If you feel like going on a getaway vacation, few can be more spontaneous than a road trip, which for many is the perfect way to travel. You just grab some food and water, fill up the tank and hop in the car. But a trip down some roads take a lot of preparations and, sometimes, courage.
Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand
This is the most famous road in the country. The beautiful scenic and also very terrifying path, located in the south-west of New Zealand's South Island It is so narrow and winding that it requires a special permit to drive. It also does not have enough room for two cars, so be sure to not drive too fast. The gravel road is 16.5 miles long and was carved by hand by miners about a century and a half ago.
Tateyama Kurope Alpine Route, Japan
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, known as the "Roof of Japan," includes a highway that cuts through walls of snow. The road passes through the regal scenery of Mt. Tateyama in the Japanese Alps. This is probably the most popular attraction in Toyama, Hokuriku. The full route is open only from mid-April until the end of November.
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Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Virginia
If your anxiety kicks in at the foot of this 4.3-mile span, there is a Drive Over Service that will take you across. This is a dual-span bridge that stretches over the Chesapeake Bay and reaches a height of 186 feet. The 23-mile bridge-tunnel crossing connects Northampton County with Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth.
Rohtang Pass, India
The high mountain pass, located in the Himalayas, is at an elevation of 13,054 feet above sea level. The biggest challenge for people traversing the road is clearing it from the layers of snow. However, landslides are a risk. Cars are only allowed on the road from May to November.
Atlantic Road, Norway
This is one of the most famous roads in the world because of the danger it poses. The unique stretch takes you right out to the ocean's edge. In 2005, the road was voted Norway's "Engineering Feat of the Century," according to Visit Norway. The bridge connects Averøy with the mainland via a series of small islands spanned by a total of eight bridges over 27,000 feet.
Guoliang Tunnel, China
This treacherous road was carved into the cliffside to connect the mountaintop village of Guoliang with the rest of civilization (previously, the only access was via a steep stairway called the "Sky Ladder"). After years of their pleas for a road falling on deaf government ears, local villagers took matters literally into their own hands and hand-carved a 0.75-mile tunnel that's 16 feet tall and 13 feet wide. The roadway twists, turns and dips unpredictably.
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Trans-Sahara Highway, Africa
Crossing the Sahara is a dream for many adventurers and it was pretty much impossible. It was limited to a few caravan routes that linked the Mediterranean with sub-Saharan Africa. Technically the Trans-Sahara Highway, which is about 2,800 miles long, links Algeria's Mediterranean coast to the Atlantic shore in Nigeria.
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James Dalton Highway, Alaska
Alaska's 414-mile James Dalton Highway is the land link between the Arctic Sea oil fields and civilization. Truck traffic picks up during the long, dark winter, when Arctic winds batter the highway and 12 percent grades turn into treacherous miles-long Slip'N Slides. During the summer, beware the rocks and dust kicked up by the speeding trucks.
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Karakoram Highway, Pakistan
The Karakoram Highway, which links China and Pakistan over the 15,400-foot Khunjerab Pass, is the highest paved international road in the world. It winds through some spectacular gorges along the route of the old Silk Road. The international "Friendship Highway" is so unstable and prone to flash floods that almost 900 workers died during its construction, mostly crushed by landslides.
The SS163, Italy
The well-known Amalfi Coast route follows the shoreline from Sorrento south to Salerno in Italy. This is one of the best coastal drives in the entire country. After all, the stunning Amalfi offers nothing but beautiful scenery all around. The road is famous for its hairpin bends, zigzags, and the narrowness in some parts, according to Dangerous Roads. Built at a very steep angle, it winds along the cliffs.
White Rim Road, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Canyonlands is known for its 100-mile White Rim Road at the Island in the Sky. Mountain biking there is an adventure not to be missed. The route in the park is super scenic and largely downhill with some challenging climbs and exciting descents. The Maze also offers some multi-day trip opportunities, according to NPS. Permits are required for all overnight trips in the backcountry.
