April 13, 2023

2023 Official Rating: The best global destinations for a scenic drive

A road trip is often seen as the trip of a lifetime, providing an opportunity to travel to a new destination and experience new cultures and cuisines. Road trips come in a variety of shapes and sizes – from a cross-country adventure to scenic drives around a previously-untraveled city.

Whether you're looking for a global experience, or simply want to take in some new sights, picking the right destination is crucial to creating incredible memories to last a lifetime. However, with so many incredible destinations around the world, it can feel overwhelming when you're planning your trip.

That's why, here at DiscoverCars.com, we've done the legwork to curate this ranking of the best global destinations for the ultimate scenic driving experience. Using ratings, out of 10, from over 150,000 travelers from each corner of the globe, we have gathered the creme de la creme of driving locations – based on real-life experiences with each destination.

We've also published the 2024 edition of the rankings.
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So, let's take a look at the top 10 best destinations for a driving holiday:

Bratislava, Slovakia

The top-rated destination for a scenic drive, scoring an average of 9.3/10, is Bratislava – the capital city of Slovakia. With stunning mountain landscapes and idyllic city streets, it's easy to see why this city was the favorite among tourists.

Bratislava is the largest city in the country, providing travelers with plenty of space for driving opportunities. Located at the foot of the beautiful Little Carpathians mountain range, the city offers panoramic views of the mountains, alongside both the River Danube and River Morava. Bratislava is also unique for its position on the borderline of both Hungary and Austria, making it the only national capital to border two sovereign states.

The city is a perfect destination for travelers utilizing cars to see the landmarks – from rows of picturesque dollhouse-like homes and storefronts in Bratislava's Old Town district to the iconic Blue Church in Northeast Bratislava. Travelers can also gain fantastic photo opportunities in front of the Grassalkovich Palace – home of the President of the Slovak Republic – or take a trip to the poignant Iron Curtain memorial.

Rovaniemi, Finland

Scoring an impressive 9.3/10 was the Finnish city of Rovaniemi – the capital of the province of Lapland. With its city center located just 6 km south of the Arctic Circle, between two sets of beautiful hilly landscapes – the Ounasvaara and Korkalovaara – Rovaniemi boasts a wide range of incredible views that cannot be experienced anywhere else on Earth.

Believed by the locals to be the home of Santa Claus himself, Rovaniemi is home to the Santa Claus Village, located at the Arctic Circle. This attraction offers spectacular views of the Northern Lights, alongside providing the opportunity to visit Santa Clause's office and House of Snowmobiles. The Arctic Circle is also a famous photo opportunity, popular with tourists from all over the world.

Perhaps the most notable landmark in the city is the Jätkänkynttilä bridge that covers the Kemijoki River, famed for its 'eternal flame'. For tourists looking for a truly unique travel experience, the Arctic Snow Hotel is also located just 26 km from the city – giving travelers the opportunity to stay in a glass igloo, leading to potentially incredible views of the Northern Lights right above your bed.

Victoria, Seychelles

In third place, with a rating of 9.3/10, is Victoria – the capital city of the Republic of Seychelles. This tropical paradise also placed third in our 2022 ranking, retaining its status as a favorite destination among tourists. Located on the northeastern side of Mahé Island, Victoria is the archipelago's largest city and provides beautiful views of crystal-clear waters and pristine white beaches.

The city is the business and cultural hub of Seychelles, providing excellent driving conditions on well-maintained road surfaces. There is also easy access to many of the 114 other islands that make up the archipelago, with Seychelles International Airport located not far from the city.

Whether you choose to hop from island to island, or fully take in what Mahé has to offer, there is plenty to enjoy – from a bustling fishing harbor to many of the city's colonial-era homes, offering fantastic photo opportunities

Ljubljana, Slovenia

In fourth place, with a score of 9.2/10, is the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. The city has a rich history, dating back to its origins as the capital of the historical Carniola region – one of the Slovenian-inhabited parts of the Habsburg monarchy – during which time it was prized for its location at the middle of a trade route between the Danube region and the Adriatic Sea. Today, Ljubljana is Slovenia's cultural, economic, educational, political, and administrative center.

The city offers stunning views of the neighboring Triassic mountain ranges, alongside Ljubljana Castle – which sits on top of the aptly named Castle Hill to the south of the city center. The city's architecture combines various styles – including Baroque and Vienna Secession – due to rebuilding efforts following an earthquake in 1895.

Notable landmarks include Prešeren Square, Ljubljana's old town pedestrian zone that is frequently utilized for festivals and other gatherings – alongside the town hall, Ljubljanica River, and Slovenian Philharmonic Building.

