The 7 Most Beautiful Roads in the World

The best way to see a country has always been to do it slowly, savoring every experience and every stop as opposed to rushing through airports hoping you’ll make your flight in time. With the development of vehicles that are more capable than ever of withstanding the elements, road trips have increasingly become the traveling mode of choice.

Aside from allowing you to go at your own pace, road trips let you take as many passengers as your car can hold at no extra cost, so you can have the time of your life cruising along the highway with your friends. Road trips also cost considerably less than other modes of travel, and everyone can always chip in for gas and maintenance check-ups.

To truly maximize your road trip experience, here are seven roads you must travel on at least once in your lifetime. They are the world’s most beautiful roads.

Highway 1 in Big Sur, California

  • Highway 1 in Big Sur, California

This highway takes you along the coast of the Pacific Ocean and is over 120 miles long. It’s considered the “All-American Road”, crossing some of the America’s most gorgeous coastlines. The route starts in Monterey, a historic town, and crosses the San Carpoforo Creek to Carmel-by-the-Sea, where you can spot pelicans and kingfishers along its stretch of beach.

You’ll always pass by Point Lobos State Park, which is one of the many coastal parks you will encounter on this road. With a 10-dollar fee, you can enjoy 550 acres of meadows, tide pools, coves, naturally-grown Monterey cypress trees, and 250 species of animals including black-tailed deer, otters, and gray whales. At the cliffs of Big Sur, you can enjoy the view of the waves slapping against the rocks before driving into the redwood forest in the Big Sur River Valley.

The highway also allows you to sight historic bridges like the Bixby Creek Bridge, which is over 80 meters high and 200 meters long. It is one of the USA’s most photographed structures. Stop to look for moonstones or jade on Moonstone Beach, or a spot of fishing at Cayucos, where rockfish and perch are the catch of the day.

The road ends at Morro Bay, where you can gaze at blue herons and beautiful monarch butterflies, but there’s no stopping there without visiting Morro Rock, a 23-million-year-old volcanic cone that stands at over a hundred meters high and is home to peregrine falcons.

Highway 1 takes about five hours to traverse at a leisurely pace. Do be particularly careful when driving along this road in the winter, as mudslides are known to occur. Make sure you’re updated on the weather prior to taking the drive, as the mountain paths can get precariously slippery when it rains. You should also be aware of current road conditions (which you can check via the California Department of Transportation website) so you can be sure of whether your car can handle the trip.

Furka Pass in Switzerland

  • Furka Pass in Switzerland

This winding mountain path is located in the Swiss Alps, and was famous for being one of the locations for the classic James Bond flick, Goldfinger. The road starts from Gletsch, and is 19.3 miles long. The route takes you up close to the beautiful Rhone Glacier for unforgettable photo opportunities, and you can also visit the iconic Hotel Belvedere near the glacier.

Going up the steep slopes of the mountain pass, you get an amazing view of snow-capped Alps at a height of nearly 8000 feet above sea level. However, do make sure to keep your eye on the road as the turns are sharp and the path gets narrow at certain points. The picturesque lake at the top of the pass makes the drive worth it, though.

Furka Pass is occasionally closed when snow storms hit, so avoid making your trip in the winter.

 The Atlantic Road in Fjord, Norway

  • The Atlantic Road in Fjord, Norway

Constructed in 1989 and branded as Norway’s Construction of the Century in 2005, the Atlantic Road is considered a National Tourist Attraction. 5.2 miles long, it starts in Kristiansund and ends in Molde. The road connects islands and reefs by way of bridges, causeways, and viaducts, so you’re essentially driving over the sea. Bask in the stunning view of the seascapes, but do watch out for the waves—the bridges are built low enough over the water that larger waves can drench them. It’s best to travel this road when the tide is low.

Guoliang Tunnel Road in Henan Province, China

  • Guoliang Tunnel Road in Henan Province, China

If you ever wanted to experience driving inside a mountain, Guoliang Tunnel Road offers you the opportunity. This road starts in Xinxiang, curves around, and goes through the Taihang Mountains. Over 30 hewn “windows” of different shapes and sizes provide a view of the outside world, such as mountains and forests.

However, drivers have to be extremely careful on this route, as the rock surface can deal a lot of damage if improperly navigated. The tunnel itself is 3/4 mile long, and really hugs a vehicle, being 15 feet high and 12 feet wide. It’s touted as one of the world’s scariest routes, and has the reputation of being the “road that does not tolerate any mistakes”.

Chapman's Peak Drive in Cape Town, South Africa

  • Chapman’s Peak Drive in Cape Town, South Africa

Also called “Chappies” by the locals, this road takes you from Noordhoek and Hout Bay Atlantic coastline at the southwestern part of South Africa. 5.6 miles long, the road is bordered by sandstone cliffs and the South African coastline on one side, with of mountains on the other. The South African coast boasts a view of one of the most stunning sunsets in the world, and whales have been known to frequent this area. This road also gives you a view of the famous Cape of Good Hope.

Chapman’s Peak Drive boasts 114 hairpin turns, so it’s a definite challenge for drivers and must be navigated with great care. Rock slides have also been known to happen, so keep a vigil when driving along the sides of cliffs.

Stelvio Pass in the Eastern Alps, Italy

  • Stelvio Pass in the Eastern Alps, Italy

This pass is the second-highest paved mountain road located in the Alps. 15 miles long, it is most well-known for the 48 switchback turns going up the face of the mountains to reach a height of over 9000 feet. Top Gear magazine hailed this pass as arguably the “best driving road” of 2008, and as a result of its fame, it is a very busy road.

Travellers suggest beginning the trek from the northwest side of the Alps. From here, you’ll get to drive through nature in the Stelvio National Park. They also suggest starting early in the day or making the drive on a weekday to avoid the deluge of tourist traffic.

The Great Ocean Road in Torquay, Australia

  • The Great Ocean Road in Torquay, Australia

Perhaps the bumpiest of the roads on the list, this road goes through sandy terrain as it makes its way to Warrnambool. 151 miles long, this road leads to the world’s largest World War I war memorial, dedicated to the soldiers of Australia. As you drive along, you’re treated to incredible views of the Australian coastline at Anglesea, but keep an eye on the road as this area is pretty tight. The path can also become slippery and dangerous in the winter and on rainy days. Be especially careful in turning, as missteps can result in scrapes with the bordering cliffs.

Some of the tourist attractions you will see along the Great Ocean Road include the 12 Apostles limestone formation, which are stacks of rock that resulted from the erosion of limestone cliffs; Lorne, a foodie destination famous for its fresh seafood; and the Great Otway National Park.

Make sure your car is in top condition before taking a road trip. Long drives  can take their toll on your engine and cause overheating, so make sure your radiator has enough water or coolant to sustain your car all the way through. Check your brakes and tires prior to the trip, especially if you plan to go through mountain paths.

When going uphill, it is advisable to turn off your air conditioner to avoid putting strain on your engine. When going downhill, avoid relying on the brakes to slow you down, but rather, take the plunge by staying in low gear and going slowly. Avoid cruising at high speeds on narrow roads, as you won’t be able to swerve around incoming traffic. Take frequent breaks as needed, and work out a shifting schedule in driving if you’re travelling with a group.  This gives everyone a chance to rest, be refreshed, and enjoy the views.

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