The Most Thrilling Roads In the WorldPosted On: November 23, 2014 By : AutoLife Team
Nothing like setting out on a perfect weather, holding on to the handlebars of your favorite motorcycle or taking control of your dream car and blazing past these amazing routes that simply begs you to hit the road.
So what makes for an epic roadtrip? Normally, it would be the one which takes you to an exciting destination in the perfect weather conditions and on the right set of wheels? But if you were to ask us, no roadtrip is ever worth its salt if you haven’t driven/ridden through the right kind of roads. And by roads, we are not just talking about the insane race track quality highways that snakes its way through the terrain or high speed roads that stretch out till the horizon. It could also be that narrow hillside road where there is no sight of tarmac for miles on end or the treacherous path that climb up a rugged mountain pass. So here you go, find your next dream road trip route among some of these thrilling routes around the world.
DADÈS GORGES ROAD, MOROCCO
Winding through Morocco’s Dadès Valley, the Dadès Gorges road runs 160km with a wild landscape of snow on one side, desert on the other. The drive is spectacular, winding through stunning desert landscapes, villages, palm groves, and with the expansive Jebel Sarhro lunar-scape to the south.
SAINT GOTTHARD PASS, SWITZERLAND
The St. Gotthard Pass is a 2106m high mountain pass in central Switzerland with an asphalted road that is exposed and unsecured in innumerable twists and turns. It’s one of the most thrilling roads in Europe stretching for 64km with sheer drops and serpentine twists before flattening out at the top of the pass.
STELVIO PASS, ITALY
Nestled 2757m up in the Italian Alps, the Stelvio Pass packs 48 high-speed switchbacks into 25km that takes you through several great stretches of alpine forest. While its daunting turns have proven to be challenging to most drivers, the highway’s twisted junctions make it the holy grail amongst motorcyclists.
FRIENDSHIP HIGHWAY, TIBET
The Friendship Highway is an 800km long fantastic mountain road that connects the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to the China-Nepal border at Zhangmu. The scenic route takes you over a flat plateau through tiny villages, ancient monasteries, picturesque turquoise lakes and mesmerizing giant peaks. And the best bit? This road easily gets you to the base camp of mountains like Shishapangma, Cho Oyu and the mighty Everest!
ATLANTIC OCEAN ROAD, NORWAY
The Atlantic Ocean Road is an 8.3km thoroughfare that winds like a sea serpent through the forceful ocean and gives you the chance to drive on the coastal edge of Norway. The majesty of this route is defined by the roads that connect several skerries and islands through revolutionary causeways, viaducts and zigzag bridges.
CHAPMAN’S PEAK DRIVE, SOUTH AFRICA
The Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world. The 9km route, with its 114 curves, skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman’s Peak. It is a must for anyone who is passionate about the majestic Cape Town scenery, with sheer drops to the sea below and towering mountains rising above you.
COL DE TURINI, FRANCE
The Col de Turini is a 1607m high breathtaking mountain pass bordering the French Alps. The road includes a long series of difficult and dangerous hairpin turns that winds up the side of the mountains. The drive is definitely worth it because the Col de Turini has also challenged the best drivers in rally history during the annual Monte Carlo Rally of WRC.
DENALI HIGHWAY, USA
The Denali Highway or Alaska Route 8 spans 217km through undeveloped land that typifies the raw beauty of Alaska. If you don’t mind its gravel surfaces and scarce services, you’ll be treated to grandiose views of Mount McKinley and there’s no shortage of natural eye candies for adventure-seeking motorists.
FURKA PASS, SWITZERLAND
Furka Pass is a 2429m high mountain pass in the Swiss Alps that was also used as a location in the iconic James Bond film Goldfinger. But you’ll probably look anything but Bond-style glamorous when tackling its steep slopes, hairpin bends, switchbacks and sharp blind curves. And if you can take your eyes off the road, you’ll see awesome views of the Rhone glacier as you climb.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD, AUSTRALIA
The Great Ocean Road is not only one of the most scenic highways in the world, it is the world’s largest war memorial as well dedicated to Australian comrades killed during WW1. Despite its sad inspiration, a drive through the 243km heritage site will definitely make you happy, with its beautiful sea views, clear skies, rainforests, beaches, cliff drops and fascinating limestone formations.
HIGHWAY 163, U.S.A
The iconic Highway 163 is a 103km motorway that runs from the small town of Kayenta in Arizona, through to the hamlet of Bluff in Utah. In between you have the Monument Valley which is a postcard depiction of the Wild West with desert scenery, giant red-rock stacks and long straight roads stretching as far as the eye can see.
