenon- the Acropolis
The Parthenon is an absolute must-see in Athens, no matter whether you are into history or not. The elevated rocky hill in the heart of Athens is home to the Parthenon as well as other ancient monuments that make up the famous Acropolis.
Wear comfortable shoes: the Acropolis is on a hilltop and the only way to reach it is by hiking! The walk up to the ruins takes around 15 minutes.
As the Acropolis is undoubtedly the main highlight for tourists in Athens, be sure to book your tickets in advance. Check the official website for details.
Tickets for the Acropolis cost 20 EUR per person. During the winter (November to the end of March) ticket prices are reduced to 10 EUR.
If you’re planning to visit other ancient sites, consider purchasing a combined ticket that grants you entrance to the Acropolis, as well as the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, Kerameikos, and more. A combined ticket costs 30 EUR and can be purchased online. Keep in mind that you have to visit all of the sites within 5 days, otherwise the ticket expires.
Rentalmoose tip: The Acropolis can get extremely crowded, especially on weekends. Visit the monuments during the week, or near the closing time, to avoid hordes of tourists.
Once you’ve seen the famous Acropolis, make your way to the museum practically across the street.
Inside, you will find loads of precious artifacts dating back to prehistoric times.The Acropolis Museum features a collection of ancient art and items housed in a stunning contemporary building.
Travelers can also visit the archeological excavation area right beneath the museum!
The museum is open all week from 8 AM during the summer season. Admission costs 10 EUR per person. Purchase your tickets online to skip the queue.
UPDATE: As of April 2021, the Acropolis Museum remains closed until further notice. Refer to the official website for more details.
Monastiraki Flea Market
Feel the authentic city vibe as you wander around the streets of the Monastiraki district, one of the oldest parts of Athens. Begin your journey at the picturesque main square, right next to the Monastiraki metro station.
Make sure to step inside the vibrant Monastiraki Flea Market. Shopping freaks will be happy to hear that you can find pretty much anything here! Vendors are selling a variety of goods ranging from clothes to regional delicacies, jewelry, or souvenirs.
An outdoor market in Athens. Photo by Kirkandmimi.
Exploring the narrow streets of Monastiraki will surely wear you out, head up to one of the iconic rooftop bars!
Couleur Locale Athens
Couleur Locale is one of the best rooftop bars/restaurants in Monastiraki, perhaps even in all of Athens. Located just by the main square, the bar offers unbeatable views of Athens and the Acropolis. It’s a perfect backdrop for photos, remember to post your best photos online #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a free rental car!
Guests can enjoy a tasty lunch, an aromatic cocktail once dusk falls, or a refreshing coffee in the afternoon. Click here for the menu.
What are the best hotels in Athens?
Four Seasons Astir Palace
Luxury travelers should consider checking in at the Four Seasons Astir Palace, a serene beachside getaway just half an hour away from the heart of Athens. The prestigious property features three private beaches, eight onsite restaurants, a world-class spa as well as upscale shopping, bars, and lounges. Greece’s first Four Seasons hotel really is a fabulous one.
If you want to stay in the lively heart of Monastiraki, spend the night at the Plaka Hotel. This 3-star property features 67 modern rooms and suites. After a busy day of exploration, guests can sip on a drink at the rooftop terrace while admiring panoramic views of the Acropolis.
Ancient sites in Delphi photographed by Konstantin Arzumanidis
Depart Athens and head northwest for a little over 2 hours until you reach Delphi. As this is not an overnight stop, it’s best to leave Athens early in the morning to explore all of what Delphi has to offer.
Is Delphi worth visiting?
Most certainly! The stunning ancient ruins are worth a quick peek at the very least. If you have the extra time, drop by the museum and visit the modern town of Delphi. Spend a few hours in Delphi before continuing on to Volos.
The ancient ruins & the museum
Unarguably, the main highlights of Delphi are the fascinating ruins and archeological sites. Hike around the mountains and explore the Temple of Apollo, the monumental Ancient Theatre, the Stadium, or the Gymnasium where athletes would prepare for the Pythian Games. The sites are open all week from 8 AM to 8 PM.
Rentalmoose insider tip: Get a grasp of the region’s history whilst exploring the ruins of Delphi and download the EasyGuideApp Delphi as your virtual guide. Alternatively, consider booking a traditional guided tour to learn all about these fascinating sites.
Learn even more about the sites and their history at the Delphi Archeological Museum, one of Greece’s most important museums! Open Wednesday-Monday from 8 AM to 8 PM, and between 10 AM and 5 PM on Tuesdays.
Admission tickets cost 12 EUR per adult and 6 EUR per child. The ticket includes entry to the museum as well as the archeological sites. Current prices can be found here.
Walking around the sites will surely make you hungry. Before you set off further, follow the main road into the town of Delphi until you reach Taverna Dion, the go-to restaurant in Delphi. The Taverna uses a variety of locally-sourced products to create delicious, regional dishes.
Landscape of Volos photographed from Mount Pelion by Dimitris Vetsikas.
Follow the spectacular mountain roads, and then make your way to the coastal city of Volos.
What should you see in Volos?
Make your way north of Volos and explore the lovely village of Portaria, situated on the steep slopes of Mount Pelion. The village is full of scenic mansions, spectacular viewpoints, and cozy restaurants perfect for dinner.
You can stretch your legs as you hike around the Centaurs’ Path, or wander around the Spring of Manas. Alternatively, you can visit one of the other 20 villages scattered around Mount Pelion.
After exploring the villages around Mount Pelion, head further east until you reach the dreamy Mylopotamos Beach. The white-pebble beach features crystal-clear water, absolutely perfect for a dip, and pristine views of the surrounding cliffs. It is regarded as one of the best beaches in all of mainland Greece, yet remains unspoiled by over-tourism.
Athanasakio Archeological Museum of Volos
History freaks can visit the Athanasakio Archeological Museum of Volos. Apart from various fascinating exhibits from the Neolithic period, guests can also find entire burials that have been incorporated in the exhibition, making for an unforgettable experience.
Open all week except Tuesdays from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Tickets are priced at 4 Euros per adult and 2 Euros for a reduced ticket.
Isalos Beach Club
Admire the sunset while enjoying tasty dinner at the Isalos Beach Club, Volos’ best beach club, and overall trendy hangout. It certainly isn’t the cheapest place to eat or drink in Volos, but the cool experience is well worth it.
Isalos Beach Club is open all week from 9 AM till 3 AM, and nonstop on weekends.
What are the best places to stay in Volos?
Domotel Xenia Volos
Luxury seekers should most definitely consider checking in at the 5-star Domotel Xenia Volos. This beachfront property features modern rooms with sea views, a spa and wellness center, a beach, and a lively rooftop bar. Not to mention the location near the heart of Volos.
Would you rather stay a bit further from the busy city? Book a room at the stylish Despotiko up in Portaria. This 4-star property located in a chic mansion features stylish decor and an outdoor pool.
A private car park is available at no extra charge.
Meteora’s out-of-this-world scenery photographed by Ioannis Ioannidis
After a day in the coastal town of Volos, it is time to head back inland. A 2-hour drive will take you to Meteora, one of the highlights of mainland Greece.
Is Meteora worth a visit?
Meteora is, without a doubt, worth visiting! Six monasteries situated atop spectacular natural pillars make an impressive sight to say the least. It is no surprise that the monasteries are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The hanging monasteries of Meteora
An absolute must when in Meteora is visiting the clifftop monasteries. Back in the day, they were nearly impossible to access as the monks who spent their time here hardly had any visitors. Today, bridges and stairs have been constructed to make it easier for tourists.
Spectacular views in Meteora photographed by Ioannis Ioannidis
The Great Meteoron Monastery
Great Meteoron Monasteryis the most popular one, its history dates back to the 14th century making it the oldest and largest of the six. The Great Meteoron Monastery began the monasticism in the area, it is worth at least a quick peek.
The hike up the hill takes around 40 minutes one way. The monastery is open between 9 AM and 3 PM. Closed on Tuesdays.
Rentalmoose insider tip: The monasteries tend to get crowded during peak season. It’s best to visit them in the morning or right before the closing time.
Varlaam Monastery is the second biggest monastery in Meteora, located near the Great Meteoron Monastery. It was founded around 1350 by a monk named Varlaam, who managed to climb the cliff.
Varlaam monastery is open between 9 AM and 4 PM and remains closed on Tuesdays.
St. Stephen’s Monastery
St. Stephen’s Monastery is perfect for the slightly lazier travelers, as it is the easiest one to access. Forget long hikes and steps, all you have to do is cross one single bridge. Nonetheless, this monastery is just as impressive as the other five.
St. Stephen’s Monastery is open between 9 AM and 1:30 PM, then 3:30 PM until 5:30 PM. Closed on Mondays. You can check the opening hours and closures of all six monasteries here.
If you have the extra time, be sure to visit the other three monasteries. In that case, consider staying the night in Meteora before departing further.
A visit to mainland Greece couldn’t possibly be complete without stopping by the monumental Mount Olympus, the tallest mountain in Greece, and one of the country’s national treasures. The mountain is often portrayed in Greek mythology, and now it’s your chance to visit it!
Can you hike Mount Olympus?
Mount Olympus is a well-known destination among trekkers and mountaineers, it is clear to see why. The trailhead begins in the town of Litochoro, the entire trek to the summit is difficult and takes multiple days to complete. There are easier trails for less-experienced tourists, too.
Check out Olympus Paths for a complete guide to trekking in Mount Olympus, or book a guided tour with them.
Litochoro is a small town at the foot of Mount Olympus, it serves as a base for mountaineers and tourists who are planning to hike to the summit of the mountain. There is a variety of restaurants, shops, accommodation options, and car parks around the town.
St. Dionysios Monastery
When in Litochoro, be sure to visit the St. Dionysios Monastery. Its history dates back to the 1500s. The original monastery was destroyed during WW2 and is currently being restored to bring the monument back to its former glory. It is well worth a visit when in Litochoro, the monastery makes a perfect backdrop for photography.
The monastery can be accessed free of charge. Remember to dress and act appropriately when visiting places of worship.
What better way to end a day of hiking than with a delicious Greek dinner? In the evening, make your way to Erato Wine Restaurant, one of the favorite eateries among locals and tourists in Litochoro. The terrific mountain view is worth mentioning, too.
Rentalmoose insider tip: You can’t go wrong with Gyros or locally-sourced grilled meats. The restaurant can get crowded on weekends, be sure to book your table prior to your visit.
The restaurant is open from noon until midnight on weekdays and from 9 AM until midnight on weekends.
Where to stay near Mount Olympus?
Sophisticated travelers will enjoy spending the night at the 5-star Cavo Olympo. The prestigious seafront hotel features chic rooms and suites situated in a beautiful resort, a spa and wellness center, and an outdoor pool.
Cavo Olympo is only for adults, children are not permitted within the hotel.
Traveling on a slightly tighter budget? Consider booking a room at the 3-star Mythic Valley, right in the heart of Litochoro. This property offers stylish rooms with free wi-fi and a complimentary breakfast buffet, all at a price that doesn’t break the bank.
The Royal Tombs in Vergina photographed by DocWoKav/Wikimedia Commons.
This optional leg of the journey requires a small detour on your way to Thessaloniki. The detour adds around 40 minutes extra to the total driving time, it is well worth it for history freaks.
What can you do in Vergina?
Vergina is a small village around an hour away from the center of Thessaloniki. At first, it may not look particularly interesting. The village, however, is home to one of the most important archeological sites in Greece.
Museum of The Royal Tombs of Aigai
The Royal Tombs of Aigai are an absolute must-see for any history buff visiting mainland Greece. The somewhat remote location of Vergina makes it often overlooked by international tourists, don’t make the same mistake! The museum is situated atop underground tombs. Royal tombs, to be precise. What makes the tombs of Aigai royal?
The Royal Tombs of Aigai are home to Phillip II or the Phillip of Macedon. Primarily known as the father of Alexander the Great, one of the most famous figures of the ancient world. Guests can also see the (apparent) tomb of Alexander’s child, Alexander IV, as well as a collection of precious artifacts found during the excavation. The experience is truly unforgettable.
Admission tickets to the museum and archeological sites cost 12 EUR per adult and 6 EUR per child. If you want to explore the local museums further, purchase a combined ticket for 15 EUR. Guided tours are available, it’s best to book one ahead of your visit.
The final leg of the journey is a 70-km drive east towards Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece and the vibrant heart of this part of the country.
Is Thessaloniki worth visiting?
Most definitely! Thessaloniki is a diverse, fascinating city. Deep-rooted in history, full of waterfront bars, and a trendy, coastal vibe, Thessaloniki is the perfect place to visit during your road trip around mainland Greece.
The waterfront landmark is located within walking distance of other attractions (Ladadika District and Tsimiski Street), that’s why Rentalmoose recommends parking your rental car at a car park near the White Tower for the day. Finding an on-street parking spot is nearly impossible during peak season, a private car park costs around 2 EUR per hour.
After you get your photo with the famous White Tower (remember to post it online using #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a free rental car!), you can enter the museum that spans across 6 floors of the tower. Then, make your way to the viewing terrace and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
The tower is open all week from 8 AM to 8 PM. Admission costs 8 EUR per adult and 4 EUR per reduced ticket.
Be sure to go for a stroll around the vibrant Ladadika District in the very heart of Thessaloniki. Ladadika is the go-to spot for nightlife, entertainment, and dining near the sea. Back when Thessaloniki was ruled by the Ottomans, Ladadika was a large market. Today, the market is gone and the traditional buildings have been turned into charming bars and restaurants.
Out of all the delicious eateries and taverns around Ladadika, Ouzou Melathron has got to be one of the best ones. Try some of the best Greek cuisine accompanied by a glass of aromatic Ouzou (if you’re not the driver, of course) while dining outdoors on the vivid street.
Open all week between 1 PM and 1 AM.
Tsimiski Street is Thessaloniki’s main shopping avenue. The 1.2 kilometer-long street is lined with high-end boutiques, making it perfect for shopping freaks. You can also catch a movie at the multiplex cinema located in the Plateia shopping mall or go for a coffee at a waterfront cafe nearby.
Rentalmoose insider tip: If you can’t find a parking spot near Tsimiski Avenue, head to Plateia’s shopping mall car park and leave your rental car there.
Where are the best beaches near Thessaloniki?
Explore some of the best sandy beaches in mainland Greece when you visit the Halkidiki Peninsula just a drive away from the city. There are over 50 pristine beaches waiting for you! Halkidiki Peninsula is perfect for a day trip from the city.
Armenistis Beach is perfect for active beachgoers and well worth the 3-hour drive from Thessaloniki. Crystal-clear waters, soft sands, and beautiful surrounding areas are guaranteed. There are lots of amenities, including sunbeds and umbrellas and watersport activities at your disposal.
Continue reading if you’d rather visit a beach near Thessaloniki.
