There’s no shortage of stunning road trips here in the United States. But, some of the world’s most beautiful drives are worth flying for. Here are four of our favorite bucket list road trips.
Route 40 (Argentina)
Argentina’s simply named Route 40 (it clearly needs a marketing department) is one of the longest, continuous, most breathtaking road trips in the world. For its more than 3,000-mile-stretch, it runs north to south, mostly parallel to the Andes Mountains. The journey covers a wide range of South America’s most dramatic landscape from the mountains, past glaciers, to the South Atlantic Ocean in Patagonia. Although much of the route is paved, its southern stretches are steep, dirt and gravel passes with no center-lines, no guard rails, and few (if any) road signs. In winter, it can prove all but impassable and it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. Preparation is key. The drive is so popular, however — particularly for adventure tourists — that there’s an entire website dedicated to Route 40.
Great Ocean Road (Australia)
The vast, rugged space between the coasts of Australia is replete with amazing road trips. But, Great Ocean Road — a 151-mile route that stretches along its southern edge — is the continent’s most spectacular. Along the four-hour drive, travelers will find a long list of must-visit stops including London Bridge, Bay of Islands, and the Gibson Steps. But, the pinnacle of this journey is a stop at the 12 Apostles — an impossibly beautiful limestone formation that’s one of Australia’s most iconic natural wonders.
Stelvio Pass (Italy)
The Alps boast some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. But, most of the terrain is impassable or, at the very least, requires hardcore skiing expertise and a distinct fear of eight-thousand-foot vertical cliffs. Italy’s Stelvio Pass is unique. Situated more than 9,000 feet above sea level, it’s the highest — and, no doubt, most dramatic — paved road in the Eastern Alps. Coupled with its elevation and 48 hairpin turns that mark its north face, it’s easy to see why the gentlemen of Top Gear once dubbed it “the best driving road in the world.”
Chapman’s Peak Drive (Cape Town, South Africa)
As if we need another reason to visit Cape Town, the city is also home to one of the world’s most beautiful road trips. Chapman’s Peak (known locally as “Chappies”) bookends South Africa’s Western Cape between Noordhoek and Hout Bay. The nearly 100-year-old road — known as Chapman’s Peak Drive — that winds for less than seven miles around the base of the mountain is a short, but spectacular drive. From sea level to scenic overlooks nearly 2,000 feet above the Atlantic and back again, the scenery is literally jaw-dropping. Driving so close to the ocean’s edge, it’s easy for the line between the water and the horizon to disappear completely. It’s not uncommon for drivers to spot dolphins and whales just offshore, and baboons are a frequent source of “traffic” along the way.
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