Scenic drives are the core of any great road trip. Check out 20 of the best driving roads ever. How many of them are on your travel bucket list already?
We’ve compiled a list of 20 of our favorite roads in Europe and the US. Some of them offer spectacular views along the way, while others are simply a joy to drive on.
Check out the map below to see exactly where each road is located. That way, you can easily plan your next road trip around these locations. Take a look at our travel guides for more travel inspiration around some of the best locations worldwide.
The list goes as follows:
10 Best Driving Roads In Europe
10 Best Driving Roads In America
Without further ado, let’s jump into each one of the best driving roads in the world!
Picking just one as our favorite driving road would be nearly impossible, let alone sorting them from best to worst. Instead, the roads below are listed in random order.
Picking the best mountain pass in Europe is a difficult task, as there are so many jaw-dropping drives to choose from.
The Swiss Furka Pass, however, has got to be one of the best mountain passes in the entire world. The 35-kilometer road will take you along tens of chicanes, all while overlooking the Swiss Alps.
One of the highlights of the Furka Pass is the abandoned Belvedere Hotel which sits at one of the hairpins. Over the last years, this eerie structure became favored among photographers. Don’t forget to stop and take a photo of this hotel!
Location: South of Switzerland, near Andermatt
We consider the famous Stelvio Pass to be an absolute must-visit point on any road trip around the North of Italy.
This Italian mountain pass features a continuous 25-kilometer long climb. When driving here, you’ll see many cyclists who challenge themselves to make it all the way to the top.
Stelvio Pass is ideal for fans of tight hairpins, as there are 48 of them in total! Expect beautiful scenery along virtually the entire journey.
Location: North of Italy, Eastern Alps
Iceland is a truly fascinating country. The landscapes found here are unlike any other in the world, hence Iceland should definitely land on the bucket list of any traveler.
The best way of getting around the country is by car, as it’s the most convenient way to access all parts of the island. Some of the must-visit natural beauty here is rather remote, and it is barely possible to get around without a private car.
The main road in Iceland, also known as the Ring Road, will conveniently take you around the best spots in the country. Expect absolutely jaw-dropping natural beauty. The landscapes will be spectacular nearly every single kilometer of the journey, and there are over 1300 of them in total.
Once you visit Iceland for the first time, you’ll definitely keep coming back for more. You have been warned.
Check out our curated Iceland road trip itinerary around the Ring Road.
The Atlantic Ocean Road in the northern tip of Norway is the shortest road on our list. In fact, it is merely 8 kilometers long. Don’t underestimate it based on its length, as it is nothing short of astonishing!
This scenic drive is a part of County Road 64, the rest of the route features great views of lush greenery and cute villages, while also opening up to the ocean practically the entire time. The Atlantic Ocean Tunnel is further down the road, too.
The surrounding area is worth a visit, too. Once you’re here, be sure to keep driving along the coast for some more unforgettable scenery.
Location: North of Norway, near Elnesvagen
Until recently, the Transfagarasan was very underrated. Afterall, most travelers head to the Alps to drive down the most spectacular mountain passes. Believe it or not, one of the best driving roads in the world is actually located in Romania.
This mountain pass rose to fame after being featured in 2009 in BBC’s Top Gear. The hosts actually praised the highway and dubbed it the best driving road in the world.
Unsurprisingly, the Transfagarasan quickly became one of the most frequently visited destinations in the country.
The Transfagarasan is the ideal extension of a Balkan road trip. We happen to have a travel guide around the Balkan coast, curated for those who travel by car.
Location: Central Romania, 3 hours away from Bucharest
Gorges du Verdon is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Europe. In reality, its landscape is very different from the one in Arizona.
This national park in the South of France is known for its turquoise-colored water and vibrant greenery, all situated between dramatic cliffs and mountains. These are not the views you’d expect in the South of France, that’s for sure!
You can expect jaw-dropping views of endless natural beauty, at some points 800 meters below the road you’re driving on. Not the best place to be if you fear heights!
What’s best, the next road is just a drive away from Gorges du Verdon. This means you can see 2 of the best driving roads in Europe in one day.