Agia Triada Beach
Agia Triada Beach is a long beach just 20km away from the center of Thessaloniki. The beach features crystal waters and lots of activities, bars and waterfront restaurants. Despite its attractiveness, the beach remains calm for the majority of the season.
What are the best hotels in Thessaloniki?
The Met Hotel
Luxury seekers should check-in at the 5-star Met Hotel. The property is conveniently located in Thessaloniki’s New Port and offers modern decor, a spa, and a magnificent rooftop pool that overlooks the city.
Are you traveling on a tighter budget? Consider spending the night at the Plaza Hotel, a stylish 3-star hotel located near the heart of Thessaloniki. The property features modern, chic rooms, suites with a sea view, delicious breakfast, and a great location, all at a reasonable price.
For maximum convenience, drop off your rental car directly at Thessaloniki Airport “Makedonia” when leaving Greece. Browse through car rental options that support airport drop-off and drop-off at another location via Rentalmoose.
Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next road trip in Greece. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!
We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.
Post your pictures from your next road trip in Greece online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.
Rhodes is a breathtaking Greek paradise within the Dodecanese Islands, near the coast of Turkey. The island’s pristine beaches, archeological sites, scenic roads, and traditional restaurants are scattered all across the island, making Rhodes the perfect destination for a road trip. Plan your ideal Rhodes road trip with this comprehensive travel itinerary!
Tags: Travel guide, Greece, Beach, foodie, scenic roads, history
How long does it take to complete this road trip?
The total driving distance is a little over 250 kilometers. That said, Rentalmoose recommends dedicating 4 days for this road trip at the very least. Spend a day to explore the city of Rhodes, then make overnight stops in Lindos and the Elafos Hotel near Mussolini’s Villa.
If you want to explore each location thoroughly, spend at least a week on the road.
What is the best time of the year to visit Rhodes?
The best time to visit Rhodes,much like any other Greek island, is right before the peak season begins (early June), or after it finishes (late August). That way, you can enjoy the perfect summer weather without the hordes of tourists that come to Rhodes during peak season.
Why should you get a rental car in Rhodes?
Rhodes is ideal to be discovered by a rental car. Tourist attractions are scattered all over the island, and some of the pristine beaches can only be accessed by car or on foot. Not to mention the ability to alter your itinerary on the go, freely extend your trip or end it before schedule.
Public transport around Greece tends to be rather hectic for international tourists. Most ticketing booths and schedules are available in Greek only, and buses irregularly travel between destinations. Not to mention the crowds and the fact that bus tickets can only be purchased in cash at the booths, right before leaving.
A cabriolet is the most fun type of car you can get in Rhodes. Photography by Manolis D
Road trip extensions
The breathtaking Turkish Riviera is just a ferry ride away from Rhodes! The ferry from the city of Rhodes will take you to Marmaris, you can then make your way across the picturesque Riviera and see its incredible natural beauty and serene beaches. Click here for the guide.
There are regular ferries between Rhodes and Santorini around twice every week. The journey takes about 8 hours, but experiencing the otherworldly scenery of Santorini is well worth it.Click here for the Rentalmoose guide to Santorini.
If you’re a fan of long road trips, our Athens to Thessaloniki travel itinerary is definitely worth considering! The 1000km journey will take you across the spectacular sites in mainland Greece, such as the hanging monasteries of Meteora or the famous Mount Olympus.
Can tourists drive in Rhodes?
Yes! As Greece is a member of the European Union, tourists can use their domestic driving licenses issued in other EU-member states. Travelers who do not have a driving license issued in an EU-country should obtain an International Driving Permit (click here to learn all about them).
Driving in Greece for first-timers might be overwhelming at first. Locals tend to drive aggressively without much regard for others, be extra cautious when driving a rental car around Santorini, and make sure to get excess coverage provided by Rentalmoose when booking your vehicle.
Don’t forget to take check-in photos when picking up your rental car, that way you are eligible for a 50% rebate from the excess coverage fee.
Once you’re all set, let’s dive into your Rhodes itinerary by car!
City of Rhodes
Palace of The Grand Master of The Knights of Rhodes. Photography by Peter Linter.
Welcome to the sunny island of Rhodes! For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly when you arrive at Rhodes International Airport.
Browse through car rental options that support airport pick-up via Rentalmoose.
Once you’ve picked up your rental car, make your way to the city of Rhodes at the northern tip of the island. Any great Rhodes itinerary will include a few days in the City of Rhodes, and ours is no different.
The island’s capital is full of traditional architecture, a monumental castle, and beaches.
What can you do in Rhodes?
Palace of The Grand Master of The Knights of Rhodes
Visitors can tour the castle, where some of the chambers are home to art exhibitions, while others display precious artifacts.
The castle is set within Rhodes’ Old Town, you can walk around and explore the charming area.
The castle is open daily between 8 AM and 8 PM, however, the exhibitions are open only until 5 PM. Admission tickets cost 8 EUR per adult and 4 EUR per child.
A charming alley somewhere in the city of Rhodes. Photography by Kirkandmimi.
The Acropolis of Rhodes
The remains of the Acropolis of Rhodes are situated atop the Monte Smith hill. The archeological site includes remains of an ancient stadium, a temple, and a restored Roman Odeon where events are still held today.
The panoramic view from the summit of Monte Smith hill is especially spectacular during sunset.
The site is open 24 hours a day, entry is free.
This archeological site is without a doubt one of the must-visit attractions that deserves to be on every Rhodes itinerary.
Elli Beach is the go-to waterfront hangout in the city of Rhodes. The cosmopolitan beach is known for its crystal-clear water, perfect for a dip. The lively beach is full of watersport activities, sunbeds available for rent, and waterfront bars and restaurants.
Once you’ve soaked enough of the sun, you can cross the street and gamble at the Casino Rodos, or admire some of the wildlife at the small aquarium right off the beach.
Finding a parking spot might be tough around the peak tourist season. Try this free car park just a short walk away from the beach.
Alexis 4 Seasons Seafood Restaurant
On an island like Rhodes, trying the local seafood is an absolute must! Once you get hungry, head over to Alexis 4 Seasons Seafood Restaurant in the old town. The upscale restaurant serves delicious seafood such as shrimps, seabass, or cuttlefish. The charming outdoor area located in the heart of Rhodes’ old town is the cherry on top.
As the restaurant is quite popular, be sure to book ahead during the peak season. The restaurant is open all week from noon until midnight.
What are the best hotels in Rhodes?
Mitsis Grand Hotel Beach Hotel
Sophisticated travelers should check-in at the 5-star Mitsis Grand Hotel. This vibrant beachfront resort, located in the heart of Elli Beach, features spacious rooms and suites with sea views, three pools (both indoor and outdoor). There is also one extra pool with fresh water for children, a spa, and six different restaurants.
Mitsis Grand Hotel is the only 5-star beachfront hotel in the city of Rhodes.
Marco Polo Mansion
Enjoy a stylish trip back in time when you stay at the Marco Polo Mansion, a 3-star hotel set within the narrow streets of Rhodes’ old town.
The hotel is known for its tasteful decor, perfect location, and a great restaurant. Treat yourself to a Greek dinner in the green outdoor area, or go for a stroll around the authentic old town.
Beach of Lindos. Photography Emilian Robert Vicol.
Head south along the east coast of Rhodes, leaving the city behind. Before you get to Lindos, there are various attractions worth visiting dotted across the east coast of Rhodes. Here are some of the best ones, consider adding them to your Rhodes itinerary.
Kallithea Springs is less than 10 kilometers from the city. The thermal springs have been around since the ancient times, and were brought to international fame by the Italians in the early 20th century.
Today, the springs have been refurbished and turned into a lavish retreat. Monumental yet tasteful architecture, authentic decor, a crystal-clear bay with a top-rated beach bar, and the hot springs themselves, of course, all attract international tourists as well as locals.
The exclusive getaway is open all week from 8 AM to 6 PM. Admission costs around 5 EUR, paid upon entrance. If you want to use the sunbeds, you’ll have to spend at least 5 EUR in the cafe.
If thermal baths aren’t exactly your thing, why not drop by simply to enjoy the views? Photo by Dimitri Houtteman
WaterPark in Faliraki
A short 5-minute drive south from the Kallithea Springs will take you to Ammoudes, a beachfront resort. There are various attractions here, including the Faliraki public beach, though the WaterPark remains the absolute highlight.
From thrill-seekers to families with small children, everyone will find activities suitable for them at the WaterPark. Choose from a variety of waterslides, pools, and attractions.
The WaterPark is open all week between 9:30 AM and 7 PM.
1-day admission costs 24 EUR per adult and 16 EUR per child. Purchase tickets either upon entry or online.
A scenic coastal drive on the East Coast of Rhodes. Photo by Erik Karits
Anthony Quinn Bay
Another stop worth making on your way to Lindos is the spectacular Anthony Quinn Bay, named after the great Mexican-American actor. It features a small beach surrounded by the rocky bay perfect for sunbathing (sunbeds are available), clear water ideal for swimming, and scenic surroundings.
Photography by Denimeij
Taverna Epta Piges
This marvelous lunch spot is located a little further inland, though the delicious food and serene scenery are well worth the detour.
Head to Taverna Epta Piges, located within the beautiful Seven Springs, for an unforgettable culinary experience. This taverna is a must-visit on any Rhodes itinerary.
The tavern features an outdoor area set in the heart of the Seven Springs, providing spectacular views to accompany your meals. Taverna Epta Piges serves the finest Greek cuisine, meals are made from locally-sourced ingredients and are cooked to perfection. Give it a shot!
After lunch, feel free to explore the picturesque Seven Springs itself.
Rentalmoose order tip: Taverna Epta Piges is famous for their juicy grilled meats, why not try a steak? Perhaps order a portion of Dolmadakia, minced meat and rice wrapped in vine leaves.
Taverna Epta Piges is open all week from 9 AM to 11 PM.
If you’ve enjoyed your time at the Anthony Quinn Bay, just wait until you see this! Tsambika Beach looks straight out of a fairytale, with golden sands spanning the shore and plenty of activities.
You can rent a sunbed and umbrella for just a few euros, or go for a swim in the pristine water. Adrenaline junkies can rent jet skis or participate in one of the various exciting watersport activities.
There are various waterfront restaurants (taverns), snack bars, and a casual beach club, too.
Despite its popularity, Tsambika Beach is hardly ever crowded, even during the summer months. You can leave your rental car right by the beach.
Acropolis of Lindos
The Acropolis of Lindos is perhaps the most fascinating archeological site in all of Rhodes. The hilltop remains date back to the 6th century BC. The walk up from modern-day Lindos can be exhausting, but the fascinating Acropolis is well worth it.
Alternatively, you can get a donkey ride to the top for less than 10 euros, though animal rights activists urge tourists not to do so.
Once you’re atop the hill, you can explore the remains of ancient Lindos, including the ruins of the monumental Athena’s Temple, or photograph the panoramic coastal views.
Admission to the acropolis of Lindos costs 12 EUR per adult and 6 EUR per child. The site is open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM.
Photography by Kirkandmimi
Another evening on a Greek island means another unforgettable dinner in an authentic tavern. When you get hungry in Lindos, head to Taverna Kamariko near the heart of town. Leave your rental car at the hotel and feast on regional specialties accompanied by a glass of aromatic ouzo.
The tavern is open all week between noon and 3 PM (lunch service), and 6:30 PM and 11 PM (dinner service).
Where to stay in Lindos?
Sophisticated travelers should consider booking a room at the prestigious Mitsis Lindos. The monumental 5-star hotel features a fantastic beachfront location, modern rooms, a spa, an outdoor pool, a private sandy beach, and Italian decor both inside and out.
Mitsis Lindos is an adult-only hotel.
Looking for the best budget hotel in Lindos? Give Lambis Studios a shot. The 3-star property offers well-equipped rooms, an outdoor pool, a snack bar with pool tables, and a good location near the heart of town, all for a reasonable price.
After a night in the town of Lindos, make your way south towards the southernmost tip of Rhodes.
Mojito Beach Bar
Take a break from driving at Mojito Beach Bar, one of the trendiest hangouts in this part of Rhodes, located around half an hour away from Lindos. Cool down in the crystal-clear sea, relax on the sunbeds or enjoy some of the snacks and drinks while listening to lounge music in the background.
Mojito Beach Bar is open all week from 8:30 AM until midnight.
This peninsula is loved by windsurfers and kiteboarders. During low tide, the small island is connected to Rhodes by a slim trail of golden sand, which vanishes as the tide rises. The peninsula is a perfect spot to see sunsets, try out kiteboarding, or sit back and enjoy the views.
If you’re interested in windsurfing, you can rent equipment or book lessons through Prasonisi Center.
Prasonisi Peninsula during low tide. Photo by postcardtrip.
Once you get hungry (or thirsty), step inside one of the beachfront taverns or laid-back bars. Lighthouse Tavern is one of the best eateries in Prasonisi.
The absolutely spectacular clifftop castle of Monolithos photographed by Ri Butov.
As you leave Prasonisi behind, follow the main coastal road along the west coast of Rhodes. This part of the island, much like the other coast, is dotted with exciting attractions. The first one is around 50 minutes away from Prasonisi. Make sure you see them on your Rhodes itinerary.
What should you see in the West of Rhodes?
Castle of Monolithos
The ruins of the Castle of Monolithos (pictured above) are a spectacular sight, and an absolute must on any Rhodes itinerary. The remains of the 15th-century castle are situated on top of a cliff, opening up to astonishing views of the sea.
Keep in mind that you will have to use your imagination to picture what the castle must have looked like back in its glory days, as it isn’t exactly well-preserved. Despite its condition, the ruins are most definitely worth seeing. Wear comfy shoes, there is some hiking to be done!
The ruins can be accessed 24 hours a day. Admission to the ruins of the Monolithos Castle is free of charge.
Rhodes is a photographer’s paradise and the Castle of Monolithos is just one of many unique photo opportunities.
The Kritinia Castle is just around 40 minutes away from the ruins of the Castle of Monolithos. The Kritinia Castle dates back to the 1470s and was used by the Italians as a base back in the 20th century. Hence, the ruins are a mix of architectural styles from different periods of time,
Just like the Castle of Monolithos, Kritinia Castle can be accessed 24 hours per day with no entrance fee.
If you don’t have the time to see both Kritinia and Monolithos castles, pick the latter one. The Castle of Monolithos is arguably better for a short visit, due to its scenic setting.
After the Castle of Kritinia, head inland towards the mountains. Take the winding roads up to the summit of Profitis Ilias, the highest point of Rhodes. The scenic drive will take you all the way to the summit, where you can explore Mussolini’s abandoned villa and spend the night in a chalet-style hotel.
The now-abandoned villa was supposed to be Benito Mussolini’s summer retreat where he would spend his retirement. However, the Italian dictator was executed and had never actually visited the villa.
