If there is one thing on your checklist this year, it should be an epic road trip!
What a great way to travel with the roof down, the warm sea breeze blowing through your hair and your favourite playlists on repeat.
Research from Booking.com has revealed that almost a third of people around the world took a road trip in 2016 and are likely to take one in 2017.
Booking.com has also rounded up some of the world’s greatest road trips and the best places to stay to start or end your journey on a high.
From the Pacific Coast Highway in US, one of the most scenic drives in the world to China’s over-water highway, there is a route for everyone. Just take your pick!
Pacific Coast Highway – San Francisco, United States
The Pacific Coast Highway is a must on your road trip checklist. This legendary route along the iconic California coast from San Francisco down to San Diego is known for having some of the most scenic views in the world.
Over 1000km long, the Pacific Coast Highway does not disappoint – expect to see stunning coastal views, picturesque seaside villages, untouched forests and sunny wine vineyards along the route. Top endorsements for San Francisco by Booking.com travellers are sightseeing, scenery and city trips.
The top nationalities that travelled to San Francisco in 2016 include British, Chinese and German and the top types of accommodation booked were hotels, motels and hostels.
Where to stay: Discover the charm and elegance of France in the heart of San Francisco at this family-owned hotel, ideally situated just a short stroll from the vibrant Union Square.
The Cornell Hotel de France presents a beautiful fusion of old-world charm and modern amenities – wake up to a full, free breakfast and admire prints of masterpieces from famous artists around the world.
Be sure to check out the Theatre District, San Francisco’s legendary Chinatown and take a ride on the city’s historic cable car.
Hidden Highway – Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
The Hidden Highway is the perfect choice for travellers looking for a relaxing road trip surrounded by the beautiful English countryside.
Travel through one of the most rural and scenic routes in Britain, where you can expect endless green fields dotted with rose-clad cottages, medieval castles plus quaint villages and farmers markets. The journey is 280km long and a good stop off is the famous town of Hay on Wye, which hosts the annual Festival of Literature every summer.
Top endorsements for Shrewsbury by Booking.com travellers are history, shopping and architecture, a great mixture for a relaxing road trip.
The top nationalities that booked Shrewsbury in 2016 include Australian, German and Irish and the top types of accommodation booked were hotels, guest houses and inns.
Where to stay: The splendid country estate of Meeson Hall dates back to 1640 and is nestled in the gorgeous countryside of Shrewsbury, offering spacious and elegant rooms, private parking and bicycle hire.
The perfect spot to recharge your batteries after exploring the Hidden Highway, Meeson Hall offers a relaxing stay perfect for a getaway to the countryside.
Stretch your legs with a stroll around the estate’s eight acres of landscaped grounds and paddocks.
Great Ocean Road – Melbourne, Australia
Challenging the Pacific Coast Highway for its spot as one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world is the Great Ocean Road route, with its jaw-dropping scenery along the southern coastline.
Tracing the shore between Geelong and Warrnambool, expect cliff-hugging turns, seascapes to die for and lush rainforests in your rear view mirror.
The 275km route starts in the surf capital of Torquay; be sure to visit the natural beauty Apollo Bay and the Great Otway National Park, where you can swap the wheels for a spot of walking. Top endorsements for Melbourne by Booking.com travellers include shopping, food and restaurants.
Top nationalities that booked Melbourne in 2016 are Chinese, Kiwis and British and the top types of accommodation booked were hotels, apart-hotels and hostels.
Where to stay: Location, location, location. Discovery Parks – Geelong is a clear winner in the location stakes.
Set alongside the Barwon River, it is only five minutes from the centre of Geelong, 15 minutes from world-class beaches, a short drive from the Great Ocean Road and just over an hour from Melbourne. It’s day tripper heaven!
Southern Scenic Route – Queenstown, New Zealand
The Southern Scenic Route combines everything from deserted beaches, native forests, rolling hillsides, waterfalls, lakes and snow-covered peaks – full of breath-taking views around every corner.
The 610km route starts at Queenstown to Fiordland, Ta Anau and the iconic Milford Road to Dunedin. Top endorsements for Queenstown by Booking.com travellers are scenery, adventure and relaxation.
The top types of nationalities that booked Queenstown in 2016 were Australian, Chinese and British and the top types of accommodation booked were hotels, hostels and apart-hotels.
Where to stay: Start off your road trip in the right way with a stay at the boutique and luxurious Element Escapes Apartment, ideally located just a short walk away from the beach and a half hour drive from Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski parks.
A perfect getaway for skiers, hiking enthusiasts and travellers along the Southern Scenic Route looking to start as they mean to go on.
Amalfi Coast – Sorrento, Italy
Not for the faint-hearted the route along the Amalfi Coast presents narrow-winding roads along steep clifftops, although passengers will be rewarded with stunning views of rugged shorelines, pastel-coloured fishing villages, terraced vineyards and cliffside lemon groves.
This 60km stretch of coastline between Sorrento and Salerno is hemmed by high mountains and offers idyllic waterfront boutique hotels and unspoilt coastal towns. The top endorsements for Sorrento by Booking.com travellers are scenery, food and sightseeing.
The top nationalities that booked holidays to Sorrento in 2016 were English, American and Argentinian and the top types of accommodation booked were hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses.
Where to stay: The exquisite Grand Hotel Royal boasts a stunning beach-front location and lush palm-filled gardens and scenic cliff-top views. Take a dip in the outdoor pool and admire panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples and Vesuvius.
In high season, guests enjoy free access to the beach, and free use of parasols, sun beds and beach towels.
Grand Hotel Royal offers a complete gastronomic experience including multiple on-site restaurants and bars serving regional and classic Italian cuisine with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Overwater Highway – Xingshan, China
If a long distance road trip is not for you, but you are still seeking scenic views, then the Overwater Highway is your best option. Forget walking on water, how about driving on water!
Labelled as the overwater highway, the seven mile road linking Xingshan County in Hubei to the high speed motorway of G42 is built in the middle of the river and follows the natural curve of the valley. Even though this is the shortest route in our round-up of epic road trips passengers will still be treated to breath-taking views of the valley and nearby fishing villages.
The top nationalities that booked holidays to Xingshan in 2016 were Taiwanese, British and Russian and the top types of accommodation booked were hotels.
Where to stay: The luxurious InterContinental Tangshan is ideally situated in Wanda Square and looks out to the scenic DaZhao Park. Guests will love the indoor pool, fitness centre and pampering spa treatments, and the famous South Lake and Tangshan Anti-Earthquake museum are just a short drive away.
The onsite restaurant, Phoenix All Day Dining, serves international dishes from live cooking stations, as well as a daily buffet breakfast.
Other dining options include Cantonese food at Tang Yuan Chinese Restaurant and fine Chinese dining at Imperial Court.