We know of the wonders of a road trip through the canyons of Utah, or the Amalfi Coast of Italy, or along the California coast. But so many roads offer beauty of all kinds throughout the world.
“Road trips have become a popular way to see the world, particularly post-Covid as more people feel uncomfortable traveling by public transport,” says Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com. “However, as the popularity of road trips increases, so does traffic along the route. Choosing an underrated route is a great way to experience the fun of a road trip while avoiding the crowds.”
Right now I’m in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, and a pretty farm road between Penn Yan and Geneva unexpectedly takes my breath away. There are many such scenic roads, so seek them out and ask the locals, wherever you are.
A study by confused.com analyzed the top-50 best-rated drives that have had the fewest Google searches over the last 12 months, to reveal the world’s most underrated road trips. (Six U.S. routes rank in the top 10.) Here they are:
Top 10 Most Underrated Road Trips:
Rank; Road Trip Country; % of ‘Good’ Reviews; Annual Search Volume; Overall Score /10
1- Causeway Coastal Route, United Kingdom; 98.1%; 23,700; 9.19
The most underrated road trip is the U.K.’s Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland. Despite 98.1% of the journey’s Tripadvisor reviews being positive, the road trip had just 23,700 searches in the last 12 months. The trip takes in many popular sights such as the Glens of Antrim, as well as well-known filming locations from Game of Thrones.
Following closely behind in third place are two US-based road trips. Foothills Parkway in Tennessee provides spectacular views of both the Great Smoky Mountains and the Tennessee Valley.
Lamar Valley, on the other hand, provides the opportunity for wildlife spotting, sometimes being referred to as ‘America’s Serengeti.’ Drivers may get the chance to see wolves, bison, pronghorn, badgers and bears.
The U.S.’s Trail Ridge Road, Beartooth Highway, San Juan Skyway and Needles Highway also rank in the top 10.
2 – Route des Crêtes, France; 98.5%; 131,200; 8.27
Ranking second is the Route des Crêtes in France. Despite the stunning and highly reviewed views this road trip has to offer, this trip was searched just 131,200 times in the last year.
3- Foothills Parkway, United States; 97.5%; 68,700; 8.17
3- Lamar Valley, United States; 97.4%; 68,000;8.17
5- Trail Ridge Road, United States; 98.6%; 156,400; 7.86
6-Beartooth Highway, United States; 98.2%; 142,300; 7.66
7- Route Napoléon, France; 100.0%; 270,200; 7.45
7- San Juan Skyway, United States; 95.7%; 24,780; 7.45
7- Needles Highway, United States; 97.9%; 140,500; 7.45
10- Great St Bernard Pass, Italy; 96.4%; 82,800; 7.25
“If you’re planning an upcoming road trip, the route isn’t the only thing you need to consider before embarking on your journey,” says Kinread.
“If you plan to drive your own car along the route, it’s important to check your car insurance to ensure your vehicle is fully insured abroad. Alternatively, if you’re planning on hiring a car for your trip, always check the cost of car hire abroad. Car hire can be a huge expense, especially when combined with the cost of fuel, which again varies from country to country.
“When driving abroad, drivers should also make sure to take valid driving licenses with them. It’s also important to research the driving rules within the country they’re visiting, as well as checking if they need an International Driving Permit to drive there.”
(To hear more about the pleasures and tips of road tripping, listen to my award-winning travel podcast, Places I Remember: Episode 18, for a road trip in France/Belgium; Episode 32, for a road trip along the California Coast; Episode 34 to learn about road tripping in a recreational vehicle; and Episode 52, chasing the blues from Mississippi to Memphis. Follow at Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, or at my website in the link in my bio.)