21 Roads You Have to Drive in Your Lifetime - part 1
There’s nothing like a road trip to really experience a country. From coastal highways and dizzying mountain passes, to scenic routes through national parks and bridges over great spans of water; roads are the circulatory system that connects a country. After an extensive search online, the Sifter has compiled a list of some of the most beautiful, challenging and unforgettable roads in the world.
While hardly exhaustive, this list should provide great inspiration and bucket list fodder for those planning an upcoming trip. Please feel free to share any additional roads in the comments and perhaps a pt II will be compiled :)
State Route 1 (SR 1) is a major north-south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of the U.S. 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 hugs 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. This segment of the highway, built between 1919 and 1937, also crosses several historic bridges, including the scenic Bixby Creek Bridge shown above. [Source]
Opened on July 7, 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 miles) section of Country Road 64 which runs between the towns of Kristiansund and Molde, the two main population centres 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. For more information check out this featured post on the Sifter.
4. White Rim Road, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
The 100-mile White Rim Road loops around and below the Island mesa top and 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 must remain on roads. 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. [Source]
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 features 98 cars and a total length of 7,455 meters and an ascent 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. [Source]
The Seven Mile Bridge is a famous bridge in the Florida Keys, in 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. [Source]
Chapman’s Peak Drive winds it way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay on the Atlantic Coast of the south-western tip of South Africa. The 9km route, with its 114 curves, skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman’s Peak (593m). The drive is affectionately known as “Chappies” and offers stunning 180° views with many areas along the route where you can stop and take in the exquisite scenery. [Source]
The Stelvio Pass, located in Italy, at 2757 m (9045 feet) is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps, and the second highest in the Alps, slightly below the Col de l’Iseran (2770 m, 9088 feet). Stelvio was also picked by the British automotive show Top Gear as its choice for the “greatest driving road in the world”, although their search was concentrated only in Europe. This conclusion was reached after the team went in search of a road that would satisfy every “petrolhead’s” driving fantasies in the premiere of the show’s 10th season. Top Gear later decided that the Transfăgărăşan Highway in Romania was possibly a superior driving road. [Source]
The Col de Turini (el. 1607 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 with its many hairpin turns. The Col de Turini has also featured three times in the Tour de France (1948, 1950 and 1975) averaging 7.2% over 15.3 km when approached from the East starting at the valley of the river Vésubie. [Source]
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 the Henan Province of China. 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 15 miles more until you reach the junction with the S228. Turn left here and keep following the S229. After 8 miles you reach the village of Nanzhaizen. Turn left again and follow directions to Guoliang, 8 miles further. [Source]