JEBEL HAFEET MOUNTAIN ROAD, UAE
This immaculate 11.7km road scales the Jebel Hafeet Mountain and ends at a parking lot with only a hotel and a palace belonging to the country’s rulers. So in other words, this stretch of tarmac is empty most of the time and thanks to the two lanes going up the mountain, you can take the bends as fast or slow as you like, enjoying views of the desert.
KARAKORAM HIGHWAY, PAKISTAN
The Karakoram Highway is the highest paved international road in the world with rugged mountainscapes, sand marshes, crystal clear lakes, glaciers and green marsh lands. This nearly 1300km long highway connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass at 4693m. It is often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
LEH-MANALI HIGHWAY, INDIA
The Leh-Manali Highway is a high mountain road situated in India that spans nearly 500km along the Himalayan mountain range and leads to some of the most incredible locations in India like the Pangong Tso Lake, Khardungla Pass, Kargil, Nubra Valley, Zanskar Valley, Spiti and Moreh Plains. It is not a road for the squeamish, but if you’re looking for a lot of excitement, don’t miss this one.
NÜRBURGRING NORDSCHLEIFE, GERMANY
Arguably the most notorious racetrack in the world, this 20.8km loop of tarmac also happens to be a toll road that anyone with 24 euros and a need for speed can drive on non-race days. But keep your inner Michael Schumacher in check as this series of 154 turns has a nasty reputation for humbling even the most seasoned drivers.
OVERSEAS HIGHWAY, U.S.A
The Overseas Highway is a stunning road that stretches over 200km and leaps from island to island, across 42 bridges over the unbelievably blue ocean through the Florida Keys. It’s essentially a five hour drive over water and if you manage to coincide a part of your trip with a sunrise or sunset, chances are you’ll just end up wishing you could cruise along this road forever!
PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, U.S.A
This 2735km highway is a dream drive famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA, leading to its designation as the ‘All-American Road’. In addition to providing a scenic route to numerous attractions along the coast, the route also serves as a major thoroughfare in Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay, Washington and California.
ROAD TO MUSTANG, NEPAL
The road to Mustang is an amazing adventure for off road enthusiasts with a route that offers dramatic landscapes with the higher Himalayas constantly standing guard. While the road to lower Mustang takes you past tough rocky and slushy terrains on a narrow cliffside trail, the drive to Upper Mustang is another challenging treat through dried up river beds, deep canyons, icy stream crossings and past arid mountain deserts.
RUTA 40, ARGENTINA
Also known as RN 40 or National Route 40, Argentina’s famed Ruta 40 is one of the longest highways in the world spanning 5000km long. With peaks reaching as high as 5000m, a drive through Ruta 40 gives you a chance to stop at 27 Andean passes, 18 major rivers and 20 national parks. It is also the route for the gruelling Desafío Ruta 40 race which is part of the Dakar Series calendar.
SANI PASS, SOUTH AFRICA
A pathway from South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal region to neighbouring country of Lesotho, the perilous 9km Sani Pass sends drivers on a hair-raising journey of steep and slippery slopes over the picturesque Northern Lesotho Mountains. You need a 4×4 to traverse this notorious pass – and only if border authorities think your vehicle’s up to the challenge.
TIANMEN MOUNTAIN ROAD, CHINA
The Tianmen Mountain Road is an 11km stretch of tarmac with 99 snaky bends that reaches the top of the mountain and takes visitors to the Tianmen cave, a beautiful dwelling located at the paramount of the peak. The cliffside roads might be intimidating, but the journey to the top of Hunan Province’s famed mountain is truly worth every nervous sweat and tear.
Built as a strategic military route in the 1970s, the Transfăgărășan with its 90km of twists and turns run north to south across the tallest sections of the Southern Carpathians. Linking Transylvania with Walachia through a series of tunnels, bridges and viaducts, the Transfăgărășan is a winding road, dotted with steep hairpin turns, long S-curves and sharp descents.
Trollstigen is a serpentine narrow mountain road in Rauma, Norway. The route’s steep 9% incline, narrow width and 11 hairpin bends make it a supremely wavy ride. The road plateaus at 700m where there’s a carpark and several public balconies for an eyeful of the Stigfossen waterfall and a fantastic view of the valley below.
TAIL OF THE DRAGON, U.S.A
This stretch of the U.S Route 129 offers some of the sweetest curves with no fewer than 318 turns in the course of just 18kms. No driveways or intersections interrupt this forest-lined thoroughfare and it is not the kind of road to sightsee on. The attraction is the road itself and there is really no need to look at the wooded roadside because the curves come at rapid fire.
Photos source: Internet