If you’re travelling anywhere in the world and thinking of hiring a car for part of your journey, then it’s a good idea to know your route … and what kind of road you’ll be driving on. We’ve all heard the horror stories about dangerous and chaotic roads (remember this 50 lane traffic jam!), but what are some of the best roads around the globe to put your foot down on? Here, Vindis – who specialise in servicing for SEATs, and other car models – take a look:
Romania – Sibiu – Transfăgărășan
Grand Tour presenter and motor enthusiast, Jeremy Clarkson, has previously declared this highway the world’s greatest road. The Romanian highway sweeps for 150 kilometres, reaching heights at the summit of 2042 metres. The road, which was built in 1974, leads to Balea lake and on both the ascent and descent you are able to indulge in some of the most breath-taking views this world has to offer. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, the road is usually only open during the summer months, as the top of the path can be subject to heavy snow and fog. What may exist as exhilarating hairpin turns in the summer can be treacherous and ultimately deadly obstacles in the winter.
Norway – Molde – Atlantic Road
Anyone who’s visited this Scandinavian country will understand why some of its roads have been voted the best in the world. The Atlantic road has collected a host of awards, ‘including the world’s best road trip’, the ‘world’s best for car testing’, and ‘the world’s best place to mend a broken heart’. The engineering feat which connects a host of small islands and islets amalgamates land, sea, and sky like nothing else in the world. As you navigate your way along the 8km trek, take in the scenery by stopping at the various look-out points along the way.
We’ve all heard of Route 66, the road that stretches the length of the United States, but have you heard of Ruta 40? Ruta 40 offers up stiff competition to its North American counterpart. Stretching for more than 3,000 miles, the route crosses the Andes mountain range on 27 different occasions, as well as running through 20 national parks and 18 major rivers. Much of the journey navigates through a completely desolate land, but the 5,000m steep journey provides travellers with the opportunity to indulge in some unbelievable attractions, including the Perito Moreno Glacier. Despite the road being built in 1935 and much of it being exposed to extremely harsh weather conditions all year round, the vast majority of the surface remains as smooth tarmac, creating an optimal driving experience.
Scotland – Edinburgh – Queensferry Crossing
This record-breaking bridge is a pleasure to drive over. Built 207m into the sky, the crossing, which was built to precede the Forth Road Bridge, broke numerous Guinness World Records, including the longest continuous concrete pour — 15 days. The bridge, which allows people to commute from Edinburgh to Fyfe, opened on 30th August 2017 and cost the Scottish government £1.3 billion. On average, approximately 77,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day and it proves a vital transport link between England and North Scotland cities, such as Aberdeen. Although existing as the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world, the Queensferry Crossing took that crown from the bridge beside it, which is also an incredible engineering feat.
Germany – Frankfurt – Autobahn
If you’ve got a taste for speed then you’ll no-doubt be drawn to the Autobahn in Frankfurt. Tragically, the reputation the German road network has built itself over the years isn’t exactly one which boasts entire truth. For most of the Autobahn, tempo limits exist, which help aid traffic congestion and prevent serious collisions. Tempos drive down the limit in most parts to 80mph and in some sections even lower, dependent on weather congestions and location. Fortunately, all is not bleak and there is still fun to be had. Outside of the major cities, without the temporary limits, there are no laws, and cars have been known to drive in excess of 200mph — just remember it’s the left lane to overtake!
Before driving here, it’s helpful to know that the road signs don’t note direction. Unlike the UK, where signs will suggest A1(N) or M8(E), the Autobahn simply consists of numbers, so we would suggest knowing the major destinations on your route before setting off. There is a quick rule of thumb though — if the number is even, it means it goes east or west, and similarly odd goes north and south.