TWO ROUTES in Ireland have been named among the most beautiful road trips in the world-- to nobody's surprise.
The famous Wild Atlantic Way route takes you on a 2,500km journey across the west of Ireland, exploring the stunning coastal areas, looming mountains and cliffs and rolling fields, through nine counties and three provinces, from County Donegal's Inishowen Peninsula to Kinsale, County Cork.
It is one of the most photographed routes in Ireland, with some spectacular and famous sights to be found along the way, such as the Dingle Peninsula, Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's Causeway Coast showcases some of the north's most breathtaking scenery and historic cities, including Belfast and Derry, and brings explorers to the famous Giant's Causeway, steeped in history and myth.
Though a much shorter drive at around 120 miles, the Causeway Coast boasts sights as stunning as the Wild Atlantic Way-- and both have now been recognised for their sheer beauty in a new study which analysed people's favourite road trips around the world.
Using the number of Instagram photographs taken per mile and analysing over 7 million hashtags on the site, a study by Pentagon Motor Group found that the two Irish routes are one of the most popular road trips in the world.
The study found that Australia's Great Ocean Road is the most beautiful road trip on the planet, with an incredible 1,321,570 hashtagged images on Instagram-- or 8,418 images per mile.
The Big Sur in the USA came in second place, with 5,226 photographs per mile, followed by the Jebel Hafeet in the United Arab Emirates with 4,840 pictures per mile.
Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way came in a very impressive 8th place, with 853 photographs per mile, and the north's Causeway Coastal Route came in 19th place, with 244 photographs per mile.
Speaking on the results of the study, Pentagon Motor Group marketing director Jonathan Lingham said:
"Despite the looming question over international travel, road trips are still on cards, thanks to the luxury and convenience of our wheels.
"As there are so many driving holiday destinations around the globe, we were curious to find out which route is officially the most beautiful. It’s great to see so many bucket-list-worthy road trips cropping up from all around the world – from the UK to Australia, and Norway to the USA – it proves that everyone can jump in their car and embark on an epic adventure.”
The top 20 most beautiful road trips in the world, according to the Pentagon Motor Group study, are as follows:
1. Great Ocean Road, Australia – 8,418 pictures per mile
2. Big Sur, USA – 5,226 pictures per mile
3. Jebel Hafeet, United Arab Emirates – 4,840 pictures per mile
4. Hai Van Pass, Vietnam – 4,298 pictures per mile
5. Chapman’s Peak Drive, South Africa – 3,425 pictures per mile
6. Blue Ridge Parkway, USA – 1,148 pictures per mile
7. Going-To-The-Sun Road, USA – 940 pictures per mile
8. Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland – 853 pictures per mile
9. Olympic Peninsula Loop, USA – 798 pictures per mile
10. Icefields Parkway, Canada – 781 pictures per mile
11. Route 66, USA – 780 pictures per mile
12. Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria – 677 pictures per mile
13. Pacific Highway, Australia – 657 pictures per mile
14. Tioga Pass, USA – 533 pictures per mile
15. Military Road, UK – 483 pictures per mile
16. Cabot Trail, Canada – 466 pictures per mile
17. Hana Highway, USA – 345 pictures per mile
18. The Atlantic Road, Norway – 294 pictures per mile
19. Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland – 244 pictures per mile
20. North Coast 500, Scotland – 226 pictures per mile
You can read the full report on the Pentagon Motor Group website here.