Today, what’s left of the monumental villa has become one of the top spots for urban exploration in Rhodes. The eerie villa can be explored both inside and out. As the building isn’t maintained or taken care of in any way, shape, or form, its condition is getting worse every year. Get a chance to see it before it’s completely ruined.
Are you looking for the best food in Rhodes? The ultimate Greek culinary experience? Head down to the Paraga Restaurant in Apollona, just 10 minutes away from the summit of Profitis Ilias.
Paraga is widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in Rhodes that serves authentic Rhodian cuisine. The restaurant itself is located in a traditional home, making the entire experience even more unforgettable.
Rentalmoose order tip: When in Greece, you can’t go wrong with juicy Souvlaki, or grilled meat. Paraga serves incredible lamb chops.
The restaurant is open all week from noon until 8:30 PM, 9 PM on Saturdays.
The top of the mountain is home to the charming Elafos Hotel, where you can pop in for dinner or spend the night. The 3-star property features rooms with scenic views and an onsite cafe.
The chalet-style hotel in the mountains is a dramatic change of scenery from the coastal parts of the island.
Another look at the Castle of Monolithos and its spectacular surrounding area. Photo by Milengga.
The Valley of The Butterflies
Continue following the chicanes until you reach The Valley of The Butterflies. Just like the name suggests, this stunning nature park is home to thousands of butterflies. Sadly, tourism reduced the butterfly population, yet the valley still remains a must-see in Rhodes.
The colorful insects are attracted by the sweetgum tree forest (the only natural forest of oriental sweetgum trees in Europe!) and the valley’s humid climate. Guests can stroll around the park and admire vibrant butterflies of practically all colors.
The park is open all week between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Admission tickets cost just 5 EUR, children can enter free of charge.
Before you get back to the city of Rhodes, consider stopping at the picturesque village of Koskinou, a beautiful hilltop village just 5 kilometers away from Rhodes Town.
Koskinou is favored among photographers for its beautiful whitewashed buildings with colorful front doors, countless mosaics, and green courtyards. The narrow streets are perfect for an afternoon stroll.
Step inside Almiro Gliko in the heart of Koskinou for a refreshing snack before leaving.
For maximum convenience, drop off your rental car at Rhodes International Airport right before leaving. Browse through car rental options that support airport drop-off via Rentalmoose.
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Tags: Travel guide, Drop-off at another location, Scenic Driving
Witness some of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet. Follow the trails along red rocks, squeeze between narrow canyon slots, and hike in a river. This adventure-packed guide will take you on an epic Utah road trip through the best of what this state has to offer, before finishing off in Las Vegas.
This travel guide takes you on a road trip starting in Salt Lake City in the northern part of Utah. Then, head south to Moab and explore Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, and Arches National Park, where you can make the most out of a 4×4 car.
Drive down the Scenic Byway 12, hike in the spooky canyon slots in Escalante, take in the otherwordly view at Bryce Canyon National Park and continue along the Scenic Drive in Zion National Park, all before a grand finish in Las Vegas over in Nevada.
Planning- Before You Leave
Before setting off on your Utah National Parks road trip, be sure to read through the information below.
Which National Parks are in Utah?
“The Big 5” in Utah refers to the state’s 5 national parks, all of which are covered during this road trip. These are the National Parks in Utah:
Arches National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Zion National Park
What’s more, the following state parks and monuments are also included in this road trip itinerary in Utah.
Dead Horse Point State Park
Goblin Valley State Park
Escalante Petrified Forest
Grand Staircase National Monument
All of the parks above are covered in this Utah road trip itinerary!
How long does it take to complete this road trip?
The total distance of this Utah road trip is below 750 miles. Rentalmoose recommends dedicating at least 5 days for this road trip.
Consider that you will be stopping at viewpoints and overlooks a lot, especially on the Scenic Byway 12 and the Scenic Drive in Zion National Park.
In order to be able to see each spot thoroughly, spend a few extra nights in Moab, and add an overnight stop in Zion National Park.
When is the best time to visit Utah?
The best time to visit Utah is between April and May or September and October. That’s when the weather is pleasant, attracting many tourists in the National Parks.
If you choose to visit in winter, keep in mind that some of the parks may be closed and the roads may not be accessible.
On the other hand, the heat does get unbearable in the peak of summer.
Road trip extensions
Your American adventure doesn’t have to end in Las Vegas!
Why not extend the trip to sunny California? Drive down the Big Sur, see the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco and more! Click here for our California road trip itinerary, you don’t want to miss it!
You can also choose to extend the trip to see spectacular natural beauty in Nevada. Visit Death Valley National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Great Basin National Park during our Nevada road trip. Click here for the road trip itinerary to Nevada.
Salt Lake City is just a few hours away from Yellowstone National Park over in Wyoming. Click here for our road trip guide to Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and extend your trip to Wyoming.
Why should I book a rental car in Utah?
Driving through Utah is an absolute dream for any road trip fanatic. The panoramic landscapes along the scenic routes are simply unbeatable. What’s more, if you rent a 4×4 you can explore some of the world’s finest offroading trails that are otherwise inaccessible.
Remote parts of Utah are best accessed with a private vehicle, not to mention the ability to alter your itinerary without any limits that can only be achieved when traveling by car.
For extra peace of mind during your road trip, Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car. Once you’ve picked up the car, don’t forget to take photos of the vehicle to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.
Can tourists drive in Utah?
Tourists are allowed to drive in Utah using a foreign driving license as long as they are at least 16 years old, and the license covers the type of vehicle they are driving. It is recommended to get an International Driving Permit if your driving license is not in English.
Furthermore, some car rental companies may require foreign tourists to obtain an International Driving Permit, it’s best to check the company policy before booking your rental car.
Don’t know how to obtain an International Driving Permit, how much it costs, or what countries require you to have one? Check out this blog post to find out all you need to know about IDPs.
When you begin driving in Utah, you will quickly notice that the locals don’t stick to the speed limit too strictly, mainly around freeways.
Keep in mind that the police can still pull you over, even if you are caught going just a few miles per hour over the limit.
If you do happen to get stopped by the police during your Utah road trip, be sure to stay calm. Put both hands on the steering wheel, avoid sudden movements, and present your license when the officer tells you to do so.
Driving under influence, or DUI in short, is a serious crime in the US. Police enforce drink-driving related rules very strictly. Do not drink and drive, offenders can even land in prison.
The US has right-hand side traffic.
Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into your Utah road trip itinerary!
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City’s Temple Square. Photography by WikiImages.
Welcome to the largest city in the state! Your Utah road trip begins here, for maximum convenience pick up your rental car directly at the Salt Lake City International Airport when you arrive.
Browse through car rental companies that support airport pick-up via Rentalmoose. Once you’ve got your rental car, it’s time to explore the city.
What can you do in Salt Lake City?
Salt Lake City may not be on every traveler’s bucket list, but the town’s fun attractions scattered around the region’s natural beauty and a unique downtown area might just surprise you.
Be sure to drop by Temple Square, a complex that hosts over 20 attractions related to Christianity right in the heart of the city.
Although the Temple itself is closed for renovation until 2024, the majority of the attractions are still open!
Admire the monumental church, or step inside the Tabernacle where you can attend the weekly choir rehearsals every Thursday night at 7:30 PM.
History fans can visit the Church History Museum, open between 9 AM and 9 PM on weekdays and 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturdays. The museum is closed on Sundays.
The Great Salt Lake
When in Salt Lake City, you can’t skip visiting the Great Salt Lake itself. Drive up to Antelope Island and enter the State Park, where visitors can hike down numerous scenic trails, watch the spectacular lake views or spend the night at one of the secluded campsites.
If you’re looking for a unique way to see the island while getting a bit of exercise, consider renting a bike with Antelope E-Bikes. Apart from bike rentals, the company offers guided cycling tours. Check their website for more information.
Get your skis on and drive up to Park City, a winter getaway just half an hour away from the city.Park City is home to two major ski resorts lined with slopes for both skiers and snowboarders.
When you get hungry, head over to Pretty Bird Chicken in downtown Salt Lake City. The eatery, often considered the best places to eat out in the city, is known for its signature fried chicken.
Rentalmoose order tip: Try the juicy Sando fried chicken sandwich.
What are the best hotels in Salt Lake City?
Spend the night at The Grand America Hotel, an elegant property right in the heart of Salt Lake City. The classy rooms feature retro decor and balconies. Guests can relax at the indoor and outdoor pools, work out at the fitness center or dine at the restaurant.
A car park is available at an extra cost.
Traveling on a tighter budget? Consider checking in at The Carlton Hotel. The charming, historic property is located near the heart of the city. The moderately-priced hotel features cozy rooms and free wifi.
Once you’ve explored Salt Lake City, it’s time to start your car and begin your Utah road trip! The first leg is a 4-hour drive to Moab.
Arches National Park. Photography by Adam Derewecki.
Your Utah National Park road trip begins! Drive southeast from Salt Lake City for roughly 4 hours until you reach Moab, a small town in the south of the state which is home to some of the best national parks in Utah.
What is there to see in Moab?
To be honest, Moab in itself may not be the most interesting town in the world. If you’re very curious about exploring it, drop by the Moab Museum where you can learn about the region’s local history through a variety of fascinating exhibitions.
The recently renovated museum welcomes visitors all week except Mondays.
Arches National Park
The natural beauty around Moab can’t be missed. Be sure to visit the monumental Arches National Park (photographed above), the park should land on any Utah National Park road trip itinerary.
A 7-day admission fee costs only $30 per vehicle and can be paid either when entering the park or online prior to your visit. Current fees can be checked on the official website.
Dead Horse Point State Park
Don’t miss the breathtaking view from the Dead Horse Point State Park, just 40 miles away from the city. Admire the landscapes that truly look out of this world, observe as the Colorado river twists between the canyons all from 2000 feet above.
Visit the viewing point when the sun sets and illuminates the red rocks in magical colors. Capture the incredible landscapes and post your photos online #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a Rentalmoose discount or even a rental car free of charge!
The park is open daily between 6 AM and 10 PM, a 3-day admission pass costs $20 per vehicle as of 2020. Click here to learn more about the fees.
Canyonlands National Park
Another absolute must-see near Moab is the Canyonlands National Park. Inside, make sure to see the Island in the Sky where you can get the best views and hike around scenic trails.
Similarly to the Arches and Dead Horse Point parks, there is a fee to enter the Canyonlands National Park. A 7-day admission pass costs $10 per vehicle and can be paid directly upon entrance.
The White Rim Road in Canyonlands is not for the faint-hearted. Photography by Mike Goad.
Did you rent a 4×4 for this trip?
If you came to Moab in a 4×4 or another kind of off-roader, be sure to explore the backroads and trails around Canyonlands National Park.
Some of the drives are a lot more challenging than others, but spectacular views are guaranteed no matter which trail you pick. You can find more information on offroad driving around Moab right here.
Moab Adventure Center
Adrenaline junkies can explore the area’s fascinating landscapes while getting exercise. You can book a mountain bike tour with Moab Adventure Center and cycle around the Dead Horse Point, Arches National Park or the La Sal Mountains.
Moab Adventure Center also offers river rafting if you would rather get wet. Check their website for details on available activities and pricing information.
The region is a popular glamping (luxury camping) destination. If you’re not familiar with glamping, or you’re not a fan of it for any reason, spend the night at Under Canvas Moab to change your mind.
The property features well-equipped tents within Arches National Park, a spectacular secluded setting and complimentary parking. As the name may suggest, glamping does come at a hefty price tag.
Hotel Moab Downtown
Check-in at Hotel Moab Downtown for traditional, budget-friendly accommodation. The 2-star hotel features a retro interior and a heated outdoor pool. Exceptional service and a convenient location with a view of La Sal Mountains make this property one of the top picks in town.
Goblin Valley State Park photographed by Steppinstars/Pixabay.com
Drive northwest from Moab, then hop on the I-70 and take the exit 149 to get on route 24. Roughly an hour and a half after departing from Moab, you will reach the Goblin Valley State Park.
What can you see in Goblin Valley?
Goblin Valley is one of the most fascinating parks in the country, perhaps even in the entire world. Afterall, where else can you see crazy rock formations like the one in the photo above? Once you’re inside the Goblin Valley State Park, you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled to another planet. It is truly spectacular!
Thousands of unique-looking rocks (nicknamed the goblins) are waiting for you. Drive till the end of the Goblin Valley Rd, drop off your car by the campground and explore on foot. Hikers can stick to the existing trails, such as the Carmen Canyon Trail or the Curtis Bench Trail.
Are you looking for that extra adventurous touch? Get off the official trails and discover the natural beauty on your own.
Did you know that Goblin Valley is one of the best spots for stargazing on the entire planet?
The dark skies are free from light pollution and provide stunning views at night, as long as there are no clouds. Regular stargazing-related events are hosted within the park, such as full moon hikes or telescope tours guided by the park’s rangers. Click here to check out the upcoming events.
You probably noticed a trend among parks in this part of the United States: none of them can be accessed for free. Goblin Valley State Park is no different, a 2-day admission pass costs $15 per vehicle. You can find detailed fees for other types of vehicles and camping fees on the park’s official website.
Goblin Valley State Park is open all week between 6 AM and 10 PM.
As you set off from Goblin Valley, you will begin the most scenic part of the journey. Route 24 will take you between red rocks, across valleys, and through countless twists and turns constantly overlooking the spectacular landscapes.
Is Capitol Reef worth visiting?
The number of parks in Utah might be overwhelming for some travelers, to the point where you might be wondering whether they are worth seeing or not. Trust me, Capitol Reef National Park is most certainly worth a visit!
As you’ve probably guessed by now, travelers visiting Capitol Reef need to pay an admission fee. A 7-day entry fee to Capitol Reef National Park costs $20 per vehicle.
The Scenic Drive
Make sure you drive down the Scenic Drive, a picturesque paved road just below 8 miles in length. Don’t get fooled by the seemingly short length and dedicate around an hour and a half for the entire drive, as there are many spots worth visiting along the way.
Keep in mind the Scenic Drive costs an extra $20 on top of the park’s entry fee.
Offroading in Capitol Reef
If you happen to be in Capitol Reef in a 4×4, you can head to some thrilling offroad trails around the park.
One of the most scenic routes is the 68-mile Burr trail. The first section of the road stretches from the town of Boulder and is paved and smooth for nearly 20 miles. The rest of the trail is a natural surface backroad, though most passenger cars should be able to handle it unless there is rain.
Of course, it is highly recommended to drive down the Burr trail in a 4×4.
Are you more experienced in offroading?
If you’re looking for a slightly more challenging trail, consider driving down the Blue Benches. Although nowhere near as extreme as some of the other trails in the park, this 20-mile loop is perfect for intermediate offroad fanatics. There are a couple of river crossings along this trail, though they are only around 1-2 feet deep.
