As a traveler, you often search for the best destinations for trekking and sightseeing but have you ever emphasized what’s it like going for the best scenic drives around the world?
The world is filled with many wonders that we can admire and enjoy. But when you combine these spectacular sites with a drive through the countryside, the results are truly unforgettable. Sure, it’s possible to enjoy a view from the comfort of a car window or a train window, but when you’re behind the wheel, you’re the one in control of the journey.
You get to choose the best route, stopping whenever and wherever you want and taking in the views at your own pace. It is the beauty of driving.
The scenic drives worldwide can be some of the most memorable trips you will ever take in your lifetime. When you are heading out on a weekend getaway, it’s essential to know which scenic routes are worth taking and which ones are not.
The best thing about these roads is that they’re all very different and offer unique experiences, but they also have something in common: each one is breathtakingly beautiful.
Best Scenic Drives in the World
Here is our list of some of the best scenic drives around the world.
1. Transfagarasan Highway – Romania
This road, also known as the “Transylvania Motoring Route” or “The Road to Bald Mountain,” is one of the world’s most beautiful mountain passes. It’s about 69 kilometers long, and it connects Brasov to Sibiu in Romania via a 6-lane highway that was opened to the locals in 1972, but the road itself dates back to Roman times.
Transfagarasan Highway in Romania is the best place for a road trip.
The road is located in Romania, a prosperous country with natural beauty, so you can enjoy it even when the weather isn’t favorable. One of the benefits of taking a car on this route is that you can stop along the way and take pictures of many beautiful sights without worrying too much about negotiating trail issues.
2. Chapman’s Peak Drive, South Africa
Also known as Chappies, Chapman’s Peak Drive is a well-known scenic route in South Africa that is situated in the Southern Suburbs, of Cape Town. It stretches from Noordhoek to Hout Bay.
Chapman’s Peak Drive is named after the Captain’s mate of an English ship, John Chapman.
The road is only 9 km long but shows you the best scenery of Cape Town. It was built during the apartheid era when the apartheid government tried to find employment opportunities for as many people as possible.
3. The Garden Route, South Africa
The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s most spectacular scenic drives, and it’s probably best known for being the location for many movies filmed in South Africa. It is situated on the southwest coast, and it gets its name from the Garden Route National Park.
The route runs from the Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth) to the Western Cape (Mossel Bay), and it offers some of the most beautiful views of South Africa, with lush forests, rivers, mountains, and amazing beaches. It also passes through many towns along the way that are definitely worth stopping to explore.
4. Sossusvlei, Namibia
Namibia is known for its amazing landscapes, and the stunning desert of Sossusvlei is one of the best places to see in this country. The roads around this area are also well worth exploring, and you can enjoy the Namib Desert from the comfort of your car.
Though the roads leading to Sossusvlei have no name, the early morning road trip among the world’s most giant sand dunes will be incredible.
5. The Icefield’s Parkway, Canada
Canada’s Icefield Parkway is a 3,964km (or 3,843 miles) long highway that runs through the Canadian Rocky Mountains of Alberta. It connects Jasper National Park in Alberta to Lake Louis in Banff.
The Icefield Parkway is home to 100 and more ancient glaciers, waterfalls, and beautiful lakes. Not to forget, since you will be driving through the national parks, you will be able to view numerous wildlife along the way.
Besides driving, it is best to go for a hike to the viewpoints. The viewpoints among the Canadian Rockies are great places for photography and picnics.
The journey along this scenic road is worth taking, especially if you’re looking for a unique vacation in Canada.
6. Flores Island, Azores, Portugal
A scenic drive on Flores Island is an experience that will make any traveler fall in love with Portugal.
Flores Island, Azores, is a small island that you can explore within a day. The island has beautiful landscapes. The Azores mainly rely on tourism, and the Flores island can easily compete with its more well-known counterparts in the region.
