9 incredible roads where cars take a backseat Part 1

There’s no question that driving a two-seater sportscar down a twisty B-road is more enjoyable than driving a four-door family saloon or estate. However, not all B-roads have the sheer scenic beauty that makes driving through a memory to last the ages.

This compilation has roads that are jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring, so much so that it doesn’t matter what car you drive … almost:


Khardung La – India

Khardung la
The vehicles that have managed to reach the pass include the Tata Nano, Lamborghini’s Huracan, and even the 2011 Red Bull Formula 1 car. The height written on the cafeteria is incorrect. Image source: Autocar India, The Automotive India, ghumakkar.com, India Today

One of the highest motorable roads in the world (17852ft/5359m), this road offers spectacular vistas of snowy mountains and valleys that form the Himalayas. While the mountain pass (La means pass in Tibetan) was built in 1976, it was opened to the public in 1988 and has seen cars, motorbikes, trucks, and cycles traverse the 39km (24.4 miles) from Leh, the largest city in Ladakh, Kashmir to Khardung La.

Touge Roads on Mount Fuji – Japan

The mountain passes in Japan are truely spectacular roads but be careful of the white mist that can roll in at any time Image source: Wikipedia Commons

These are the roads where the art of drifting was born. These mountain passes (touge in Japanese) ascend to the caldera of Mount Fuji, the highest point in Japan, offers views of the surrounding untamed land, a stark contrast to the heavily urbanised cities. The scenery is especially pretty during the months of March and April when the cherry blossom tress that line the road are in bloom.


Pan-American Highway – Canada to Argentina

Spanning the entire length of the American continent, the Pan-American Highway is the longest motorable road in the world Image source: Wikipedia Commons

Claimed to be the longest motorable road in the world, this massive network of roads spans nearly 30,000 kilometres (19,000 miles) in length. While there is a short break between Central and South America of about 100km (62 miles) named the Darién Gap, this continuous highway through the entire region offers the most diverse range of scenery anywhere in the world, from the frosty flatlands of Canada, deserts of the USA, and the coastal regions of Central America, to the lush rainforests and mountains of South America.

Death Road – Bolivia

The largely single-lane road has few guard rails and cliffs of up to 600 metres (2,000 feet) Image source: Wikipedia Commons

Known officially as the North Yungas Road, this 64km (40 miles) road has been called the most dangerous road in the world. BBC’s Top Gear, the History Channel, and other broadcasters have driven on the infamous road. Since the new highway was constructed in 2006, this twisted and foreboding road is now used by adrenaline junkies and mad-motorists becoming a popular tourist attraction. That should not take away from just how magnificent the view of the mountains and rainforest are.


The Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland

The Wild Atlantic Way route charts the rich diversity of the precarious and intriguing Atlantic seaboard at the edge of Western Europe Image source: Vimeo Tourism Ireland

The longest coastal route in the world, stretching 2500km (1,562 miles), runs up the western coast of Ireland. Named the Wild Atlantic Way, this route is officially a tourist trail that highlights just how beautiful this island nation is. Said to take between two to four weeks to cover (depending on how many stops you make), the road offers spectacular views of enormous sea cliffs, incredible beaches, and unique culture as you pass through each city.

The Ring Road – Iceland

The road around the island nation is well maintained but winter can make driving hazardous Image source: Wikipedia Commons

The Ring Road (officially called Route 1) in Iceland that encircles the entire island runs about 1,332km (828 miles). Completed in 1974 to coincide with the 1,100th anniversary of the country’s settlement, the ring road connects most major tourist spots and some major cities in the tiny island nation. The exhilarating ocean view, the colourful grassy landscape, and the craggy glaciers seen on the road could be considered a once-in-a lifetime sight.


Chapman’s Peak Drive – South Africa

The spectacular road hugs the near-vertical face of the mountain from Hout Bay to Noordhoek Image source: Wikipedia Commons

Initially constructed during the First World War, this 9km (5.62 miles) route with its 114 curves, skirts Chapman’s Peak, the 593m high southerly extension of Constantiaberg (a 927m high mountain), and follows the rocky coastline to unfold breathtaking views in both directions. The scenery of mountains followed by the coast is jaw dropping. A toll road with various spots for tourism, it is also used for the Cape Argus Cycle Race and the Two Oceans Marathon.


Great Ocean Road – Australia

The road is the world’s largest war memorial built by returned soldiers from World War I Image source: Wikipedia Commons

The 255km (160 miles) route from Torquay to Warrnambool was completed in 1932 and has been described as the most beautiful coastline in Australia. Some of the sights to watch for on this route include the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, Port Campbell National Park, and Apollo Bay. These naturally occurring coastal features are truly spectacular and a must-see for tourists in Australia.

The Southern Scenic Route – New Zealand

The Southern Scenic Route was originally conceived by the people of Tuatapere, Western Southland, who, in 1985, decided to share the delights of southern New Zealand Image source: Wikipedia Commons

This 610km (381 miles) long route trails along the southern edge of the South Island of New Zealand. Beginning at Dunedin and ending in Queenstown, the road provides a view of deserted beaches, native forests, rolling hills, snow-covered peaks, waterfalls, and lakes all in one trip. With vistas like these, it is no wonder Peter Jackson chose the country when making his visually spectacular Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.

This is by no means a complete list. There are scores of roads around the world with scenery so beautiful that it doesn’t matter if you drive a 600bhp sportscar or a 60bhp hatchback. Hence part 2 of this list will arrive on Friday. If you have some more roads to add, let us know in the comments below.


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