31 of the Most Amazing Roads in the World

Awe inspiring roadways to add to your bucket list!

Apparently, we need to get our cars over seas, through mountain passes, and across complete wildernesses, so we as a species have built some of the longest, strangest, steepest, and most incredible roads in the world. You may see them as incredible feats of engineering and the unconquerable nature of the human spirit, or you can take this list as proof positive that human beings are naturally insane.

You know what this ocean needs? A road.

Overseas Highway, Florida, United States

Drive straight into the ocean.

Overseas Highway, Florida, United States
Photo by Sathish S (Flickr) is licensed under CC 2.0

Enjoy 6.79 miles of nothing but sea on either side of you as you drive out over a system of 42 bridges to the islands in the Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Atlantic Road, Norway

Explore a system of islands and islets … by road.

Atlantic Road, Norway
Photo by Johan Bichel Lindegaard (Flickr) is licensed under CC 2.0

This dangerous, breathtaking road is considered by some to offer the world’s most beautiful drive. Hop across tiny islands over a system of eight roller-coaster-like bridges, including the “bridge to nowhere,” which at first appears like one’s about to drive off into the ocean.

Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road, Canada

Oh, we’ll just wait for the Arctic Ocean to freeze. It’s fine.

Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road, Canada
Photo by Ian Mackenzie (Flickr) is licensed under CC 2.0

Of Ice Road Truckers fame, this highway connects ice-locked communities and is mostly used by huge, heavy tractor-trailers. The fact that anyone uses it at all is pretty crazy, though.

Mountain? What Mountain?

Guoliang Tunnel, China

Drive literally through a cliff.

Guoliang Tunnel, China
Photo by FANG Chen (Flickr) is licensed under CC 2.0

Considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world, this mile-long tunnel through a cliff was reportedly chiseled by only 13 villagers in Huixian, Xinxiang, Henan Province.

Trollstigen, Norway

Explore the Norwegian countryside via hellish hairpin turns.

Trollstigen, Norway
Photo by Martijnvdbraak (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 3.0

Called the “Troll Ladder,” this 65.8-mile stretch contains 11 hairpin bends, which help you to manage the crazy incline of nine percent and get up to 858 meters above sea level (2,814.96 feet, which is still higher than the world’s highest skyscraper).

North Yungas Road, Bolivia

Because guardrails are for people who value their life on Earth.

North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Photo by GilCahana (Wikimedia Commons) Public Domain

On another one of the most dangerous roads, your trip across the “road of fate” or “death road” will include having a rock cliff on one side and a 2,000-foot drop on the other. Oh, and it’s mostly a one-lane road. “Shouldn’t it have guardrails?” you ask. “Shouldn’t we respect our own mortality?” we answer. Also, there’s severe fog occasionally, making it even more ridiculously treacherous.

Tianmen Mountain Road, China

Climb the original stairway to heaven.

Tianmen Mountain Road, China
Photo by Huangdan2060 (Wikimedia Commons) Public Domain

If you don’t feel like taking the world’s longest cable car ride, you can always take the winding road. The 99 turns may be a bit much for you, but you’ll be 3,937 feet in the air when you’re done.

What do you mean, “impassable”?

Karakoram Highway (KKH), Pakistan

Enjoy your nosebleed on the highest paved road on the planet.

Karakoram Highway (KKH), Pakistan
Photo by Saadzafar91 (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 3.0

At an altitude of 16,000 feet, this 800-mile highway between Pakistan and China goes through a nearly impassible strip of land traversed by those going along the Silk Road: the Karakoram mountain range.

Sani Pass, South Africa

You know it’s a serious road when it requires a 4×4 vehicle.

Sani Pass, South Africa
Photo by Vaiz Ha (Flickr) is licensed under CC 2.0

Climb up to an altitude of 2,876 meters (9,436 feet) here. To give you some perspective, aircraft are required to have pressurized cabins at 10,000, and you’re almost there. This mostly one-lane, muddy road also is notorious for bad weather and relentless snow at that height. It’s nuts.

Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand

It’s so scary that you need a special permit to drive it.

Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand
Photo by Ysander (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 3.0

Rated as one of the world’s most dangerous roads, the scary, beautiful, narrow, mostly one-way path over the Shotover River outside of Queenstown is a tense drive to an area that gold miners really, really wanted to get to.

Stelvio Pass, Italy

Get over the mountains that Hannibal couldn’t.

Stelvio Pass, Italy
Photo by hpgruesen (Pixabay) Public Domain

Considered by some to be the world’s greatest road, the Passo dello Stelvio allows you to zip and turn along the top of the Alps at 9,045 feet.

Susten Pass, Switzerland

See the inner Alps in a way that wasn’t possible until 1945.

Susten Pass, Switzerland
Photo by Johnw (Wikimedia Commons) Public Domain

With tight curves through huge mountains, this road gives you the full view of both glaciers and idyllic valleys.

Trans-Sahara Highway, Africa

Certainly, a landmass that has blocked species and civilizations needs a road in it.

Trans-Sahara Highway, Africa
Photo by Albert Backer (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 3.0

Sometimes paved, sometimes not, this 2,796-mile roadway is one of Africa’s most complete border-crossing highways.

Paso de Los Libertadores, Chile/Argentina

It’s called “snails’ pass,” probably because you’d rather have a mucus-coated underside to your car than drive on it.

Paso de Los Libertadores, Chile/Argentina
Photo by Karora (Wikimedia Commons) Public Domain

Another mountainous route with no guardrails and tons of switchbacks, this one is closed most of the year due to snow. It connects two areas that were closed off from each other for much of history.