You can find all trails in Capitol Reef National Park using the online trail finder. Sort trails by difficulty, location, and trail type. Did you find a trail that’s worth mentioning in this travel guide? Comment below and let me know!
Capitol Reef will surely keep you busy all day, that’s why Rentalmoose recommends spending the night here before continuing further.
Consider checking in at the Cougar Ridge, a luxury ranch just minutes south of Torrey. Guests can choose to stay at the prestigious lodge, filled with facilities such as a bowling alley, theater room, a spa, and a hot tub.
You can also choose to stay in the Casitas, equally luxurious buildings lined across the property.
Austin’s Chuckwagon Motel
If you’re traveling on a tighter budget, spend the night at Austin’s Chuckwagon Motel in Torrey. The cozy motel features rooms, cabins, and suites, as well as an outdoor pool and a well-equipped store.
The most scenic drive of your adventure begins as soon as you get on Byway 12 in Torrey. The route is considered one of the best picturesque drives in the country, perhaps even on the entire planet.
Follow it for less than an hour and a half until you reach the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. There are countless viewpoints along the way that overlook spectacular landscapes, be prepared to spend more time driving down Byway 12.
What can you do in Escalante?
Hiking through canyon slots
The region is best known for the thrilling natural hiking trails through canyon slots.
Whether you’re a hiking fan or not, a walk through the slots is an unforgettable experience. However, it’s not recommended for travelers suffering from claustrophobia.
Grand Staircase National Monument
Don’t miss the Grand Staircase National Monument. Although nowhere near as popular among tourists as the canyon trails, the monument is most certainly worth a quick peek at the very least.
Hike along the routes or explore the landscapes from the comfort of your car while following the offroad trails. Like most natural surface trails in this part of Utah, paths around the Grand Staircase might become inaccessible during heavy rainfall, even in a 4×4.
There is no admission fee for the Grand Staircase National Monument.
The park is home to some of the finest petrified wood in the world. Hike along the trails through the petrified forest until you get to the shores of the crystal-clear Wide Hollow Reservoir. Here, you can wander around the campground, go for a refreshing swim, rent a canoe or observe petrified dinosaur bones and shell fossils at the nearby visitor center.
Admission to the park costs below $10 per person for a day pass.
Is this the surface of another planet? Bryce Canyon photographed by Ton W.
Follow the Scenic Byway 12 for almost an hour. Turn left onto Route 63, right before the Bryce Canyon Resort. Continue along Route 63 until you reach Bryce Canyon National Park.
What is there to see in Bryce Canyon?
Main Viewing Points
First, get a good look at the otherworldly landscapes from the four main viewpoints: Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point. Each of the viewing points opens up to breathtaking natural beauty of countless hoodoos (spiral rock formations), valleys, and local flora.
For the absolutely best experience, visit the points when the sun sets or rises. You can also hike the Rim Trail between the Sunset and Sunrise Points.
Keep in mind that you need to purchase a 7-day pass to enter Bryce Canyon National Park. The admission costs $35 per vehicle as of 2020 and includes all occupants in a single vehicle. You can pay directly when entering the park. Find detailed information on current fees here.
Next, follow the 18-mile main road that will take you along further viewpoints and hiking trails. You can find a map of all the trails and walking routes on this website.
Stone Hearth Grille
For dinner, drive over to the Stone Hearth Grille a few miles east of Tropic. The charming restaurant serves juicy local steaks as well as other delicacies, such as scallops or grilled swordfish. Best of all, you can enjoy your meal while admiring a panoramic view of the park from the restaurant’s outdoor terrace.
Open daily between 5 PM and 9 PM.
Best Western Plus
In the evening, check-in at the Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon. The property features luxurious rooms, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a bicycle rental.
A complimentary car park is available, too.
Travelers on a slightly tighter budget can stay at the Quality Inn. The Western-themed hotel features mountain view rooms with complimentary WiFi access, a breakfast buffet, and a free car park.
Head south on Route 89, leaving behind Bryce Canyon National Park. Don’t worry, as what’s coming up ahead may very well be even more spectacular. Turn onto the Mt Carmel Highway (UT-9 W) and continue along another one of the most spectacular drives in the United States.
What is special about Zion National Park?
Not many tourists know that Zion is the first National Park in Utah! The main attraction is the spectacular Zion Canyon, begin your tour of the park there.
Head down into The Narrows. The narrowest part of the Zion Canyon is home to the popular 16-mile hike in the Virgin River, where travelers can choose to walk either from the bottom up or the other way around.
The most popular starting point of the hike is the Temple of Sinawava, you can get off the shuttle bus essentially next to the river.
The Observation Point
Get the best panoramic view of the spectacular landscape from the Observation Point. You will have to hike for roughly four miles along The Weeping Rock Trailhead to reach the viewing point.
The trail begins at The Weeping Rock, which is the 7th stop for the free shuttle bus. The hike is fairly steep and can be very exhausting, but the rewarding view is absolutely worth the effort.
Before you leave, make sure to drive down the 54-mile Scenic Drive. The drive starts at Mt Carmel Junction (if you’re coming from Bryce Canyon, you most likely entered the park from here) and continues up to the I-15 on the western tip.
The scenic drive is a must, not just for the driving enthusiasts, as the scenery is simply extraordinary. Rentalmoose recommends saving the drive for last, as you can continue to Vegas directly from the western end of the Scenic Drive.
During the high tourist season, private cars are banned from the park’s main roads. In that case, you will need to drop off your car at one of the car parks near the gates and take the complimentary shuttle to Zion’s attractions. Click here for more details on the park’s shuttle system.
Zion National park is open all year long. Opening hours depend on the season, check current operating hours here. A 7-day admission pass to Zion National Park costs $25 per vehicle and can be purchased directly upon entrance.
An American muscle car and a view of the Sin City during sunset. Isn’t this the perfect way to conclude this adventure? Photography by Kevin Schmid.
Depart Zion National Park and head southwest towards Las Vegas, leaving Utah behind. Remember to set your watch an hour back, as Vegas is in a different timezone. After taking in the natural beauty of Utah, it’s time to party your heart out in the city of sin.
What can you do in Las Vegas?
Fremont Street Experience
We have all heard of the Vegas Strip, but did you know the city has another go-to entertainment street right in the center? Don’t miss the Fremont Street Experience, the busy street is lined with flashy casinos, hotels, eateries and is packed with endless entertainment.
Watch the street from above as you zoom past on the Slotzilla zipline, go gambling inside the casinos or step inside one of the restaurants and take in the vibrant vibe.
Red Rock Canyon
The first things that come to your mind when you think of Las Vegas are probably the intense nightlife, gambling, and resorts. If you need to catch a break from all the craziness, consider heading out to the Red Rock Canyon.
Relax and enjoy the natural landscapes of the Mojave Desert as you drive down the 13-mile scenic drive, stopping along to stretch your legs at over 25 different trails that can be explored.
A day pass to the park costs $15 per vehicle. For more information on ticketing, click here.
Speed Vegas Race Track
Adrenaline junkies should visit the Speed Vegas racetrack. Choose from a variety of exciting cars, such as the Lamborghini Huracan, Porsche 991 GT3 RS or even a Baja Truck, and lap the race track!
You can also ride shotgun with a professional instructor instead. Check the Speed Vegas website for available packages, pricing, and terms and conditions.
Las Vegas is packed with so many attractions that it would take forever to list them all. Check out The Ultimate California Road Trip travel guide, where I mention some of the best places to visit in Las Vegas, including the famous Strip.
The Twist by Pierre Gagnaire
The number of restaurants in Las Vegas is quite overwhelming, and picking the best place to eat can be a challenge. If you’re looking for the best fine dining experience in town, book a table at the Twist by Pierre Gagnaire at the Waldorf Astoria. It’s the world-renowned chef’s first and only restaurant in the United States.
Indulge in delicious French cuisine while admiring spectacular views of the Strip from the 23rd floor.
The restaurant is open until 10 PM all week except Sundays and Mondays.
Luxury seekers have plenty of 5-star hotels to splash out on during a trip to Las Vegas. Consider checking in at the Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino along the Strip.
The glamorous hotel, often featured in Hollywood blockbusters, offers prestigious rooms and suites, as well as a wide array of facilities and activities for guests, such as a spa, pools and world-class dining.
The ideal location along the Strip, among with the countless facilities and world-class service all make the Caesars Palace the perfect choice in town.
The Golden Nugget
Naturally, most travelers will want to save their money for the casinos and live shows in Vegas as opposed to splashing out on a hotel. In that case, consider booking a room at the Golden Nugget.
The famous hotel is all you can expect in Vegas: a flashy facade, plenty of onsite activities and a casino, of course. Step outside the hotel and explore the busy Fremont Street, or relax at the pool.
Did I mention the hotel pool has a shark tank? What’s more, guests can ride a waterslide through the shark tank!
Your American adventure doesn’t have to end here! Read the Ultimate California Road Trip travel guide, and continue your journey onwards to the Grand Canyon, San Diego, and the Pacific Coast Highway. Combine the two trips into an epic road trip through the western US.
If you choose to finish your trip here, drop off your car directly at the McCarran International Airport. You can browse through car rental companies that support drop-off at another location and airport drop-off via Rentalmoose.
Don’t have a car you can take on your National Park road trip? No problem!
Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!
We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.
Post your pictures from your National Park road trip online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.
Tags: Travel guide, Italy, Scenic Driving, History, Short Trip
The bucket list of every traveler. Picturesque cities full of historical landmarks, delicious cuisine, aromatic wine, scenic roads, and immaculate natural beauty. Tuscany has it all, and this travel guide takes you through the absolute best of it during an exciting Italian road trip.
This road trip itinerary takes you on a journey through the most scenic parts of Tuscany, exploring the best of what this region of Italy has to offer.
Begin with a day of sightseeing the historical landmarks in Florence, then let the scenic roads take you through hills and valleys off the main tourist tracks until you reach the peaceful towns of Poppi and Arezzo before arriving in Siena for the night.
On the second day, admire the “medieval skyscrapers” of San Gimignano and feel the Mediterranean breeze in the port town of Livorno. Later, make one last stop in Pisa before returning back to Florence.
How long does it take to complete this road trip?
The total driving distance is below 400 kilometers, with roughly an hour of driving between each stop.
That said, Rentalmoose recommends dedicating two days for this road trip, plus an extra day to explore Florence, at the very least.
To explore each spot thoroughly, add overnight stops in Siena and Pisa.
Road Trip Extensions
Continue your Italian adventure even further and drive up north to Milan. Explore the fashion capital of the world, stroll down the streets of Lake Como, swim in the crystal clear Lake Garda, and more! Click here for the Northern Italy Travel Guide.
You can also extend the adventure and explore the picturesque Southern part of Italy. Drive across the Amalfi Coast, go beneath the ground and hike in the eerie catacombs in Naples, or relax at one of the pristine beaches. Check out the Rentalmoose Southern Italy Travel Guide.
When is the best time to visit Tuscany?
The best time to visit Tuscany is right before and directly after the tourist season peaks in the summer.
Consider going on this trip between April and May or September and October, when you can still enjoy a bit of the summer weather without massive crowds.
The weather is the hottest between June and August, but it is also the peak of the tourist season.
Why should I book a rental car in Tuscany?
Tuscany is one of the best destinations to pick for an Italian road trip. Some of the less popular destinations, such as Poppi or Arezzo, lack a convenient public transport connection. What’s more, there are tons of spots between the suggested stops that are waiting to be discovered, including local villages and scenic vineyards.
The roads are also well-developed and offer spectacular views along the way. What more could a road trip lover ask for?
When driving in Italy, keep in mind that it is common for others to squeeze into extremely tight parking spots. An occasional scratch here and there could happen, therefore Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car in Tuscany.
Once you’ve picked up the car, don’t forget to take photos of the car to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.
Can tourists drive in Italy?
Absolutely! Tourists in Italy need an International Driving Permit to drive here unless they have an EU-issued domestic license. These can easily be obtained in your local country and are mandatory for non-EU driver licenses when driving in Italy.
Where can you get an International Driving Permit? How much does an IDP cost? Check out this blog post to learn all you need to know regarding International Driving Permits.
Driving in Italy for the first time might be quite a hectic experience. Getting around large cities is chaotic and driving around tight cobblestone streets can be a nightmare.
On top of all this, the locals don’t really seem to be following the speed limits.
Speeding is common among drivers in Italy. Tourists in Italy have to pay the fine on the spot to the police and can additionally be charged by the car rental company.
Going up to 21km/h over the limit on the highway will cost you around 150 Euros, while breaking a “no-parking” rule will cost you around 80 Euros.
Traffic in Italy is on the right-hand side of the road.
Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into this exciting Italy road trip!
Photography by Meipakk/Pixabay.com
Your Italian road trip across the incredibly picturesque region of Tuscany begins in an equally charming city of Florence. Despite its size, Florence feels like a little welcoming village. Rentalmoose recommends spending at least a day in this fascinating city before departing further.
For maximum convenience, pick up your rental car directly at the Airport of Florence. Car rentals that support airport pick-up can be found via Rentalmoose.
Once you’ve got your car, it’s time to explore Florence!
What is Florence famous for?
Florence, like all of Italy, has an extremely rich history which is reflected in the region’s attractions.
When in town, you can’t skip the Galleria Dell’Accademia, a world-class gallery that hosts some of Europe’s most precious artwork.
While the museum is home to some admirable Florentine paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries, the undebatable highlight is the “David” statue created by Michelangelo.
The iconic statue has made the Galleria Dell’Accademia the most frequently visited museum in Florence, it’s best to book your tickets online ahead of your visit.
Driving in Florence- ZTL Area
Driving within Florence can get very expensive if you don’t pay attention to the road signs. The historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For this very reason, the heart of Florence is a part of the ZTL area.
What is the ZTL area, you ask? You can only drive inside with a proper permit (it’s very likely that your rental car won’t come with one). If your hotel is within the ZTL, you may come in for a limited time in order to unload your car. In that case, be sure to let your hotel know that you’re arriving by car.
What is the best car park in Florence?
Santa Maria Novella
The best place to park your rental car is at the Santa Maria Novella train station. Drop your car off for roughly 2-3 Euros per hour and stroll down to the city center.
Head to the monumental Cathedral, the third biggest church in the entire world. Observe the decorative facade that dates back to the late 13th century, or step inside and explore the interior of the historical structure.
Admission to the Cathedral itself is free of charge, but you will need to purchase a ticket to access the nearby museum, baptistery, dome or bell tower.
Walk south from the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral for roughly 10 minutes until you reach Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence connecting two banks of the Arno river.
The bridge has been a symbol of the city for centuries. The present Ponte Vecchio was constructed in the 1300s after a flood destroyed its previous version, though the initial Ponte Vecchio dates back as early as the 900s.
Today, the bridge is a vibrant tourist hotspot lined with cute souvenir shops and prestigious jewelers, where you can purchase some glamorous Florentine necklaces, rings and more.
