3 of the Best Roads in Europe
Updated September 28, 2013
Europe has no shortage of spectacular roads to drive. If you’re planning a driving trip to Europe, here are some of the best:
1) Transfagarasan Highway, Romania: Christened the “best road in the world” by the BBC’s Top Gear, the Transfagarasan Highway cuts across Romania’s tallest mountains, the Fagaras, between the provinces of Transylvania and Muntenia. It was constructed in the 1970s by the Romanian military under the direction of former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, at a massive cost that wasn’t all financial — 40 soldiers lost their lives building the highway.
The 100-km Transfagarasan is open only a few months of the year, usually from late June through October, because snow and other weather conditions make it impassable the rest of the year. In fact, the Transfagarasan can be closed by snow even in the middle of summer. The highway crosses Romania’s highest mountain, Moldoveanu, reaching a height of 2,034 km and offering spectacular views. Other sights along the way include Balea Lake and Waterfall, the 900-meter-long and unlit Balea Tunnel, and Poenari Fortress, a ruined castle formerly home to the notorious Prince Vlad the Impaler.
2) Stelvio Pass, Italy: Located high in the Italian Alps near the Australian border, the steep, winding Stelvio Pass is an ultimate challenge for drivers and cyclists, with 60 hairpin turns over a climb of 1,871 m over the course of 24 km — an average slope of 7.4%. Even professional drivers have been tested by Stelvio’s twists and turns, but the amazing views of the Alpine landscape are worth it.
The road through Stelvio Pass was originally built by the Austrian military in the 19th century and has changed little since then. As with the Transfagarasan, Stelvio Pass is closed by snow for most of the year, except for June through September, and unfortunately can be very busy during those open months. The Stelvio is best driven from the northwest, so you can have the experience of climbing the “wall” of 48 switchbacks that make up the north face of the pass.
3) Amalfi Drive, Italy: This old Roman road between the towns of Sorrento and Amalfi in southern Italy is carved out of the sea cliff over the Tyrrhenian Sea for most of its 50-km length. However, the Romans didn’t install guardrails, and modern Italians have only put a few in place, so for most of the way on the Amalfi Drive, there’s nothing between you and a sheer drop to the sea — especially if you’re driving on the southbound outer lane.
If your nerves can stand it, however, the Amalfi Drive offers a spectacular contrast between the massive cliffs and the deep blue sea. Stop over in the cliffside resort town of Positano halfway through the drive to relax.
The above post was contributed by Carcraft, a specialist showroom with hundreds of used cars throughout the UK. Find out more tips and advice with the Carcraft press website.
Categories: Gear Grinding