If your perfect vacation doesn’t involve walking over cobblestones until your feet ache, then this article is for you.
We’re fortunate. Breathtaking scenery is available in every corner of the world, and we have roads which provide equal access to the natural beauty of the most remote and inspiring spaces on earth.
This list of 47 hand-picked scenic drives is the perfect starting point if you’re planning the ultimate driving vacation.
Whether you have a week or a weekend, want to travel near or far, there’s something for everyone on our list of breathtaking scenic drives around the world. Enjoy!
Atlantic Road, Norway
This stunning and unique stretch of road will make you feel like you’re soaring out to the ocean’s edge. Voted Norway’s “Engineering Feat of the Century” in 2005, Norway’s Atlantic Road is considered to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world.
Overseas Highway, Florida, USA
Who needs a boat when you can sail across the ocean in a convertible? Florida’s Overseas Highway is a 113 mile road which will transport you over dazzling blue ocean waters and through the Florida Keys.
Oberalp Pass, Switzerland
This stunning, high mountain pass (elevation 6,706 feet!) is yours to discover by cruising a breathtaking paved road which links the cantons of Graubunden and URI between Disentis and Andermatt. There’s also a restaurant and “Beer Garden” at the top which offers stunning views of the road you’ve conquered.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
One of the world’s most scenic drives is the Great Ocean Road in Australia. Iconic surf breaks, misty waterfalls and towering cliffs and stone make this a magical drive – perfect for those who love to stop and enjoy the great outdoors.
Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia, Canada
A picture-perfect roadway which will transport you around the greater part of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, the Cabot Trail is one of the most famous scenic drives in Canada.
Tianmen Mountain Road, China
Located within Tianmen Mountain National Park, Zhangjiajie, the Tianment Shan Big Gate (also called the winding Tianmen Mountain Road) is a memorable 6.8 mile route which took 8 years to complete. It’s universally recognized as one of the most spectacular roads to drive in the world.
White Rim Road – Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA
Looping below the island in the sky Mesa, the 100-mile White Rim Road in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park offers drivers expansive views of the surrounding area. You’ll want a four-wheel-drive vehicle (and a camera).
Stelvio Pass, Italy
One of the most iconic roads in Europe has to be the road through Stelvio Pass, Italy. It’s the third highest road through the alps with an impressive 48 switchback turns up the north face. It was voted the best driving road in the world in 2008 and we provide a driving itinerary for it here.
Denali Highway, Alaska, USA
Alaska offers some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world, and drivers who tackle the 135 long stretch of Denali Highway from Paxson to Cantwell will enjoy spectacular views the entire way.
Chapman’s Peak Drive, South Africa
Affectionately known as #Chappies, the Chapman’s Peak Drive follows a toll-road which traces the Atlantic Coast on the south-western tip of South Africa between Noordhoek and Hout Bay. This road is one of the most spectacular coastal routes in the world.
Going-to-the-Sun-Road, Montana, USA
If you’re planning a trip to Big Sky Country, the Going-to-the-Sun Road will allow you to feel like you might actually reach the sky. Plan to go in July-early September when the alpine section of the road is usually fully open.
A82 Road, Scotland
Pick up your car in Glasgow and follow the scenic A82 Road toward Fort William and Inverness, Scotland. On this drive you’ll trace the shores of Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. Don’t forget your camera – it’s gorgeous from start to finish.
State Route 1, Big Sur, California, USA
Designated as an American National Scenic Byway and is considered one of the most iconic great American drives. Keep a close lookout for Humpback and Blue Wales, California Condors and Elephant Seals.
The Milford Road, New Zealand
Kick off your visit to New Zealand in impressive fashion when you trace 75 miles of the scenic Milford Road. On this roadway you’ll enjoy dramatic natural landscapes in the middle of the Southern Alps. Waterfalls, fern trees, snow-capped mountains … it’s no wonder Lord of the Rings was filmed in this area.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina & Virginia, USA
Enjoy a slow-paced, relaxing drive through the Blue Ridge mountains on an iconic American parkway renowned for stunning views of rugged mountains, pastoral landscapes and the Appalachian highlands.