Visit the Trattoria Sabatino for a traditional Italian dining experience. The eatery has been serving delicious regional dishes ever since it first opened in 1956 and has become one of the favorites among locals and tourists.
The family-run trattoria is surprisingly affordable, too. You can order a meal for less than 5 euros.
Where can you stay in Florence?
Luxury travelers should consider staying at Villa La Vedetta, a prestigious 5-star villa-turned-hotel near Florence. Choose from one of the elegant rooms and suites, relax at the outdoor terrace that overlooks the city or go for a dip in the outdoor pool. The hotel’s incredible restaurant is worth mentioning, too.
Traveling on a budget? The city is scattered with unique hotels that are relatively affordable, keeping in mind that Florence is one of the most expensive cities to visit in Italy.
That said, consider booking a room at the historical Palazzo Guadagni. The 3-star hotel is situated in a palazzo that dates back to the early 1500s and is just a walk away from Ponte Vecchio. Elegant rooms and great service aside, the hotel’s Loggia roof bar offers sensational views of the city.
Depart Florence and follow the scenic SR70 route across the endless greens. After a little over an hour, you will reach the charming village of Poppi.
Is Poppi worth visiting?
Poppi is a tiny village with less than 10000 inhabitants, hence it is often overlooked by tourists traveling around Tuscany. The reality is that the cute village is definitely worth visiting, especially to see its historic castle without hordes of tourists.
Castello dei Conti Guidi
The winding streets will take you to the Castello dei Conti Guidi, a local landmark in Poppi. The 13th-century castle remains very well-preserved and can be explored both inside and out. The top of the tower opens up to panoramic views of the town and its scenic surroundings, making a perfect photo opportunity.
Open daily until 6 PM.
Badia San Fedele
After exploring the castle, make your way to the Badia San Fedele just a stroll away. The historic abbey was home to monks from Vallombrosa and was constructed back in the 10th century.
Today, it is one of the most significant landmarks in the Casentino valley. The structure is also filled with precious artwork which is worth at least a quick peek. The peaceful church is the perfect spot to simply relax and enjoy the silence.
No trip to Italy would be complete without an ice cream stop in a local gelateria (Italian ice cream cafes), and Poppi happens to be home to Gelateria Paradice, one of the best in the Casentino valley.
Open between 11 AM and midnight, closed on Mondays.
The 40-minute drive from Poppi, though not the most scenic in this journey, is immensely fun. Follow the winding roads of SP70 and SP71 until you reach Arezzo, another sweet Italian town worth visiting.
What can you do in Arezzo?
Observe the life of the city at Piazza Grande, the true heart of Arezzo. Admire one of Tuscany’s best-preserved medieval squares, surrounded by colorful buildings full of local eateries and shops.
The cozy streets around the square make it the perfect spot to wander around and discover local treasures.
Cinema fans will likely recognize Piazza Grande, as the opening scenes of “La Vita E Bella”, the 1997 award-winning film by Benigni, were shot right here.
Arezzo Antique Fair
Take part in the famous Arezzo Antique Fair, one of the biggest fairs of this kind in Italy. The fair attracts hundreds of exhibitors from across the country. Stroll around the fair, as there are thousands of antiques, including priceless books, artwork, and jewelry.
The fair takes place every first Sunday of the month and the Saturday before.
Don’t forget to drop by the 15th century Arezzo Cathedral. Admire the well-preserved medieval facade or step inside the monumental building, where you will find beautifully painted ceilings, the Gothic tomb of Guido Tarlati and a precious portrait of Mary Magdalene.
The Piazza del Duomo by the cathedral is the perfect spot to photograph the panoramic views of Arezzo, as it is the highest point in town.
The historic center of Siena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Similarly to Florence, this part of the town can’t be accessed by car as it is a ZTL area.
Rentalmoose recommends leaving your car at the private Il Campo Car Park, located within walking distance of the center of Siena. There are nearly 600 spaces available and the hourly rate is around 2 Euros.
Piazza del Campo
Once you’ve left your car, walk to the monumental Piazza del Campo. The unique shell-shaped square serves as the heart of the city ever since it was first constructed in the 13th century.
Feast your eyes on the well-preserved historical buildings or pop by the local cafes and eateries. The fact that the square is less busy than the heart of Florence makes the streets of Siena even more enjoyable to get lost in.
Palio di Siena
Piazza del Campo is turned into a horse racetrack and the famous Palio di Siena race takes place two times every year. The highly anticipated race is the biggest event in Siena, and one of the most significant gatherings in the entire country.
Travelers can, and quite frankly should, climb the stairs to reach the top of Torre del Mangia. The monumental tower stands 87 meters above the ground and provides some of the best spectacular views in all of Tuscany.
Keep in mind that you have to cover 400 steps to reach the top. The journey to the top can get tiring, but the views are absolutely worth it!
La Taverna di San Giuseppe
All the sightseeing will probably drain your energy, visit La Taverna di San Giuseppe for a lunch stop. The menu is made up of lots of regional dishes from Tuscany as well as other parts of Italy.
Try some of the locally-made, fresh pasta or choose from a selection of Italian wines. The delicious cuisine was appreciated by critics and has earned the restaurant a spot in the Michelin guide.
Siena is packed with historical sites waiting to be explored, that’s why Rentalmoose recommends making at least one night stop in this history-filled city.
Looking for the ultimate luxury hotel near Siena?
Consider booking a room at the Castel Monastero. The prestigious 5-star resort is situated in a renovated monastery around 20 kilometers east of Siena. Choose between elegant rooms and suites, relax in one of the three outdoor pools or enjoy a massage in the spa and wellness center.
Castel Monastero is the go-to secluded getaway in the heart of the Tuscan countryside.
An affordable alternative in Siena would be the Relais la Corte Dei Cavalieri. The 3-star hotel features classy rooms, free wi-fi and a perfect location near the heart of Siena. Keep in mind that the hotel doesn’t provide a private car park for guests.
The next stop on this Italian road trip is San Gimignano, a wonderful town known as “The City of Towers”. Over 70 towers were constructed here in the 12th century. Sadly, just 14 remain today, though the site remains spectacular nonetheless.
Is San Gimignano worth a visit?
Sam Gimignano is quite literally the embodiment of Tuscany: a historical hilltop town surrounded by green vineyards and fields. If you’re on a road trip through Tuscany, you simply can’t skip it.
As the town is known for its 14 dramatic towers (a sort of medieval skyscrapers, if you will), the only way to begin exploring it is by climbing the highest one of them.
Head to the Torre Grossa, the 54-meter tower was built in the 1300s and is proudly representing the city to this day. The climb, similarly to Torre del Mangia in Siena, is quite lengthy. Just like in Siena, the rewarding views from the top make the effort absolutely worth it.
A 2-day admission pass costs below 10 Euros per person and includes access to all museums in town.
Gelateria Dondoli- the best Gelato in San Gimignano
Try the city’s best gelato (Italian ice cream) at the Gelateria Dondoli. The award-winning ice cream parlor remains one of the favorites among locals, the frequent lengthy queue proves it. Gelateria Dondoli is conveniently situated near the heart of town along Piazza della Cisterna.
The Gelateria also offers ice cream classes, during which you will be taught to make your own delicious gelato. Click here for more details.
San Gimignano is famous around the world for its aromatic white wine, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Head to La Rocca for a one-of-a-kind wine experience. Discover the history of the region’s wine during a fascinating interactive exhibition.
Of course, guests can try the wine as well, or book a more-detailed guided tour. Find all of the details on the official website.
After exploring the hills and never-ending greens of Tuscany, it is time to head to the coast. Drive for around an hour and twenty minutes until you reach Livorno, a port town along the western coast of Italy.
What is there to do in Livorno?
Feel the breeze of the Mediterranean as you wander down the Terrazza Mascagni, a wide waterfront terrace in the southern part of the city. The area acts as a promenade and is a favored hangout by locals.
On-street parking is available on the main road right by the waterfront.
Observe the sun setting over the horizon or pay a visit to the nearby Livorno Aquarium. Examine the exotic sea creatures daily from 10 AM. Admission to the aquarium costs up to 17 Euros per person.
Did you know that Livorno has its own Venice? In the 1620s, the city desperately needed an expansion plan. The area between the existing districts was separated by moats, the architect’s workaround was copying Venice’s design and using waterways instead of roads. The newly designed district was then named “New Venice”.
Today, it is one of the most picturesque parts of the city. Take a boat tour or stroll around the neighborhood on foot.
Don’t miss the Fortezza Nuova, a historic fortress in the heart of the district.
La Perla dell’Ostricaio
As you are in a port town afterall, it only makes sense to try some fresh local seafood for lunch. Head to La Perla dell’Ostricaio, one of the best seafood restaurants in Livorno just a walk away from Terrazza Mascagni.
Rentalmoose order tip: Try the locally-caught fish, shrimps or octopus.
Open all week between noon and 3 PM for lunch, then between 7 PM to midnight for dinner.
A short 30-minute drive will take you to Pisa, the city that’s home to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, along with other historical treasures. As overcrowded as the city gets during peak tourist season, its landmarks are certainly worth visiting.
Where to park in Pisa?
Rentalmoose recommends dropping off your car at the Via Camneo private car park, just a short stroll away from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The car park, as of 2020, costs 2 Euros per hour.
Another major historical town in Italy means more inaccesible ZTL areas. Be cautious not to enter the limited-access center of Pisa, or you might end up paying a hefty ticket.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Once you’ve left the car, walk towards the Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of the most significant landmarks in the entire world. Admire the monumental tower from Piazza del Duomo, a photo of you holding up the leaning tower is a must, too!
For around 20 Euros, travelers can climb the stairs atop the tower for the best views of Pisa. Lots of people want to do it, so expect long queues.
Walk across the Piazza del Duomo to the massive Cathedral. In fact, it was the biggest church in Europe at the time of its opening in the 14th century. You can admire the well-preserved, decorative interior completely free of charge, too.
The cathedral is surrounded by beautiful green lawns, where you can sit down and relax after all the driving all while admiring the heart of Pisa.
Baptistery of San Giovanni
Another major landmark along the Piazza del Duomo is the Baptistery of San Giovanni. The round structure dates back to the 1100s and stands at over 50 meters above the ground.
The monumental building blends in together with the equally beautiful Cathedral and, of course, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Ristorante Le Bandierine
Once you get hungry, be sure to visit the Ristorante Le Bandierine. One of the best regional restaurants in Pisa, Le Bandierine is especially famous for its incredible spaghetti dishes.
The restaurant is just a walk away from the Arno river, which is another spot worth visiting when in Pisa.
Le Bandierine is open daily for dinner between 7:30 PM and midnight.
Drop off your car at the Florence Airport right where you picked it up. Browse through car rental companies that support airport drop-off via Rentalmoose. Don’t want your Italian adventure to end? Extend the trip to the North of Italy, or the stunning Southern Coast.
Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next road trip in Italy. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!
We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.
Post your pictures from your next road trip in Italy online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.
Tags: Travel guide, Drop-off at another location, Australia, Beaches
Pristine sandy beaches, dramatic coastlines, fascinating marine life, and exotic forests await! Explore the stunning natural beauty of the land Down Under during a coastal road trip from Sydney to Melbourne. Kangaroos, koalas, and surfing opportunities are guaranteed, of course!
This travel guide takes you on an epic Australian road trip along the picturesque coast of New South Wales and Victoria. Pick up your rental car in the vibrant city of Sydney, then head south along the picturesque Grand Pacific Drive, one of the most scenic driving roads in the country.
Continue through Jervis Bay, where you can sunbathe with kangaroos on Pebbly Beach. Drive south until you reach Batemans Bay, where you can stay overnight.
Try the best seafood in your life at the famous Narooma Oyster Festival, go on a whale-watching cruise in Eden or stroll down the Ninety Mile Beach, one of the longest beaches on the planet.
Stay overnight near Lakes Entrance, then hike Mount Oberon to admire the panoramic view of Wilsons Promontory National Park. Stop for the night at Phillip Island, where you can peek at the Little Penguins Parade or lap a racetrack in a go-kart.
Later, continue to Melbourne and indulge in the city’s Greek cuisine.
How long does it take to complete this road trip?
Rentalmoose recommends making 3 overnight stops during this Australian road trip at the very least.
This travel guide is designed to take you around the absolute must-see highlights, though expect to make more stops along the way.
To put it into perspective, this road trip took me nearly two weeks to complete, and I would dedicate even more time if I had the chance to do it again!
When is the best time to visit Australia?
Keeping in mind that the seasons in Australia are switched (Summer is between December and February), it’s usually best to go right before the summer or directly after it finishes.
The weather is still warm enough to swim in the ocean, yet the crowds are smaller compared to the summer when the tourist season peaks.
Great Ocean Road Trip Extension
Once you get to Melbourne, consider adding a few extra days to your road trip itinerary to drive down the coastal Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s most scenic driving routes.
Admire the monumental Twelve Apostles (right by the Great Ocean Road) during a helicopter tour, attend the surfing championship in Bells Beach, tour the coast in a World War 2 aeroplane or swim in a volcanic lake in Colac.
Click here for the adventure-packed travel guide around the Great Ocean Road, starting in Melbourne.
Why should I book a rental car in Australia?
Unless you’re planning to stay in a single city, a rental car is definitely the go-to means of transport in Australia. Some of the smaller towns along the way, as well as beaches or hiking trails, can only be accessed by car. Road trips in Australia are the best ways to see the country.
What’s more, the ability to change your itinerary on the go can only be achieved when traveling by car.
Not to mention the absolutely breathtaking views along the coastal roads, such as the Grand Pacific Drive (one of the best driving roads on the planet!).
For extra peace of mind during your road trip, Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car. Once you’ve picked up the car, don’t forget to take photos of the car to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.
Can tourists drive in Australia?
Yes! You can drive with your foreign driver’s license for up to 3 months in Australia, as long as it’s in English. If your driver’s license is not in English, you need to obtain an International Driving Permit prior to leaving.
Check out this blog post to learn all you need to know about the International Driving Permit.
The traffic laws in Australia are strictly enforced.
Driving under influence is completely unacceptable and can land the offender in jail.
In terms of speeding penalties, the Department of Transport and Main Roads claims that the average speeding ticket is $210, which equals just below 130 euros. Going less than 13km/h over the limit will cost you $177 (105 EUR).
Traffic in Australia is on the left-hand side of the road.
Once you’re all set, let’s dive into this Australian road trip around the East Coast!
Your Australian road trip begins in the vivid city of Sydney, the capital of New South Wales. For maximum comfort, pick up your car directly at Sydney Airport.
Find car rental companies that support drop-off at another location and airport pick-up via Rentalmoose. Once you’ve got your car, it’s time to dive into this diverse city!
What can you do in Sydney?
