Australia has some challenging off-road tracks but the following roads are a whole different ball game. If you’re up for a white knuckle ride, then these wild roads are guaranteed to give you a thrill and perhaps a few grey hairs.
Switchback Highway Tianmen Mountain, China
Tianmen Mountain in China has a 11 km switchback road featuring 99 bends that heads up to the top of the mountain. If you’d rather take time to look at the views than concentrate on the road, the hair raising 1,279 metre ascent can also be done by cable car from Zhangjiajie railway station.
Passo dello Stelvio, Italy
The higgedly piggedly Stevio Pass is one of the steepest in the Alps and one of Europe’s greatest driving roads. Rising 2,757 metres this mountain pass isn’t for the faint hearted. It has numerous tight corners and hairpin bends needing sharp concentration and good brake pads. Be sure to check the road is open if you plan to drive it, at certain times it’s used by cyclists, especially for the Grandondo Stelvio Santini.
Col du Chaussy, France
Ascending dramatically 1,533m above sea level up the side of a mountain in Savoie, Rhône-Alpes, Col du Chaussy is breathtaking feat of engineering. Anyone with vertigo is not advised to attempt the drive, it has a section that has 17 hairpin bends that go for 3 km straight up! Your passengers will enjoy stunning views, you however will be praying the brake fluid has been topped up.
photo courtesy of: pro.maurienne-tourisme.com/
Sani Pass, South Africa
The Sani Pass in South Africa is another road that requires not only above average driving skills but also a 4×4 vehicle. The road situated in KwaZulu-Natal province is 9 km in length and can often be unpassable due to weather conditions. It considered extremely dangerous due to its gravel surface, steepness and twisting bends. Car wrecks are often found lying by the side of this road as evidence of those who didn’t make it.
Once a strategic military route, the Transfăgărășan is considered by Top Gear to be the world’s best road. With 90 km of twisting hairpins, S-curves and steep descents, the road runs across the Southern Carpathian mountains, and ascends to 2,034 metres. The best way to drive it from from North to South for the most spectacular scenery. But pick your time as snow falls close the road from late October to late June.
Death Road, Bolivia
La Carretera de los Yungas, aka Death Road, is famous for being the most dangerous stretch of road in the world. A mere gravel track that is in some places only wide enough for one car, the road is 69 km long and runs between the towns of La Paz and Coroico. Above is the threat of landslides, to the side is a 1,000 metre cliff and ahead oncoming vehicles that force you over to the cliff side. There is actually a safer alternative route, but what would be the fun in that?