The Wild Atlantic Way has been named as one of the world’s ultimate road trips. The route is listed in the Lonely Planet’s ’50 Epic Drives of the World’. It joins the ranks of iconic roads such as Route 66 in the US, Australia’s Great Ocean Drive and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Road.
The route, which has reinvigorated tourism all along Ireland’s coast, is named alongside the planet’s most famous road trips. The other Irish route listed is the North’s Coastal Causeway Route which features a series of signposts to Game of Thrones locations. The travel bible dubbed the rebranded 2,575km route from Kinsale to Malin Head at the tip of the country as “untamed and utterly divine. Ireland’s west coast is a dramatic procession of deserted beaches and towering cliffs where traditional music and ancient castles abound,” said the new travel book, Epic Drives of the World.
Lonely Planet uses the famous Oscar Wilde quote of “savage beauty” to describe the Irish scenery. “Ireland’s west coast is battered by Atlantic rollers, strewn with jagged cliffs and littered with wide beaches and sandy coves”, said Lonely Planet. “It’s a place where inky lakes shelter between mountains, sinewy stone walls clamber across hillsides and trees are frequently bent double by the wind. 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.” Donegal’s “gloriously deserted beaches” also get a call-out.
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The other Irish route named among the top 50 road trips is Northern Ireland’s Coastal Causeway Route now heavily signposted with Game of Thrones locations. “Often overlooked for the classic cliffs and laughs of the Irish Republic, the lonely shores of Northern Ireland might just be the perfect day-tripping antidote to Belfast’s urban core,” said Lonely Planet.
The chapter entry features a description of a journey along the route from Belfast to the north coast and back again. It alludes to the huge tourism boon of Game of Thrones, with visitors from all over the world trekking to the route to see various locations for the TV smash hit.
Epic Drives of the World also features wilder driving routes from across the world such as a trip across the salt flats of Bolivia. Each entry in Epic Drives of the World includes a first-hand account with tips and advice for planning a short or long road trip. Other featured routes include driving across the salt flats in Bolivia, the Captain Cook Highway from Cairns to Mossman in Australia and tackling Cuba’s roads from Havana to Viñales.
The Lonely Planet tome also has 200 more trip ideas, from coastal roads and desert drives to wine trails and cultural cruises. The introduction to ‘Epic Drives of the World’ captures the lure of the classic road trip:
“No matter who you are – youthful or more mature, solo or with a family in tow – the open road is irresistible to travellers.”