Begin by exploring the busy heart of Sydney. Drop off your car at the Sydney Opera House Car Park just a walk away from the city’s most recognizable landmarks. The car park is open nonstop 7 days a week, the current rates can be found on the official website.
Wander around the waterfront and continue towards the famous Opera House. Admire the unique architecture, photograph the landmark with the Harbour Bridge in the background or step inside and attend one of the daily events (click here for the schedule). Explore the heart of Sydney even further by taking a ferry to other parts of the city.
Continue strolling around the waterfront and enter the colorful Royal Botanic Gardens. Enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze as you examine the exotic flora and observe the colorful birds, admire the monumental Government House or lay down in the vibrant grass and simply watch the ocean.
Those who are curious about the park’s history can take part in one of the guided tours of the park.
The Royal Botanic Gardens are open all year round from 7 AM, admission is free of charge.
No visit to Sydney could possibly be complete without a day at Bondi Beach. Often ranked as one of the best urban beaches in the world, Bondi Beach is the precious jewel of Sydney.
The busy sandy beach is the perfect place to swim or surf in the ocean, lay down and sunbathe or hop inside one of the numerous eateries and cafes along the streets. Hate it or love it, Bondi Beach is a piece of Sydney’s history and shouldn’t be missed when in town.
Looking for a change of scenery? Drive up to the glamorous Blue Mountains, a National Park less than 2 hours west from the heart of Sydney. Admire the view from viewpoints high above the ground, ride down the world’s steepest railway or explore the eerie Jenolan Caves all within the park.
The winding roads around the park provide spectacular views and are extremely fun to drive around. As we all know, scenic driving is a must on any proper road trip.
Sydney is packed with attractions of all kinds, including a vibrant nightlife scene. That’s why Rentalmoose recommends spending at least one night in town before continuing the journey.
What are the best hotels in Sydney?
Luxury travelers should check out the Park Hyatt Sydney in the heart of town. The modern 5-star hotel offers a selection of elegant rooms and suites overlooking the Sydney Harbour or the city’s landmarks. Relax after a scorching day at the rooftop pool or indulge in fine dining cuisine at the award-winning restaurants.
Sydney is known for being one of the most travel destinations in the world, and the city’s hotels are no exception. In recent years, however, stylish budget-friendly hotels began popping up all over the city. One of the most interesting hotels in town that don’t break the bank has got to be the Rushcutters Bay Vibe Hotel.
The affordable 4-star hotel is located just a 5-minute drive away from the heart of Sydney and offers modern rooms and suites as well as a rooftop pool and a fitness center. A private car park is available at an extra cost.
Depart Sydney and head south towards the city of Wollongong. The picturesque coastal road, known as the Grand Pacific Drive, is one of the most scenic driving roads in the country and serves as the perfect introduction to see the natural beauty of Australia.
Grand Pacific Drive
Don’t hesitate to get off the main road and discover the region more thoroughly, there are hundreds of pristine beaches along the way and it is impossible to mention them all.
To put it into perspective, Wollongong alone has nearly 20 wonderful beaches.
And that’s just one of the cities you’ll be passing!
That said, a must-see on your drive to Melbourne is the famous Jervis Bay. The bay is lined with various unspoiled sandy beaches, safe turquoise water, and hiking trails through the exotic wilderness of the nearby forest.
Don’t skip the Callala Beach, the longest beach in the entire bay.
Pay a visit to Huskisson, the most adventure-packed town in Jervis Bay.
Relax at the Shark Net Beach, or rent a kayak next door and make your way around the crystal-clear ocean on your own.
There are plenty of hotels in Huskisson if you decide to extend the trip and stay overnight.
Once you get hungry, drop by Stonegrill Huskisson for a tasty meal. Guests can choose from the a la carte menu or cook on the stone grill themselves. The delicious food paired with welcoming service makes the Stonegrill the go-to restaurant in Jervis Bay.
Open daily from 5:30 PM until 9 PM on weekdays and 10 PM on weekends.
Continue south along the highway for around 2 hours until you reach Batemans Bay. The vivid coastal town is one of the favorite getaways in New South Wales, offering breathtaking beaches, delicious fresh seafood, and an overall cool, coastal vibe.
Murramarang National Park
When in Batemans Bay, you can’t skip the Murramarang National Park. The National Park is packed with wild forests full of colorful, exotic birds, as well as secluded beaches.
Don’t know what to see in Murramarang National Park?
Visit the scenic Pebbly Beach. The wide beach is often completely free of tourists. If you’re lucky, you might spot the local kangaroos.
Your rental car can be dropped off by the campground, just a 5-minute walk from the beach itself.
Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve
Hikers will enjoy their time in Batemans Bay as well.
Visit the Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve, a large park near the bay which is absolutely perfect for hiking. The tracks will take you among mangroves, forests, gum trees and beaches.
Choose the Square Head Track 2, as this short trail is just below 2 kilometers round-trip and offers an easy hike between exotic gum trees, finishing with a perfect picnic spot on a secluded beach.
If you’re looking to observe the local life, take part in the Batemans Bay Sunday Market. The market, held on the first and third Sundays of every month, is full of stalls selling all sorts of antiques, clothing, jewelry, and accessories of all kinds.
Wander around the stalls while listening to live music played by local artists, drink an aromatic coffee or indulge in some local delicacies.
The stalls are open between 8 AM and 1 PM.
Rally of The Bay
Petrolheads are in for a treat, as Bateman Bay is home to the Rally of The Bay. Watch as powerful rally cars race across 7 different stages around the bay, filled with chicanes, skids and hops.
The adrenaline-packed rallying event takes place annually. Visit the official website for more information including the event schedule.
Where to stay in Batemans Bay?
Traveling with kids? Consider spending the night at the BIG4 Batemans Bay. The beach resort offers well-equipped homes, along with a wide array of attractions such as an outdoor pool, a tennis court and a beachfront location.
A private car park is available at no extra cost.
Mariners on The Waterfront
If you would rather stay near the heart of Batemans Bay, book a room at Mariners on The Waterfront. The hotel is situated just a short walk away from local eateries and cafes, and 600 meters from the closest beach. The hotel features modern rooms, an outdoor pool and a free private car park.
Hop back on Princes Highway for another hour until you reach the scenic coastal town of Narooma. The serene Wagonga inlet, the town’s famous oyster festival, and heavenly beaches make Narooma an absolute must-see.
When in Narooma, be sure to visit the Wagonga inlet. The best way to explore the magnificent inlet is from the water.
Drop off your rental car by Riverside Drive and head go for a Walgonga Inlet Cruise. Choose from daily cruises between 1 and 3 hours each. Admire the best views during the sunset cruise, watch the sea life and photograph the scenic surroundings.
Discover Montague Island, one of the most popular tourist attractions in this part of Australia. Choose from a selection of boat tours that best suits your needs, as the only way to access the island is by boat.
Whale watching out in the ocean, snorkeling with seals, or admiring Little Penguins or just some of the activities to choose from. Montague Island itself is known for its natural beauty and plenty of wildlife and should definitely be marked on your itinerary.
Narooma Oyster Festival
Are you a seafood lover?
If so, you should most definitely visit the town during the annual Narooma Oyster Festival. The award-winning festival is a celebration of the region’s yummy oysters and is perfect for foodies, families, and friends. Indulge in the locally-caught seafood while enjoying live music, purchase local art or simply admire the spectacular views.
Continue along Princes Highway for a little over an hour and a half until you reach the charming town of Eden. Eden, famous for its fishing culture, whale watching tours, and of course, immaculate beaches.
Before you reach the city, take a slight detour off the highway and spend some time at Long Beach. The secluded beach (not to be confused with Long Beach in Batemans Bay, or the one in California) is overlooked by monumental Pinnacles.
Drop your car off at the free car park and walk directly to the beach, or hike along the Pinnacles Walk.
Hooked On Seafood
As Eden is known for its fish, it only makes sense to try some fresh seafood while you’re here. Head to Hooked On Seafood, the best restaurant in town. Choose from a selection of fish, shrimps, crab or oysters. Observe local fishermen as you feast on regional seafood right by the ocean.
Open daily between 9:30 AM and 7 PM.
Go for a whale-watching boat trip with Cat Balou Cruises. The operator offers a selection of sightseeing cruises between 2 and 4 hours each.
See playful dolphins in Twofolds Bay, admire the wilderness in secluded parts of the coast or watch enormous whales. No matter which cruise you pick, each one offers an unforgettable experience. Click here to book.
Drive down Princes Highway and cross into Victoria until you reach Lakes Entrance, another major hotspot that you should visit during a road trip from Sydney to Melbourne.
What is there to see in Lakes Entrance?
Don’t skip the Gippsland Lakes, the most popular tourist destination in the region. Wander around the wilderness, rent a boat and cross the lakes yourself or have a go at fishing. If you’re lucky, you might spot the endangered Burrunan Dolphins.
You’ve seen kangaroos at Pebbly Beach back in Batemans Bay, now it’s time for the second animal that’s become an easily recognizable symbol of Australia.
Take the free ferry from Paynesville to Raymond Island, which is home to Victoria’s largest koala population. Hike down the Koala trail and see if you can spot any of the cute furry animals.
Did you know that the beach by Lakes Entrance is one of the longest in the entire world? Check for yourself and visit the famous Ninety Mile Beach. Stroll down the golden sands, go for a dip in the turquoise ocean or try to spot whales and dolphins from the shore.
Getting hungry? Visit the Waterwheel TAV, a local pub that offers tasty cuisine including steaks and pizza along with a wide selection of drinks. What’s more, guests can enjoy their meals while admiring the lakes at the pub’s outdoor terrace.
Open daily from 10 AM.
Spend the night at the Bellevue on the Lakes. The 4-star hotel features well-equipped modern rooms, an outdoor pool, a heated indoor pool and barbecue facilities available for the hotel guests. A car park is available free of charge.
Traveling on a tighter budget? Consider checking into the Lakes Waterfront Motel. The motel offers either rooms or standalone cottages with retro decor, an outdoor swimming pool, and an incredible waterfront location. Free parking is available.
Set off from Lakes Entrance and continue near the coast. You will arrive in Wilsons Promontory, one of Australia’s best national parks, in around three and a half hours.
What can you do at Wilsons Promontory?
Relax at the picturesque Norman Bay. Go for a swim in the ocean, sunbathe on the shore or hike the local trails. Travelers can go for a canoe tour any day between December and January, or rent their own kayaks from First Track Adventures.
Surfing is allowed on one part of the beach.
Drive down to Port Welshpool and park your rental car by the old ferry terminal building at the end of Lewis Street. Then, go for a sightseeing cruise to Refuge Cove.
The secluded spot is home to fascinating marine life, including sharks, seals, and dolphins. Cruises are available daily, check the schedule and pricing information here.
Hike up Mount Oberon
Looking for the best photo opportunity in Wilsons Promontory? Hike up to the summit of Mount Oberon. The trek up to the top does get exhausting, but the panoramic views from the 558-meter high summit are absolutely worth the effort!
Admire the Southernmost point of mainland Australia and the islands scattered around the crystal-clear waters. Watching the sunset from high above the ground is that extra touch that completes the magical experience.
Absolutely! Phillip Island is one of the favorite getaways for locals and tourists in Melbourne, and it is clear to see why. The island, apart from spectacular beaches and a dramatic coastline, is the perfect place to experience Victoria away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Don’t forget that it is one of the best places to spot Little Penguins, too.
Phillip Island is known as one of the best spots in Australia when it comes to surfing, why not try this exciting watersport for yourself? Experienced surfers can hire equipment from Island Surfboards and hit the beaches.
Never tried surfing? Don’t know where to start? Island Surfboards offers surf lessons for intermediate surfers as well as beginners who have never touched a surfboard. Click here for details.
Relax at one of the beaches scattered around the island. One of the favorite beaches for swimming has got to be Cowes Beach, right by the vivid heart of Phillip Island. Go for a refreshing swim in the ocean, walk down the golden sands or wander around the seaside cafes and shops in Cowes.
Phillip Island Circuit
Motorsport fans are in for yet another trip during this road trip. The Phillip Island Circuit is a world-class racing track that hosts events such as the MotoGP, as well as a series of local automobile races and track days.
Watch as powerful cars or motorcycles lap the track, book a passenger hot lap around the track, or have a go at the famous circuit yourself in a go-kart.
As the sun is about to set, be sure to head to Summerland Beach. Observe as little penguins return to their home after a day of fishing, known as the daily Penguin Parade. Watch one of Australia’s largest penguin colonies from the viewing platform, or peek at the animals from the underground viewing point.
Phillip Island is packed with adventures, that’s why Rentalmoose recommends stopping here for the night. There are plenty of elegant hotels, villas and holiday homes that offer spectacular ocean views, great service, and an amazing experience overall.
Get the best panoramic views of the ocean when you check-in at the Clifftop. The hotel is situated by Smiths Beach and offers stylish rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, a beautiful shared space with a pool table and a cozy fireplace, as well as scenic natural surroundings.
A private car park is available free of charge.
North Pier Hotel
If you’d rather stay in the vivid center of Cowes, consider booking a room at the North Pier Hotel. The budget-friendly, recently renovated hotel features modern rooms with ocean views, a beach just across the street as well as a convenient location in the heart of the Cowes township with lots of nearby eateries, shops, and bars.
Head to downtown Melbourne and get a photo with the picturesque Flinders Street Station. The main railway station in town has been open since the early 1900s and now serves as a major tourist attraction due to its monumental facade.
The station is present on many Melbourne postcards and souvenirs, despite the fact that what’s inside is fairly uninteresting. Don’t expect to spend too much time here, as pretty as it is to look at it’s not much more than a busy train station.
Cross the street to enter Federation Square, the vibrant cultural heart of Melbourne. Admire the abstract art installations or the magnificent buildings surrounding the square.
Step inside one of the art galleries, such as the Australian Center for the Moving Image, and discover the country’s artistic history. Wander around the trendy cafes and bars, or simply sit down and take in the artsy vibe.
Your rental car can be dropped off at this Wilson Parking multi-story car park.
For the best view of the city, take the elevator up to the Skydeck on top of the 91-story Eureka Tower. Admire the panoramic views high above the ground, or try The Edge experience and enjoy the view from a glass cube suspended 300 meters above ground level, if you dare.
Open 7 days a week between noon and 8:30 PM.
A private car park is available right beneath the tower.
Great Ocean Road
Though the city itself is packed with attractions and various activities, a 90-minute drive west will take you to the beginning of the scenic Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s best scenic drives. Extend the trip and explore the natural beauty of the western coast of Victoria with our travel guide.
Where is the best Greek food in Melbourne?
Did you know that Melbourne has the most Greeks out of any city outside of Greece? With such a large Greek community, you definitely shouldn’t miss out on trying some authentic Greek cuisine when in Melbourne.
Head to Stalactites, a family-run restaurant with some of the finest Greek dishes in the country. Let the fresh meals take you on a journey to Greece.