Location: South of France, 2 hours 20 minutes from Nice
The famous Route Napoleon is perhaps the most famous driving road in France. It has earned a spot on our list, as it is one of the best drives in Europe.
Back in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte took this exact route when returning from Elba. He had 1200 soldiers with him, ready to conquer Paris and to be ruled by Napoleon once again.
This chicane-filled drive spans 315 kilometers in length, beginning right outside of Cannes. Continue driving uphill all the way until Grenoble. From there, you can either head back to the coast or continue deeper into France. You may also head East into the Swiss Alps for a total change of scenery.
Location: South of France, begins outside of Cannes
It goes without saying that Scotland has to land on the bucket list of any traveler. The North Coast 500 is just another reason to visit this magical land. Oh, and this road happens to be one of the best driving roads in the world, too!
This scenic drive will take you on a 500-mile long journey around the Scottish highlands, accompanied by waterfront views for a large chunk of the journey.
It’s best to begin the trip in Inverness, as you can enter the road there. Go in either direction, and you will end up back in Inverness 500 miles later.
Location: Northern tip of Scotland
Good luck typing in the name of this street into your GPS app. Surely, The Black Forest High Road is easier to remember than the lengthy Schwarzwaldhochstrasse.
This scenic drive, just like the entirety of The Black Forest, remains massively underrated. While the majority of the tourists flock to Bavaria, this beautiful forest is often overlooked.
The recommended way to drive down the B500 is by starting in the spa town of Baden-Baden. Then, make your way uphill and continue through the hairpin-filled High Road.
Check out this guide to find out the best places to visit in the Black Forest. You’ll also see some must-visit spots in Strasbourg and Northern Switzerland, too.
Location: South-west Germany, near Strasbourg
I know what you’re thinking- isn’t the Nurburgring a race track?
Well, it is theoretically classified as a one-way toll road. At least by insurance companies.
The Nurburgring may not have the panoramic views as the other roads on this list. However, it is one of the best driving roads on the planet. Given that you classify it as a road and not a race track, that is.
The Nurburgring hosts frequent Touristenfahrten, or public track days. On those days, virtually any driver can test their skills on this challenging track.
Many insurance companies don’t cover driving on the ring. Double-check before coming on the track, as crashes here happen rather frequently.
Location: 1 hour South of Cologne, Germany
Are you looking for more of the best driving roads in Europe? Check out our short guide on Instagram, where we showcase a different selection of our favorite drives in The Old Continent!
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The USA is filled with scenic driving roads scattered essentially all over the country. Once again, the roads below are listed in random order. Decide which one is your favorite.
A drive-through National Park? This sounds like one of the best National Park road trip ideas, and it is just that!
This otherworldly scenic drive will take you right through the very heart of the Glacier National Park in Montana. The Going To The Sun Road is actually one of the best attractions in this park, and the main route that connects the must-see points in Glacier NP.
Expect wonderful scenery that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to the heart of the Alps, all while actually being in Montana.
Don’t miss the cute Red Jammers. This fleet of red buses from the 1930s continue to offer guided tours of the road. You’re bound to see them as you drive along.
You simply cannot miss the Going To The Sun Road, as it’s one of the best scenic drives in the US.
Location: Glacier National Park, Montana
You will have definitely seen the Bixby Creek Bridge in at least one Hollywood movie. Afterall, this part of the Pacific Coast Highway in California was the shooting location for countless films, including Iron Man or the Fast & Furious.
No wonder this coastal highway is considered by many, including us, to be one of the best drives in the US. It should come as no surprise that we’ve included it on our Ultimate California Road Trip guide.
The entire Pacific Coast Highway is actually over 1000 kilometers (600 miles) long, making it the longest state route in all of sunny California.
Renting a convertible and driving off into the sunset as you watch the Pacific Ocean is surely a mesmerizing experience, no doubt.
Location: Coast of California
The Million Dollar Highway is a scenic route that takes you up to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in the heart of Colorado. It’s easily one of the most beautiful roads in America.
No wonder it is a must-visit point on any Colorado road trip.
When passing the town of Durango, turn into the US 550 and head north up towards Montrose. You’ll drive along the 25-mile Million Dollar Highway.
Location: Western Colorado
The road that connects the scenic Keys to the rest of Florida is simply breathtaking.
