10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

Keen to hit the road this summer but prefer to forge your own path rather than follow the crowds? Iceland's Ring Road and America's Route 66 are fine choices for a road trip but there are less worn-out routes that are equally as beautiful.

To help you on your way to planning an unforgettable holiday by road, our friends at have revealed the most picturesque road trip destinations that take you off the beaten track.

What's more, you won't have to fight the crowds when taking the perfect holiday snaps in these epic locations. Browse the 10 best places for an unusual road trip.

1. Jordan: Amman to Ma'in Hot Springs - 75 kilometres

While the ancient city of Petra, Jordan’s most-visited archaeological site, might be on most travellers' bucket lists, the spectacular Ma'in Hot Springs are much less well known. Collect your car in Amman before heading to this thermal wonderland, where you can bathe in the steaming waters and relax in a cathedral-like sauna cave.

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

You can then head to nearby Madaba, an ancient city famous for its mosaics. Be sure to explore Amman, Jordan’s capital. It’s crowded, chaotic but incredibly colourful, so don’t be afraid to brave its bustling souks and charming tea houses, such as the Canvas Café on Muntazah Circle.

2. Albania: Tirana to Sarande - 277 kilometres

With its copy-cat crystal-clear waters, breathtaking scenery and glorious sunshine, Albania is the lesser-known, more affordable alternative to Croatia.

Tirana is a fantastic starting point for an Albanian road trip: After collecting your car, head to the historic port of Durrës, 30 kilometres west, where highlights include Durrës Amphitheatre and Durrës Archaeological Museum.

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

Other essential stop-offs include Gjirokastër Castle, a spectacular 12th-century hilltop fortress near your road trip’s finish line in Sarandë, plus Gjipe Beach, on the Albanian Riviera. Tourists are few and far between on this fantastic stretch of sand, so there’s plenty of space to lay out your beach towel.

3. Bulgaria : Sofia to Varna - 442 kilometres

For those wanting to experience the black sea without the busy crowds in Turkey, Bulgaria is a fantastic road trip destination.

This particular drive can easily be broken down into chunks, so it’s a great option for travellers keen to explore Bulgaria at a leisurely pace. Collect your wheels in Sofia and be sure to visit the city's Church of St Nicholas and Varna's Balchik Palace.

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

Ruse, Bulgaria

If you’ve got time for a detour, consider a visit to Ruse – Bulgaria’s fifth-largest city – too. Its colourful, baroque buildings provide the perfect backdrop and it’s a great base for exploring the Rusenski Lom Nature Park, a protected area famous for its rock formations.

4. Montenegro: Durmitor National Park to Budva - 126 kilometres

Despite its spectacular national parks, memorable Adriatic coastline and mountains, Montenegro is one of southern Europe’s least visited spots.

A road trip from Durmitor National Park to Budva, on the country’s Adriatic coastline, is a brilliant way to take in its best bits, allowing plenty of time for detours once you’ve picked up your car at Podgorica Airport.

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

Durmitor National Park

Starting at the national park, famed for its jewel-coloured lakes, you can take a detour to see Tara River Canyon, the world’s second-largest canyon.

In the coastal city of Budva, raise a toast to the completion of your road trip at a seafront bar. Skip Slovenska Plaza (one of the busiest beachfront areas) and take a water taxi to Sveti Nikola experience white sand and clear blue beach without the crowds.

5. Reunion Island: Sainte-Marie to Saint-Pierre - 91 kilometres

Think of Reunion as the Indian Ocean’s version of Hawaii – just with fewer selfie sticks and less-crowded beaches.

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

This breathtaking road trip follows the western coastline, taking you from Sainte-Marie, in the north, to Saint-Pierre in the south. Collect your car at Roland Garros Airport and explore the stunning beaches in Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains before venturing inland.

