For most drivers, the road is rather a workplace than a source for relaxing experiences. Out of the world’s circa 18 million kilometres of paved roads, most are just transport roads offering nothing but insignificant environs. However, some drives offer such breath-taking sceneries that many find worth a trip for their own sake. Which routes are the most scenic in the world is, of course, a matter of personal preferences, but here’s my pick of routes I’d like to drive for the scenery.
Milford Road, New Zealand
This road takes you from the town Te Anau via stunning landscapes to Milford Sound. Along the way, travellers can see crystal clear lakes, majestic cliffs, thundering waterfalls and mind-blowing rainforests. Even if it’s only a two-hour drive, it would take years to fully experience all the beautiful nature along this 230 km long road.
“There's enough visual overload here to fill a hard drive with digital pictures” National Geographic
The drive from Anchorage to the seaside community of Seward is a circa 200 km plethora of magnificent scenery. The route meanders generally south from sea to mountains to sea across the Kenai Peninsula, ending in the harbour town of Seward on Resurrection Bay. The U.S. government has named the Seward Highway an All-American Road, suggesting it's a destination unto itself.
This popular tourist road goes from Lysebotn, innermost in the Lysefjord, to Sirdal. Quite a youngster, this road was built as a works road during the building of the Tjodan hydroelectric power station in the 1980’s. Prior to that, people in Lysebotn had to go by boat to reach the outside world. This spectacular road is open only from May to October/November, depending on snow conditions.
This dramatic and exciting road is an experience you shouldn’t miss. Trollstigen is a part of the road Geiranger – Trollstigen road that offers numerous highlights. This road with the eleven hairpin bends and the highest point of 850 m above the ocean, takes you from Isterdalen to Stigrøra during spring and summer. At the top you will find walkways and some viewpoints that brings you into close contact with this wild and wonderful landscape.
If you are searching for a breath-taking view during your trip The Grossglockner High Alpine Road won’t let you down. The road leads from Fusch-Ferleiten in Salzburg to Heiligenblut in Carinthia and have been open since 1935. A long the way you will pass 48 km with 36 turns that leads you through a scenery of green mountains, ice, colourful flower meadows and waterfalls all located in the biggest national park in Austria. During your trip all of a sudden you will see the majestic mountain Grossglockner towers above the entire region at 3,798 m. This high alpine road can be visited by car, bus, motorbike or even bicycle.
Many epic routes have one thing in common: a mountainous topography is part of the scenery and driving experience, and accordingly, driving there can be quite risky. Furthermore, if these roads become icy and slippery the joyful experience could quickly turn into a very unpleasant situation. So, don’t forget to bring the snow chains if there is a risk of icy roads. Should you have automatic snow chains, you can safely enjoy the majestic scenery without leaving the cab. Have a nice trip!