What Are The World’s Most Scenic Roads?
Posted on February 2, 2016
If you think about legendary roads, Route 66 in the US is bound to come to your mind at some point. Although it is rich with history, there are other roads around the world that leave nothing to desire when it comes to spectacular scenery, adventure and hair-rising moments.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
Not far from home, The Great Ocean Road is a 152-mile (243-km) Australian National Heritage route between Torquay and Allansford. Dedicated to soldiers fallen during World War I, the road winds its way along the coast, providing magnificent vistas over the ocean and access to natural rock formations such as the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge. So if you fancy a lot of wind and sun, this one is definitely for you.
Touge Roads of Mount Fuji, Japan
If you get motion sickness, we can only advise you to stay away from these roads with hair-pin bends. Lined with trees, they ascend Mount Fuji among breath-taking landscapes. Legend has it that it is where the art of drifting was born, and even if you don’t fancy yourself a member of the Fast and Furious team, it certainly makes for an interesting and challenging drive.
Khardung Pass, India
Built in 1976, the Khardung Pass is one of the highest-altitude motorable road in the world at 5,359 m (17,582 ft). A mixture of well-paved stretches and dirt tracks with impressive pot holes alternate, flanked by the Himalayans on one side and precipices on the other. It certainly isn’t for the fainthearted but well worth the trip if you are after a real adventure: glaciers, rugged peaks and camel caravans, this road has it all.
Sani Pass, South Africa
The steep gravel road up Sani Pass climbs 1,332 m (4,370ft) with gradients up to 1:3 and it is such a demanding road that, by law, only 4x4 are allowed on it. If you have the proper steed, you will be rewarded with otherworldly landscapes and memories to last a lifetime.
Transfagarasan Highway, Romania
Carved into the surrounding mountains with dynamite, this highway links Transylvania to Walachia via a series of tunnels, bridges and viaducts. It is one of those relatively well-kept secrets that isn’t yet overrun by tourists and you can enjoy spectacular views in peace.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Dotted with charming coastal towns, the Amalfi Coast is home to the SS163, a picturesque road that runs alongside pretty hills and the sparkling waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. If local drivers and their creative interpretation of driving rules have brought you close to several heart attacks, you can recover with ice cream in delightful trattorias. Conor Pass, Ireland It has to be said: it often rains in Ireland. But it is what gives the island its incredibly lush, emerald countryside. The Conor Pass from Dingle Peninsula to Brandon Bay will take you through typically Irish landscapes thanks to a narrow snaking road affording views of verdant expanses of land and shimmering lakes.
Meaning the "Troll Ladder", this road lives up to the legends of Vikings and Norse gods with its larger-than-life scale. Drive up the 9% gradient and 11 hairpin turns for dramatic views over the valleys below and don’t forget to stop to admire the impressive Stigfossen waterfall. There’s a viewpoint at the top, as well as a restaurant.
Ruta 40, Argentina
One of the longest highways in the world, Ruta 40 will take you as high as 4,900m (16,000ft) across 20 national parks and the Andes mountain range, with spectacular passes galore. The southern portion can be quite crowded as it is very popular with tourists, so if you are after solitude and communion with nature, start further up north.
Deals Gap, the "Tail of The Dragon", Tennessee
Deals Gap or Route 129 is the ultimate destination for motorcycle and sports car lovers. With no intersections, it is an unhampered stretch of road along the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest. With 318 turns, it will test your driving skills – and your ability to keep your meal down. Despite its beauty, don’t underestimate the difficulty of this road, as attested by the Tree of Shame, where crashed motorcycle parts are hung on the branches as a reminder of the road's perils.
Denali Highway, Alaska
If you want to get away from it all, you won’t be disappointed by The Denali Highway (aka Alaska Route 8). Its 216 km (135 miles) cross wild, uninhabited landscapes with untouched nature. Make sure you are prepared before starting out though, as there are few services available and even less traffic. Brave its gravel surfaces and be rewarded with unforgettable views of Mount McKinley.
Highway 1, aka "Big Sur", California
Big Sur follows the ragged coastline of central California from San Simeon to Carmel. Famed for its jaw-dropping views over vertiginous cliffs, the highway will give you the opportunity to admire the power of the Pacific Ocean with its waves crashing against statuesque dark rocks. During rush hours, traffic can get slow if you are stuck behind motorhomes, and it is the perfect time to do a detour through the less-travelled but equally beautiful Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, which offers amazing views of the coast too.
San Juan Skyway, Colorado
Traversing some of the most scenic mountain passes in the US, this stretch of road will also take you through America’s history with its sleepy mining towns. Its most famous part is the ‘Million Dollar Highway’, some 19 km (12 miles) between Ouray through the Uncompahgre Gorge to Red Mountain Pass. It is renowned for its challenging driving conditions such as narrow lanes which make passing difficult, steep cliffs and the fact that the road isn’t fitted with guardrails. The ideal route for adrenalin junkies!
If you have caught the travel bug and are thinking of going on a road trip, talk to McCullough. We are an experienced car transport company, and we can take your vehicle, be it a sports car, a caravan or a motorcycle wherever you need it to be.