Two Irish roads have been named among the top 50 best drives in the world by travel experts Lonely Planet.
It probably won’t surprise those who come from the Emerald Isle that these Irish roads have been recognised as the best drives in the world.
Those who have been reared on the Celtic island know just how damn beautiful and bountiful it is – but for those of you humming and hawing about whether or not it’s time to explore Ireland, here’s just another reason why you should!
Lonely Planet, the leading global travel guide, launched in 1972 and grown to become the world’s leading international travel commentator, has listed Ireland is listed not once but twice in its ‘Epic Drives of the World’!
The Wild Atlantic Way – the classic Irish road trip
The first Irish entry to grace the pages of this ‘epic’ travel bible is the Wild Atlantic Way on the West of Ireland.
The route runs along the coastline starting in the northwest of the country in County Donegal and tracing the coast southward along the waterways, all the way down to County Cork in the southwest.
The inclusion of the coastal drive in such a global list comes as an outstanding achievement, given the time and effort the Irish tourism board have given to promote the Wild Atlantic Way as a travel route.
Not only is this the longest signposted coastal route in the world, but it is arguably one of the most dynamic on the globe!
Lonely Planet agrees and states that it is “a dramatic procession of deserted beaches and towering cliffs where traditional music and ancient castles abound.”
While ancient ruins populate wild and weathered terrain, a dramatic coastline of “strewn jagged cliffs…wide beaches and sandy coves” offer surprises at every turn.
The Wild Atlantic Way, as one of the Irish roads recognised among best drives in the world, is not without challenges.
Its challenging infrastructure is also mentioned by Lonely Planet:
“The roads here are narrow and winding, grass often grows along a hump in their middle, and a herd of sheep can easily scupper all plans,” it states.
The Causeway Coastal Route – explore the land of giants
The second route of the Irish roads declared to be one of the best drives in the world is the Causeway Coastal Route, located in Northern Ireland.
This route has a newfound claim to fame with Game of Thrones (or colloquially known as GOT) fans pilgrimaging in pursuit of GOT filming locations, such as the Cushendun Caves from the ‘shadow baby’ scene, which lives along Causeway Coastal Route.
The route, which is – similarly to the Wild Atlantic Way – flanked by the crashing Atlantic Ocean, provides equally fairytale-feels with abandoned castles, dramatic coastlines, deserted coves, and caves in abundance.
Other contenders – for the bucket list
The book, which can be purchased directly from the Lonely Planet online shop on its website (as well as other outlets), features 50 driving routes worldwide, including those in America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe.
Illustrated maps, top tips, stunning photos, and practical advice are all major benefits of this road trip bible, too.
Other entries for the best drives in the world, alongside the two Irish roads, include Utah’s National Park Circuit, Australia’s Great Ocean Road, the USA’s historic Route 66, Germany’s Black Forest High Road, and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Road.