7. Utah State Route 163, Arizona/USA
The Utah State Route 163 is a 103 km U.S. highway that offers dramatic scenery. There are various things to see along the way, but one of the highlights is definitely Zion Canyon.
You’ll want to stop as often as you can for picture opportunities while you’re on this road so that you can enjoy the scenery and take in all of the natural splendor that Utah has to offer.
The drive shows you red sandstone walls as you follow the Colorado River. This route is truly a hidden gem of Utah. If you can squeeze in some time, visit the Monument Valley shown in many Hollywood movies.
8. Karakoram Highway, Pakistan/India
The Karakoram Highway is a highway that connects the two countries of Pakistan and India. It is a single-carriageway for most of its length, with occasional passing places. This highway is challenging to drive, but the sights you’ll see along the way are something very unique and that you can’t experience anywhere else.
On this highway, you will be passing through the Karakoram mountain range (4,714 meters). This mountain range is a popular attraction as well.
9. Panorama Route, South Africa
Located in the northern part of South Africa at Mpumalanga province, Panorama Route is an incredible drive for people who enjoy scenic routes because the route provides the perfect mix of flat and curvy roads.
You can see the most spectacular scenery in South Africa. You will be traveling through the Kruger National Park, so you might as well squeeze in another trip.
The best two stops along Panorama Route are the Blyde River Canyon and Three Rondavels Lookout.
10. The Atlantic Road, Norway
The Atlantic Road, in Norway, is another scenic route for a road trip because of the variety of landscapes, culture, and historical experiences it offers through the journey. It includes fjords and skerries as well as steep mountain slopes and deep valleys.
Some of the best places for sightseeing along the Atlantic Road are the island of Eldhusøya and the Askevågen viewpoint. The Askevågen viewpoint can be a great spot to take Instagram-worthy photos to oomph your feed.
11. Strada Statale 163, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Strada Statale 163, Amalfi Coast, is one of the most beautiful roads in Italy.
It is the best place for a scenic drive because it is located on the Amalfi Coast and has some of the most breathtaking views in Italy.
Driving along the Amalfi Coast will bless you with views of Italy’s beautiful turquoise sea, terraced gardens, vineyards, and vibrant villages in the mountains. You can visit the Capo d’Orso viewpoint, which is said to be one of the best on the Amalfi Coast.
A scenic drive at Amalfi Coast also means that you can enjoy fantastic food, wine, and people-watching.
If you are interested, here is a guide on all the best places to visit on your vacation in Italy
12. The Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Great Ocean Road, Australia, is located along the south-eastern coast between two Victorian cities- Torquay and Allansford. This road trip has some of the best scenery in the world as it winds through spectacular ocean vistas.
The drive at the Great Ocean Road is enjoyable as it shows you diverse landscapes of rainforests and seashores and introduces you to seaside towns and try their delicious food or adventurous activities. Yes, you heard it right.
You can go surfing along the beaches, discover the Shipwreck Coast, and visit the Loch and Gorge or the Twelve Apostles. It is a must to get a photo at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch too.
13. Via Aurelia, Italy
Via Aurelia, Italy is a seaside road constructed around 241 BC to connect Rome with Pisa in Tuscany, which goes through the Italian Riviera. It is the reason that Via Aurelia is also one of the most important highways in Italy.
This road makes you feel like a true Italian as you can enjoy the sights of the rich Italian lifestyle.
Via Aurelia brings you to beautiful coastal landscapes, secluded beaches, and picturesque villages along the way. It is also a splendid place for a family vacation because it is not too crowded and offers plenty of opportunities for adventure and outdoor activities.
While driving through Via Aurelia, we recommend staying a night at Cinque Terre and exploring the Italian Riviera. These are small quaint fishing towns that are less crowded.
14. Hana Highway, Hawaii
Hana Highway is a beautiful drive that takes you past waterfalls, lush greenery, and several popular attractions. The road is very narrow and curvy, making for an adventure rather than just a drive. The journey is full of twists and turns, so you should travel by car rather than bike.
