10 roads to travel by car at least once in a lifetime
It is not the destination that is important, but how you get there, especially when you live an on-the-road adventure in your own car. Of course, not all the trips give the same emotions: there is a big difference between being immersed in city traffic and speeding down the Great Ocean Road, possibly in a convertible, with the lapping of the waves in the background and the wind in your hair.
Considering that today most of us are likely to face a journey that is much more similar to the former, let us console ourselves by looking at pictures of some of the most spectacular roads.
Atlantic Ocean Road
According to The Guardian, the Atlantic Ocean Road is by far the most beautiful road in the world, an 8-km stretch between the cities of Kristiansund and Molde, in the enchanting Norwegian fjords. It is always worth a visit: during a clear and limpid day to spot seals and whales, or in the middle of a storm to see the sea breaking on the shore.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Nature lovers can instead dream of being on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a road surrounded by vegetation which crosses the Appalachian Blue Ridge for more than 700 km, through Virginia and North Carolina. The route is particularly impressive in autumn when the surrounding trees take on a thousand shades of red, yellow and orange.
(Pic: Brian Leon – Flickr)
Do you dream of visiting another planet? Unfortunately you can’t, but you can console yourself with the Dades Gorge and its incredible moon-like landscape. It is an ancient road, 200 km east of Marrakesh, which stretches along the Atlas mountain range connecting the desert with the trading oases of the Tifilalt. Do you want a bit of advice? Spring is the best season to visit the gorge, to admire nature’s colour contrasts.
(Pic: Prashant Ram – Flickr)
Who has never dreamed of an on-the-road trip in the United States? The best way to do this is by taking the spectacular Overseas Highway connecting Miami to Key West, surrounded by the ocean and the many islands that make the landscape unique.
Great Ocean Road
Moving from one continent to another, yet still along an ocean. The Australian Great Ocean Road is one of the most treasured and famous scenic coastal routes of the planet, 243 km through the rainforest, the sandstone cliffs and beaches which make it a real national monument. A unique place for surfing and admiring the steep turns of the Twelve Apostles, the majestic 15-m high limestone pillars.
Chapman’s Peak Road
Once again the sea is the protagonist of the landscape: Chapman’s Peak Road is an extremely winding coastal road overlooking the coast of South Africa. It is located near Cape Town and travelling along this road is a truly unforgettable experience.
Instead, an option appreciated by those who can stand the cold is the Transalpine Road, the steepest road of Romania, which stretches along the Carpathian mountain range and reaches the maximum altitude of 2145 metres at the Urdele Pass, in the Parang Mountains.
If you love the thrill, crossing the Rohtang Pass gives a real adrenaline rush: it is located in India and is one of the most dangerous roads in the world because of its massive landslides. It lies about 4000 metres above sea level and is open only six months a year, from May through November. Driving over it is so dangerous that the Indian government built a tunnel almost nine Km long as a safer alternative. On the other hand, if you have the courage to face it you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of glaciers, mountains and rivers.
For those who suffer from vertigo, we strongly advise against taking the Karakorum Highway, which, with an altitude of 4,639 m, wins the record as the world’s highest paved road. It connects the northern territories of Pakistan to the ancient Silk Road in China, crossing the Karakoram mountain range. The oddity is that the Chinese need a special permit for access, whereas tourists just need to show their passports.
Tianmen Mountain Road
We conclude with one of the most winding roads in the world: the Tianmen Mountain Road. This curvy road is located in the northwest of the Hunan province, in China. It is 11 Km long and has 99 hairpin bends that reach the top and take visitors to the Tianmen cave.
(Pic: Mark – Flickr)
Now that you have been dreaming with open eyes for a few moments, you just need to take the car keys, turn up the radio volume and reach your destination.