The Greatest Driving Roads in the World
To many of us petrol-heads, there’s nothing more cathartic than driving a thundering cabriolet through the Italian countryside on a late summer’s evening.
Even the A35 in August with a Ford Fiesta can be pretty good fun if the conditions are right.
We can’t quite put our finger on what it is. It might be the car. It might be who you’re with. Or is it the weather? It’s ephemeral.
But what makes a great road – great?
We couldn’t put it down to one thing, instead, relying on a number of factors that make a road incredible. Some are a lot more important than others. Who wants to drive on the most beautiful road with the smoothest surface if it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic?
Traffic is what can make or break a good road.
The other contributors to an incredible driving experience are scenery, road surface and overall driving pleasure.
Speaking from some experience and a little research, we’ve compiled what we feel to be the 5 greatest driving roads in the world.
• Susten Pass, Switzerland
Just a little further along from the instantly recognisable road from James Bond’s Goldfinger, Switzerland’s Susten Pass is one of the less obvious choices for the top spot.
The Furka Pass takes the top spot on most lists, largely because of how incredible it looks on camera. However, the evidence is in the drive. The Furka Pass is, if anything, too demanding.
The Susten Pass takes all of the good parts of the Furka Pass, widens it, smooths it and uncovers a new realm of driving pleasure.
You can push your car much harder and actually take in the incredible scenery, instead of just trying not to go over the edge. If you’re unlucky, you might get caught up behind a tourist coach. However, the road is so wide that you won’t have an issue getting past!
• A93, Scotland
A little closer to home, the A93 between Bridge of Cally and Braemar is the closest you can get to driving perfection in the UK, largely because there’s never anyone on it.
The road goes literally nowhere. Anyone commuting will take the A9 or A90 around the Cairngorms. The A93 goes right to the middle, takes a right turn then spits you out exactly where you don’t want to be. The only reason you’ll be on this road is for the driving experience.
No tourists. No traffic. Just miles and miles of incredible road.
The road surface is a little weathered in places (largely because it’s covered in snow for three months of the year), but not weathered enough to be dangerous or uncomfortable.
• Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Great Ocean Road in Australia is a little different to the others. There’s no denying that it’s a great driving road. It’s long, wide, twisty and smooth. But what really sets it apart is the experience it gives you.
How often do you drive through what feels like all four seasons and three continents on one single stretch of road?
You’ll see white beaches, jagged cliffs, rainforests and koalas and the list goes on.
As pleasurable as the road is to drive, you can think of it as more of a life experience than a driving experience.
• Karamea Highway, New Zealand
If you’re looking for a fast road – this is it. That’s the beauty of New Zealand: it’s just one massive expanse of incredible scenery and modern roads with no one driving on them.
You can see so far ahead that there’s very little chance of having a close encounter with another vehicle. What makes this road more incredible is that it leads to absolutely nowhere.
There’s essentially no reason why you’d ever be driving on it, other than for the thrill and experience. You certainly won’t see many tourist buses down this way!
• Schwarzwald Hochstrasse, Germany
Imagine the Nürburgring. Now take away all of the hair pin bends and fast es’. Smoothen the surface and place it along the side of a mountain across the sweeping German back country.
If it wasn’t such a tourist hotspot, this road would absolutely be our number one driving road. If you can make it down there at daybreak before the coaches arrive, then you’ve got yourself a winner.
Honourable mentions have to go to Route Gentelly in France, Tail of the Dragon in California, Transfăgărășan in Romania and Trollstigen in Norway that all narrowly missed out on the top spots.
Even though we made this list and we’re sure many of you will agree with those mentioned – everyone has their own criteria for what makes a great road great. Some are looking for a white knuckle racetrack through the mountains. Others are looking for a roof-down, Sunday morning cruise along the coast with their better half.
If you have a favourite road not on our list, leave a comment on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Now get out there and get driving!