During your drive, you can visit various attractions; however, exploring every attraction is impossible. What you can do is take a short walk at Waikamoi Ridge Loop and check out the lush vegetation.
Also, make a stop at the Honomanu Bay Lookout, where you can see the views of the Hana highway itself curved amongst the green vegetation.
One spot that is compulsory to visit is the Garden of Eden. It is a must-see garden in Maui. Sure, the entry prices are quite costly but worth the price. The garden offers panoramic views of the Pacific and shows you the Lower and Upper Puohokamoa Falls views.
You can also stop by an art gallery and check out the works of local artists here.
15. Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
Cabot Trail is a 298 km highway that lets you experience the natural beauty of Cape Breton Highlands. Since you will be traveling through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, you will be rewarded with fantastic valley and coastal views.
To make it better, you can camp at the national park or play golf at Highlands links.
If you are feeling adventurous, try sea kayaking or go for a whale-watching tour. If you will be traveling in the winter season, downhill skiing is a must.
16. Trollstigen, Norway
Trollstigen, Norway, is a section of the Norwegian County Road 63. It connects the mountain villages of Åndalsnes in Rauma and Valldal in Norddal Municipality.
Trollstigen averages 10% in gradient and includes 11 hairpin bends.
This road trip will allow you to view various landscapes from the ocean to mountains and fjords. The landscape is very diverse in this region, with the Trollstigen section alone going through various changing landscapes from high mountain plateaus to lush green valleys and farmland.
While driving, try to stop at as many viewpoints as you can so that you can enjoy the views and capture them on your camera or phone. While you are driving this route, you can also stop by the lake named “Granvinen.” This lake is located at the end of Trollstigen and offers some breathtaking views.
17. Route 66, USA
Route 66 is the best-known of the original highways in the United States and is a popular escape route from densely populated areas. It was built during an era when America had a lot of rural space to spare and was criticized for “ruining” towns in its path.
The drive is considered the best scenic route in America because of its breathtaking views and historical significance.
The route takes you to Santa Monica and Los Angeles from Chicago. It is ideal for a great road trip as it takes you to silent small-towns of the USA and some of the famous tourist destinations like the Oklahoma State Capitol Building and Santa Fe.
You can get the most out of Route 66 by detouring Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.
18. The Romantic Road, Germany
The Romantic Road is a scenic road in Germany that welcomes a hoard of tourists to the country. It was initially considered a route from Vienna to Paris and became famous as a highway for German and Austrian tourists.
It connects the German cities of Würzburg and Augsburg with Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen. One of the main highlights of driving at the Romantic Road is visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Alps.
If you are not in a hurry, walk through the vineyards at the traditional villages of Pfaffenwinkel.
19. Road To El Chalten, Argentina
The Road to El Chalten, Argentina, is a mountain pass surrounded by the spectacular Los Glaciares National Park.
This scenic route is prevalent in Argentina as it takes you through the Patagonian countryside to the beautiful glacial lakes and rivers. This drive will give you a glimpse of what Argentinean Patagonia looks like as you will be passing through the diverse landscapes from mountain valleys to alpine meadows.
Your drive will be pleased with the views of the Los Glaciares National Park. You might even encounter some llamas on the road, so be careful while you drive.
20. Route 1, Iceland
Route 1, also known as Ring Road, is the only road in Iceland that connects significant towns of the country. It is one of the most famous scenic routes in Iceland, with so many views and attractions, you will be lost for words.
In this drive, you will traverse fjords, mountains, quaint fishing villages, and encounter wild reindeer. It would help if you planned to visit the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Lake Mývatn and its hot springs, and the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.
However, other road trips can be just as beautiful as the Ring Road.
From Reykjavík to Akureyri, you can drive along the fjord of Reykjanes, while in Haukadalur Valley, drive to the volcanic crater lake called “Hverfjall” which is one of the largest lakes in Iceland.
So here we have it, the 20 best scenic drives in the world. Let us know which route you will be adding to your bucket list.
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