Rentalmoose order tip: try souvlakis, grilled meat, or moussaka.
Don’t worry about coming too late or too early, the restaurant is open 24 hours a day, all week.
Where to stay in Melbourne?
Luxury seekers should consider booking a room at the QT Melbourne. The 5-star hotel features extremely stylish rooms and suites, as well as a fitness center.
The highlight of the hotel is its trendy rooftop venue where guests can grab a drink while admiring the city’s skyline. Add in the perfect location in the very heart of Melbourne and you will clearly see why this is one of the top picks in town.
A private car park is available at an extra cost.
Those looking for a more budget-friendly alternative should spend the night at the Plough Hotel. The hotel features well-equipped rooms, a convenient location near the city center and an outdoor terrace, as well as a bar and restaurant.
A private car park is available at no extra cost.
Looking for more attractions and hotels in Melbourne? Check out the Rentalmoose Great Ocean Road travel guide, where you will find more exciting things to do in Melbourne including trendy laneways, vibrant gardens and a local market.
If you’ve decided to end your journey in Melbourne, Rentalmoose recommends dropping off your rental car directly at Melbourne Airport when you’re leaving. Browse through rental companies that support drop-off at another location, as well as airport drop-off, via Rentalmoose.
Win a free rental car!
The scenic journey between Sydney and Melbourne is packed with incredible natural beauty, secluded beaches, and dramatic coastal views, so I’m sure you will take lots of photos. Post your best photos from this trip with #Rentalmoose. Rentalmoose’s favorites will be rewarded with a Rentalmoose discount or even a rental car free of charge!
Tags: Travel guide, Drop-off at another location, Switzerland, Alps, Winter
This Switzerland itinerary takes you on a road trip through the Swiss Alps, one of the most scenic regions in Europe. The road trip begins in the city of Geneva and continues across the Geneva lake and Interlaken with an overnight stop in Andermatt. On day two, head to Lake Lugano before arriving in St. Moritz. The Swiss road trip finishes in Zurich.
The Switzerland road trip is a little over 800 kilometers in total and is divided into segments ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes each.
In order to discover the most of each destination, Rentalmoose recommends adding at least one overnight stop along the way, plus a night at Geneva and Zurich.
If you have the time, add extra overnight stops in Interlaken and St. Moritz.
Road Trip Extensions to Germany
The Black Forest
Do you want to explore the region even further? This road trip can be merged with our Black Forest Road Trip. Once you arrive in Zurich, continue to Basel and cross into Germany to discover the beautiful region of Schwarzwald.
Munich and its surroundings
Alternatively, you can head up to Munich and explore the best of Bavaria and Austria, including the fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle. Click here for the guide.
Is Switzerland expensive to visit?
Switzerland is the continuous leader as the world’s most expensive country to visit. Zurich and Geneva are also among the most expensive cities to live in on the entire planet.
It’s best to budget your Switzerland trip carefully.
Check out this short video we shot in the beautiful town of Verbier.
What is the best month to visit Switzerland?
Winter and summer are both good parts of the year to visit Switzerland.
Between May and September, most of the snow has melted away and the hiking trails are open to the public, cable cars are in service and the weather is more moderate.
The peak of the winter season is around January and February. Check out this beautiful video to see why you should visit Switzerland in winter!
Why should you get a rental car in Switzerland?
Despite high petrol prices and strict traffic laws, a rental car is the best way of getting around during this road trip. There are lots of scenic driving roads along the way, and the freedom of modifying the route can only be achieved by traveling in a car.
Switzerland can be best explored by car.
Various rental companies support drop-off at a different location, browse through available options on Rentalmoose.
When booking your rental car, do not forget to add excess coverage provided by Rentalmoose for extra protection.
After picking up the car, be sure to take check-in photos of the vehicle and qualify for a 50% discount from the excess cover fee.
Can tourists drive in Switzerland?
Absolutely! Switzerland is a part of the open-border Schengen Zone, this means crossing countries is quick and hassle-free. However, if your license isn’t in English, German, French or Italian you are required to have an International Driving Permit when driving in Switzerland.
In order to drive on Swiss highways, cars, as well as motorcycles, are required to have a vignette. Rental cars available in the country have a vignette already, so you do not need to purchase one. For extra safety, it is best to double-check with the rental company before setting off.
Are traffic laws strict in Switzerland?
Switzerland is generally regarded as a strict country, and the nation’s traffic laws are no exception. Driving even just a few kilometers over the speed limit can land you a speeding ticket, and the roads are filled with speed cameras. When driving in Switzerland, be sure to follow all of the traffic rules carefully.
Real-life example: a student who drove around 20km/h over the speed limit got a minimum ticket of 2500€. Speeding ticket penalties depend on your income. The higher the salary, the bigger the ticket.
Once you’re ready, it’s time to dive into this Switzerland itinerary by car!
Luis Francisco Pizarro Ruiz/Pixabay.com
Welcome to the picturesque city of Geneva, situated at the western tip of the country. The city is a hotspot for luxury shopping and fine dining, and it is the starting point of your Switzerland itinerary.
What is there to do in Geneva?
Patek Philippe Museum
Fans of prestigious watches should be familiar with Geneva, as some of the world’s most expensive timepieces are manufactured around the city. Pay a visit to the Patek Philippe Museum, where visitors can learn about five centuries of watchmaking.
The museum is located within the heart of Geneva, you can stroll around the area or go for a coffee in one of the nearby cafes.
As of 2020, the Patek Philippe Museum admission tickets cost below 11 euros.
Geneva International Motor Show
If you’re visiting during the beginning of March, Rentalmoose highly recommends going to see the Geneva International Motor Show. The GIMS is among the most important automotive events in the entire world, guests from across the planet come to admire hundreds of cars that are showcased during the show.
Parking is available around Palexpo, where the show takes place. The annual expo can get quite full, it is best to buy your admission tickets in advance. The motor show is a must on any Switzerland itinerary!
Parc des Eaux-Vives
Go for a relaxing walk in Parc des Eaux-Vives, a lakeshore park on the east side of the city. Inside the park, there is a monumental residence that was built in the mid-1700s that has been turned into a hotel and a prestigious restaurant.
Once you get hungry, go for lunch at Gusto, a fine-dining Italian restaurant in the Metropole Hotel. The upscale venue is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a meeting. Open Monday to Friday till 10 PM.
Where should you stay in Geneva?
La Reserve Geneva
Sophisticated travelers should consider staying the night at La Reserve Geneva. The luxurious 5-star hotel offers a seaside villa rental, chic rooms and suites as well as a pool, and a wellness center. Free parking is available for hotel guests.
Hotel Des Tourelles
Guests on a tighter budget can choose the Hotel Des Tourelles, a 2-star hotel with an amazing location right in the vibrant heart of Geneva. The hotel may not have luxury amenities, but it is valued for excellent service and its perfect location. Parking is available at an extra charge.
Set off from Geneva early in the morning. Then, head east along Lake Geneva until you reach a historic structure on the edge of the lake. The castle may look familiar to Disney fans, as Prince Eric’s castle from Little Mermaid was inspired by the Chillon Castle.
This magical structure dates back to the medieval times, it was designed by James of Saint George. Inside the castle, there are thousands of historic items on display.
The castle is open to visitors every day of the week between 9:30 AM and 5 PM, admission tickets are priced at below 15 CHF (14 EUR) and can be purchased either online or at the entrance.
Complimentary parking is available by the castle.
Clos de Chilon- local wine
The Chillon Castle is home to local red and white stored in the castle’s cellars, made from grapes grown at the local vineyards. Clos de Chilon can be purchased within the castle, guests can also book a guided wine tour that includes wine-tasting.
Bella Vista is a delicious Italian restaurant situated practically across the street from the castle. Head inside for a fresh pizza or dessert while enjoying panoramic views of Lake Geneva.
Rentalmoose order tip: Give Bella Vista’s pizzas a shot, you will not be disappointed!
Interlaken is regarded as Switzerland’s capital for adventure junkies, as there are lots of action sports opportunities available throughout the small town. Its picturesque surroundings make Interlaken heaven for photographers, make sure to bring your camera along!
Thrill-seekers should have a look at Outdoor Interlaken before heading to town. The company offers various adventure-packed activities for both summer and winter, ranging from canyoning and skydiving to skiing and winter sports. Take a look at their official website for more information on available activities.
Visit the picturesque village of Unterseen for an authentic, historic feel of Switzerland. Some of the beautiful historic buildings are dating back to the middle ages.
Pay a visit to the Stadtkeller, where you might just run into a live musical or theatrical performance.
Head up the mountains to Jungfraujoch- The Top of Europe. The highlight of the Alps is surrounded by glaciers and snow, making for a truly unforgettable view. Head into one of the shops or admire the spectacular views from the observation deck.
James Bond fans should also visit the summit at Schilthorn. The unbeatable panoramic views can be observed from the viewing deck atop the mountain.
Schilthorn was one of the filming locations for the 1969 “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, making it a must-see for James Bond fans.
Rentalmoose pro tip: The Jungfraujoch, as well as Schlithorn, can only be accessed by rail, park your car near the Lauterbrunnen railway station and take a train up the mountains.
If you’re craving a tasty meal, go to La Terrasse located within the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel. The upscale restaurant offers a wide selection of regional dishes that changes every season, along with a separate menu for desserts.
The driving time from Interlaken to Andermatt highly depends on the season, the fastest route goes along the A11, though the pass is only open around the summer.
During the colder months, taking the A8 is the fastest.
The mountain village situated nearly 1500 meters above sea level is home to central Switzerland’s largest ski resort. The town’s narrow streets are lined with traditional buildings, local eateries, and shops. Andermatt is truly the perfect mountain getaway.
Where can you ski in Andermatt?
Ski Arena Andermatt-Sedrun
Start at the Ski Arena Andermatt-Sedrun. Andermatt is a famous ski destination in the Swiss Alps and there are various resorts to choose from.
The two ski areas have over 50 different slopes, along with facilities such as numerous sun terraces and restaurants. Skiing and snowboarding equipment can be rented by the slopes.
Drive up the scenic Gotthard Pass, an absolutely breathtaking driving road outside of the village. The road is favored by petrolheads, bikers, cyclists, and hikers from around the world.
Drive across the Tremola and pass the Devil’s Bridge and admire the out-of-this-world scenery. Post photos from the Pass with #rentalmoose, the best ones will be rewarded with a Rentalmoose discount or even a rental car free of charge!
Andermatt Golf Course
If you’re visiting during the Summer, play a round of golf at the local Andermatt Golf Course. The 18-hole course is beautifully designed between the mountains and offers a picturesque setting during your game, with slight winds as an additional challenge.
Experienced players can participate in one of the tournaments.
Where to stay in Andermatt?
Andermatt is perfect for luxury hotel fans, as one of the best hotels in the country is located near the center of the village.
The Chedi Andermatt
The Chedi Andermatt is a prestigious 5-star hotel that offers beautiful rooms with panoramic views, as well as complimentary amenities such as spa and pool access, a fireplace in each room, 7 bars and restaurants and “a ski butler service”.
A relatively affordable, at least for Swiss standards, alternative is the Schweizerhof Hotel. The hotel consists of 28 cozy rooms, as well as an atmospheric restaurant that serves delicious regional dishes.
Lugano is a beautiful lake in southern Switzerland surrounded by monumental mountains, often regarded as one of the most beautiful destinations in the country. A visit to this part of Switzerland wouldn’t be complete without a stop here!
What to see in Lugano?
Begin by exploring the cute town of Lugano. Leave your car at Autosilo Motta, a large multi-story car park close to the heart of the city (the cost is around 25CHF for a day).
Stroll around the narrow streets, visit some of the local shops or cafes placed along the Piazza Riforma.
Head to Trattoria Galleria for a delicious Italian lunch, a short walk away from Riforma. Afterall, Lugano is a mix of Swiss and Italian cultures and it is reflected in the local cuisine.
The Lakeside Promenade
After lunch, continue walking south until you reach the shore. The clear view of the lake and the mountains surrounding it is truly unreal.
Admire the scenery while walking along Lugano’s beautiful promenade.
Then, turn away from the lake and into Via Nassa, the town’s go-to shopping destination. Some of the stores here date beyond the 17th century.
Shopping freaks should consider paying FoxTown a visit. The luxury outlet is filled with high-quality clothing and accessories at discounted prices. A visit to FoxTown requires a minor, 20-minute detour south towards Italy.
The outlet is open daily between 11 AM to 7 PM.
Leave the town and drive a couple of minutes west until you reach Gandria, a beautiful untouched lakeside village. The beautiful facades of well-preserved historic buildings make Gandria a beautiful backdrop for photography, located at the foot of Monte Brè.
The next stop on your journey is Saint Moritz, a prestigious alpine resort town favored by the rich and famous. The town’s elegance does come at a high price, as Saint Moritz is repeatedly rated as one of the most expensive holiday destinations in the world.
What can you do in Saint Moritz?
If you’re visiting St. Moritz in the winter season, you should definitely experience what the town is famous for: ski resorts.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a pro, a beginner or anywhere in between, St. Moritz is the place to go. 58 ski lifts and 350 kilometers of slopes make the town absolute heaven for winter thrill-seekers.
Detailed information about ski resorts can be found here.
Some tourists believe that a ski resort town doesn’t offer much other than slopes. While this may be true for some towns, it is certainly not the case with Saint Moritz.
What can you do in St. Moritz except skiing?
Every winter, the frozen lake by the town is transformed into a natural ice rink. Skating on a frozen lake while admiring the magnificent glaciers is another unforgettable experience during this road trip.
What’s more, the natural ice rink is very affordable. Admission costs below 15 CHF per day, children can enter for half the price.
Skates can be rented directly at the rink for around 5 CHF. Visiting in the summer? Head to Eisarena Ludains by the lake for an artificial rink open all year long.
Mountain biking fans will find themselves in paradise upon arriving in Saint Moritz, as the resort town is home to thrilling world-class mountain biking trails. Choose from hundreds of kilometers of trails, you can find the best ones in Red Bull’s MTB Destination Guide.
Mountain Biking Equipment Rental
Do you want to try out mountain biking? You can visit the St Moritz Bike Center, where visitors can rent different types of bicycles and necessary equipment. Pick up your bike and head up to the mountains!
If you’re looking for a more relaxing way to enjoy the panoramic views, visit one of the Mountain Restaurants by Suvretta House Hotel. Restaurants Chasellas and Trutz both offer breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps as well as delicious cuisine.
Which restaurant to pick?
Trutz features a variety of traditional Swiss dishes, while Chasellas has more of a Mediterranean cuisine.
Where to stay in St. Moritz?
Luxury seekers can spend the night at the prestigious Badrutt’s Palace. This extraordinary 5-star hotel has been welcoming guests since 1896, making it one of the oldest hotels in Europe!