Kalamata, Greece

In fifth place, with a rating of 9.1/10, is the beautiful Mediterranean city of Kalamata – located on the Peloponnese peninsula. The city is the Peloponnese region's capital city, home to the area's central port. Kalamata has much to offer travelers looking for a scenic drive, including dramatic mountain landscapes, bustling fishing boats, and picturesque cobblestone streets.

Kalamata is home to some beautiful architecture, including the vibrant yellow Archaeological Museum of Messenia – wherein visitors can view some of the region's most significant archaeological discoveries. Many of the buildings feature the classic Greek terracotta roofs, with a variety of pastel colors being used for the buildings themselves – such as the Agios Ioannis (St. John) church, with its pastel peach exterior.

Greece is known for its rich and extensive history and mythology, so it's no surprise that Kalamata is home to some fantastic ancient sites – including the Bassae Temple of Apollo Epicurius, located just an hour away from the city center by car, and the Ancient Messene city ruins – found just 16 miles outside of the city.

Helsinki, Finland

Coming in sixth place, with an impressive score of 9/10, is the Finnish capital of Helsinki. This city is the country's center for culture, politics, education, research, and finance – and is also the most populated urban area in Finland. Together with neighboring cities Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen, Helsinki forms the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area.

Helsinki is a marvel for any driving traveler to enjoy, regarded by many global institutions as one of the best cities of all time. The city offers views of some unique architecture, including buildings in the neoclassical style – such as the Senate Square. Other notable buildings include the extravagant Hotel Kämp, Helsinki's most luxurious hotel.

The city is also home to the National Museum of Finland, which displays a collection dating back to prehistoric times. There is a wide range of art galleries to be found throughout the city, and accommodation is easily accessible and readily available for travelers who need five minutes away from the steering wheel. With so much cultural diversity to be enjoyed, it's no surprise that this Finnish capital ranked so highly with tourists.

Copenhagen, Denmark

From one capital to another, in seventh place on our list, is Copenhagen – the capital of Denmark – with an average rating of 8.9/10. Originally a Viking village that specialized in fishing in the 10th century, Copenhagen was officially recognized as Denmark's capital in the early 15th century and has quickly become a regional powerhouse for its institutions, defenses, and armed forces.

The city is the cultural, economic, and governmental center of Denmark – undergoing intensive cultural investment in recent years to really bring Danish culture to life. Drivers exploring the streets of Copenhagen will be treated to views of vibrant, colorful houses along the waterfront, alongside a bustling fishing harbor. Those wanting to invest some extra time in getting to know the local culture can head to the beautiful SMK – the National Gallery of Denmark – to take in some artwork.

With intriguing architecture, such as Amalienborg Palace – home of the Danish Royal Family – there is plenty for driving tourists to see and do, alongside a wealth of delicious cultural dishes around Strøget – Copenhagen's largest shopping district.

Kefalonia, Greece

In eighth place is the city-island of Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian Islands – the city achieved an average rating of 8.9/10. Fans of nature will fall in love with this island's rich hilly landscapes and beautiful beaches. Kefalonia is one of the most mountainous islands in the Ionian archipelago, home to Mount Ainos, the island's highest peak at 1,628 m.

The island is home to an extensive National Park, which contains several species of indigenous flora – including the Greek fir. Native fauna can also be found in and around the National Park, including the Loggerhead Turtle and Mediterranean Monk Seal. The European Pine Marten is also known to inhabit the island and can be found residing in trees around Kefalonia.

Kefalonia is also home to some of the most unique natural landscapes in the world, including the Melissani underground lake – a lake located within a cave, the Drogarati cave, and Myrtos beach – a stunning white-sand beach, located between two mountains. For travelers looking for the road trip of a lifetime, Kefalonia has much to offer – both on and off the road.

Perth, Australia

In ninth place, with an average rating of 8.9/10 is the Western Australian capital of Perth. The city is home to one of Australia's biggest central business districts, surrounded by the Swan River. Perth is a multicultural city, with just 27% of the city's population consisting of Australians. One of the city's biggest and most notable attractions is Roe Street Chinatown.

For drivers looking to experience a modern metropolis, Perth has plenty to offer – from the Perth Festival, one of Australia's longest-running cultural events, to Perth Concert Hall. Purveyors of the arts will have lots to do, as the city is home to an extensive list of galleries and museums, with something to interest everyone.

If you're looking for some intriguing architecture, the Fremantle West End Heritage area is home to hundreds of Victorian and Edwardian buildings, or head down to the London Court shopping court – an open-roofed mall in a Tudor style.

Adelaide, Australia

And finally, completing our top 10 is the South Australian capital of Adelaide – achieving an average rating of 8.8/10. The city is home to some of the most beautiful and idyllic architecture, including the stunning Brookman Building – part of the University of South Australia's City East campus – and the gray and gothic-looking Parliament House.

