From the steep and the stunning, to the wild and windy, our world is jam packed with roads ready to be explored! Are you ready to take on a new route? Here’s our cream of the crop.
For the drama – The Stelvio Pass, Italy
Where do we start? It’s the home of incredible architecture, bolognese, pizza, and some of the best wine in the world. If there weren’t already enough reasons to visit Italy, add The Stelvio Pass to your list.
Elevated at more than 2,700m above sea level, Stelvio is one of the highest passes in the Alps and a firm favourite amongst bikers and motorists alike. As you can imagine, the views are breath-taking, but the drive is not for the faint hearted. With 48 hairpin bends to navigate, the road itself is a lesson in engineering excellence, and isn’t recommended for drivers fresh out of learning school. But if you’ve got a feel for the wheel and looking for adventure in Italia, this impressive serpentine route won’t disssssapoint!
For the bright lights – Death Valley, USA
Whilst one of the best ways to view Vegas is from the air, this isn’t to say that you won’t have as much fun with two feet in the footwell.
Death Valley as it’s famously known is a 200 mile stretch of road which takes you from Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes, California. As you leave Sin City, the neon lights soon blur into sun-baked boulevards of lunar rock.
The drive is easily done in a day, but it’s worth stopping off at Furnace Creek, which is as hot as it sounds and a sight to behold in itself. Make it a quick pit-stop; Furnace Creek recorded the second hottest temperature ever measured! At 56 degrees we’ll be hitting the road pretty snappy, to find ourselves in the lush greenery of Mammoth, overlooking Yosemite Park.
For the raw beauty (and coconuts) – the Hana Highway, Hawaii
Hawaii is so much more than Lost and 50 First Dates. If you haven’t been, the 1.4 million inhabitants could give you a million and one reasons to visit. The Hana Highway is a 64.4 mile long stretch of road taking you from Maui’s east coast to the town of Hana, with a peppering of not-to-be-missed natural waterfalls on one side and the fresh salt of the North Pacific Ocean to your other.
The route has come under some scrutiny in terms of safety, with many sharp curves and one lane bridges. That’s not to say it isn’t worth keeping your wits about you, share the drive with your fellow travellers and have a good nosey in your guidebooks at the different parts of the journey. Nothing says adventure like a taste of the unfamiliar, life begins at the edge of your comfort zone!
For the home comforts (not the cheese) – Cheddar Gorge, UK
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. Unfortunately, as the name would suggest, this route is not made of cheese. However it does make for quite the road trip, with a vast vista of awe-inducing views.
The B3135 in Somerset may not sound so pretty, but as you take on the twists and turns of the steep climb out of the village of Cheddar (once again, sadly not made of cheese!), find yourself tucked between lush walls of greenery and impressive rock faces. Journey through the gorge to Cox’s Cave; a sanctuary of stalactites and calcites with dancing fountains and mirrored pools. You’ll be forgiven for imagining yourself in a mystical land as you explore the beauty of nature before you.
For the port – the N-222, Portugal
With three world heritage sites recognised by UNESCO, there is no shortage of reasons to visit the Douro Valley. Famed for its wine, the region is also home to the N-222; a winding road from Peso de Regua to Pinhao which has earned the honourable title of the ‘world’s best highway’.
With jaw dropping scenery and a heart-stopping 93 bends, the countryside views are second to none, with the River Douro running alongside in perfect harmony. Visit the surrounding vineyards which are home to Portugal’s celebrated DOC wine, and stay local to enjoy a tipple or two!
For the bucket list – Big Sur, USA
Big Sur, or El Sur Grande as it was originally known, is a rugged stretch of roughly 85 miles of road on California’s central coastline.
It’s right up there with New York’s Times Square as one of the ‘must sees’ in the USA, and for good reasons too. Derived as ‘one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world, an isolated stretch of road, mythic in reputation’, Big Sur attracts tourists from all continents. But it’s definitely worth a drive; preferably in a vintage Cadillac with the Beach Boys blaring, but we’ll leave the decision to you.
Although you can drive Big Sur in a couple of hours, there’s plenty to see and do on the route from San Simeon to Carmel, not to mention the unbeatable views of the Pacific Ocean for the duration of your drive. Make a pit stop at Mcway Falls, or the beach at Garrapata State Park where you might get to see a whale or two!