Chapman's Peak Drive, South Africa
Chapman's Peak Drive in Cape Town takes drivers on a 5.5-mile winding route from Hout Bay to Noordhoek, according to South Africa Tourism. It is commonly referred to as one of the most scenic stretches of road on the planet. Some of the vantage points are up to 1,945 feet above sea level. You can often see whales and dolphins dancing in the ocean below.
North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Aptly nicknamed "Death Road," this winding one-lane dirt and in some places, paved, road in South America is considered the world's most dangerous. About 200 people die each year on this rural road running from the Andes down into the Amazon. Not only does the road lack guard rails while fronting 2,000 feet drops, but it's also commonly covered in fog so visibility is poor, at best.
Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
The 50-mile road cuts the Glacier National Park in half and it's a National Historic Landmark. You will see forests, lakes, deep ravines, and a variety of wildlife in one trip. Don't be intimidated by the tall mountaintops all around. But don't look up so often because the road can get quite narrow at times.
Tuktoyaktuk Road, Canada
Want to drive to the top of the world? Officially Highway 10, it connect Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in Canada's Northwest Territories. It is dubbed the "first all-weather road to Canada's Arctic Coast". After four years of construction in brutally harsh conditions, the highway opened in November 2017. It winds through a lot of frozen landscape of lakes and rivers.
Combe Laval, France
It's often referred to as the most magnificent road in the French Alps. It used to be an important transportation route, but now it is mostly a cyclists' heaven. They like the challenge of a steep climb while looking at the stunning Vercors region. One of the most famous stretches of the road is between St. Jean-en-Royans and Col de la Machine.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
The 413-mile, two-lane Great Ocean Road in southeastern Australia runs east to west, from Torquay to Allansford. It takes about three days to drive along what is the world's largest war memorial. The route was built by soldiers between 1919 and 1931 and serves as a dedication to those killed during World War I.
Hana Highway, Hawaii
The Hana Highway is Hawaii's most famous and treasured road. Explore the almost 65 miles of pure beauty and thrill. You'll drive by steep sea-cliffs and see flourishing mango trees. Stop along the way to soak in views that look like they are from the Jurassic Park movies - breathtaking waterfalls and lots of swimming holes. If you go all the way, you'll make more than 600 turns and drive through shorelines, bridges and hills.
Stelvio Pass, Italy
It takes 48 hairpin turns for this road to climb through gorgeous alpine scenery on its way to the second highest paved pass in the Alps, the 9,045-foot Stelvio Pass. Located in northern Italy's Ortler Alps, this is the highest pass traversed by any cycling Grand Tour. On the way down, navigate another 38 hairpins and hope your brakes hold.
Tianmen Mountain Road, China
It's also called Tianmen Shan Big Gate Road. It's onlt about seven miles long but the highest point of the road is at 4,265 feet above sea level, and the lowest point is 656 feet. To reach to the top you have to drive along the Avenue toward Heaven, which has 99 turns. This is supposed to symbolize that Heaven has nine palaces.
State Route 1, Big Sur, California
Highway 1 offers the chance to just pull over and set up in wherever catches your eye. Framed by mountains on one side and the Pacific on the other, Big Sur Coast (between San Simeon and Carmel-by-the-Sea) is the most beautiful, stirring, and romantic section of the highway. The route runs North-to-South through the state of California along the Pacific coast and has been named a National Scenic Byway.
The serpentine "Troll's Way" winds through 11 hairpin turns at grades of up to 9 percent on its way up to a 2,790-foot mountain pass. Try not to be distracted by the 1,050-foot Stigfossen waterfall that tumbles down alongside the route and into the valley far below.
Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
This legendary road stretched from Belfast to Derry, also known as Londonderry. It's famous because you will see some of the country's most breathtaking sights along the way. There are 40 locations along the route. Sandy beaches, fishing villages, valleys and scary clifftop paths - it's all there.
Milford Road, New Zealand
The road trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound is certainly among the most beautiful experiences you can have in New Zealand. You'll pass right through the heart of Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area.
