There are some places in the world where it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey getting there. These are THOSE spots. Beautiful, terrifying and downright awe-inspiring they all feature in our top 7 list – unforgettable and not to be missed, please go and drive on these routes!
1. Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Town, South Africa
The stuff that dreams are made of – winding your way on this jaw-droppingly beautiful scenic road – 5 miles (9km) going from Hout Bay and along the narrow coastal route to Noordhoek near Cape Town, South Africa. The 114 bends in the road won’t disappoint, in real life it is even more stunning than the photographs. Make sure you stop and take in the stunning ocean views, drivers of the classic Cobra car particularly like this route. If you are lucky you might even spot a whale or two!
2. The Dadès Gorge, High Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Known as one of the best scenic drives in Morocco, the 22 miles (35 km) of twists and turns on this road, high up in the High Atlas Mountains, are dramatic. Make sure you stop off at one of the perfectly located cafes along the way, which have beautiful views. If you want even more adventure you can travel by 4×4 and hire a guide to follow the gorge on the mountain track as far as you can go.
3. Red Rock Scenic Road, Arizona, USA
The famous scenic byway, also known as State Route 179, in Arizona, is a must-see route because of the incredible red rocks along the way. It’s only 7.5 miles (12.1 km) long but as you head through the hills of the Coconino National Forest the ancient rocks are a fascinating sight. There are also great mountain biking and hiking trails here.
4. Irohazaka Winding Road, Nikko, Japan
Like something out of a snakes and ladders game, this crazy winding road connects the picturesque Lake Chuzenji to the town of Nikko. Its name means ‘Iroha Slope’ because originally it had 48 bends in it (now this is thankfully down to 30) and this was equal to the number of characters in the ancient Japanese alphabet ‘iroha’.
The road is beautiful in autumn from mid-October to the start of November. At the top of the pass is the Akechidaira Plateau, a look-out point with stunning views of the valley below.
5. Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Known the world over, this long 151 mile (243 km) Australian National Heritage road takes you through Victoria, in the South-Eastern part of the country, between Torquay and Warrnambool.
Many visitors come here just to experience this beautiful coastal route. It includes several key landmarks along the way, including the breathtaking Twelve Apostles rock formations. There are some spectacular look-out points to stop off at and in the winter the Southern Right Whales can be spotted close to the shore.
6. Furka Pass, Switzerland
This high and iconic mountain pass in the Swiss Alps is best known for its role in the James Bond classic, Goldfinger, with the Aston DB5 and Ford Mustang car chase. At 2429 metres up it has stunning mountain views and takes you very close to the Rhone Glacier, where the River Rhone starts. This really is a wonderful drive, especially in a classic car. Feel those bends!
7. Stelvio Pass, Eastern Alps, Italy
Considered one of the ultimate driving routes in the world, it is the highest paved mountain pass at 2757 metres (9045 ft) in the Eastern Alps and the second highest in the whole of the Alps below the Col de l’Iseran (2770 m, 9088 ft).
A road once built by the Austrian Empire is today legendary because of the crazy hairpin bends that shape its route on the mountain. Beware – it’s such a top driving destination that summer can be hell! It seems that everyone wants to take this scenic drive. Still this is a once in a life-time experience not to be missed.
Have you already driven on any of these routes or do you have any to add to the list? We would love to hear from you so please let us know by commenting below.