When’s the last time you crafted your holiday around a quirky travel route (if ever)? If you’re itching for something unique, read on and take your pick from Americana, asparagus, Middle-earth, flowers, cheese and remote adventure!
1. Route 66, US (3,950km)
Graffiti’d Cadillacs in the sand. A painted desert. A tree of shoes. You’ll see them all, and more, when you get your kicks on Route 66!
Starting in Chicago, this infamous American route winds through many southern states like Texas and Arizona, before ending up in Santa Monica, California.
2. Baden Asparagus Route, Germany (136km)
This one is strictly for those who love and appreciate that green veggie … asparagus!
An adored food of Louis XIV, asparagus sees its popularity surge during Spargelzeit – or ‘asparagus time’ (roughly April to June).
This extravaganza commences in the gardens of the Schwetzingen Palace and will take you through towns like Hockenheim, Reilingen and Bruchsal, where the continent’s largest asparagus fest is held each May. Driving or cycling is the norm on this route!
3. Lord of the Rings Route, New Zealand (length varies; can involve driving, flying, cycling, trekking)
Precious, my precious … my route! If you simply can’t get enough of Middle-earth, a trip to New Zealand’s North Island (at least to start with) will call to you from across the Tasman.
Once here, you’ll find the Shire and Hobbiton (in Matamata), Mount Doom (Mount Ngauruhoe), the River Anduin (Hutt River, in Wellington) and Rivendell (the Kaitoke Regional Park, also in Wellington).
4. The Flower Route, Netherlands (40km)
Did you know that tulips have been cultivated and prized since ancient times?
If you happen to be in the Netherlands in April-May, the Flower Route – also known as the Bloemen Route – is a must-drive and will only take you a day or so to complete.
To make the most of this colourful journey, begin in Haarlem and drive south towards the town of Lisse. Here, you’ll find the famous Keukenhof Gardens, where tulips and other flowers bloom in glory.
5. Vermont Cheese Trail, US (450km)
Say ‘cheeeeese!’ This delectable route will take you all over the state of Vermont and will have you sampling everything from artisan cheddars and zesty gorgonzolas to creamy chèvres.
The best thing about this route is that it’s all pre-mapped for you thanks to the Vermont Cheese Council, so getting from one cheesemaker to the next is easy.
You can also tailor your stops depending on how much time you have, but be sure to check road conditions before setting out.
6. Carretera Austral, Chile (1,240km)
Otherwise known as Chile’s Route 7, the Carretera Austral is the road to be on if you want to journey from the northern areas of Chile to the striking southern regions of Patagonia.
It’s a wild and remote experience, but one that will allow you to see the best of Chile’s underrated wilderness, with mountains, glaciers, lakes, lagoons, fjords and national parks at your fingertips. It’s a must-take route for adventure lovers.