The Ten Best Driving Roads

by on Tuesday, November 08, 2011  Tags: , , , ,   |  No Comments

Photo by a.e.ray

An increasing number of people are opting to spend their holidays on a road trip rather than sat on the beach according to studies. It is believed that this trend has been sparked by popular television programmes such as ‘Top Gear’ and ‘Long Way Round’.

This is despite the rise in fuel prices which research by MoneySupermarket.com revealed will result in 65% of drivers opting for a more environmentally friendly vehicle the next time they are on the look out for a new car.

The following is therefore a run down of the ten greatest driving roads which any thrill seeking road tripper would relish.

10. Great Ocean Road, Australia

Photo by `◄ccdoh1►

There is only one word that can be used to describe this 151 mile stretch of road; beautiful. The road along the South-Eastern coast of Australia between the cities Torquay and Warrnambool in the state of Victoria was built by soldiers that returned home following the First World War in honour of their fallen comrades.

It has subsequently been added to Australia National Heritage List and is a fitting memorial to those who sacrificed their lives for their country.

9. North Yungas Road, Bolivia

Photo by Szymon Kochanski

This 43 mile road between Corocio and La Paz in Bolivia built during the 1930s has been officially recognised as being the most dangerous driving road in the world. This is perhaps unsurprising when you consider the 800 meter sheer drop off the side which is not obscured by barriers.

The road has been nicked named “death road” by locals after 100 bus passengers lost their lives when bus plunged off the edge in 1983; an accident which is still regarded as being the nations worst road accident. This is a place that won’t appeal to anyone but the ultimate thrill seeker.

8. Khardung La Pass, India

Photo by isa_adsr

Bolivia isn’t the only country to have stupidly dangerous roads in operation, with India’s Khardung La Pass route being famous for its 17,582 feet drop and impossibly narrow width which makes it nearly impossible to fit two cars side by side along it. Built in 1976, the Khadung La Pass was amazingly intended to be utilised as a route for caravans.
Anyone utilise this stretch of road isn’t just hoping not to encounter someone coming from the other direction; they are preying for it, because it really would be a matter of life and death.

7. Guoliang Tunnel Road, China

Never ones to be outdone, the Chinese have also had a go at building a road which appeals to all of the thrill seekers out there. The Guoliang Tunnel stretches three quarters of a mile through the Taihana Mountains and was built by local villagers in the 1970s after five years of construction in which many workers lost their lives. It has subsequently picked up the moniker ‘the road of death’.

It truly is a stunning piece of road to behold but you might not have the opportunity to try it with Chinese laws prohibiting people who were not born in China from legally driving in the country.

6. Transfăgărăsan Highway, Romania

Photo by Paul.White

The Transfagarasan Highway linking Transylvania and Walachia is just as difficult to drive as it is to pronounce. The path through the mountains was forged out using dynamite by the military during the 1970s and 40 soldiers lost their lives during its construction.

The route is also a popular one with fans of Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, as the road passes close to Poienari Fortress. This was once the home of Vlad the Impaler, a powerful medieval leader who would drink the blood of his victims who is believed to have inspired Stoker’s novel.

5. The Autobahn, Germany

Photo by bytearena

So far we have had beautiful, dangerous and scary routes; it therefore seems about the right time to introduce a fast one. On the face of things, Germany’s Autobahn network is nothing more than a collection of motorways that are exactly the same as those used in our own country. However, the big difference is the fact that a speed limit is no existence. It should be noted that it recommended that you do not exceed 80 mph while on this Autobahn, but this generally not noted by petrol heads who travel to Germany just to test their cars out at high speed.

4. Nordschleife, Germany

Photo by Chrysler-Group

While you are in Germany, why not pop to the Nordschleife which is used by almost all of the world’s biggest car manufacturers to develop their new models. This is due to the fact that it is generally regarded as being the biggest technical and driving challenge possible; ensuring that all elements of a vehicle’s performance are fully tested prior to launch.

It was initially built in the 1930s as a racing circuit and hosted the German round of the Formula One World Championship between 1950 and 1976; gaining a reputation as being the most dangerous track on the calendar at a time when safety standards were poor at best. The track was ultimately dropped by the series after Niki Lauda’s firey accident which left him in a life threatening condition for weeks afterwards as well as permanent scaring. A new F1 circuit was constructed inside the bounds of the original 10 mile layout in 1984.

3. Stelvio Pass, Italy

Photo by Ostrosky Photos

Italian cars are renowned for their styling and aesthetic appearance, but less so for their reliability. Perhaps if they developed their vehicles utilising the Stelvio Pass this wouldn’t be such an issue due to the routes reputation for being a car breaker. You certainly wouldn’t want to set off up here without having a breakdown cover policy in place.

The 15 mile route comprises 48 hairpins and is not only a test for car reliability, but also for driver concentration levels. It is also the highest paved mountain pass within the Italian Alps and therefore boasts some beautiful scenery.

2. Grimsel Pass, Switzerland

Photo by Andrew and Annemarie

Unlike Germany and Italy, Switzerland is not well known for its car manufacturing efforts. However, it is the home of some of the most beautiful and challenging driving roads in the worlds and an excellent destination for anyone who is more interested in breath taking scenery than thrill seeking on their road trip.

The finest example of which is the Grimsel Pass which is located near Gletsch in the Swiss Alps. Going up to a height of 2165m, the route also passes by the source of the Rhone River. If you are planning on taking a trip here, please bear in mind that it is usually only open between June and October each year.

1. Col de Turini, France

Photo by goron

Equally as stunning a destination as the Grimsel Pass is the Col de Turini in the South of France. What gives this place the edge over Switzerland is its motoring heritage, having been the scene of a car chase in the James Bond movie Goldeneye and having also actually been a featured stage in the Monte Carlo Rally for many years.

Indeed, the route is located just 30 miles from the motor racing Mecca that is Monaco; so a visit to the legendary F1 circuit would not be out of the question if you happen to be in the region. The Col de Turini really is a must see for all motoring racing fans, but isn’t for the faint hearted due to its challenging layout.

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