From snow-clad mountain passes and precipitous paths with death-defying switchbacks, to rugged desert routes and sweeping coastal highways, there are some stunning roads around the world. Here, we’ve selected the most dramatic, where natural landscapes and man-made ingenuity collide.



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This beauty of a road is one of Europe’s most majestic mountain routes. The Transfagarasan begins in Cartisoara and ends in Curtea de Arges across Romania’s beautiful Fagaras Mountains, also known as the Transylvanian Alps. It was built for military purposes in the 1970s to connect the provinces of Transylvania and Wallachia. Its 6,699 feet (2,041m) at its highest point and has a seemingly endless series of bends, tunnels and viaducts to keep drivers alert.



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Maui’s lush landscape is mesmerizing but so too is this winding road that snakes along the northeast coastline of the island. It takes drivers past rainforest, over little bridges, alongside trickling waterfalls and around numerous hairpin bends. The dramatic coastal road, which is 52 miles (84km) long and goes between Pa’ia and Hana, has become a Hawaii must-do.



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Cyclists, motorbikers and motorists alike laud this infamous mountain pass in the Italian alps near the Swiss border as one of the ultimate roads. At just over 9,000 feet (2,743m), Stelvio Pass is the second highest mountain pass in the Alps. But it’s the 48 hairpin turns that make it the most amazing. The original road dates back to the 1820s. It’s open between May and November.



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Test your mettle on the fearsome-sounding Trollstigen, a mountain road that winds between the villages of Valldal in Indre Sunnmøre and Åndalsnes in Romsdalen and past awe-inspiring scenery. It opened in 1939 as an important transport passage and has become one of Norway’s most popular sights. With 11 sharp bends (each named after one of the construction workers) and a steep incline, the incredible road was even hand hewn into the mountain in some parts. It’s closed in winter however.



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This sinuous road in the Dadès Valley in the Ouarzazate province snakes down into a gorge, past staggering mountain scenery and ancient kasbahs. You’ll pass through some of the High Atlas Mountains’ most dramatic scenery on this extreme section of the R704 road, which was built down into the red-hued canyon of the Dadès River. It makes for a hair-raising but thrilling drive.



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Views of snow-capped mountains reflected in glimmering glacial waters are on offer as you follow along the edge of Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand’s South Island. The curvaceous road hugs the unusual shaped lake, which looks like a lightning bolt and is incredibly deep, from Queenstown to Glenorchy at the northern end. There are numerous lookout points along the way.



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Driving through towering corridors of snow that reach heights of up to 65 feet (20m) is one of the many staggering sights along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. The road traverses the Northern Japan Alps and it’s best visited between April to mid-June to experience the high snow walls, which are on the stretch between Bijodaira to Murodo. Murodo is the highest point along the road at 8,038 feet (2,449m) above sea level. The road is closed from December until April.



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Stretching from Belfast to Derry/Londonderry, the 120-mile (193km) Causeway Coastal Route is one of the world’s most wonderful coastal drives. Hugging County Antrim’s wild and beautiful coast, the road passes some of Northern Ireland’s most incredible sights such as the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle.



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Stretching proudly across the River Tarn in southern France, the Millau Suspension Bridge is an incredible structure. Follow the A75 autoroute to cross what is the world’s tallest bridge and marvel at its engineering as well as the soaring views of the river and Massif Central mountains. In some parts, it’s taller than the Eiffel Tower. The bridge, which opened in 2004, isn’t accessible for pedestrians.



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Snaking up and around Abu Dhabi’s highest mountain, Jebel Hafeet, this seven-mile (11km) road has become a destination in its own right. As the road winds up the craggy limestone peaks, there are a couple of look-out points but push on to the summit for the best views across the desert and the city of Al Ain below.



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You’ll pass mountains, salt flats, pampas and vineyards on Argentina’s epic Route 40, which stretches 3,107 miles (5,000km) from La Quiaca in the country’s northernmost province to Cabo Virgenes in the far south. In the Salta region, the highway crosses through the amazing rock formations of the Quebrada de las Flechas Canyon in the Calchaqui Valley.



