Whether it’s experiencing natural wonders, navigating hairpin bends or sleeping under the stars, hiring a car lets you take the road less travelled and explore the world freely. From rugged Iceland landscapes to sandy beach highways in Australia, six travel writers and bloggers share their favourite road trip moments, including the remote destinations and spontaneous pull-overs they’ll never forget.

The road trip: Iceland

The road trip Iceland

Based in New York, Stephanie Vermillion is a travel writer who also runs road-trip travel blog The Wanderlost Way. She spent six days exploring Iceland by road with her fiancé.

“As we sped away from Keflavik Airport for a six-day Iceland road trip, I was convinced we’d landed on another planet. Road tripping—an Iceland must-do—gave my fiancé and I the freedom to explore lesser-known corners of this mesmerisingly wild country. Siglufjörður was one of the remote destinations that quickly stole my heart. Backed by towering mountains, this quaint but remote Northern Iceland fishing town is 28 miles from the Arctic Circle. Given we visited in March, it felt like we had this scenic village to ourselves. While we saw plenty of dramatic landscapes on our trip from Reykjavik to Akureyri, nothing beat those moments of solitude in the mountains.”

The road trip: Poland

The road trip Poland

Jewels Rhode is the founder of travelJewels, a blog dedicated to helping its readers live a full and intentional life through travel. She spent two weeks cruising around Poland with friends.

“I spent two summer weeks road tripping around Poland with my friends, Jacek and Jessica, in a 1,586-mile adventure that started in Warsaw and ended in Krakow. We decided to travel by car so we wouldn’t be restricted by transportation schedules. It was liberating to be able to adjust our adventure as we saw fit. Jacek is Polish and as a local he took on the role of our trusted navigator. Beyond seeing some incredible sights in Warsaw, Łódź, Toruń, Kołobrzeg, and Krakow, a lot of our special moments happened while driving between destinations: blasting music, singing car karaoke and getting history lessons from Jacek, while we were all feeling pure excitement for what was to come next on our journey.”

The road trip: Scotland

The road trip Scotland

Emma Vince is a travel writer and editor of American Express Travel. She spent a week road tripping around the Scottish Highlands.

“After a week driving around glittering lochs and wild highlands, we had one more stop on our Scottish road trip: the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Made world-famous thanks to the Harry Potter films, you can even catch a picture-perfect, red Jacobite steam train puffing by twice a day. That morning, poor visibility on the winding mountain roads put us behind schedule. As we neared Glenfinnan, I could already see clouds of white steam billowing into the sky in the distance. My partner put his foot down, while I shouted, “Follow that train!” Despite our action-movie theatrics, we still arrived late and missed it. As we dejectedly snapped photos of the empty viaduct in the drizzle, I spotted two headlights flashing through the mist. With a cheery toot of its horn, a two-carriage Scot Rail train trundled into view. It was no Hogwarts Express, but I still got my picture of a train crossing the viaduct and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”

The road trip: Greece

The road trip Greece

Abigail King writes the award-winning travel blog Inside the Travel Lab on thoughtful luxury and sustainable tourism. She went on a two-week family road trip through the Greek Peloponnese.

“We were half-way through our road trip when it appeared. The sand tickled the underside of the surf as the sky melted into the pinks and purples of sunset. There, abandoned on the shore of Valtaki beach was a great shipwreck. The sharp edges of the ship, in rust-red, looked defiant rather than forlorn. The locals had grown used to the Dimitrios shipwreck, but for us it was the kind of unexpected discovery we’d hoped for when we set out on our road trip. Our travels began in Athens, looping through the Peloponnese, while we searched for authenticity between Sparta and Olympia with a baby in tow. And with our own set of wheels, we found it.”

The road trip: California

The road trip California

Ellie Walker-Arnott is Digital Editor at Time Out London and also edits Time Out’s Escapes pages. She bundled into a rental car with two of her best friends for a two-week Californian road trip.

“After we picked up our car in San Francisco, our travels took us in a loop via seafood feasts in Santa Barbara, one mega night out in LA, a night of stargazing in the Grand Canyon, sunny hikes in Yosemite National Park and an almost unspeakably-hot day, driving through the deserted heart of Death Valley. But the moment I think about most was just hours after we set off. We’d taken the Pacific Coast Highway, and as Monterey disappeared in the rear-view mirror, the landscape grew wild with rugged cliffs and playful waves. As the sun began to set, the scenery of the Big Sur bathed in the dreamy, golden-hour light was overwhelming. With very few other cars on the road, it seemed like the spectacle was just for us. We soon stopped worrying about getting to our campsite before dark and started pulling over in every lay-by instead, jumping out of the car to stand still and drink it all in.”

The road trip: Australia's east coast

The road trip Australias east coast

Australian travel writer, Ashlea Wheeler, writes about living an adventurous and sustainable lifestyle at A Globe Well-Travelled. Recently, she road-tripped along Australia’s east coast with her friends.

“On a recent road trip, my friends and I rented a car from Brisbane and a week later ended up on Fraser Island, known for its wild dingoes and secret swimming holes. We took our 4WD vehicle along bumpy sand roads through dense forest, then made our way to the east side of the island to find the endless stretch of beach used as a sand highway. One of my favourite moments of the trip was driving along the sand with the windows wide open and the salty ocean air in my face. At one point, we had to pull over so a local sightseeing plane could use the beach as its runway. I turned in my seat to watch in awe as the plane touched down lightly behind us. Experiences like that just don’t happen anywhere else – Fraser Island is like no place I’ve ever been.”

Like this? Discover more destinations that inspire brilliant travel stories or check out our round up of the best road trips in the world.

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