Rohtang Pass, India
Rohtang or Rohtam Pass is a high mountain pass which sits at an elevation of 13,054 feet above sea level. Passing through the Eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himialayas, this is a humbling drive not to be taken by novice drivers. The name of this pass translates to “ground of corpses” due to the many landslides which take place here. It’s beautiful and historic, but if you aren’t a daredevil or thrill seeker, choose something else.
Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii, USA
This 64 mile stretch of Hawaii Routes 36 and 360 will transport you through lush tropical rainforest. Expect the drive to take two and a half hours if no stops are made. Windy, narrow and scenic, this route passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide.
Valley of Fire Road, Nevada, USA
The main road through Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada offers drivers 10.5 miles of some of the most breathtaking scenery in America’s Southwest. This area is one of the most popular locations for shooting automobile commercials – it’s the sort of place everyone wants to drive.
Ruta 40, Argentina
Running from the southernmost tip of Argentina, Ruta 40 is Argentina’s longest highway and is one of the longest national highways in the world. At over 3,195 miles, there’s enough beautiful scenery along this road to last a lifetime.
Interstate 70 in Spotted Wolf Canyon, Utah, USA
A major highway in the US which runs all the way to Maryland, the stretch of Interstate 70 which passes through Utah’s Spotted Wolf Canyon makes our list as one of the most beautiful roads to drive in the world.
Trollstigen Road (“Troll’s Ladder”), Norway
With a nickname like “Troll’s Ladder” you know this road has got to be epic! Tucked deep within the mountains off of Norway’s Western Coast, the Trollstigen Mountain Road is one of the most dramatic routes in the world – making it a top attraction in Norway. Expect 11 hair-raising hairpin turns and a steep, 9% grade which will take your breath away.
Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, Abu Dhabi
Built in 1980, the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road is probably the best drive in Abu Dhabi and ranks as one of the most beautiful drives in the world (Edmunds.com ranked it as the greatest driving road in the world). The road ends at the top of the mountain where you’ll find a hotel and a palace which belongs to Abu Dhabi’s rulers.
Furka Pass, Switzerland
Timing is everything – Furka Pass (7,976 feet elevation) is one of the snowiest regions in Switzerland, but if you’re in Switzerland at the right time of year prepare for one of the world’s most iconic, exhilarating and scenic drives.
Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
If you love the rugged north, driving the Icefields Parkway in Alberta simply must make it onto your bucket list. One of Canada’s national treasures, this 144 mile route through the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site, you can expect a world-class journey. Bring
a camera two cameras.
Transfagarasan Highway, Romania
The Romanian Transfagarasan Highway climbs through steep, hairpin turns, long S-curves and sharp descents to an altitude of 6,699 feet and easily makes our list as one of the most scenic roads in the world.
Amalfi Coast Drive, Italy
Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular driving destinations in the world, and for good reason. Follow the shoreline from Sorrento to Salerno Italy (read our itinerary) as you navigate a route recognized as one of the best coastal drives in the world.
Lysebotn Road, Norway
Always popular with tourists, the Lysevegen or Lysebotn Road is one fo the most famous roads in the world – known for its impressive natural scenery and thrilling hairpin turns.
Seward Highway, Alaska, USA
Extending 125 miles between Seward and Anchorage, Alaska’s Seward Highway offers scenic vistas of the Kenai Peninsula, Chugach National Forest, and the Kenai Mountains.
Paso de los Carracoles, Chile & Argentina
Chile and Argentina share more than 5,000 miles of border – much of which is located in the impressive peaks of the Andes mountain range. Driving Paso de los Carracoles (Paso de los Libertadores), will take you across the border (through the Cristo Redentor tunnel) as you climb to an elevation of more than 10,000 feet.
Combe Laval, France
Often labeled as the most magnificent route in the French Alps, the inspired road through Combe Laval was constructed in the last 1800s. The most spectacular stretch of the Combe Laval cuts into the side of a cliff, running through a series of short, narrow tunnels carved into the rock.
Gorges du Dades, Morocco
The “Road of a Thousand Kasbahs” winds through stunning desert landscapes in Morocco, spanning 100 miles between villages, palm groves and the Dades Valley and the Atlas Mountain Range.
ER 101 Portugal
The ER 101 in Madeira, Portugal is the oldest road on the island and also the most beautiful. Drivers will enjoy many curves, narrow stretches and thrilling climbs and descents, all along Madeira’s dramatic coastline. More on driving in Portugal.