Trans-Sahara Highway, Africa

Certainly, a landmass that has blocked species and civilizations needs a road in it.

Trans-Sahara Highway, Africa
Photo by AthulBiju94 (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 4.0

Sometimes paved, sometimes not, this 2,796-mile roadway is one of Africa’s most complete border-crossing highways.

Friendship Highway, Tibet

View some of the highest peaks in the world from your car.

Friendship Highway, Tibet
Photo by Royonx (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 1.0

Also in the impassible Himalayas, the less-friendly-looking Friendship Highway will help you get to that big mountain you want to climb so badly: Mount Everest.

You didn’t need that breath you were holding, right?

Great Ocean Road, Australia

Tour a southern highway that hugs the Pacific Ocean.

Great Ocean Road, Australia
Photo by Diliff (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 3.0

This war memorial highway cuts through rainforests, national parks, whale lookouts, and the home of the limestone “Twelve Apostles.” It’s one of the most beautiful roads in the entire world, but you may want to stop and surf while you’re there.

Hana Highway, Hawaii, United States

They call it the “road to paradise” for a reason.

Hana Highway, Hawaii, United States
Photo by Ken Lund (Flickr) is licensed under CC 2.0

Off the coast of Maui is the favorite highway for honeymooners: the Hana Highway, which is known for its rainforests, waterfalls, and unique beaches. It’s the ideal spot for a tropical road trip.

A82 Road, Scotland

See Scotland’s best lochs from the driver’s seat.

A82 Road, Scotland
Photo by N Chadwick (Geograph) is licensed under CC 2.0

Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful drives in the UK in general, the A82’s dramatic views of the Highlands can wow even the most unimpressed traveler. Don’t forget to visit the Rannoch Moor Bridge while you’re there.

The SS163, Italy

Cruise along by the villages of the Amalfi Coast.

The SS163, Italy
Photo by JeCCo (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 4.0

Vistas, gardens, pastel villages, turquoise waters, and, of course, amazing Italian culture make this road a tourist attraction. Just take care, as it’s a winding route near cliffs.

Chapman’s Peak, South Africa

Enjoy the views of red mountains and the turquoise sea.

Chapman's Peak, South Africa
Photo by Mwgielink (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 3.0

With 114 curves in five miles, this breathtaking road might make you a bit queasy as you look down the hundreds of meters at Hout Bay. Just watch out for falling rocks.

Col de Turini, France

Drive, or really tear through, France.

Col de Turini, France
Photo by Jérémie Forget Public Domain

A favorite for Europe’s daredevil drivers, this winding road through the French Alps has also been featured in the Tour de France.

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Japan

The “great snow wall drive” will make you rethink your winter commute (and probably drool a little).

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Japan
Photo by Uryah (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 3.0

This sightseeing route helps you to experience the “roof of Japan,” which also happens to experience heavy snows at an average of 23 feet.

Route 1, Iceland

Watch the sun set on the ocean and the mountains along the “ring road.”

Route 1, Iceland
Photo by Neil D’Cruze (Flickr) is licensed under CC 2.0

Another one of the world’s best road-trip locations, the circle-shaped highway around the island of Iceland is full of glaciers, ice caves, waterfalls, and rainbows.

Connor Pass, Ireland

When you want to be blown away by beauty while also risking your life, go here.

Connor Pass, Ireland
Photo by Adrian Platt (Geograph) is licensed under CC 2.0

Winding through the highest mountains in Ireland and fairy-tale-like vistas on the Dingle Peninsula, this tight street also happens to be mostly one-way. It’s the most beautiful and possibly the most dangerous in Ireland.

Let’s explore America more.

Pacific Coast Highway, California

Cruise through Big Sur and admire the Pacific Coast.

Pacific Coast Highway, California
Photo by Diliff (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 3.0

Considered the site of one of the best road trips in the U.S., the Pacific Coast Highway is often in full view of some of California’s beaches and best attractions.

Valley of Fire Road, Nevada

Feel the flames of victory.

Valley of Fire Road, Nevada
Photo by esudroff (Pixabay) Public Domain

Deep red Aztec sandstone lines the landscape surrounding Nevada State Route 169. In the reflection of the powerful desert sun, the state park really looks like you’re driving through fire.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel, Virginia

Enjoy a stomach-churning 17-mile crossing over water.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel, Virginia
Photo by Wind Watcher (Flickr) is licensed under CC 2.0

Alternating between a couple not-so-scenic tunnels and way-too-scenic bridges, this was considered to be a huge engineering feat when it was originally constructed in the 1960s.

Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana

It’s a road built almost for the sole purpose of being pretty.

Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
Photo by Mcrawfish (Wikimedia Commons) is licensed under CC 3.0

This 50-mile road was created in 1932 for those adventurous Americans hoping to experience the pure, natural setting of Montana. Pass through Logan Pass at 6,646 feet up as you chug along.

Red Rock Scenic Byway, Arizona

When being on fire wasn’t quite enough, head here.

Red Rock Scenic Byway, Arizona
Photo by John Fowler (Wikimedia Commons) CC 2.0

The strange, otherworldly rock formations are the most notable feature of this valley road, considered to be the partner road to the Valley of Fire Road 20 miles west.

Denali Highway, Alaska

Get unspoiled views of natural beauty.

Denali Highway, Alaska
Photo by Nic McPhee (Wikimedia Commons) CC 2.0

This is a landscape that’s practically untouched by man, save for the 135-mile road though mountains and glaciers. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world.

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