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The Lake District has plenty of jaw-droppingly gorgeous and hair-raising roads, but Hardknott Pass is one of the most dramatic in Britain. To take on the high-rise mountain pass, start at Little Langdale and proceed along the twisting Wrynose Pass which leads on to the even steeper, narrower Hardknott Pass and its seemingly endless hairpin bends. Stop along the way to see the remains of a 2nd century Roman Fort, which are just off the remote track.



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As its name suggests, this is a seriously challenging road. Leading up to Ben Lomond National Park, an alpine plateau in northern Tasmania near Launceston, the steep and winding unsealed road features a series of mind-boggling switchbacks. It has become an attraction in its own right, especially for cyclists in training.



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You’ll get dizzy just looking at the Three Level Zigzag road, allegedly the most zig-zagging road in the world. Set in India’s Sikkim state within the lower Himalayan mountains, the curvy road has a staggering amount of hairpin turns and sheer drops along the way too. It goes from the village of Dzuluk and climbs up the mountain to Thambi View Point, reaching an altitude of 11,200 feet (3,413m).



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Stretching from Sydney down to Nowra on the south coast, this coastal scenic drive is one of Australia’s most stunning road trips. The photogenic Sea Cliff Bridge, which is shaped like a snake and rears out across the Pacific Ocean, and the Kiama Blowhole are just a couple of the awe-inspiring sights along the way.



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Cut out from the limestone cliff face between 1861 and 1898 as a means of transport for the local forestry industry, vertiginous Combe Laval (or D76) in southeast France’s Vercors Massif is now a popular attraction for adventurous cyclists. Overhanging the Cholet valley, the incredibly narrow road passes through several tunnels blasted into the rock face and offers those who dare to tackle its dramatic views of the mountains and wooded valley.



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Follow Austria’s most mesmerizing mountain pass to wind through the heart of High Tauern, the country’s largest national park, and up its highest peak, the pyramid-shaped Grossglockner. The road has 26 sharp turns and sensational views all along the way. Thankfully, there are plenty of lookout points so designated drivers can also enjoy the incredible scenery: all alpine meadows, mountain forests, jagged cliffs and glaciers as far as the eyes can see.



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The Khardung La or the Khardung Pass was built in 1976 on the Ladakh Range to the north of Leh in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. With a height of 17,582 feet (5,358m), travelers plying this lofty road that traverses past some startling Himalayan scenery can suffer from altitude sickness. With sheer drops, numerous hairpin turns and extreme weather to contend with too, this is a road to approach with caution. It’s closed from October to May due to dangerous weather conditions.



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This spectacularly steep and winding road can be found in the Tianmen Mountain National Park in China’s Hunan Province. It curls up the mountain for seven miles (11km) with 99 nerve-wracking bends and precipitous drops. The road ends at a natural gap near the mountain’s peak. Although, you’ll need to walk 999 steps after you’ve parked to reach the sacred crevice, which is known as Heaven’s Door.



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One of the world’s ultimate roads for four-wheel-drive enthusiasts, the Sani Pass delivers a hair-raising journey across the summit of the high Drakensberg in South Africa. First constructed as a mule track, the gravel road is now the only link between KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho and a spectacular mountain pass to tackle. Expect lots of zig-zagging, sheer cliff drops, steep inclines and staggering views of the striking escarpment.



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An old hand-carved mining route, Skippers Canyon Road offers those behind the wheel stunning scenery and scary driving. The 14.2 mile (23km) gravel road near Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island was built in 1888 to give mining companies access to the upper Shotover River, which the road overhangs in places. It’s narrow, bendy and peppered with sheer drops. Unsurprisingly, rental cars are not usually insured to take on this daredevil drive, so go with a pro.



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Don’t look down is the mantra to repeat as you navigate some of the most hair-raising sections of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, which wriggles 1,367 miles from Chengdu to Lhasa. This precarious path is one of the world’s highest roads but also one of the most incredible. It passes through snow-capped peaks, vast forested valleys, rushing rivers, glacial lakes and ancient monasteries. Expect plenty of sharp turns, sheer drops and adverse weather conditions if you drive in winter.



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You need to be serious about skiing to take on the winding mountain road that takes you up to Portillo, a ski resort high in the Chilean Andes. Tackling the road’s series of seemingly endless switchbacks is the only way up into the steep mountain. As well as motion sickness, heavy traffic (it’s also the main highway from Santiago to Mendoza in Argentina) and bad weather can also add to the road’s challenges.



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