The best countries to drive in as a tourist
Exploring a country by car is the best way to truly get the feel for a new location, taking in unique sights and sounds, often off the well-trodden paths most tourists choose to take.
However, driving abroad can pose a lot of challenges, from navigating unfamiliar roads to sorting out insurance and breakdown cover. Luckily with car subscriptions from FINN, all you’ll have to worry about is the price of gas.
So, if you’re looking to explore the open road in a new exotic location, which countries around the world are the best for foreign drivers? We’ve looked into the costs of filling up and hiring a car, road safety, and quality, as well as each destination’s popularity on social media to find out.
Driving Hotspot Score 7.43/10
Taking the top spot is Croatia, with the budget-friendly destination scoring highly when it comes to car hire, averaging just $23 a day. Parking, too, costs just $1.49 for two hours off-street. The southeast European country on the edge of the Mediterranean is also packed with attractions, sharing the top spot with 208 per 100,000 people. Driving conditions in Croatia are also very good, with the country scoring 5.6 out of 7 for the quality of its roads.
Driving Hotspot Score 6.93/10
Up next is one of Europe’s most visited destinations. Packed with cozy coastal towns, vibrant cities, and a wide array of breathtaking landscapes, Spain is one of the best countries to explore by car. The Mediterranean nation ranks high thanks to its cheap car hire, averaging $27 a day, and places in the top 10 for its road quality, scoring 5.7 out of 7.
Driving Hotspot Score 6.52/10
Taking third place is Slovenia, with the diverse nation home to snow-capped mountains and charming old towns making it perfect for exploring by car. The Central European nation scores highly thanks to its cheap parking rates ($2.09 for two hours off-street), and ranks in the top 10 for its proportion of attractions, with 158 per 100,000 people.
Singapore (2.09 road traffic deaths per 100,000 people)
When driving in a new country and obeying a whole new set of traffic laws, if you’re not careful you could find yourself in an accident. Luckily drivers visiting Singapore don’t have to worry too much as the country has just 2.05 road traffic deaths per 100,000 people, making it the world’s safest country to drive through.
When you find yourself behind the wheel in a new country, you might notice that the roads aren’t maintained to the same level as you’re used to at home, which can be quite daunting if you’re not used to them. However, Singapore has the best-kept roads, scoring 6.5 out of 7. In fact, the roads are so well kept they host the Singapore Grand Prix each year.
Latvia ($20 per day)
If you’re driving abroad, it's more than likely you’re hiring a car for your adventure. However, this can be one of the biggest expenses on vacation and an important consideration if you’re on a strict budget. This won’t be too much of an issue in Latvia, with car hire costing just $20 per day on average.
Malaysia ($0.46 per liter)
Fuel is another expense you’ll have to consider when planning a road trip abroad, and Malaysia is the cheapest country for a liter of gasoline. Fuel in Malaysia is so cheap thanks to huge government subsidies and lack of demand keeping prices low. This means a liter of gasoline costs on average just $0.46.
Turkey ($0.97 for two hours)
Parking charges can add up very quickly, especially if you’re visiting a country and aren’t familiar with the best places to park your car. Luckily if you’re driving in Turkey this won’t be too much of a problem. When looking at two hours of off-street parking Turkey is the cheapest country costing $0.97 on average.
Croatia and Ireland (208 per 100,000 people)
Even though exploring the highways and byways of a new country is an adventure in itself, it's the things to do and see that really draw you to a country, so we looked into which locations have the highest proportion of attractions to plan your next adventure around. Croatia and Ireland both tied for the most attractions, with 208 for every 100,000 people.
The United States (1,051,279 posts)
Lots of people now turn to social media as their source of travel inspiration, and the most popular country for people showing off their road trips is The United States. Road trips are a cultural staple in the US, with iconic routes like Route 66 and the Pacific Coastal Highway almost being destinations in themselves. The country has more than a million posts using the hashtag #roadtripunitedstates.
The United States (66,400 annual searches)
Similarly, when it comes to Google searches, the US takes the top spot when it comes to people researching the location for their next road trip. Over the last 12 months, more than 60,000 people searched for “America road trip”.
We looked at the 39 countries around the world for which data was available for each of the following factors. We gave each country a normalized score out of ten for each of the factors, before taking an average across all nine for our final overall score.
Estimated road traffic death rate per 100,000 people according to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory.
The quality of road infrastructure in the country, scored out of seven according to the World Bank.
Car hire cost
The average cost of hiring a car for one day according to Kayak.
The average cost of a liter of gasoline according to GlobalPetrolPrices.com.
The average cost of two hours of parking in an off-street space, according to Parkopedia’s Global Parking Index.
The number of things to do listed on Tripadvisor is calculated per 100,000 people using population data from the World Bank.
The number of Instagram posts mentioning the country using the hashtag “[Country] road trip”.
The number of global Google searches for the term “[Country] road trip” according to Google Ads Keyword Planner.
Data was collected on 05/12/2023.
Currencies were converted on 05/15/2023.