The world is home to some incredible terrain that’s ideal for driving. Some of these roads have become iconic for their unparalleled views, while others are marveled at for their design.
From a mountain pass in Abu Dhabi to routes that wind through the Swiss Alps, these roads make for a drive you won’t soon forget.
Sarah Schmalbruch contributed to an earlier version of this post.
Norway’s Atlantic Road is built across several small islands, with eight bridges that treat drivers to stunning views of the ocean, fjords, and mountains. The road, which has earned National Tourist Route status, takes you right out to the ocean’s edge.
The Overseas Highway connects mainland Florida to the islets of the Florida Keys. Spanning 113 miles, the highway has 42 bridges in a series of giant arches. The highway is filled with colorful sea views and landscapes of pine and palm trees to enjoy.
Going-to-the-Sun Road is a 50-mile, two-lane highway that spans the width of Montana’s Glacier National Park, weaving through large glacial lakes, cedar forests, and alpine tundra. The road, which was made a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1985, also has various scenic viewpoints where you can take in the stunning landscape.
- Shutterstock/Rawin Cheasagul
Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive is the ideal place to admire both the iconic man-made and natural attractions the city has to offer. The expressway offers up-close views of Chicago’s buildings and beaches, with everything from luxury apartments to urban parkland included in the mix.
Ruta 40 extends from Argentina’s northern border to its southern tip. Spanning more than 3,000 miles, the route runs parallel to the Andes and crosses various lakes, national parks, and mountain passes. The route includes a series of more than 200 bridges.
Driving on the Valley of Fire Road in Nevada will bring you past stunning red sandstone formations that look like they’re on fire, thanks to reflections from the sun. As the main road running through the park, the Valley of Fire Road was designated a Nevada Scenic Byway in 1995.
- Flickr/Wasif Malik
Also referred to as “the Road to the Sky,” Romania’s Transfăgărășan road twists and turns through the country’s highest peaks. Connecting the historic provinces of Transylvania and Wallachia, the road hosts a series of five tunnels, 27 viaducts, and 831 small bridges.
- Shutterstock/Catalin Petolea
The Blue Ridge Parkway extends 469 miles to connect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The route winds through the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers everything from magnificent views to hiking trails, picnic areas, and campsites.
The Denali Highway, which opened in 1957, was the first road to allow access to Alaska’s Denali National Park. The road is largely gravel and crosses from forests to the foothills of the Alaska Range, offering endless views of unspoiled wilderness.
The Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road in Abu Dhabi winds up to Jebel Hafeet Mountain, the second-tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates. Take the drive in late afternoon so that you can catch the sunset from the top of the mountain.
Australia’s Great Ocean Road is one of the most famous scenic coastal drives in the world. Travelers will come across everything from top-notch surfing breaks and charming seaside towns to rain forests, beaches, and lighthouses.
South Africa’s Garden Route takes you through stunning sites like the town of Knysna, pictured here, and indigenous forests, glistening beaches, and lagoons. The road faces soaring mountains on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other.
California’s Pacific Coast Highway is famous for its dramatic coastal vistas, with plenty of bluffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean and various restaurants, beaches, and attractions to enjoy along the way.
- Shutterstock/Jon Bilous
The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, Canada, is one of the country’s most scenic drives. The roadway takes drivers around the greater part of Cape Breton Island with spectacular ocean vistas, scenic overlooks, cultural sites, and villages along the way. Make sure to glance at the water every once in a while — you might spot a pod of whales swimming past.
- Shutterstock/Colin D. Young
Take a drive on Route 1, or the Ring Road, a national road that runs around Iceland and connects most of its inhabited areas to one another. Along the way, you’ll be treated to frozen glaciers, black-sand beaches, icebergs, hot springs, and animals like puffins and whales.
The Milford Road winds through New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park and portions of the Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Area. The road takes travelers from Te Anau to Milford Sound, with prime hiking trails and sites like the Eglinton Valley and the Mirror Lakes to admire.
- Flickr/Christian Michel
Hugging the cliffs between Nice and Monaco in France are a trio of roads (or corniches) carved into the mountainside. The Grande Corniche sits at the top, the Moyenne Corniche is in the middle, and the Basse Corniche hugs the coast. The dizzying road takes drivers past rustic villas, pines, and gardens.
The Historic Columbia River Highway, built through Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge between 1913 and 1922, is America’s first planned scenic roadway. The highway takes visitors through a journey of waterfalls and soaring cliffs, and it’s known for hosting stunning wildflower displays in the spring.
- Shutterstock/Sam Strickler
Cap de Formentor in Mallorca, Spain, has a main road where the dramatic scenery includes cliffs jetting out into the sea. The drive is not for the faint of heart, though it does offer views of stunning beaches, mountains, and a lighthouse where you can shop and enjoy Mallorca’s stunning views.
- Shutterstock/Anna Lurye
At an elevation of over 9,000 feet, Italy’s Stelvio Pass winds though the Alps to offer unparalleled views. The road is also famous for its 48 switchbacks, which make for a challenging drive.
Highway 61, which was made famous by the singer Bob Dylan, stretches from Minnesota to the Canadian border, taking you along the shores of Lake Superior and weaving through rock cliffs, state parks, and forests. There’s everything from expansive lake views and beaches to museums, restaurants, and shops along the way.
Chapman’s Peak Drive runs around 5.5 miles between Hout Bay and Noordhoek on the western coast of Cape Town, South Africa. The road has soaring mountains on one side and views of the Atlantic Ocean on the other, with each of its 114 curves offering incredible sights.
- Shutterstock/David Steele
Norway’s Trollstigen Road, which means “troll ladder,” weaves drivers on a narrow and steep road through mountains, waterfalls, deep fjords, and lush valleys.
Experience the beauty of Ireland on Conor Pass, which is the country’s highest mountain pass and sits situated on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. The road has wonderful views of the coast, cliffs, waterfalls, and lakes.
A favorite of those brave enough to try “drifting” in rear-wheel-drive cars, the Touge Roads in Japan lead up to the caldera of the picturesque Mount Fuji, both an active volcano and the country’s highest peak.
The San Bernardino Pass is a high mountain road located in the Swiss Alps. The road offers drivers plenty of variety, from tight and narrow turns to wide and open roads. On the way, drivers will pass through small villages and take in majestic alpine views.
- Flickr/Noel Reynolds
Scenic Byway 163 stretches from the Arizona border through Utah’s Monument Valley. During the drive, you’ll be able to admire the red rocks and desert.
- Shutterstock/Bryan Busovicki
The Whiteface Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway takes you to the top of the Whiteface Mountain, New York’s fifth-highest peak. The road winds through Adirondack Park to offer a combination of forest and alpine environments. When you get to the summit parking area, take a short hike to the top for stunning views of the wilderness.