Anyone that likes to drive has a favorite road. For some, it's coastal road complete with stunning views and a cool sea breeze. For others, it's a winding forest road permeated with greenery, and for others still, it's a fast jaunt through the hills. Regardless of personal favorites, however, there are some roads in the world that just beg to be driven on. Here are 21 roads you should definitely check out!
|1. Highway 1, Big Sur, California|
State Route 1 (SR 1) is a major north-south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of the US state of California. The highway is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA, leading to its designation as an All-American Road. Highway 1 enters the Big Sur region, crossing the San Carpoforo Creek just south of the Monterey County line.
For about 90 miles (140 km) from the San Carpoforo Creek to the Carmel river, the road winds and straddles the cliffs of Big Sur, passing various coastal parks in the area. The road also briefly leaves the coast for a few miles and goes through a Redwood forest in the Big Sur river valley.
|2. Furka Pass, Switzerland|
|The 2,429-meter-high Furka Pass is a high mountain pass in the Swiss Alps connecting Gletsch, Valais with Realp, Uri. The Furka Pass was used as a location in the James Bond movie Goldfinger.|
|3. The Atlantic Road, Norway|
|Opened on July 7th, 1989, the Atlantic Road is a National Tourist Route and was honoured as Norway's Construction of the Century in 2005. The Atlantic is an 8.3-kilometer (5.2-mile) section of Country Road 64, which runs between the towns of Kristiansund and Molde, the two main population centers in the county of More og Romsdal in Fjord, Norway.|
|The road is built on several small islands and skerries, which are connected by several causeways, viaducts and eight bridges.|
|4. White Rim Road, Canyonlands National Park, Utah|
The 100-mile White Rim Road loops around and below the Island mesa top provides expansive views of the surrounding area. Trips usually take two to three days by four-wheel-drive vehicle or three to four days by mountain bike. All vehicles and bikes are prohibited from venturing away from the road. ATVs and non-street legal dirt bikes are not permitted. Pets are also not permitted, even in vehicles. Under favorable weather conditions, the White Rim Road is considered moderately difficult for high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles.
The steep, exposed sections of the Shafer Trail, Lathrop Canyon Road, Murphy’s Hogback, Hardscrabble Hill, and the Mineral Bottom switchbacks make the White Rim loop a challenging mountain bike ride, and require extreme caution for both vehicles and bikes during periods of inclement weather.
|5. Tianmen Mountain Road, Hunan, China|
|Tianmen Mountain is a mountain located within Tianmen Mountain National Park, Zhangjiajie, in northwestern Hunan Province, China. A cable car operates from nearby Zhangjiajie railway station to the top of the mountain. It is 7,455 meters long, and its 98 cable cars ascend through an elevation of 1,279 meters. The highest gradient is an unusual 37 degrees. There is also an 11 km road with 99 bends that reaches the top of the mountain and takes visitors to Tianmen cave, a natural hole in the mountain at a height of 131.5 meters.|
|6. Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys|
|The Seven Mile Bridge is a famous bridge in the Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida, United States. It connects Knight’s Key (part of the city of Marathon, Florida) in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. Among the longest bridges in existence when it was built, it is one of the many bridges on US 1 in the Keys, where the road is called the Overseas Highway.|
|7. Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Town, South Africa|
|Chapman’s Peak Drive winds it way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay on the Atlantic Coast of the southwestern tip of South Africa. The 9 km route, with its 114 curves, skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman’s Peak (593 m). The drive is affectionately known as “Chappies” and offers stunning 180-degree views, with many areas along the route where you can stop and take in the exquisite scenery.|
|8. Stelvio Pass, Eastern Alps, Italy|
