There are road trips and then there are road trips—the kind that change your life, challenge your driving skills and leave you a different person in the end. Even though summer’s coming to a close in many parts of the world, it’s not too late to plan an epic road trip for this year. Need some inspiration? Check out these daredevil roads to get started.
1. Big Sur’s Highway 1
No road trip list is complete without mentioning the coastal Highway 1 stretch in central California. Ending (or beginning) in Carmel, it’s famous for the incredible peaks and close nips with the cliffs. Check out the Pacific Ocean views, but steer clear of rush hour. Those big motor homes can ruin your view and pace.
2. Nurburgrin Nordschleife, Germany
Forget the Autobahn, this is the real thrill in Germany for serious drivers. It’s the most famous racetrack around the globe and spans just 12.93 miles in a loop. All you need is 24 euros and a desire to put the pedal to the metal. Formula One driver Jackie Stewart dubbed the notoriously difficult track “the green hell.”
3. Ruta 40, Argentina
As one of the longest highways in the world, you can’t miss out on this route that features over 20 national parks and staggering views of the Andes. It’s 3,000 miles long, so resist the tourist-heavy southern part and instead head to higher elevations. You can gain up to 16,000 feet above sea level.
4. Conor Pass, Ireland
This is doubly tricky because you’ll need to remember to stay on the left hand side, but a drive on Emerald Isle drive can’t be beat. It heads from Dingle Peninsula all the way to Brandon Bay, featuring super narrow roads that twist and wind. Greenery is of course abundant, and the lakes hearken back to medieval fairy tales.
5. Touge Roads, Mount Fuji
Each of these roads is lined with trees and wind around Mount Fuji. This is where drifting was born, and some daredevils still try to make a go of it (although for newbies it’s not recommended). Of course, fantasizing about drifting is encouraged and you can even get into a meditative groove after a while. Equal parts thrilling and relaxing, the Touge roads are a must.
6. Stelvio Pass, Italy
Situated high in the Italian Alps at 9,000 feet, there are 48 switchbacks in just 15 miles. The turns are sharp and some people consider driving it a rite of passage. You’re pretty safe in a car, but watch out for runners, motorcycles and bicyclists. The high altitudes can literally take your breath away, so not everyone is in their best frame of mind here.
Of course, the absolute best road trips are the ones in a car you love with people you love even more. Plan your next adventure now and start mapping out the drive.
Have you driven on any of these locations? What other crazy roads have you driven? Comment below.