Travelers heading to this city by car should take a tour around the five main city squares – including the interestingly-shaped Victoria Square at the heart of the city. Again, this Australian city is also home to a large and famed Chinatown – located on Moonta Street in the Market precinct.

Adelaide is no doubt a popular destination for scenic drives, likely in part due to the wide range of modern and classic architecture co-existing side by side. Some of Adelaide's most intriguing buildings include the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), and the University of South Australia's Hawke Building – each of which has a futuristic design that instantly makes any traveler feel as though they have entered another planet.

Final thoughts

Overall, the feedback provided by our customers has supplied us with invaluable insight into which destinations are the most favored for their scenery when taking a vacation by car. With each destination boasting its own unique features and landscape, it's easy to see how each made the list.

If you need help finding a rental car for your upcoming trip, we are here to help. DiscoverCars.com is a leader in online car hire reservations, comparing car rental deals from many companies to find the best fit for your travel plans and budget restrictions.


156,455 DiscoverCars.com customers rated destinations they visited out of 10 based on their scenic driving experiences. Only places with 100 or more reviewsqualified for the rankings.

Top Related Locations

Here are some other locations that also offer scenic driving nearby. We've also included the closest airports.
  • Ancona, Italy (Ancona Airport): Explore Italy's picturesque Adriatic coastline and rolling hills on a road trip through Ancona, 11th on our list, where stunning seascapes meet charming villages.
  • Hobart, Australia (Hobart Airport): Drive along the scenic coastal roads of Hobart (13th on our list), Tasmania, and witness the rugged beauty of Australia's southernmost state.
  • Kos, Greece (Kos Airport): Discover the rich history and breathtaking landscapes of Greece's Dodecanese Islands as you journey through the idyllic island of Kos.
  • Launceston, Australia (Launceston Airport): Embark on a road trip through Launceston, Tasmania, and experience pristine wilderness, vineyards, and historic towns in one journey.
  • Ponta Delgada, The Azores (Ponta Delgada Airport): The Azores' Ponta Delgada offers an enchanting road trip experience, with volcanic landscapes, lush greenery, and coastal vistas around every bend.
  • Zakynthos, Greece (Zakynthos Airport): Zakynthos beckons with its turquoise waters, dramatic cliffs, and charming villages, making it a perfect destination for a Greek island road trip.
  • Burgas, Bulgaria (Burgas Airport): Take a scenic road trip along Bulgaria's Black Sea coast in Burgas, where golden beaches and historic towns await at every turn.
  • Vienna, Austria (Vienna Airport): Explore Austria's stunning countryside and charming villages as you drive through the scenic routes surrounding Vienna.
  • Horta, Azores Islands (Horta Airport): Experience the dramatic volcanic landscapes and lush greenery of the Azores on a road trip from Horta.
  • Ibiza, Balearic Islands (Ibiza Airport): Discover Ibiza's beautiful beaches, hidden coves, and vibrant nightlife while cruising its scenic coastal roads.
  • Florianopolis, Brazil (Florianopolis Airport): Take a road trip through Florianopolis and enjoy the lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and unique blend of Brazilian and Portuguese culture.
  • Los Angeles, California (LAX): Cruise along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles, and witness breathtaking coastal views and vibrant beach towns.
  • Calgary, Canada (Calgary Airport): Explore the scenic Canadian Rockies on a road trip from Calgary, surrounded by majestic mountains and pristine wilderness.
  • Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (Fuerteventura Airport): Enjoy the dramatic landscapes and endless beaches as you drive through Fuerteventura, one of Spain's Canary Islands.
  • Denver, Colorado (Denver Airport): Venture into the Rocky Mountains from Denver and experience some of the most breathtaking alpine scenery in the United States.
  • Liberia, Costa Rica (Liberia Airport): Start your Costa Rican adventure from Liberia and drive to lush rainforests, volcanoes, and stunning Pacific coastlines.
  • Chania,Crete (Chania Airport): Discover the natural beauty and rich history of Crete as you travel from Chania through picturesque villages and pristine beaches.
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia (Dubrovnik Airport): Drive along Croatia's stunning Dalmatian Coast from Dubrovnik, offering breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and historic towns.
  • Prague, Czech Republic (Prague Airport): Slovakia's neighbor, the Czech Republic, is also a great country to take a road trip. The country has stunning towns like Český Krumlov, and vast nature to be explored.
  • Izmir, Turkey (Izmir Airport): Izmir is a fantastic place for a road trip, with its picturesque coastal routes, historic sites, and vibrant culture waiting to be explored along the way.

Aleksandrs Buraks

Head of Growth at DiscoverCars.com
Aleksandrs has over 10 years of experience in marketing with a focus on creating stellar content that provides topical insights using data. Having taken five road trips across Europe and one in the U.S., he is passionate about traveling by car. His favorite countries to visit are Denmark and Thailand. You can find him on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter.