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Most interesting and beautiful roads in the world to travel
If you’re thinking of taking a road trip, by car, RV, motorcycle or bus, or are attempting a cycle challenge, here are some ideas for routes throughout the world that won’t disappoint you:
Historic Route 66, USA
Although the legendary 4,000-mile Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica has been decommissioned and by-passed by faster roads, many sections are still driveable, so if you’re planning a roadtrip across the US, why not turn off the main highway and explore some of the old route? Some parts have been preserved as Historic Route 66, and pass through many interesting towns and cities.
West Coast, New Zealand
South Island of New Zealand is stunning, especially along its west coast. The best stretch is along State Highway 6, from Westport to the Haast Pass. On a clear day (the weather here can be unpredictable), the views of snow-capped mountains, fast flowing rivers, waterfalls and thick forests are unforgettable. The route passes tourist sites including the Shantytown gold mining attraction, Punakaiki (“Pancake Rocks”) and the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
The coast of Australia’s Victoria state has some stunning stretches. The 240km Great Ocean Road takes in rainforests, beaches, rock formations and cliffs, and passes one of the country’s most famous natural wonders, the Twelve Apostles, a series of limestone sea stacks. The route has been designated a memorial to soldiers killed in World War One, making it the world’s largest war memorial.
Avenue of the Volcanoes, Ecuador
The Panamerican Highway, which runs through North and South America, passes through Ecuador as Highway 35, crossing the Equator on the way. It offers views of spectacular volcanoes, including Cotopaxi, Cayambe, Imbabura and Chimborazo, the latter being the country’s highest mountain. The markets of Otavalo, and the beautiful city of Cuenca are interesting stops on the route.
Pacific Coast Highway, USA
Running down the coast of California, State Route 1 offers stunning scenery. The most iconic section runs from San Francisco down to Orange County, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, and passing locations such as Big Sur, Santa Barbara and Monterey. Travel from north to south to stay on the coast side of the road.
Friendship Highway, Himalayas
Also known as the China-Nepal Highway, this 800km route heads across the roof of the world, from the Tibetan capital Lhasa, passing over three 5,000m passes, taking in views of Mount Everest. The road ends at the Friendship Bridge, on the China-Nepal border.
Carretera Austral, Chile
Head way down south into some of the world’s most stunning mountain and coastal scenery. The Carretera Austral, Chile’s Route 7, winds its way more than 1,200km south from Puerto Montt, past fjords and inlets that must be crossed by ferry, volcanoes, big lakes, magnificent Andean peaks, remote villages and lush forests. At the settlement of Villa O’Higgins, the road runs out.
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