This famous route hugs the Californian coast between Mendocino and Orange County, through forests of giant redwoods and along awesome cliffs with the pounding Pacific below. You won’t be alone in paying homage to this highway, but every driver will be in awe of its scenic wonders.
This spectacular road passes through Romania’s highest mountain peaks in a sinuous series of twists and turns, each offering a new and beautiful view. Start your journey in Sibiu, pass the serene Arges River gorge and detour for cultural delights such as Poienari Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle. This drive is not for the faint-hearted but is rich in rewards.
For a sun-warmed, mango-soaked drive, take Hana Highway on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. With lush landscape on one side and stunning sea views on the other, it’s a serpentine route that inspires awe for the people who built it. When it’s time for a break, stop on one of Hawaii’s famous gorgeous black sand beaches.
One of the most amazing routes anywhere, the Iroha-zaka is a truly unique experience. It is basically a massive one-way system connecting central Nikko and Oku-Nikko, winding its way through 48 corners, each representing a letter in the ancient Japanese alphabet.
5. Pirate Route, Jamaica
Pretend you’re a pirate by traversing a coastal route once terrorised by swashbuckling smugglers. Jamaica’s Pirate Route circumnavigates the island, taking in Kingston, Negril and Montego Bay. Marvel at the Blue Mountains, take in long, uninterrupted sea vistas and lose yourself in the forests rushing by on this unusual drive through Jamaican paradise.
6. Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austria
This is the ultimate Alpine drive, heading across the range’s main ridge between Salzburg and Carinthia towards the highest mountain in Austria, the Grossglockner. Do it before the end of October when it closes for the winter season, and experience an amazing journey that takes you from lowland cornfields to immense expanses of glacial ice.
7. Seward Highway, Alaska
For crystal clear, icy insolation, there’s nowhere better than along the Seward Highway, from Seward to Anchorage. It’s a relatively short drive, only three hours long if you put the pedal to the metal, but its better to spread the trip out by taking time to explore every inch of a round trip. Take in many splendours like ice-capped mountains, ponderous glaciers, gushing waterfalls, and maybe whales offshore if you’re lucky.
8. Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is a long-loved drive and you’ll see its popularity reflected in the number of vehicles negotiating its hairpin turns high above the sea, but don’t let that put you off. Ocean views, beautiful villages and an invigorating drive all accompanied by the scent of lemon trees make this coastal road a perfect slice of southern Italy.
9. Trollstigen Road, Norway
As soon as you see this steep, complicated mountain road, you’ll see why it got its name ‘Troll’s Ladder’. Cut into the rock face, this dramatic road connecting Åndalsnes in Rauma and Valldal in Norddal, Norway is a challenging drive but the view on the way up is astounding. When you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a glimpse of the Stigfossen Waterfall as it gushes down the mountainside.
10. Leh-Manali Highway, India
Open for only two months of the year, between June and September, this famous Indian road connects Kashmir to the Himalayas by way of some of the world’s highest mountain passes, including the Rohtang, which somewhat scarily, means ‘pile of dead bodies’ in Persian. Always check the route and get a permit from the Office of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Manali, before you set out, and get ready for a truly mind-blowing view.
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