By Laura Kelly
Sometimes, it’s not about the destination, but the journey and when it comes to these ten magnificently jaw-dropping highways, we couldn’t agree more. So what are you waiting for? Hop in that car, roll down those windows and cruise along some the world’s most beautiful highways.
1Milford Road, New ZealandTourism New Zealand
Winding through Fiordland National Park, the heart of the Southern Alps, visitors will find this stunning 144 mile-long road. The road is part of State Highway 94 and connects the town, Te Anau with Milford Sound- a place some will recognize as one of the filming locations for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Along the scenic Milford Road, travelers will get to see lush rainforests, crystal clear lakes and waterfalls as well as the Fiordland National Park.
2Scenic Highway 12, UtahUtah Office of Tourism
At elevations ranging from 5,000 to over 9,000 feet above sea level, Scenic Highway 12 curves 124 miles throughout the rugged landscape of southwestern Utah. The highway took nearly four decades to build and spans the area between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks. If you plan on traveling this way, you can access the highway from either US 89 or Highway 12. As you drive along, take some time to check out popular tourist destinations along the way, such as the Dixie National Forest, the Kodachrome Basin State Park, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the Anasazi State Park Museum.
3Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, United Arab EmiratesAbu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority
Extending to just over seven miles long and snaking to the top of UAE’s second highest peak, the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road gives visitors panoramic views of the town, Al Ain, below. The road carves a path through a mountain of limestone and ends at the mountain’s peak, where visitors can access a hotel as well as a restaurant.
4Great Ocean Road, AustraliaTourism Australia
Breathe in the crisp salty air and witness nature at its best as you drive along the rugged southeastern coast of Australia. The Great Ocean Road runs from Torquay to Warrnambool in the state of Victoria and offers dramatic, breathtaking coastal views. Along the route, there are museums, restaurants and beaches, as well as whale lookouts and surf spots. The road also passes by Apollo Bay, Shipwreck Coast, the Great Otway National Park and the Twelve Apostles–a collection of limestone stacks right on the shoreline.
5Overseas Highway, FloridaVISIT FLORIDA
Built in the 1930’s, the Overseas Highway follows the path of a now obsolete railroad track that once crossed over the Florida Keys. Today, the 113-mile Overseas Highway operates as the southernmost leg of US 1 and extends from mainland Florida to Key West. As the highway skips from island to island, drivers get a full view of the magnificent, turquoise waters surrounding them.
6Stelvio Pass, ItalyAP
Located in northern Italy near the Swiss border, Stelvio Pass is one of the most visited and dangerous roads in the world. It was built in the 1820’s and is now the highest drivable pass in the Eastern Alps, zigzagging to just over 9,000 feet above sea level. The road, which features 60 hairpin turns, is a popular route for bicycle races and motorcycle rallies as well.
7The Atlantic Roadway, NorwayFrithjof Fure, Visitnorway.com
Deemed a National Tourist Route, the striking Atlantic Roadway is a must-see. The five-mile route is a part of Norwegian National Road 64 and leapfrogs from island to island, connecting the towns of Kristiansund and Molde in midwestern Norway. The road first opened in 1989 and now features four view and rest areas to accommodate the large amounts of tourists that come to view the picturesque route.
8Cabot Trail, CanadaNova Scotia Tourism Agency, Scott Munn
At 185 miles long, the Cabot Trail curls around the northern tip of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. The road brings travelers through lush green forests that in the fall transform into a breathtaking sea of reds, oranges and yellows as the leaves change colors. Along the route, drivers will come across an abundance of restaurants, museums, galleries as well as hiking and snowmobiling paths.
9Col de Turini, FranceiStock
If tight turns and heights make you sick, you might want to skip this road. Col de Turini coils through the Alpes-Maritimes in the south of France and reaches an elevation of 5,200 feet. The dizzying road, which ends in Sospel, is built on retaining walls and is often used for the popular Monte Carlo Rally car race. It has also made appearances in another popular road race, the Tour de France.
10Ruta 40, ArgentinaArgentina Ministry of Tourism
Ruta 40 is a classic road in western Argentina, stretching all the way from Puna to Cabo Virgins. It’s an incredible 3,045 miles long, and not surprisingly, is the longest road in Argentina. Running parallel to the Andes, Ruta 40 reaches almost 16,000 above sea level and crosses 236 bridges, 18 major rivers, 13 great lakes and 20 reservations and national parks. Throughout the journey, drivers may cross over some unpaved roads and through some extremely remote areas.