The Roads Most Travelled
What street did you grow up on? Chances are you not only remember the street name, but have fond memories of it. You grew up there, it was your home, you rode your bike along it, you hung out with friends on it, you might have even sold lemonade from a stand on it – if you lived in a Peanuts cartoon that is.
But no matter how much meaning that street has to you, the odds are good that almost everyone else in the world has never heard of the place. The fact is that amongst the millions and millions of roads in the world, very few are known by more than simply the people who call them home.
However, there are some special cases. Sometimes a road takes on a fame all its own, and people from around the country, even the world, learn its name. Here’s our top picks for the most famous streets in the world that should top your road trip bucket list.
Route 66 is one of the most instantly recognizable road names of all time, immortalized Nat King Cole’s infamous tune. In fact, the name is probably a lot more famous than any particular aspect of the road itself, though for 60 years it was the main artery through the heart of the United States, from Los Angeles to Chicago.
Today, the road exists only in localized sections known as “Historic Route 66” after it was taken off the National Highway system in 1985. Still, large stretches can be driven and offer an insight into the American golden age like few other experiences can.
The Great Ocean Road
Returning servicemen from World War One built this landmark highway as a way to integrate back into the normalcy of civilian life after the horrors of the Great War. It was dedicated to those who fell during the war, giving it the title of the world’s largest war memorial.
Apart from its status as a memorial, the Great Ocean Road is a sightseeing destination the likes of which is almost unrivaled in Australia, which is saying something considering the nation has a great many impressive landmarks. Stretching along a part of the Australian coast in Victoria, those driving the Great Ocean Road are met with sights such as the Twelve Apostles and the London Arch: both of which are enormous offshore rocky formations carved by the ocean.
The Death Road
This article contains some roads you must see before you die. However, if you decide to make it your goal to see this particular one, dying may not be all that far off. For many years, this was officially the world’s most dangerous road, with 300 people meeting their end on it every year on average. Or at least, that’s how things used to be. In 2006 the road was bypassed by a much lower, much safer highway, though it’s still open and available to be driven.
Unlike most road deaths, those on Bolivia’s Death Road (more formally known as the Yungas Road) weren’t caused by reckless driving, speed or substance abuse, but instead by the treacherous conditions which regularly sent vehicles off the sheer edges of the highway. In places barely wide enough for one car, the death road is also unsealed, only adding to it’s treachery. Waterfalls cascade down the cliffside it’s carved into, in places creating a curtain between the rode and the open air just to the side. Not for the faint of heart. Or anyone, really. Take the new highway instead.
If you’re looking for amazing scenery that will knock your socks clean off, then look no further than Norway. This Scandinavian country has all the breathtaking views you could ever need, and one of the best ways to see some is to take the Trollstigen. Literally translated as “troll’s path”, it certainly isn’t hard to imagine mythical creatures lurking in the mountainous scenery around, especially when the fog descends.
The Trollstigen is a popular tourist destination in Norway so you may have to share the road with others, but the experience will be well worth a little traffic. Completed in 1936 and designated a national tourist route in 2012, the Trollstigen is flanked the entire way up by Stigfossen waterfall, as if you needed even more spectacular things to look at on your way up.
The Karakoram Highway
Do you have a fear of heights? No? Good. This road should be near the top of your list as it’s one of the highest sealed roads in the world. Crossing the Karakoram mountain range and linking the nations of Pakistan and China, the highway known as KKH is over four and a half thousand feet high.
Its construction was a mammoth feat of engineering, with building taking place over 20 years between 1959 and 1979, and over a thousand workers from Pakistan and China losing their lives in the process. The highway is colloquially known as the eighth wonder of the world, and it traverses parts of the ancient and historic Silk Road as part of its route. It cuts through some of the starkest countryside in the world, bringing together two countries that have historically been separated by almost insurmountable terrain.
Have you ever been somewhere that made you gasp out loud? If not, perhaps it’s time to book a trip to one of the roads on our list! If so, share your tips with us in the comments below.
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