|The Stelvio Pass, located in Italy, at 2,757 m (9,045 ft) is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps and the second highest in the Alps at large, slightly below the Col de l’Iseran (2,770 m/9088 ft). Stelvio was also picked by the British automotive show Top Gear as its choice for the “greatest driving road in the world”, although its search was concentrated only in Europe. During the premier of the show's tenth season, Top Gear' s presenters went in search of a road that would satisfy every gearhead's driving fantasies. They later decided that the Transfăgărăşan Highway in Romania was possibly a superior driving road.|
|9. Col de Turini, France|
|The Col de Turini (el. 1,607 m) is a high mountain pass in the Alps in the department of Alpes-Maritimes in France. It lies near Sospel, between the communes of Moulinet and La Bollène-Vésubie in the Arrondissement of Nice. It is famous for a stage of the Monte Carlo Rally, which is held on the tight road and its many hairpin turns. The Col de Turini has also featured three times in the Tour de France (1948, 1950 and 1975).|
|10. Guoliang Tunnel Road, China|
|The Guoliang Tunnel is carved along the side of and through a mountain in China. The tunnel is located in the Taihang Mountains, which are situated in Henan Province. If you want to get there, you should start your trip in Xinxiang. Leave the city by driving north on Huanyu Avenue (the S229). After 13 miles, you’ll enter the town of Huixian. Stay on the S229 for a further 15 miles until you reach the junction with the S228. Turn left here and keep following the S229. After eight miles, you'll reach the village of Nanzhaizen. Turn left again and follow directions to Guoliang, which is a further eight miles down the road.|
|11. Denali Highway, Alaska|
|Denali Highway (Alaska Route 8) is a lightly traveled, mostly gravel highway in the U.S. state of Alaska. It leads from Paxson on the Richardson Highway to Cantwell on the Parks Highway. Opened in 1957, it was the first road access to Denali National Park (then known as Mount McKinley National Park). The Denali is 135 miles (217 km) in length.|
|12. Karakoram Highway, China/Pakistan|
The Karakoram Highway (KKH) is the highest paved international road in the world. It connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass, at an elevation of 4,693 m/15,397 ft. It connects China’s Xinjiang region with Pakistan’s Gilgit–Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions and also serves as a popular tourist attraction. Due to its high elevation and the difficult conditions in which it was constructed, it is also referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The Karakorum Highway is known informally as the KKH, and — within Pakistan — officially as the N-35. Within China, it's known officially as China National Highway 314 (G314).
|13. Great Ocean Road, Australia|
|The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage-listed 243-kilometer (151 mi) stretch of road along the southeastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Warrnambool. The road was built by soldiers that had returned from the fighting of World War I. In fact, the road is also a war memorial - the world's largest - to the fallen of that war. It is an important tourist attraction in the region, winding through varying terrain alongside the coast and providing access to several prominent landmarks, including the nationally-significant Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations.|
|14. Sani Pass, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa|
|Sani Pass is located in the western end of KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa on the road between Underberg and Mokhotlong, Lesotho. Sani Pass is a notoriously dangerous road that requires the use of a 4×4 vehicle. The pass is approximately 9 km in length and requires above average driving experience. While South African immigration at the bottom of the pass prohibits vehicles deemed unsuitable for the journey, the Lesotho border agents at the top generally allow vehicles of all types to attempt the descent. The border between the two countries closes at 4 pm every day and the pass is often closed due to inclement weather conditions, especially during the winter.|
|15. Ruta 40, Argentina|
National Route 40 or RN40 (often called Ruta 40), is a route in western Argentina, stretching from Cabo Virgenes in Santa Cruz Province in the south to La Quiaca in Jujuy Province in the north, running parallel to the Andes mountains. The southern part of the route, a largely paved road through sparsely populated territory, has become a well-known adventure tourism route. Route 40 is the longest road in Argentina and one of the longest in the world (along with U.S. Route 66 and the Stuart Highway in Australia).