Sani Pass, South Africa
The mountain pass at an elevation of 9,400 feet is in the western end of Kwa Zulu-Natal province on the road between Underberg and Mokhotlong, Lesotho. This is one of the most dangerous roads in the world - definitely not for the faint of heart - because of many winding twists, hairpins, and plummeting drops. But the scenery is gorgeous.
Overseas Highway, Florida
The 110-mile Overseas Highway, which includes the famous Seven Mile Bridge, connects the Florida Keys to the U.S. mainland. It only takes two-and-a-half hours to drive from Key Largo south to Key West. Those who drive along the Overseas Highway quickly discover why the Florida Keys are unlike anywhere else on Earth.
Route 1, Iceland
Iceland's most traveled road, the 828-mile Highway No. 1, is a ring road that connects some of the island's most popular attractions. Starting and ending in the capital Reykkavik, Route 1 is arguably the most efficient way to see the country's famous waterfalls, glacier lagoons, and the Northern Lights.
Oberalp Pass, Switzerland
The Oberalp Pass links Disentis/Muster in Canton Graubünden with Andermatt in Canton Uri.The 6,706-foot altitude pass is the highest point on the route of the Glacier Express, according to My Switzerland. Shortly before the top of the pass, the Oberalp lake comes into view. The road is often closed because of weather and snow accumulation between October and December.
Kancamagus National Scenic Byway, New Hampshire
You should really go in the fall. The Kancamagus National Scenic Byway, often referred to as "the Kanc," is a 34.5-mile picturesque drive along Route 112. It is known as one of the best fall foliage viewing areas in the entire country. The road is a commerce-free climb past colonial farmhouses, scenic covered bridges, and miles of hardwood and evergreen forest.
Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, Abu Dhabi
Rising 4,070 feet, Jebel Hafeet is the emirate's highest peak. This towering rocky height, which stands guard over Al Ain and borders Oman, is forged out of craggy limestone that has been weathered over millions of years, according to Visit Abu Dhabi. Significant fossil discoveries have been made in the area - more than 500 ancient burial tombs dating back 5,000 years. You can drive or bike to the top via the highway.
A82 Road, Scotland
This major and extremely scenic road runs from Glasgow to Inverness via Fort William. It's 167 miles long. A road trip along A82 will take you an awe-inspiring adventures along the shores of Loch Lomond and Loch Ness, the shadow of Ben Nevis, and the Rannoch Moor Bridge. Just keep your eyes on the road when driving because there are countless twists and turns.
Valley of Fire Road, Nevada
This is the main road through the Valley of Fire State Park, which is a must-see spot for any outdoor enthusiast visiting Vegas. Explore this geologic wonderland with 2000-year-old petroglyphs. The 10.5-mile route connects the east and west entrances of the park and was designated as a Nevada Scenic Byway in 1995.
Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia, Canada
The Cabot Trail's vivid coastal views and scenery are a source of inspiration for many. Experienced cyclists will love the challenging opportunity to bike around the Cabot Trail and tackle the terrain with delight on self-guided adventures.
Gorges du Dadès, Morocco
The series of rugged wadi gorges carved out by the Dadès River are impressive. The heart of the valley is a haven of otherworld landscapes. The best time go is in the spring when the area is overflowing with an exceptionally thriving nature.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia
The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It provides one of the world's most diverse displays on flora and fauna. Beginning at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and ending in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, there is no shortage of natural beauty here. Scenic stops, palatial parks, cozy campsites, and other roadside entertainment provide plenty of excuses for picturesque pit stops along the way.
This winding Transfagarasan alpine road - the second-highest paved road in Romania will have you pass through medieval cities, and maybe stay in a restored castle, and visit a fortified church. The road crosses the southern section of the iconic Carpathian Mountains.
Denali Highway, Alaska
Few highways in the world offer more stunning views every mile along the way. The mountains and glaciers make a regal backdrop. The rolling tundra scattered with shallow lakes in between only enhance the image. The 135 miles from Paxson to Cantwell used to be the only road access to Denali National Park. The highway is closed from October through mid-May.
