Sunday, September 5, 2010

The World’s Most Spectacular Roads

10. Stelvio Pass, Italy

48 hairpin turns up to a 2757m (9045ft) pass in the Italian Alps, and Top Gear’s pick for “greatest driving road in the world.”

09. Cabot Trail, Canada
Wrapping around northern Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, the Cabot Trail is mountainous and windy with near-constant ocean views. I recommend biking it.

08. I-70 at Glenwood Canyon, Colorado
The Colorado River, of Grand Canyon fame, carved this canyon billions of years ago. The U.S. government built the 12-mile, $490 million interstate route through it, which was only completed in 1992.

07. Millau Bridge, France
Southern France’s Millau Bridge is the tallest in the world — taller, actually, than the Eiffel Tower.

06. Karakoram Highway, Pakistan
The “highest paved international road in the world” connects Pakistan with Xinjiang, China. It is currently closed at the Hunza Valley due to a massive landslide.

05. Mountain road, Snowdonia, Wales
Mountainous northern Wales is traversed by many of these ancient, narrow, stone-walled roads. I’ve experienced the challenge of navigating them at night. With oncoming traffic. Car renters beware.

04. Chapman’s Peak Drive, South Africa
Another great coastal road, this one just 15 miles south of Cape Town.

03. Mountain road, central Peru
Most mountain pass roads in Peru qualify as “spectacular.” This one runs north from the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo and is part of the car route to Machu Picchu.

02. Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys
U.S. Highway 1 runs for miles over the water, connecting the Florida Keys to the mainland. It includes this long span of bridge.

01. Gotthard Pass, Switzerland
Traveling north from Italy into Switzerland, you’ll come to Gotthard Pass, which you can cross on either the new, straightforward road, or the old roller coaster above. My money’s on the latter.

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