The world's most beautiful roads you'll want to drive
Remarkable routes around the globe
Hana Highway, Hawaii
Stelvio Pass, Italy
Trollstigen Mountain Road, Norway
Yungas Road, Bolivia
Another contender for the ultimate mountain pass has to be Bolivia’s notorious Yungas Road. Also known as El Camino de la Muerte (“The Road of Death”), the extremely dangerous route goes from capital La Paz to Coroico. The narrow single-lane road is 38 miles (61km) long and goes up a 15,000-foot (4,572m) summit with sheer drops and not a barrier in sight. It’s prone to severe rainfall, landslides and tumbling rocks. The road was built in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners during the Chaco War.
Dadès Valley, Ouarzazate province, Morocco
The Great Ocean Road, Australia
Arguably Australia’s most famous drive, the Great Ocean Road in Victoria is everything its name promises: soaring ocean vistas, sheer cliffs, and near-deserted surf beaches. The 151-mile-long (243km) road goes from Torquay in the east to Allansford and it was constructed along the storm-ravaged coast in the 1920s by Australian servicemen who returned from the First World War and is officially the world’s largest war memorial. Its most famous feature is the Twelve Apostles, a striking rock formation.
Overseas Highway, Florida, USA
One of the longest overwater roads in the world, Florida’s Overseas Highway stretches from Miami on the mainland to Key West, the furthest of the islands. Completed in 1938, many sections of the highway were built over the route of the Florida East Coast Railway, which was irrevocably damaged in a hurricane. It’s 113 miles (182km) long and has 42 bridges, including the famous Seven Mile Bridge. The route offers drivers magnificent views of the Keys and the Florida Straits.
Djurdjevica Bridge, Montenegro
Spanning the Tara River in northern Montenegro, historic Djurdjevica bridge is one of the country’s most spectacular sights and a wonder to drive across. Gaze across at the hills, river and at the gaping canyon below. The lofty arched bridge was built between 1939 and 1940 and was the biggest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe when it was completed. During the Second World War the central arch was detonated to halt the Italian invasion. It was rebuilt in 1946. Discover more of the world’s most beautiful bridges here.
Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand
Skirting along the face of Skippers Canyon near Queenstown with sheer cliff drops down to Shotover River and tight turns, this unpaved road is not for the faint-hearted. The narrow passageway was built between 1883 and 1890 using hand-drilling for the gold miners during the Gold Rush and remains largely unchanged. The dramatic views of the scenic gorge are well worth the heart palpitations.
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Japan
San Boldo Pass, Italy
It’s not very long but this extraordinarily curvy road in the Veneto region of northern Italy lures vintage car lovers around the globe to drive along it. The road, which was built by war prisoners and locals under Austrian command in 1918 between the towns of Trichiana and Tovena, is carved into the rocks. San Boldo Pass is so narrow that only one car can pass along it at a time so there are several sets of traffic lights along the way. Discover more of the world’s most dangerous roads here.
Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
The Millau Suspension Bridge, France
White Rim Road, Utah, USA
Four-wheel drive enthusiasts and mountain bikers love Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah for its network of off-road trails that have been forged around its deep canyons and dramatic landscapes. One of the best is the 100-mile White Rim Road, which loops around and below the towering Island in the Sky mesa. And if you like facing your fears, here’s the most terrifying destination in every US state.
Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, Abu Dhabi
Route 40, Argentina
Cabot Trail, Canada
Looping around Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, this famous 185-mile (298km) route delivers dramatic coastal and highland scenery and all-round thrilling driving terrain. Start at Baddeck and go east or west to see the island’s natural beauty flit by your window. Highlights include Cape Breton Highlands National Park and Pleasant Bay, a top whale watching spot. These 50 photos are sure to make you fall in love with Canada.
Hardknott Pass, Cumbria, UK
Highway 163, Arizona and Utah, USA
If it’s iconic roads as well as dramatic you’re after, then look no further than the Highway 163 Scenic Drive that strikes a route through the red rock desert and extraordinary spires of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. This scenic stretch of asphalt and surrounding epic landscape have starred in countless movies including the 1991 classic Thelma and Louise. Now see the most beautiful scenic byway in every state.
Bealach na ba, Scotland
Meaning pass of the cattle, this narrow old drover’s road twists its way up the mountains of Applecross Peninsula with steep gradients, hairpin bends and distracting views aplenty. It was originally created in the 1820s. Now it’s a tourist attraction with a parking lot at the summit which is 2,053-feet (625m) high so visitors can linger to admire the incredible beauty of the winding road, and gaze across to Skye and the Outer Hebrides.
