Written by James Bainbridge

The world's most beautiful bus rides

Long-distance buses may have a reputation for being uncomfortable or unpleasant, but it doesn’t have to be so.

Find the right route and travelling by bus can offer budget travellers a front-row view of scenic byways and lesser-seen landscapes. Intrigued? Check out some of the world’s most beautiful bus rides.

6. Rio Gallegos to Ushuaia, Argentina

It’s a trip to the end of the world; that’s the civic motto of Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, setting the tone of this grand journey. Passengers cross land, sea and international borders.

This bus route crosses the Chilean border, before boarding a ferry to cross the Strait of Magellan, where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet.

After making port in Patagonia, hop back on the bus to cross the Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire), a windswept archipelago that’s home to shipwrecks and mountain ranges, before arriving in Ushuaia.

Distance: 360 miles (580km) Estimated duration: 11 hours Top tip: The meal services on board the ferry are limited so take extra snacks, as well as warm clothes for time spent up on deck.

5. Geelong to Apollo Bay, Australia

You don’t need to rent a car to experience the Great Ocean Road. Bus 101 departs from the historical port city of Geelong and follows along almost half of the famed scenic route.

It stops regularly to pick up wide-eyed backpackers and salty-maned surfers – the combination of which often results in a convivial atmosphere.

Sit on the left for stunning coastal scenery, and on the right to see forested mountains. Final stop Apollo Bay is well located for more Great Ocean Road explorations, including the Twelve Apostles.

Distance: 70 miles (112km) Estimated duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes Top tip: There are tons of great detours along this route, but foodies should consider splashing out on dinner at Brae.

4. Kathmandu to Pokhara, Nepal

Sick bags are handed out at the beginning of this legendary hippy-trail journey, where travellers once rode with their luggage on the roof, a joint clasped tightly between fingers.

The bus connects Kathmandu to the serene alpine lakeside town of Pokhara. It’s only 200km (124 miles), but the rickety bus spends the day climbing mountain passes with aqua-blue rivers running below.

Though the views are mesmerising, you’ll be thankful for the occasional rest stop, where hefty portions of delicious dhal bhat are served in rustic restaurants on picturesque precipices.

Distance: 127 miles (205km) Estimated duration: 8 hours Top tip: Book lakeside accommodation in Pokhara in advance, and ask your lodge to send someone to guide you through the scrum of hotel touts.

3. Tavistock to Dawlish, England

Perhaps the UK’s rarest bus service, the 112 from Tavistock to Dawlish - which crosses the middle of Dartmoor National Park - only runs on the fifth Saturday of the month… between April and September.

Passengers who are organised or just lucky enough to catch the 112 can look forward to an up-close view of Devon’s rolling moorland punctuated by granite tors and herds of Dartmoor ponies.

Pass historic market towns before hitting the coast and trundling into Dawlish, where passengers have just enough time for an English Sunday roast dinner before catching the equally rare return bus.

Distance: 37 miles (60km) Estimated duration: 2 hours Top tip: The small bus only has 16 seats, so get there early to guarantee your spot – you don’t want to wait for the next service.

2. New York City to San Francisco, USA

After leaving New York, this coast-to-coast pilgrimage can take many forms, but following Jack Kerouac’s trail to ‘Frisco’ requires a stop – and wild night out – in Denver, a rough halfway point.

The mammoth three-day Greyhound route, which rolls through the cornfields of Nebraska and deserts of Nevada, also offers optional stop-offs in intriguing, lesser-visited cities.

Try Pittsburgh, home to an avant-garde art museum in a former mattress warehouse, and Salt Lake City, where you can hear the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform.

Distance: 2902 miles (4670km) Estimated duration: 75 hours Top tip: Is 75 hours not long enough? Try a 100+ hour bus ride from Rio de Janeiro to Lima, reputedly the world's longest single bus journey.

1. Marrakesh to Errachidia, Morocco

These desert vistas, hemmed by the dramatic Atlas Mountains, have provided the backdrop to countless cinematic encounters, from Lawrence of Arabia to Gladiator to Game of Thrones.

The story of this great voyage begins in the dizzying souks of atmospheric Marrakesh, quickly ramping up in tension as it approaches the High Atlas via the tortuous Tizi n’Tichka pass (2260m).

The route also passes an arid landscape of mudbrick kasbahs and palm groves to Ouarzazate, nicknamed ‘Ouallywood’ for its film studio, where a troop of Berbers may join your roving cast.

The grand finale is Errachidia, a former French garrison town on the fringe of the Sahara, where sandboarding, camel treks and adventures in the great desert await.

Distance: 308 miles (496km) Estimated duration: 11 hours Top tip: For additional comfort, grab a seat on one of the premium bus lines running this route, such as CTM or Supratours.

Thanks for reading.