Culture
130 voters

The Best Driving Roads in the World

Updated November 6, 2017 509 votes 130 voters 1.3k views18 items

Why do people love driving? What makes the best roads so wonderful to drive? Everyone's looking for that one moment - that instant of transcendent non-awareness, that essential loss of existential boundary. To dance with physics, experience the one-ness of non-being, and touch the face of God sideways and on fire. The best driving roads in the world, in the right car and on the right day, are the shortest way to get there, as all car lovers and driving enthusiasts know.

True, the greatest driving roads don't offer many quick ways to get anywhere; if anything, they've got far more twists, turns, and curves than anything made for transportation logically should. And half of them are stuck in the middle of nowhere, going from no place of interest to another. You certainly won't many major US interstates on this list of fun roads to drive.

But that's not the point of the best driving roads. It's not a matter of where you're going, or why. It's a matter of being where you are, right now. Which roads are the best to drive? Which should be on your international driving bucket list?

Take a few minutes to drive the information superhighway and take a look at the picturesque, fun-driving roads on this list. Then hop in the car, hit the pavement, and see what all the fuss is about with these roads and byways for yourself.
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    Pacific Coast Highway, California

    Photo: gamene / Flickr

    If you haven't heard of the PCH, then you've never seen a single movie made in California. This 515-mile stretch of photo ready perfection follows the Pacific coastline from Los Angeles to San Francisco and features some of the most thrilling twists, turns, drops, and rises in North America.

    It's also said to be the most filmed road in the world, having shown up in seemingly every car movie you've ever seen. No American can call themselves a gearhead without driving the PCH at least once.
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    Col de Turini, Italy

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Top Gear fans will recognize this 30-mile plate of asphalt spaghetti from the 2007 special "World's Best Driving Road." It runs through the Alps from Sospel, Italy to La Bollene, and has featured as a stage on the World Rally Championship tour for over 50 years. It's beautiful, narrow, dangerous, rife with blind corners, and absurdly deadly at night. Still, for those who dare, the Col de Turini may be about as close to driving heaven as Europe has to offer. 
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    New Zealand's Southern Alps

    Photo: flickr / CC0

    Is it any surprise that Middle Earth makes driving fantasies come true? You might recognize these as the Misty Mountains, but they're actually the Southern Alps. That name is a little deceptive, though. They're not the Alps of Italy. They're bigger than the Alps and the Pyrenees combined, and host some of the most beautiful scenery this side of the Undying Lands.

    New Zealand's roads are also better than most in America, and are planned and banked almost like a race circuit. Check out the 100-mile stretch down Route 6, from Wanaka to Haast Beach. If the cops ask, just tell them you're on a mission to Mordor. 
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    The Touge Roads - Japan

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    If you're a fan of drifting, or Initial D, "the touge" needs no further explanation. Pronounced "tau-GEY," touge is a generic Japanese term for "mountain pass." It could refer to any of the hundreds of incredible mountain switchbacks running throughout Japan - the roads where drifting was born. Each one is completely unique, and the best of the best are well-kept secrets in Japan. Of course, there's the Mt. Fuji touge, which is pretty, and a nice draw for tourists. But you could spend a lifetime exploring Japan's amazing mountain roads and still never see half of them.

    If you get the chance to visit Japan, just think of yourself as a ronin, forever wandering the land in search of the perfect duel to challenge your skills. You'll never win them all... but you can't lose, either.
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