Million Dollar Highway, Colorado, USA
Part of the San Juan Skyway, Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway was constructed in the late 1880’s and is certainly one of the most spectacular drives in America. Don’t expect guardrails or shoulders … there aren’t any: just amazing views.
Discover Scotland’s Applecross Peninsula as you navigate a historic pass through the Scottish Highlands. This twisting, single-track road is one of the most famous driving routes in the world.
Carretera de Sa Calobra, Spain
While it’s only 13km long, driving Carretera de Sa Colobra on Majorca Island in Spain should certainly be on your bucket list. Snaking through a stark and rocky landscape, expect 7%+ grades, 360 degree turns and passes through narrow tunnels formed by neighboring cliffs.
Suhua Highway, China
If you’re visiting Taiwan (or want a reason to go), make time to drive the scenic Suhua highway where you’ll cruise alongside steep cliffs while enjoying stunning views of the Pacific.
Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
As one of the most popular drives on the Emerald Isle (check out our suggested itinerary here), the Causeway Coastal Route traces the northern coast of Northern Ireland between the cities of Belfast and Londonderry.
Ring Road, Iceland
Iceland has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe due to cheap airfare from North America, and driving Route 1 (or the Ring Road) allows visitors to circle the island while touring the most beautiful points of interest in the nation.
Route 66, USA
Classic Americana awaits you along the iconic and historic Route 66 road trip in the USA. Running more than 2,400 miles between Chicago and Santa Monica, California, this route was made famous in pop culture (think: “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”).
Grimsel Pass, Switzerland
With an elevation of more than 7,100 feet, the winding road through Switzerland’s Grimsel Pass is one of the highest in the Alps. While driving this route you’ll enjoy stunning views, hairpin turns and very little traffic.
Serra do Rio do Rastro Road, Brazil
Drive SC-390 and you’ll be thrilled by a steep and narrow twisting road which ascends sharply through a mountain range located in Lauro Muller in Southern Brazil. You’ll pass waterfalls, canyons and from the highest point you can see the Atlantic Ocean, 62 miles away, on a clear day.
The Loneliest Road, Nevada, USA
US Route 50 spans the US between Sacramento, CA and Ocean City, Maryland, but the stretch that psases through Nevada was named “The Loneliest Road in America” by Life magazine in ’86. Large desert valleys and mountain ranges make this a beautiful, if desolate, stretch of road.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Those who don’t mind renting an off-road 4×4 vehicle can explore one of the most interesting stretches of the Namibian coast, made famous by John Henry Marsh who titled his book “Skeleton Coast” on the shipwreck of the Dunedin Star here.
Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Hai Van Pass is a beautiful, 21km long mountain pass on National Route 1A in Vietnam and drivers who follow this route will enjoy stunning mountain and ocean views as they trace the Annamite Range spur, jutting into the South China Sea.
The Romantic Road, Germany
A “Theme” route positioned for marketing purposes by Travel Agents in the 1950’s, Germany’s Romantic Road route traces 220 miles of highway in southern Germany, passing through Bavaria which links a number of picturesque towns and castles.
The North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Known as the “Death Route,” Bolivia’s North Yungas Road is not for the feint-hearted. Regularly dubbed the most dangerous road in the world, The North Yungas road was cut into the side of the Cordillera Oriental Mountain in the 1930’s. Many sections are unpaved and lack guardrails, there are mudslides and tumbling rocks and 200-300 people are killed on the road each year. We’re guessing you may not want to drive it, but it’s famous, beautiful and we had to include it on the list.
The Garden Route, South Africa
Cruise the Western Cape in style – the perfect vacation destination, the Garden Route follows the N2 through modern golf courses, ancient forests, artists’ communities, mountain hideaways and epic coastal views. It’s a fantastic place to drive, stay, and explore and easily makes our list as an amazing scenic drive.
Did Your Favorite Scenic Drive Make the List?
How many of these scenic drives are now at the top of your bucket list? Which looks like your favorite? Did we miss a scenic road or drive that you feel should have made the list? Let us know by leaving a comment!
Remember – wherever the road takes you, Auto Europe offers car rentals in destinations all over the world. Enhance your next great drive with a fantastic vehicle booked online or over the phone.