Take the US1 south from Homestead and continue down the Overseas Highway. You’ll see turquoise water, scenic Keys, and the iconic 7-Mile Bridge. Key West lays at the end of the road, which is the Southernmost point of the Continental US.
We believe this magical drive deserves a spot as one of the best roads in the US. Naturally, we’ve included it in our Florida road trip itinerary.
Location: South of Florida, 1 hour from Miami
Utah is quite a dramatic change of scenery from the coast of Florida, that’s for sure. If you haven’t seen these kind of landscapes before, you may feel as if you were on the surface of another planet.
The White Rim Road should land on the bucket list of any off-roading enthusiast. This 100-mile (160km) long trail will take you around the natural beauty of Canyonlands National Park. Expect to stop nearly all the time, as the photo opportunities are just endless.
Visitors who obtain permits can spend multiple days on the trail and camp at the designated campgrounds along the White Rim Road. Spend up to 3 days to explore this region to the fullest!
The unique natural beauty of Utah is unlike any other place in the world. There are tens of parks worth visiting scattered around the state. Check out this curated travel guide and plan your ideal Utah road trip, seeing the best of what the state has to offer along the way.
Location: Canyonlands NP, Utah
This road is an absolute treat for any petrolhead visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. This exciting driving road is only a short drive away from the Smokies!
The Tail of The Dragon (US129) is praised as America’s #1 driving road for sports cars and motorcycles. It packs a whopping 318 curves in total along the 11-mile route. Expect to see hundreds of fellow petrolheads roaming up and down the road, especially during peak season.
Location: west of The Great Smoky Mountains NP, NC
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Mulholland Drive is the ideal getaway for a scenic joyride away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood. One of the best driving roads in this part of California also doubles as a great tourist attraction, as there are plenty of overlooks that offer panoramic views of the Los Angeles skyline.
Mulholland Drive is only around 35 kilometers (21 miles) long and it is the perfect spot to spend an hour or two. Don’t forget to take your camera as you enjoy the views at one of the overlooks!
As far as the driving itself goes, expect a ton of chicanes and a couple of switchbacks. Perhaps it’s not as extreme as the White Rim Road in Utah, but it can still offer plenty of fun within the LA area.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Pikes Peak is a well-known name for any car freak. Every year, the world-class Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is organized on this road. Hundreds of racing drivers attempt to drive up to the peak as fast as possible, every year since 1916.
The route winds around over a hundred curves before making its way to the summit, some 31 kilometers (19miles) later. The majority of the Highway remains open-year round, depending on the amount of snow.
Driving up the Pikes Peak Highway is a must-do on any Colorado road trip.
Location: Colorado, 2 hours south of Denver
The Artists Drive in Death Valley National Park is yet another chance to witness absolutely otherworldly landscapes, somewhat similar to the ones you can find in Utah.
While Artists Drive is nothing short of an amazing attraction, it is certainly worth visiting for the panoramic views. It may not be as good of a driving road as The Tail of The Dragon, as it’s a one-way 10-mile long road with a low speed limit. The road lacks tight chicanes that are adored by motorcyclists and sports car owners alike.
Star Wars fans may recognize this area. Parts of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope were filmed within this National Park.
We recommend paying Artists Drive a visit during a road trip around Death Valley. No matter whether you choose to drive further into California or explore the beauty of Nevada, Death Valley is an absolute must.
Location: Death Valley National Park, California
Highway 163 that cuts through Monument Valley could be the most iconic road in the country, perhaps except for the historic Route 66. The seemingly endless straight road is a far cry from the mountain passes of Europe or winding Colorado hill climbs. Instead, this road is all about the views.
Monument Valley is one of those places that you have to visit to really grasp their enormous scale. The desert-like landscape is nothing short of monumental, and the large boulders that dominate the skyline simply complete the experience.
Expect dramatic views and not many corners.
Monument Valley is a must when passing through Arizona and Utah.
Location: Utah, Arizona
There you have it! Those are the 20 best driving roads in the world. Looking for more travel inspiration? Be sure to check out this blog post on 7 of the longest roads on the planet.
Be sure to add them to your travel bucket list!
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