Its impressive history is present throughout the property. The hotel’s restaurant (Le Restaurant), for example, was once home to Europe’s first indoor tennis court.
The legendary property features classy rooms overlooking the mountains, 6 restaurants, an indoor pool, a spa and fitness center and more.
As expected, all this luxury comes at a hefty price tag, it most certainly isn’t the top pick among budget travelers.
The last segment of this trip is a drive to Zurich, the global capital for banks and financial institutions. The city, however, has a lot more in stock for you.
What is Zurich famous for?
Zurich is known around the world as the go-to Swiss city for luxury shopping and fine dining, banking and consuming as much Swiss chocolate as possible. The city is also very historical, with tens of museums and art galleries scattered around the streets.
Are you in town during the summer? If so, go to Seebad Enge, one of the city’s best spots where you can go for a swim in Lake Zurich. The water in the lake is very clean, and the surroundings make for extraordinary views.
There is also a sauna available during the winter, as well as a restaurant and bar.
Admission costs below 10 CHF per person as of 2020.
Don’t forget to visit Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s vivid hotspot for shopping. Walk down the busy streets, get some of the local delicacies at numerous cafes and bakeries or shop for a luxury Swiss timepiece.
If you happen to be in Zurich during the Christmas season, you can admire the magical Christmas decorations that are lighting up the street or visit one of the seasonal Christmas markets.
Are you looking for more attractions in Zurich? Click here to read more about the city, including the best restaurant in town. You don’t want to miss it during your visit!
What are the best hotels in Zurich?
For your night in Zurich, consider staying at the prestigious Widder Hotel in the heart of Zurich’s Old Town. The 5-star hotel is situated in a 15th-century townhouse and is home to one of the best bars in town. Unique decor in each room, fine dining, and a beautiful library are also parts of the unique experience.
A private car park is available for hotel guests.
A more affordable alternative is the Kameha Grand. This 4-star boutique hotel is a part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and features a stylish, Middle-eastern inspired decor and a good location near the airport, as well as very good service.
A private car park is available.
Your rental car can be dropped off directly at the Zurich Airport for maximum comfort. Rental companies that support drop-off in a different location can be found via Rentalmoose.
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Explore the natural wonderland of Iceland. See the country’s majestic glaciers, massive waterfalls and mountains, all while following one of the most scenic roads in this part of the world. This travel guide takes you on an exciting road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road, discovering the country’s best attractions along the way.
1350 kilometers (840 miles) in total
Before You Leave For The Iceland Ring Road
Before setting off on your road trip in Iceland, have a look at some of the essential information listed below.
Is Iceland Worth Visiting
For starters, the remote country is home to some of the most dramatic, untouched landscapes on the entire planet, and the lack of civilization is beyond fascinating.
Explore the best of this country during an epic road trip in Iceland, with a start and finish in Reykjavik, the capital city. Admire the monumental waterfalls, photograph the astonishing glaciers, and relax in the never-ending green fields all around the country.
Best Time To Visit Iceland
If your main priority is experiencing the best weather, consider going between June and August. Keep in mind that it is also the peak tourist season and some of the spots might get relatively crowded.
Planning a road trip to Iceland between September and November? That’s when the weather gets harsher, though there are fewer tourists and you will have a chance to see the Northern Lights.
Book A Rental Car in Iceland
Driving around Iceland is an absolute pleasure, the scenic driving roads provide spectacular views and are very well-maintained. What’s more, the freedom to change your itinerary, skip a city, or extend the road trip whenever you please can only be achieved when traveling by car.
Car rental companies in Iceland offer a range of cars, from budget-friendly compacts through to buffed-up 4×4’s that will get through any terrain.
For extra peace of mind during your road trip, Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car.
Once you’ve picked up the car, don’t forget to take photos of the car to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.
Don’t forget that driving off-road is illegal in Iceland. Don’t wander off paved roads or gravel paths.
Tourists Driving In Iceland- Practical Information
International Driving Permit Is Not Required In Iceland
Tourists can drive in Iceland as long as their domestic driver’s license is written in the Roman alphabet. If your license is in a different alphabet, i.e. Arabic or Mandarin, you will need to obtain an International Driving Permit in your home country before leaving. Click here to learn everything you need to know about IDPs.
Remember that you always need to present your driver’s license along with your International Driving Permit.
Additionally, UK driver license holders need to provide evidence of any driving endorsements.
Fines For Speeding In Iceland
Think twice before speeding in Iceland. Not only is it very dangerous due to the roads’ unpredictable conditions, it can also drain your trip budget. Penalties for speeding in Iceland vary between 180 and 630 Euros.
If you do happen to get caught speeding in Iceland, there are two options for tourists to pay their fines.
If you’re pulled over by a police officer, you can choose to either pay on the spot (the penalty is then reduced), or pay the full price once you receive your ticket in the mail.
You can dispute a speeding ticket and go to court if you believe you were fined unfairly.
Iceland Ring Road Itinerary
Photography by Marcel S.
Your trip around Iceland’s Ring Road begins in Reykjavik, the capital of what is probably the most remote country in Europe. Pick up your rental car in town and begin exploring the marvelous country of Iceland!
Things To Do in Reykjavik
Einar Jonsson Museum
Hallgrimskirkja is a monumental, unique church in the heart of Reykjavik and the second tallest building in Iceland. Its strange architecture is inspired by the country’s nature, travelers can admire the exterior or take the stairs atop the tower that overlooks the entire city. Admission costs around 1000 ISK (6.7 EUR).
Einar Jonsson Museum
Walk across the street from Hallgrimskirkja cathedral and you will end up in the Einar Jonsson Museum. The artist offered all of his works as a gift to the people of Iceland in 1909, in return for receiving a museum to house the art. The idea followed through and the museum has remained open ever since.
Examine the sculptures inside of the gallery, as well as the ones scattered around town. The museum is open all week except Mondays between 12 PM and 5 PM.
Drive south for roughly 40 minutes until you reach Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most famous geothermal spa.
Admission costs around 7000ISK (46 EUR) per person. Go for a swim in the warm outdoor pools, have a drink at the in-water bar or relax in the sauna.
The stylish 4-star hotel is a getaway situated around 45 minutes from the city, featuring spacious rooms and suites with a panoramic view as well as an outdoor pool and a spa, along with a selection of day tours and adventures. Guests can unwind at weekly yoga sessions, perfect before an exhausting day.
As you head towards Kalfafell, there are multiple hotspots that are worth at least a quick peek. Set off from Reykjavik early in the morning to have enough time to see all of the attractions.
Iceland Ring Road- Reykjavik To Vik
DC-3 Airplane Wreck
The first stop on your road trip is at Seljalandsfoss, a gorgeous 60-meter tall waterfall. It is one of the most popular waterfalls among tourists, as it can be admired from every angle. Tourists can walk inside the cave to get behind the powerful stream of water and appreciate it from a unique perspective.
Keep in mind that although admission is free, visitors are required to pay 700ISK (5.7 EUR) for parking. The funds are used to maintain the car park and nearby facilities.
Continue along the Ring Road for another 30 minutes until you reach another, equally monumental waterfall: the Skogafoss. This waterfall features a drop 2 meters longer than the Seljalandsfoss and is situated along the former coastline.
On the right-hand side of the waterfall, you will find a hiking trail that will take you up the cliff where you can photograph Skogafoss from above.
Unlike Seljalandsfoss, the parking at Skogafoss is free of charge.
The DC-3 plane wreck is a photographer’s dream. Photography by Steve Riot.
The DC-3 airplane wreck
Follow the Ring Road for another 10 minutes. To be completely honest, this attraction is very easy to miss as it is not visible from the road at all. Roughly 10 kilometers away from Skogafoss, you will see a car park and a gate in the middle of the field. Park your car and follow the black sand trail for around 50 minutes.
If you pass any tourists on your way, you are probably in the right place. At a certain point, you will see an eerie plane wreck emerge on the horizon.
The DC-3 had crash-landed on the beach (everyone onboard survived) in the 70s and remained in the same place ever since, becoming one of the country’s photography hotspots.
A sight you can’t miss in the South Coast of Iceland is Reynisfjara Beach. Located just 20 minutes from the car park leading to the DC-3 wreck, the glorious black sand beach is unlike any other place on the planet.
Stroll along the black sand beach, examine the surreal rock formations or watch the view while enjoying a sip of coffee at the Black Beach Restaurant.
Then, continue along the South Coast of Iceland to the town of Vik.
Where To Stay in Vik
Spend the night in Vik, a peaceful village by Reynisfjara Beach. Consider checking in at the Hotel Kria, a stylish 3-star hotel that features modern rooms and suites with a breathtaking view, a bar and restaurant, and a complimentary car park.
Hotels in Iceland are relatively costly, therefore it may be crucial for some travelers to find budget-friendly accommodation.
Book your room at the cozy Farmhouse Lodge, a property roughly 10 minutes away from Vik and just 250 meters off the Ring Road. Parking is available at no extra cost.
As you continue along the road, make sure you have enough petrol prior to leaving Vik. After Vik, there is no gas station for around an hour.
Iceland Ring Road Attractions- Vik To Hofn
Skaftafell National Park
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
The Diamond Beach
Make your first sightseeing stop of the day at Fjadrargljufur.
The massive river canyon is believed to be almost ten thousand years old. Game of Thrones fans might recognize it, as the canyon was featured in the series.
The canyon stretches for around 2 kilometers and is roughly 100 meters high. The slight detour from the Ring Road is definitely worth it!
Skaftafell National Park
The next spot that’s worth a visit is the Skaftafell National Park, specifically the Svartifoss Waterfall inside of it (pictured above).
The waterfall’s surroundings are green, despite being situated near the glacier.
The hike between the car park and the waterfall itself is below 1 hour each way and can be challenging compared to Seljalandsfoss.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
No Iceland road trip would be complete without a stop at the Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon.
Turn left right as you cross the monumental bridge and park your car at the car park. From there, you can choose to go on a boat tour around the lagoon or explore the ice caves (seasonal) on a guided tour.
The current pricing can be found here. There is a cozy cafe by the car park where you can choose from a selection of snacks and beverages.
If you’re not in a rush, cross the road onto the beach. The area was named “The Diamond Beach”, as there are large chunks of ice resting on the black sand all over the coastline. Rentalmoose wouldn’t qualify the beach as an absolute must-see, but it is worth dropping by if you’re already at the Ice Lagoon.
Where To Stay in Hofn
Stop for the night in Hofn, one of the largest towns in Southeastern Iceland. Consider booking a room at the cozy Milk Factory. The guesthouse features 17 recently-renovated modern rooms with spectacular views of the Vatnajokull glacier, great hospitality, and a complimentary car park.
If you want to experience a night in a cozy cabin, and have slightly deeper pockets, book your stay at the Aurora Cabins.
The cabins feature modern interior, a sun terrace and unbeatable views of the area. Complimentary parking is available for all guests.
Set off from Hofn in the morning, your first stop is not far out of town. Turn right from the Ring Road right when you see the small sign for Stokksnes (directly before a large left turn) and follow the road all the way to the end.
Ring Road Attractions Between Hofn and Egilsstadir
You can park your car and take a stroll along the beach, with a perfect view of the Vestrahorn mountain in the background. Tour the village that was part of the “Vikings” hit series filming set. If you’re lucky, you might spot a sea lion or too.
The entry fee to Stokksnes is below 1000ISK (6.6 EUR).
Next, enjoy a scenic drive along the Ring Road all the way up to the town of Egilsstadir, the largest town in Eastern Iceland. Be prepared, as there isn’t much civilization between Hofn and Egilsstadir, make sure you are topped up on petrol before continuing the trip. Enjoy the absolutely unreal views, if you’re lucky you might spot reindeers and sheep.
If the weather allows it, you can take a detour from the Ring Road and visit Hengifoss, one of the tallest waterfalls in the entire country, prior to your arrival in Egilsstadir.
The waterfall is roughly a 50-minute hike from the car park, and there are lots of activities available nearby. Adventure junkies can go on ATV tours, relax at the hot springs or discover the ruins of a 16th-century monastery at the Skriduklaustur cultural center.
Hengifoss Waterfall photographed by Jacqueline Macou.
Unbelievable Hverir geothermal site. Photography by Adrian Kirby.
Don’t Miss These Spots On The Iceland Ring Road
Depart from Egilsstadir and continue along the Ring Road, crossing the country’s glorious mountain passes and highlands. Turn right at a junction onto route 864 and follow it for roughly 30 minutes until you reach the Dettifoss Waterfall car park.
Hike down for around 15 minutes and you will get a clear view of Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Half a million liters of water plunge down the 44-meter drop every single second. The sight is truly spectacular.
If you follow the 864 gravel route until it finishes, then turn left onto route 85 and turn left to visit the Asbyrgi, a breathtaking glacial canyon. Enjoy one of the hiking trails or photograph the lake in the middle of the canyon.
Once you get back on the Ring Road, make a stop at Hverir right before the lake of Myvatn. The fascinating geothermal site sits at the foot of the Namafjall volcanic mountain. Observe the out-of-this-world hot springs, steam vents and many more.
The site looks like the surface of another planet and can’t be missed when in Iceland!
Next, make a stop at the Godafoss Waterfall, meaning “Waterfall of the Gods”. This natural wonder is located just off the Ring Road, no detour is necessary. The hike to get the best view of the waterfalls may be challenging as the rocks are wet and slippery, mind your step!
It’s a must on any Iceland road trip!
The hiking trail loop to Godafoss is just below 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) in length.
Godafoss Waterfall photographed by Nathan from Pixabay.com
For your night in Akureyri, consider checking in to Hotel Kea.
The 4-star hotel is located in the center of town and is a great alternative to the remote hotels around the country. Modern rooms, breakfast buffet included in the room rate as well as complimentary parking make Hotel Kea an attractive choice in town.
The final day is also the longest, with almost 400 kilometers to cover. The West of Iceland is the most remote part of the country and the majority of attractions here require a major detour off the Ring Road.
Iceland Ring Road- Attractions Between Reykjavik and Akureyri
The Settlement Center
Don’t miss the Grabrok Crater on your way to Reykjavik.
The massive crater rises around 170 meters above ground level, so it is hard to miss. Park your car at the public car park and hike up to the stairs for the best view.
The hike up the crater and back to the car will take you under an hour in total and is most definitely worth doing.
As you approach Reykjavik, be sure to stop by the cute town of Borgarnes.
The little village is situated on a picturesque peninsula, if you’re lucky you can spot two glaciers from Borgarnes.
Stroll around the colorful streets, enjoy the view from the coast and indulge in the town’s peaceful atmosphere.
The restaurant, one of the oldest in the area, serves a variety of Icelandic dishes, such as fresh fish and lobster tails. After lunch, enjoy one of the exhibitions hosted at The Settlement Center, where you will gather insight about the region’s history and culture.
Don’t have a car you can take on an Iceland road trip? No problem!
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