It is more than 5,000 km (3,107 mi) long and crosses 20 national parks, 18 major rivers, 27 passes on the Andes, and rises 5,000 m (16,404 ft) above sea level in Abra del Acay in Salta.
|16. Going-to-the-Sun-Road, Glacier National Park, Montana|
|Going-to-the-Sun Road was completed in 1932 and is a spectacular 50-mile, paved two-lane highway that bisects Glacier National Park east and west. It spans the width of the park, crossing the Continental Divide at the 6,646-foot-high Logan Pass. It passes through almost every type of terrain in the park, from large glacial lakes and cedar forests in the lower valleys, to windswept alpine tundra atop the pass. Scenic viewpoints and pullouts line the road. In 1983, Going-To-The-Sun Road was included in the National Register of Historic Places and in 1985 was made a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.|
|17. Dadès Gorges, High Atlas, Morocco|
|Carved over the centuries by the Dades River, the Dades Gorge is now a very popular destination for travelers in Morocco. Travelers in off-road vehicles ( together with a guide) can follow a mountain loop (at certain times of the year), following Dades Gorge as far north as Agoudal, then turning south to head for Todra Gorge. It can be accessed from the small town of Boumaine, which lies 116 km northeast of Ouarzazate and 53 km from Tinerhir. A sealed road runs for 63 km through the Gorge as far as Msemrir, but you'll definitely need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to continue along the route after that. The best time to visit the lower valleys is from March to May and the mountains are best from May to July.|
|18. U.S. Route 550 ‘The Million Dollar Highway, Colorado|
U.S. Route 550 is a spur of U.S. Highway 50 that runs from Bernalillo, New Mexico to Montrose, Colorado in western United States. The section from Silverton to Ouray is frequently called the Million Dollar Highway. The Million Dollar Highway stretches for about 25 miles (40 km) through western Colorado and follows the route of U.S. 550 between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado. It is part of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway. Between Durango and Silverton the Skyway loosely parallels the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Though the entire stretch has been called the Million Dollar Highway, it is really the 12 miles (19 km) south of Ouray through the Uncompahgre Gorge to the summit of Red Mountain Pass which gains the highway its name. This stretch through the gorge is challenging and potentially hazardous to drive. It is characterized by steep cliffs, narrow lanes, and a lack of guardrails. The ascent of Red Mountain Pass is marked with a number of hairpin curves used to gain elevation, and again, narrow lanes for traffic—many cut directly into the mountainsides.
|19. Trollstigen, Rauma, Norway|
Trollstigen (English: Trolls’ Ladder) is a serpentine mountain road in Rauma, Norway, part of Norwegian National Road 63 connecting Åndalsnes in Rauma and Valldal in Norddal. It is a popular tourist attraction due to its steep incline of 9% and 11 hairpin bends up a steep mountainside. Trollstigen was opened on July 31st, 1936, by King Haakon VII after eight years of construction. During peak tourist season, about 2,500 vehicles journey along the road each day.
The road is narrow with many sharp bends, and although several bends have been widened between 2005 and 2012, vehicles over 12.4 metres long are prohibited from using the road. At the 700-meter plateau, there is a car park and several viewing balconies overlooking the bends and the Stigfossen waterfall. Trollstigen is closed during autumn and winter. A normal opening season stretches from mid-May to October, but can sometimes be shorter or longer due to changes in weather conditions.
|20. The Amalfi Coast, Italy|
|The Amalfi Coast is widely considered Italy’s most scenic stretch of coastline - a landscape of towering bluffs, pastel-hued villages terraced into hillsides, corniche roads, luxuriant gardens, and expansive vistas over turquoise waters and green-swathed mountains. Deemed by UNESCO “an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape,” the coast was awarded a coveted spot on the World Heritage list in 1997. The Amalfi Coast lies along the southern flanks of the Sorrento Peninsula, a cliff-edged promontory that wanders out from the mainland at the southern end of the Bay of Naples.|
|21. Transfăgărășan, Romania|
The Transfăgărășan or DN7C is the second-highest paved road in Romania. Built as a strategic military route, the 90 km of twists and turns run north to south across the tallest sections of the Southern Carpathians, between the highest peak in the country, Moldoveanu, and the second highest, Negoiu. The road connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia, and the cities of Sibiu and Pitești.
The road climbs to 2,034 meters in altitude. The most spectacular route is from the north. It is a winding road, dotted with steep hairpin turns, long S-curves, and sharp descents. Former Top Gear host, Jeremy Clarkson, had said about Transfăgărășan that, “this is the best road… in the world” – a title the program’s presenters had previously given to the Stelvio Pass in Italy.