Jacobs Ladder Road, Tasmania, Australia
Three Level Zigzag Road, India
The Grand Pacific Drive, New South Wales, Australia
Chapman’s Peak Drive, South Africa
Carved out of the steep and towering cliffs, this impressive roadway hugs an extraordinarily beautiful stretch of Atlantic coastline between Noordhoek and Hout Bay in Cape Town. It was constructed between 1915 and 1922 by convicts. Known as Chappies by locals, the toll road has plenty of places to pull over to stop and enjoy the dramatic views, picnic or spot passing whales. For another great South African drive see our guide to the Garden Route.
Combe Laval, France
Road to Sa Calobra, Mallorca, Spain
Step away from the beach and take to the road to explore Mallorca’s wild and beautiful scenery. One of the most incredible roads wends its way up the Serra de Tramuntana mountains and down to Sa Calobra, a little village by the coast. There are plenty of dramatic twists, turns and a fair few knee-wobbling sheer drops, but it’ll be worth it for the epic views of the craggy peaks and startling blue waters below. It’s one of Mallorca’s most fabled ascents for keen cyclists.
Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria
Khardung Pass, India
Going-to-the-Sun-Road, Montana, USA
With steep drops, sweeping views and dramatic weather, the Going-to-the-Sun-Road in the Glacier National Park is one of the world’s ultimate mountain roads. Started in 1921 and completed in 1932, it traverses the entire park, crossing the Continental Divide through Logan Pass at an elevation of 6,646 feet (2,025m). It goes for around 50 miles (80.5km) and is notoriously difficult to snowplow with up to 80 feet (24m) of snow – it can take 10 weeks to clear. Typically, the road is fully open from late June to October. Check out the most beautiful weekend road trip in every state.
Tianmen Mountain Road, China
Sani Pass, South Africa
The Atlantic Road, Norway
One of the world’s all-time most scenic roads, the Atlantic Road connects Averøy with the mainland, crossing a number of small islands and islets with a series of eight bridges. The serpentine highway on the mid-west coast opened in 1989 and offers up spectacular views of the wild Norwegian coastline at every twist and turn. Its most famous section is the striking Storseisundet Bridge, which at some angles appears as if it will drop drivers straight into the sea.
Pacific Coast Highway, California, USA
Driving Highway One from San Francisco to San Diego or vice versa is one of the USA’s most iconic road trips. But the most extraordinary part of the Pacific Coast Highway, as it’s also known, is Big Sur. Stretching from Carmel-by-Sea to Hearst Castle, it’s all crashing ocean, rugged cliffs and towering Redwood trees. The road has recently reopened to drivers after a major landslide closed it in 2017. Discover 32 unusual things you’ll find on a road trip through the USA.
Great Dolomites Road, Italy
Ravishing mountain scenery appears at every dizzying turn on the Great Dolomites Road, which strikes a route through the heart of northern Italy’s mountainous national park from Bolzano to Cortina d’Ampezzo. As well as the looming granite peaks, the road also snakes along past forested hills and pretty lakes and plunges into lush valleys. The section approaching Arabba will thrill driving enthusiasts with over 75 hairpin turns to tackle.
Skippers Road, Skippers Canyon, New Zealand
Abano Pass, Georgia
Remote, majestic and really tricky to get to, the Tusheti region is located on the northern slopes of the Great Caucasus Mountains. The only way to get there is by taking on the treacherous Abano Pass, a narrow, steep, winding and unpaved mountain route leading from Pashvili up to the village of Omalo. As well as facing oncoming traffic, your drive could be hampered by mist and the odd waterfall flowing across the track. The road is only open from late May to early October.
Zoji La Pass, India
Drivers must contend with extreme weather conditions and an extremely narrow and steep route on this hazardous road between Ladakh and Kashmir in India. As well as strong winds and landslides, there are no barriers to prevent vehicles from plunging down the steep gorge. The pass, which climbs to 11,500 feet (3,000m) above sea level on the edge of the Himalayas, is part of National Highway 1, which goes between Srinagar and Leh.
Sichuan-Tibet Highway, China
Route 60, Chile
Guoliang Tunnel Road, China
It might be less than a mile but driving along the terrifying Guoliang Tunnel will feel like one of the longest drives in your life. The rocky tunnel was carved into China’s Taihang Mountains by 13 villagers in the 1970s who wanted a link to the rest of the Huixian, Xinxiang, Henan Province of China. Previously there had only been steep, narrow and dangerous stairs from Guoliang. Uneven and twisty, the tunnel has various “windows” where you can peer down the mountain…if you dare. Talk about dramatic!
Karakoram Highway, Pakistan and China
Another road on most die-hard adventurers’ bucket lists, this is one of the highest paved roads in the world. It also strikes a route through some of its most extreme landscapes. The impressive feat of engineering was started in 1959 and completed in 1979. It runs for around 800 miles (1,288km) from Abbottabad in Pakistan to Kashgar in Xinjiang in West China. The stretch from Gilgit to the Hunza Valley is the most dramatic. If you plan to cross the border at Khunjerab Pass (when travel is back on the agenda), go between May and December.
The Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, New Zealand
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