The Atlantic Road, Norway
Stretching eight kilometres between the towns of Kristiansund and Molde in Norway, the Atlantic Road is renowned for its winding roads and breathtaking coastal views. It is also notorious for its elevated curves and zig zags, becoming particularly treacherous in stormy weather when the ocean is swept up into waves which crash onto the roads. Notwithstanding the unpredictable conditions of this part of Norway, the Atlantic Road attracts thousands of visitors a year for its extraordinary views, having been recognised formally as the country’s Construction of the Century in 2005.
Col de Turini, France
At 1600 metres above sea level, the Col de Turini is a mountain pass in the Alpes Maritimes that forms part of the route for the Monte Carlo Rally. With 34 turns it’s also known as one of the most difficult roads to traverse. The road’s sharp curves make for a challenging drive, but the scenery is worth it with forests of greenery throughout the mountain range, making this one of the most scenic drives in Europe.
Transfagarasan Highway, Romania
Photos don’t do justice to this road, which has been named by Top Gear presenters as one of the best drives in the world. Passing over the Fagaras mountains, the Transfagarasan Highway is 90 kilometres long with turns that wind all the way up to a peak of 2000 metres. It’s not all grand vistas and greenery, though; the drive is intermittently sprinkled with long tunnels, through which one must pass in complete darkness. You might even spot some shepherds on the road with their sheep.
Amalfi Drive, Italy
Its official name, SS163, belies the beauty of what has become one of the most popular drives in the world – the Amalfi Drive. Stretching along the Amalfi Coast, the road is intimidating at best. S-curves, blind bends, steep slopes – if you’re looking for a thrill ride, this is it. At the same time there’s much to leave you in awe, with spectacular views of the cliffs, the jewelled seas and the small pockets of life in the village along the way. The road passes through Positano, a small, colourful village so achingly picturesque it’s almost as if you’re in another world altogether.
Tianmen Mountain Road, China
There’s a reason that Tianmen Mountain Road takes ‘Heaven-Linking Avenue’ as its alternative name. Located in Zhangjiajie in the Hunan Province, the road ascends more than 1000 metres to the top. The best way to reach the peak is by cable car, which will take you all the way to the Tianmen cave, offering stunning views of the summit and valleys. For those driving, the 99 Bends – so-called for its 99 curves – will take you from the foot of the mountain to the very top. Warning: not for those susceptible to motion sickness. It’s a steep ascent, but the end point is ultimately worth it.
Image credits: Royston Rascals (Transfagarasan Highway), Getty Images