17 Of the World's Most Spectacular Roads

Road
Country
Length
Highlight
Cabot Trail
Canada 298 km Panoramic views of stunning wilderness
Atlantic Trail
Norway 8 km The famous Storseiundet Bridge
Stelvio Pass Italy 24 km Iconic views of the Alps
Great Ocean Road Australia 241 km Sights including The Twelve Apostles
Milford Road New Zealand 254 km Landscapes unlike anywhere else in the world
North Coast 500 Scotland 830 km Weaving through Scotland’s majestic lochs and mountains
Trollstigen Norway 55 km Cascading waterfalls and breathtaking viewing platforms
Furka Pass Switzerland 34 km Twisting hairpin bends made famous by James Bond
Seven Mile Bridge USA 11 km Panoramic ocean views between Florida Keys
Ruta 40 Argentina 5000 km The breathtaking natural scenery including the Andes
Highway 1 USA 1207 km Sparkling ocean views and beautiful beaches
Going-to-the-Sun Road USA 80 km Sheer cliffs and jaw-dropping views along the route
Amalfi Coast Italy 48 km The stunning sheer cliffs and beautiful fishing villages
Arthur's Pass New Zealand 700 m The bridges, viaducts and redirected waterfalls
Beartooth Highway USA 11 km A great route to the famous Yellowstone National Park
Hardknott Pass England 2 km The 33% gradient on offer makes this a real challenge
Snowdonia Wales 63 km The beautiful views of Wales’ dramatic Wilderness

Cabot Trail, Canada

Sending you around the northern edge of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, this 185-mile route is a great example of why so many people fall in love with Canada. Best enjoyed as a 5-day experience, the curvy route offers panoramic views of the stunning wilderness it graces.

If you’re making the trip, you’ll undoubtedly want to experience the best sights of the region along the way. These include cultural heritage sites and magical hiking trails.

Atlantic Road, Norway

Snaking along the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the Atlantic Road in Norway stretches between Bud and Kristiansund; providing panoramic views in abundance. Coming in at just over 5 miles, it’s relatively short in comparison to many of the roads on this list.

The road features an impressive series of bridges, with the famous Storseiundet Bridge providing the undoubted highlight of these. Opened in 1989, the Atlantic Road was named as Norway’s ‘Construction of the Century’ back in 2005.

Stelvio Pass, Italy

Hailed by Top Gear as the best driving road in the world in 2008, the Stelvio Pass is one of the most dramatic mountain passes to traverse The Alps. Iconic with motorcycle and car enthusiasts alike, many feel it is best approached from the North West side. This route enables you to drive the route’s famous wall of switchbacks.

With an elevation reaching 2,757 metres above sea level, a drive either up or down the pass is not for the faint-hearted, but the views make it more than than worth the effort.

Great Ocean Road, Australia

Sprawling for more than 150 miles, Australia’s Great Ocean Road is hard to rival for driving beauty. Arguably a destination in its own right, it provides a great through-route for adventure sport stop-offs such as kayaking and scuba diving.

The route begins just outside of Melbourne, Torquay and stretches to Warrnambool. Highlights along the way include The Twelve Apostles, The Arch, The Bay Of Islands and Kennet River.

Milford Road, New Zealand

Transporting you right to the heart of all that’s great about New Zealand, this epic drive takes in the stunning Southern Alps of Milford Sound. This is a landscape quite unlike anywhere else on the planet and it’s a real must for road trip fanatics.

From Te Anau to Milford Sound, the journey takes around 4 hours; meaning that if you’re in the area, there’s no excuse not to take the drive!

North Coast 500, Scotland

Nicknamed ‘Scotland’s answer to Route 66’, the North Coast 500’s clue to greatness is in its name. Sprawling a huge 516 miles around the uppermost coast of Scotland, it provides views of some truly breathtaking scenery.

It weaves through lochs and mountains; offering some of the most stunning views of the Scottish coast you can find. With distilleries, hiking trails and seafood restaurants to enjoy around the route, it’s worth allocating plenty of time for your visit.

Trollstigen, Norway

Perched ominously in the depths of the mountains off Norway’s western coast, the Trollstigen Mountain Road brings challenges including thick fog, lashing rain, poor traction, steep inclines and narrow driving space. You need to be pretty fearless to drive here.

If you do, however, decide to take the road on, you’ll get to enjoy some truly astonishing views along 4 miles of unforgettable driving. If cascading waterfalls, isolation and breathtaking viewing platforms sound like your thing, it’s worth the trip.

Furka Pass, Switzerland

Made famous by the Aston Db5 and Ford Mustang car case in James Bond - Goldfinger, the Furka Pass is one of the highest passes in the Swiss Alps. Delivering mind-boggling views of the panoramic, surrounding mountain landscape, it is steep and thrilling in equal measure.

