Whether you like to take long cross-country drives, or you just like to sit in the passenger seat and admire the views, there are certain roads in the world that will not disappoint you. Roads are one of mankind’s earliest technological advancements, but the roads we are about to look at are true jewels of engineering and construction, proof of mankind’s will to conquer its’ surroundings, no matter how difficult the circumstances. Maybe you like to travel inland or maybe a road trip abroad sounds exciting enough to hit on the gas and go, but in your journey you will find some of the most spectacular roads and highways in the world and you need to know a little about them, as they do have interesting histories. So jump in your awesome new sports car and go for the drive of your lifetime!
1. Øresund Bridge, Denmark and Sweden
This road is truly a wonderful feat of engineering, connecting two countries through an 8 km long bridge and underground tunnel. More so, it is a symbol of a shared cultural identity in the region. Built between 1995 and 1999, this is one road you need to drive, if you’re not scared off by the huge tolls.
2. The Transfagarasan, Romania
This spectacular mountain pass was named one of the most beautiful roads in the world by Top Gear, but its’ scenic beauty hides grim stories of the lives lost while building the 90 kilometers of twists and breath-taking hair-pin turns. It connects the historical regions of Wallachia and Transylvania and the cities of Pitesti and Sibiu and took only 4 years to build, between 1970 and 1974.
3. Stelvio Pass, Eastern Alps, Italy
Similar to the Transfagarasan, this is a high-altitude mountain pass (9045 feet) offering breath-taking views and equally breathtaking challenges for drivers, with its’ 48 hairpin turns. The road connects the Valtellina Valley with the mid Venosta valley and Meran and it can be easily listed among the most spectacular roads and highways in the world, if not for the thrill is presents to the daring drivers, at least for the mind blowing scenery.
4. Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway
Back to Scandinavia, our list brings us to this amazing road that you will love despite its’ shortness (only 5.141 miles). It connects the island of Averoy with the mainland at Eide. The road consists of eight bridges and four resting places and viewpoints and runs across an archipelago of partially inhabited islands.
5. Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Moving on to the other side of the globe, this road is on our list not just because of its’ scenic beauty (natural landmarks, including lime formations known as the Twelve Apostles) but because of its’ significance: it was built by returned soldiers to commemorate those fallen in World War One, literally making this road the world’s largest war memorial.
6. Death (Yungas) Road, Bolivia
This is by far the most dangerous road on this list, and we do not recommend you try it unless you are a very good driver. The 70 kilometers between La Paz and Coroico are laced with death-traps, tight hairpins, no guardrails whatsoever, and the constant danger of taking an 800 meter dive. Anywhere between 200 and 300 people are killed every year on this road.
7. Furka Pass, Switzerland
Ok, we admit it, we love mountain passes. They do make the most spectacular drives and they are the most beautiful roads in the world. But the Furka Pass makes it to our list not because of being so high above sea-level (2429 meters), or for being scenic. It’s on this list because it was used as a location for the James Bond film Goldfinger. So get in your Bond-car of choice, and go see this road!
8. Pamir Highway, Tajikistan
It was about time we wrote about a road in Asia; Central Asia, that is. The Pamir Highway (officially M41) runs a mind-boggling 1252 kilometers and connects Osh and Dushanbe, while crossing the Pamir Mountains. Pack your bags and go on an adventure, but drive carefully! This may belong to the list of the most spectacular roads and highways in the world, but it also belongs to the dangerous ones as well.
9. Gorges du Dades, Morocco
If you happen to be in Morocco and you’ve brought your car, you will want to see it. This road puts the “scene” in scenic, taking you on a fascinating drive through desert landscapes, palm groves and villages, not to mention the Kasbahs lining the road (earning it the nickname “Road of a thousand Kasbahs”)
10. Taroko Gorge Road, Taiwan
“Magnificent and splendid” – that’s what Taroko means in the language of the aboriginal Truku tribe. The road was built by literally carving out rocks from the mountain; an engineering masterpiece, this narrow and winding road joins the East and West coasts by cutting through the mountains.
If you drove on at least one of these spectacular roads and highways in the world, let us know how you felt: was it as thrilling as they seem to be? Is the driving experience a once in a life time opportunity for experimented drivers to test their skills and enjoy a unique ride?