Are you a fan of road trips and stunning scenery? If yes, then you’re in for a treat. In this article, we will explore ten of the world’s most scenic drives, taking you on a journey through some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the planet. From winding coastal roads to dramatic mountain passes, these drives offer a unique perspective of the world’s natural beauty.
1. Pacific Coast Highway, California, USA
The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as California State Route 1, is a 655-mile-long stretch of road that hugs the California coast. Starting from Dana Point in Southern California and ending in Leggett in Northern California, the highway takes you through some of the state’s most iconic landmarks, including Big Sur, Monterey Bay, and San Francisco. The drive offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs, and scenic beaches. Be sure to stop at Bixby Bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in the world.
2. Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
The Great Ocean Road is a 151-mile-long coastal drive in Victoria, Australia, that takes you through some of the country’s most scenic landscapes. Starting from Torquay and ending in Allansford, the road passes through the Great Otway National Park, the Twelve Apostles, and the Loch Ard Gorge. The drive offers breathtaking views of the Southern Ocean, towering cliffs, and lush rainforests.
3. Ring Road, Iceland
The Ring Road, also known as Route 1, is a 828-mile-long circular road that takes you around Iceland’s stunning landscapes. Starting and ending in Reykjavik, the drive takes you through dramatic lava fields, glaciers, and hot springs. You’ll also have the chance to witness the Northern Lights if you visit during the winter months.
4. Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is a 34-mile-long stretch of coastline in Southern Italy that offers some of the most breathtaking views in Europe. The drive takes you through charming coastal towns such as Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello, and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Be sure to stop at the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, which offers panoramic views of the coastline.
5. Trollstigen, Norway
Trollstigen, also known as the Troll’s Path, is a 13-mile-long mountain road in Norway that offers stunning views of the country’s rugged landscapes. The drive takes you through steep hairpin bends, waterfalls, and narrow valleys, offering a unique perspective of Norway’s natural beauty. Be sure to stop at the Trollstigen Visitor Center, which offers panoramic views of the road and the surrounding mountains.
6. Milford Road, New Zealand
The Milford Road is a 73-mile-long scenic drive in New Zealand that takes you through the heart of the country’s stunning landscapes. Starting from Te Anau and ending in Milford Sound, the drive takes you through the Fiordland National Park, offering breathtaking views of the Southern Alps, glaciers, and waterfalls. Be sure to stop at the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2 km long tunnel that takes you through a mountain.
7. Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
The Causeway Coastal Route is a 120-mile-long drive that takes you along Northern Ireland’s stunning coastline. Starting from Belfast and ending in Derry, the drive takes you through picturesque coastal towns, such as Cushendall and Portrush, and offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Be sure to stop at the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site that features unique hexagonal basalt columns.
8. Sani Pass, South Africa
The Sani Pass is a 5.5-mile-long mountain pass that connects South Africa and Lesotho. The drive takes you through stunning landscapes, such as the Drakensberg Mountains and the Mkomazana River, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and cliffs. Be sure to stop at the Sani Pass Hotel, which is the highest pub in Africa, and enjoy a refreshing drink while taking in the views.
9. Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austria
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is a 30-mile-long mountain road in Austria that takes you through the heart of the country’s stunning landscapes. Starting from Bruck and ending in Heiligenblut, the drive takes you through the Hohe Tauern National Park, offering breathtaking views of the Grossglockner, Austria’s highest mountain. Be sure to stop at the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding glaciers and peaks.
10. Garden Route, South Africa
The Garden Route is a 186-mile-long drive that takes you through some of South Africa’s most beautiful landscapes. Starting from Mossel Bay and ending in Storms River, the drive takes you through lush forests, stunning beaches, and rugged cliffs. Be sure to stop at the Tsitsikamma National Park, which features unique suspension bridges that offer stunning views of the forest and the Indian Ocean.
In conclusion, these ten scenic drives offer a unique perspective of the world’s natural beauty, taking you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the planet. Whether you’re a fan of coastal drives or mountain passes, these drives are sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and discover the world’s most scenic drives today.
What makes a great scenic drive
A great scenic drive is not just about the road itself but also the landscapes and views that it offers. The route should take you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes, such as mountains, coasts, forests, and lakes. The scenery should be diverse, offering a unique perspective of the surrounding area. The drive should be a journey through different natural habitats, providing an opportunity to see wildlife and explore natural wonders.
A great scenic drive should also be well-maintained, safe, and easy to navigate. The road should be in good condition, and the signage should be clear and easy to follow. The drive should not pose any significant risks or challenges to the driver, such as steep drops or narrow lanes. Instead, it should be a pleasant and comfortable experience, allowing the driver to enjoy the views without worrying about the road conditions.
Another important aspect of a great scenic drive is the accessibility and convenience of the route. The drive should be easily accessible, with good transport links and nearby amenities. The route should also offer plenty of places to stop and rest, such as viewpoints, picnic areas, and cafes. This allows the driver to take a break and soak in the views while enjoying some refreshments.
Lastly, a great scenic drive should provide a sense of adventure and exploration. The route should take you through lesser-known areas, allowing you to discover hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations. The drive should be a journey of discovery, offering the driver a chance to explore new places and learn about the local culture and history.
Overall, a great scenic drive should be a combination of stunning landscapes, safe and easy-to-navigate roads, accessibility and convenience, and a sense of adventure and exploration. It should be a memorable experience that leaves the driver with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural beauty of the world.
Planning a trip on the Great Scenic roads
Planning a trip on one of the world’s great scenic roads can be an exciting adventure. Whether you’re planning a road trip with friends, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, there are some important things to keep in mind to make the most of your journey.
The first step is to choose a destination and route that fits your interests and preferences. You may want to consider the time of year, weather conditions, and the length of the route. Some routes, such as the Pacific Coast Highway in California, can take several days to complete, while others, such as the Trollstigen in Norway, can be completed in a few hours.
Once you’ve chosen your route, it’s important to plan your stops and accommodations along the way. Most scenic roads offer plenty of opportunities to stop and explore, such as national parks, museums, and charming towns. You may also want to plan your meals and snacks, as some routes may have limited options for food and drinks.
When packing for your trip, it’s important to pack appropriately for the weather conditions and the activities you plan to do along the way. If you’re planning to hike or explore the outdoors, be sure to pack comfortable and durable clothing and footwear. You may also want to bring a camera or other equipment to capture the stunning views.
It’s also important to have a well-maintained and reliable vehicle for your journey. Be sure to have your car serviced before your trip and bring an emergency kit, including a spare tire, jumper cables, and other essentials. It’s also a good idea to have a map or GPS device in case you lose cell phone service.
During your trip, take your time and enjoy the journey. Stop often to take in the views, explore the surroundings, and try local cuisine. Be open to new experiences and take advantage of the opportunities to meet new people and learn about the local culture.
In conclusion, planning a trip on one of the world’s great scenic roads can be a memorable and rewarding experience. By choosing the right destination, planning your stops and accommodations, packing appropriately, having a reliable vehicle, and taking your time to enjoy the journey, you can create a trip of a lifetime. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and discover the beauty of the world’s great scenic roads today!