There is something about driving through a mountain range that captures the imagination. Maybe it’s the feeling of being dwarfed by towering peaks or the sense of adventure that comes with navigating winding roads and hairpin turns. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that driving through a mountain range is a truly unforgettable experience.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next road trip, we’ve put together a list of the most scenic drives through mountain ranges around the world. From the Rockies to the Alps, these routes offer stunning views of some of the world’s most majestic landscapes.
The Pacific Coast Highway, California
The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1, is one of the most iconic drives in the United States. Running along the California coast, this route offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Santa Lucia Mountains on the other. Highlights include the Bixby Creek Bridge, which spans a dramatic canyon, and the coastal town of Big Sur, which is surrounded by rugged cliffs and redwood forests.
The Ring Road, Iceland
The Ring Road, or Route 1, circles Iceland and offers some of the most spectacular views in the world. From the glaciers and waterfalls of the south to the volcanic landscapes of the east, this route takes you through some of Iceland’s most stunning scenery. Highlights include the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, the black sand beaches of Vik, and the geothermal wonders of Lake Mývatn.
The Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions, and for good reason. This 243-kilometer drive takes you along the southeastern coast of Australia, offering stunning views of rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and the iconic Twelve Apostles rock formations. Other highlights include the charming seaside town of Lorne and the lush rainforests of Great Otway National Park.
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast in southern Italy is famed for its beautiful beauty, and using its winding roads is an revel in now no longer to be missed. From the colorful houses of Positano to the historic town of Amalfi, this route offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the rugged mountains that rise up from its shores. Be sure to stop at one of the many viewpoints along the way to take in the view.
The Icefields Parkway, Canada
The Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada, is a 232-kilometer drive through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies. This route takes you past turquoise lakes, towering mountains, and glaciers that stretch as far as the eye can see. Highlights include Peyto Lake, the Athabasca Glacier, and the stunning views from the summit of the Columbia Icefield.
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austria
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is one of the most famous alpine drives in Europe. This 48-kilometer route takes you through the heart of the Austrian Alps, offering stunning views of snow-capped peaks and glaciers. Highlights include the Pasterze Glacier, the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe viewpoint, and the rustic alpine huts that dot the landscape.
The Road to Hana, Hawaii
The Road to Hana is a 103-kilometer drive along the eastern coast of Maui, Hawaii. This route takes you through lush rainforests, past cascading waterfalls, and along dramatic coastal cliffs. Highlights include the black sand beaches of Waianapanapa State Park, the Kenai Peninsula, and the Hana Lava Tube.
The Trollstigen, Norway
The Trollstigen, or “Troll’s Path,” is a dramatic mountain road in western Norway. This 11-kilometer route includes steep inclines, hairpin turns, and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and fjords. The highlight of the drive is the Stigfossen waterfall, which cascades down the mountainside next to the road.
The Transfagarasan Highway, Romania
The Transfagarasan Highway in Romania is one of the most scenic drives in Eastern Europe. This 90-kilometer route takes you through the Carpathian Mountains, offering stunning views of valleys, forests, and glacial lakes. The highlight of the drive is Balea Lake, a stunning glacier lake that is surrounded by mountains.
The Milford Road, New Zealand
The Milford Road in New Zealand is a 120-kilometer drive through the heart of Fiordland National Park. This route takes you past towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and stunning glacial valleys. The highlight of the drive is the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2-kilometer-long tunnel that cuts through the mountains to reach Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most iconic natural wonders.
Driving through a mountain range is an experience that should be on every travelers bucket list. From the stunning views of the Pacific Coast Highway to the dramatic hairpin turns of the Trollstigen, these scenic drives offer a glimpse into some of the world’s most majestic landscapes. Whether you’re looking for adventure, natural beauty, or just a relaxing road trip, these routes are sure to leave you awe-inspired and amazed.