In the north, you can hike to Cirque de Mafate, a remote village inside the caldera of an extinct volcano and in Saint-Pierre, Reunion's capital, you can learn about the island's history at La Saga du Rhum - a rum museum on the Isautier estate, home to one of Reunion's oldest distilleries.

6. Austria: Innsbruck to Graz - 287 kilometres

Although Austria might be known for its Alpine backdrop and Vienna’s world class art offering, there are plenty of Austrian destinations left almost untouched by tourists.

The route from Innsbruck to Graz is dotted with some of Europe's most photogenic landmarks, so it's definitely a road trip to undertake over several days. Innsbruck offers a splendid backdrop of snow-dusted peaks for a scenic driving.

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

Pretty Innsbruck

The lakeside town of Zell am See, near the route's halfway point, is equally picturesque, while Launsdorf's Hochosterwitz Castle, near Graz, is worth a stop. Graz, your final destination and Austria's second-largest city, has a heady combination of fantastic bars, cutting edge architecture and baroque palaces.

7. Ecuador: Spondylus Route - 748 kilometres

Ecuador’s diverse landscape covers the Amazon jungle, Andean Highlands and Galapagos Islands, making it ideal for nature lovers and a great way to take it in is the Spondylus Route.

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

The pink sands of Playa Rosada

Haven't heard of it? Neither have most people. The Spondylus Route winds its way south from the tip of Ecuador to the border with Peru, via some of Latin America's most breathtaking landscapes - and we're not talking about Machu Picchu, either.

One of our favourites is Manabi Province's Chirije, a coastal archaeological site which dates back to pre-Columbian times. The pink sands of Playa Rosada, near Ayangue, and the beaches near Montañita, aesthetically appealing for their enormous waves and wave-bashed cliffs, should also be on your list.

8. Taiwan: Taipei to Taimali - 500 kilometres

Growing numbers of travellers are heading to Taiwan and if you're visiting for the first time but not sure where to start, the drive from the capital of Taipei to Taimali provides an unbeatable view of the best bits.

In Taipei, skip Taipei 101 - once the world's tallest building and now Taiwan's most crowded tourist attraction - and visit the National Palace Museum, a gold and blue building with one of the world's largest collections of Chinese imperial artefacts.

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

Yunlin’s pretty lakes. [email protected] PhotographyGetty Images

Yunlin County, which you'll pass through on your drive south, is known as the birthplace of Taiwanese puppet theatre, and don't forget to admire some of the country's ancient temples - one of the most beautiful is Tiánliáo Stone Temple.

9. Oman: Muscat to Nizwa - 158 kilometres

Filled with pastel-hued ancient towns, colourful markets and towering sand dunes, Oman is a great destination for a road trip.

Explore Muscat's splendid Royal Opera House at dusk, when it's illuminated with thousands of lights and head to Sur, to the south of Muscat, to witness a more traditional way of life.

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path

Driving in Oman is a treat. Gabriel Vonas / EyeEmGetty Images

In Nizwa, an ancient town surrounded by some of Oman's highest mountains, you can skip the crowded alleyways of the city's souks and pay an early morning visit to Nizwa Fort - clamber to the top of the tallest tower for breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape.

10. Lithuania and Latvia: Vilnius to Riga - 288 kilometres

Lithuanian temperatures reach the mid-twenties in the summer making it a perfect cheaper alternative to busier European destinations like Italy and Croatia.

In Vilnius, the mix of old and new (ancient churches and gleaming skyscrapers) provides a great backdrop for photos, while the historic Lithuanian town of Ukmerge, 70 kilometres to the north, has a superb centre filled with cobbled streets and Neoclassical architecture.

10 road trip destinations for going off the beaten path


In the Latvian capital of Riga, take time to explore the city's parks and to check out its gorgeous old town - the latter is one of Europe's least-visited UNESCO sites. If you fancy extending your road trip, consider exploring the Gauja National Park, one of the oldest parks in the country which is known for its red and yellow sandstone rock formations.