Col de la Bonette, France
This is the highest paved route in Europe, according to signs along the way - 8,907 feet - although Pico de Veleta in Spain is higher. You will see more bikers than cars along the way, which is not a bad thing at all. Col de la Bonette, located in the French Alps, near the border with Italy, has been a part of Tour de France many times.
Suhua Highway, Taiwan
This is the only highway connecting the northern and eastern parts of the country. It is notorious for being the most dangerous road in Taiwan, but the 73-mile route offers gorgeous views. The highway is often closed due to frequent falling rocks from the mountains along the highway after earthquakes or downpours, according to Round Taiwan Round.
Paso de los Caracoles, Chile
Try taking the road by bike. It has a series of switchbacks, which actually make the ride one of the most demanding in the region, according to Andes by Bike. "Wind combined with the high altitude will make for some pretty slow going." The Argentine side of the pass is of a gentler grade and much better maintained but it has more traffic and tourists. The summit is at 12,598 feet.
Skardu Road, Pakistan
The 104 miles long road is absolutely spectacular, but mostly about how dangerous it is. The route that is 4,900 feet above sea level is mostly known for how notoriously bad the driving conditions are. The road saw its first reconstruction begin last year, even though it was built in 1982.
Ruta de los Volcanes, Spain
Situated in the Timanfaya National Park in the Canary Islands, the unforgettable road, which is just over 6 miles long, will take you to see absolutely awe-inspiring views over volcanic cones and craters. You can even see lava tubes. The road, which also gets quite busy in the summer, is paved but very narrow, especially in the rocky desert.
ER101 Antiga, Portugal
The road will take you on a trip that is basically a circle around Madeira. ER101 is the oldest on the island, and many say - the most gorgeous, too. You'll see a dramatic coastline as you go through scary curves, narrow passages and steep climbs and descents.
Pan-American Highway, Alaska to Argentina
The Pan-American Highway is also known as the "longest motorable" road in the world. It's a 30,000 mile trip from North America to South America through some of the most intense landscapes ever created. Your skills will be put to the test; drive carefully when entering the jungles, mountains, deserts and glaciers.
Zoji La mountain pass, India
The high mountain pass, situated at about 11,575 feet above sea level, is just over 5.5 miles long. It lies between the Western Himalayan Mountain Ranges and Srinagar and serves as a major link between Ladakh and Kashmir, according to Maps of India.
The Adriatic Highway, Croatia
Drive along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. If you make it the entire way, you will see Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Whether weaving its way round deeply indented bays or skirting scree-covered mountains, there's scarcely a single boring stretch.
Forgotten World Highway, New Zealand
This remote and quite mysterious road was built on colonial bridle paths formed in the late 19th century, according to 100% Pure New Zealand. The highway hugs the rugged contours of the land, offering a natural roller coaster experience. The highlights of the road are Whangamomona, Tahora Saddle and Mount Damper Falls.
St. Gotthard Pass, Switzerland
The 6,860-foot mountain pass in the Alp's heart passes the Saint-Gotthard Massif and connects the northern and southern parts of the country. This is the most direct link between Zürich and Lugano. The pass' unique location is challenging. The climb in elevation is thousands of feet.
Passage du Gois, France
Make sure you check the weather before heading out on Passage du Gois. The road floods twice a day and vehicles often disappear during high tide. Wet weather conditions can also leave slippery seaweed lying in the road, another major driving hazard.
Route 66, Illinois to California
No such list is complete without the iconic Route 66. Nicknamed, "The Main Street of America," the 2,451-mile Route 66 was the main highway to the U.S. West Coast when the iconic road first opened in 1926. "The Mother Road" slices through eight states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Riders can still get their kicks on Route 66 at kitschy mom-and-pop roadside motels, neon-lit diners, old-time soda fountains, and remnants of old-school service stations and times gone by.