When the seasons change, so too does the world around us. While summer has its many varied delights, there’s something particularly special about the fall. From wonderful displays of new colours to natural beauty revealed in a new light, as the weather cools and things get a little crisper, the world transforms at our feet and we see things in a newer, fresher light. Take advantage of the changing of the seasons by hiring a car and going on a road trip - here are five of the best ones.
Big Sur, California, US
Believed to be the longest - not to mention most scenic - stretch of undeveloped coastline in the entire US, Big Sur - which roughly translates as ‘the big south’ - is one of the most beautiful regions in the world. And it’s perfect for a fall road trip - this rugged stretch of Pacific Ocean coastline, going from Carmel to San Simeon, offers views of the Santa Lucia mountain range and lots more. The route is also peppered with several state parks, so you could enjoy a couple nights of camping, too (if the weather’s on your side, naturally).
Route One, Iceland
Visiting Iceland in the fall might seem like an odd idea, but bear with us. It’s actually a great time to visit the country. As hotel rooms get cheaper and the tourist crowds thin out, you have a chance to see Iceland in all its glory - amazing scenery, volcanoes, springs and geysers. Not to mention those inspiring Northern Lights. Iceland has its very own national road. Known as Route One, or Ring Road, this 1,332km stretch circumnavigates the island, so jump in your car and drive around the entire country.
North Coast 500, Scotland, UK
Scotland’s North Coast 500 is marketed by Scottish tourist organisations as the country’s answer to Route 66 - that’s quite some hype, but it’s justified. Scotland is a beautiful country, and one that should definitely be experienced by road. North Coast 500 starts from Inverness in the north of the country before going along the west coast to Applecross, then heads north towards the towns of Torridon and Ullapool. Along the way, expect to see some of the finest coastal scenery in the world, not to mention sights like Dunrobin Castle, the most northerly of Scotland's great houses, and the Moray Firth, one of the best places in Europe to see dolphins.
Route 1, US (Coast of Maine stretch)
Route 1 in the US goes from Maine to Florida and covers more than 2,300 miles. To see the best of it, experience the Maine stretch starting from Portland. As you pass mansions, coastal scenery and lighthouses, you’ll see Maine in all its fall glory. There’s also Acadia National Park, one of the most beautiful in the whole of the US and a great place for bird-watching and hiking. If you decide to explore the east coast a bit more and venture further down south out of New England, you can shed the layers and enjoy a bit more sun as you go.
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Want to see the best that mystical, rustic Ireland has to offer? Then do the Ring of Kerry. Apparently this road trip - which loops County Kerry in Ireland’s south-west - is about as Irish as a pint of Guinness, so it’s pretty much a must. As you circumnavigate Ireland’s Iveragh peninsula you’ll experience everything from sandy beaches on the Atlantic, hidden villages, fishing ports, distant islands and the majestic Killarney National Park, the first ever park of its kind in Ireland. Enjoy.