If you struggle with vertigo beware that along much the route there are sheer drops, twisting hairpins and fast-moving traffic all to navigate. When you’re staring in awe at the views on offer though, it’s sure to be worth the effort.

Seven Mile Bridge, USA

An iconic bridge that’s featured in many modern and historical movies, the Seven Mile Bridge in Florida Keys stretches 65 feet above the ocean; linking Knight’s Key and Little Duck Key.

Its exposure to the elements out at sea make this bridge dangerous in the sense that storms could cause you serious problems if you’re out on the road when one strikes. But for the most part, you’ll be safe to enjoy panoramic ocean views.

At the time of writing this article, the bridge is closed for essential repairs; with an unknown re-opening date.

Ruta 40, Argentina

Snaking 5,000km down the entire Western side of Argentina, Ruta 40 provides a road trip opportunity that simply can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Running alongside the breathtaking Andes mountains for a significant chunk of the route, the views here are truly astonishing.

Passing through 18 national parks, across 18 major rivers; there are enough memories to be made here to last a lifetime. Just beware that much of the road isn’t for the faint-hearted; with plenty of poorly-maintained stretches, steep drops and mountain passes.

Highway 1, USA

Highway 1 stretches along the South-Eastern coast of the USA, passing through almost all of California’s most famous cities. Also known as the Pacific Coast Highway; San Jose, San Diego, LA and San Francisco are all on or within close proximity of the road.

Sprawling 750 miles in total length, Highway 1 is ideal for a week-long road trip. With no major protection along its edge, it’s a road that requires driving skill that leaves little room for error. But all this is worth it to drink in the mesmerising, sparkling ocean views and sandy beaches.

Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana

Offering jaw-dropping panoramas at almost every turn of the route, Going-to-the-Sun road is rightly one of the world’s most popular drives. Bordered by sheer cliffs at certain points, the drive can be vertigo-inducing at stages, but it’s worth it for the views.

With a total length of 50 miles, the route isn’t too daunting in terms of scale. You can take in the best of the tundra, glacial lakes and low-valley cedar forests all within one single drive. If you’d rather break things up, there is a mix of accommodation available at various checkpoints.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

One of the world’s most iconic getaway destinations, the Almalfi Coast cuts a dramatic route along the Sorrentine Peninsula of Italy’s Campania region. Traversing through picturesque coastal fishing villages including Positano, Praiano and Amalfi itself, you’ll quickly realise why this is such a popular location to visit.

If you dare to drive the route, then make sure you’re adequately prepared. Even the most hardened of drivers will likely feel a little intimidated by the sheer drops, endless hairpin bends and regular takeovers.  

Arthur’s Pass, New Zealand

With an elevation of more than 700m, Arthur’s Pass is located within New Zealand’s stunning Arthur’s Pass National Park. An engineering marvel, the pass is a key stop on a route that includes bridges, viaducts and redirected waterfalls; all of which help visitors to enjoy this magnificent place.

As with so much of New Zealand, there’s a reason why people choose to visit this scenic country. Just beware that in addition to all of the views on offer, it is important to keep an eye on the weather. This is not a place you want to get stuck in bad conditions - and these are never far away.

Beartooth Highway, USA

The second Montana-based entry in this list, Beartooth Highway is a 67-mile stretch of Highway 212 in the USA. Passing 10,000 mountain lakes and 12 national forest campgrounds, there’s little wonder this is touted as one of the most scenic drives in the states.

Providing a superb way to visit the fabled Yellowstone National Park, you’ll get to enjoy a plethora of fantastic wildlife along the route. It’s worth mentioning that driving Beartooth Highway requires a great degree of care due to the endless twists and turns.

Hardknott Pass, Lake District

Undoubtedly one of the most challenging roads to drive in Britain, Hardknott Pass has a gradient close to 33% - making it England’s steepest drive. If you can face the challenges brought by the road, however, it’s one any driving fan would want to test their skills on.

Offering breathtaking views of the stunning Lake District landscape, the pass was originally a Roman fort used to keep locals at bar. Where possible, look to climb the pass without traffic and don’t attempt the drive in dangerous conditions.

Snowdonia, Wales

This 70-mile drive encompasses everything that’s so great about Wales’ dramatic wilderness; including mountains, waterfalls, coastline and villages. With large swathes of the route positioned in wonderfully-remote surroundings, it’s a great place to leave city life behind.

Given the mountain views on offer, you should naturally expect to find some steep and winding sections of road to navigate. Compared to some of the roads on this list though, you won’t find too much to worry about.

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