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Famous Roads

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Introduction

Route 66 from Bagdad Cafe to Barstow, California

Route 66 from Bagdad Cafe to Barstow, California

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Travelling around a continent, country or region can be done in a number of ways. You can easily take a plane, or you can take a great train ride. You can even opt for just hiking, take public transport or rent a car or bike. Some of these magnificent trips can be found in the Famous Journeys article, but this one mainly tries to list the best ones that can be considered 'road trips'. But not necessarily: there are of course options to take public transport and some roads are even best undertaken or most popular by bike. And there are also just very short roads, mainly in cities, which can even be walked. It's all your choice, but what gives you more freedom, space and comfort than a car? In most cases it's easy to just fly to the specific country, region or city and rent a car. In some cases it might be better to join forces and travel with more cars or join a tour. Whatever you decide, you have to love travelling because it's not only about sights, activities, about arriving and reaching your final destination. No, it's essentially about the trip itself.

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Africa

Chapman's Peak Drive

The Chapman's Peak Drive is amongst the most beautiful coastal drives anywhere in the world and certainly can compete with Big Sur in California and the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

Chapman's Peak Drive

Chapman's Peak Drive

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The Chapman's Peak Drive itself is just about 9 kilometres long and is located southwest of Cape Town. It connects the two coastal communities of Hout Bay and Noordhoek. It is part of a much longer and impressive route that winds its way down from Cape Town past the suburbs of Sea Point and Fresnaye to the popular beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay and further down to Llandudno and into Hout Bay. From there the most spectactular part is a 2-3-kilometre-long part past rocky cliffs and beautiful ocean vistas. The road was closed from 1999 to 2003 after a deadly accident and other serious problems. Even nowadays, sometimes the road can be closed, which is signposted well before the drive actually starts and there is an inland detour if you want to avoid paying R31 (about €3 or US$4), which you would spend on fuel instead. The Chapman's Peak Drive is along the M6 which, after Noordhoek, traverses the Cape Peninsula to connect with the M4 south to Simon's Town and the Cape of Good Hope National Park.

Garden Route

Wilderness coastline

Wilderness coastline

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

The Garden Route is a popular scenic drive along a stretch of the southern coastline of South Africa. Although the Garden Route extends into the Western Cape, most of it is actually located in the Eastern Cape: a fantastic drive along the beautiful southern coastline, where ancient forests, surf spots, hiking and bungeejumping can all be combined within days. There are loads of cities, towns and small settlements along the Garden Route or its immediate vicinity. The major cities and towns include Mossel Bay, Knysna, Oudtshoorn (technically north of the Garden Route), Plettenberg Bay and George, the Garden Route's largest city and main administrative centre. The official start is in Heidelberg, Western Cape, the westernmost point.

Route 62/Wine Route

Route 62 is a great alternative to the coastal route (N2) in South Africa's Western Cape. Better known as the Wine Route, it runs partly across some of the best wineries and most fantastic landscapes anywhere in the world. A visit to the wine areas of Wellington, Tulbagh, Worcester, Robertson and the Klein Karoo is possible and it's one of the longest wine routes in the world. Activities along Route 62 include wine tours, safari drives, tribal art, cultural tours, museums, hiking, mountain climbing, 4x4 routes, canoeing, horse riding, ostrich riding, fishing, and caving. The original regional Route 62 runs between Montagu and Humansdorp, but the total route spans a distance of 850 kilometres from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.

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Europe

Champs-Élysées

Paris - Champs Elysees

Paris - Champs Elysees

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The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, or just Champs-Élysées, is the most prestigious road in Paris. It is one of the most famous roads in the world and also one of the world most expensive ones regarding the renting and buying of real estate. The name is French for Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology, and is sometiems voted as one of the most beautiful avenues in the world. The road is lined with luxury shops, restaurants, small cafés and other interesting places. The avenue is about 2 kilometers long and goes through the 8th arrondissement in the northwest of Paris, running from the Place de la Concorde in the east, with the Obelisk of Luxor, to the Place Charles de Gaulle in the west, the location of the Arc de Triomphe. The Champs-Élysées forms part of the Axe historique and since 1975 also is the traditional finish place of the last stage of the Tour de France.

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North America

Route 66

Historic Route 66

Historic Route 66

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Route 66 is probably the most famous route there is in the United States. Not for nothing is it called The Mother Road. Route 66 was established in 1926 and officially removed from the US Highway System in 1985, but keeps being popular among people wanting to travel as much of the original route by car or motorcycle. Route 66 basically was not just one simple road between Chicago and Los Angeles. Instead, constant changes over the years meant that routes and total length constantly changed. But during the years, Route 66 at least was recognisable as a road that you could actually follow all the way towards the west coast of the USA. Nowadays, it is much more difficult to travel this route. Parts of the road are now designated a National Scenic Byway or have been named Historic Route 66. This is perfect for those who want to combine a more modern roadtrip to the USA with some historical background by following as many parts of the original Route 66. The traditional start of Route 66 is near downtown Chicago by the train station. It is possible to eat at a restaurant that claims to be the first (or last) restaurant on the road depending on which way you're going. One of the longest and most popular stretches travels between Kingman and Seligman in Arizona, making a loop northwards from Interstate 40 and passing several smaller villages. Great vintage signs, some diners and motels can still be found on this stretch of historic Route 66.

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Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas Strip is where all the action takes place in Sin City. It's a 7-kilometre stretch of the Las Vegas Boulevard where all the hotels and casinos are located and where almost all of the gambling and other activities in the city can be found. Although historically, Downtown Las Vegas had all the gambling going on, the casinos that were not in here along Fremont Street were restricted to outside of the city limits on Las Vegas Boulevard. Quickly, this part, the Strip, grew rapidly and now is the centerpiece with all the famous hotels, shows and casinos.

Natchez Trace Parkway

Early morning camp site in Natchez Trace, Mississippi

Early morning camp site in Natchez Trace, Mississippi

© All Rights Reserved Darell

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile (about 700 kilometres) scenic road spanning across Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, passing through numerous historic sites and offering a glimpse of life along an overland trail used for thousands of years through the early 1800's as a connection from the southern Mississippi River to the Tennessee River. The Natchez Trace Parkway headquarters and vistor's center are located in Tupelo, Mississippi. Other visitor's centers are the Information Center at Kosciusko, Mississippi and the Mississippi Crafts Center in Jackson, Mississippi.

Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is one of the most beautiful roads along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. It stretches along much of the Californian coastline.

Colourful mailboxes along Big Sur, California

Colourful mailboxes along Big Sur, California

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht


It starts at Interstate 5 near Dana Point in Orange County, south of Los Angeles and runs north past places like Santa Barbara, Cambria, Santa Cruz and San Francisco up to US Highway 101 near Leggett in Mendocino County. There is plenty to see and do along this magnificent drive, including the great Elephant Seal Colony near Cambria, the San Simeon Castle, the beautiful stretch of Big Sur with the famous Bixby Creek Bridge and of course the Golden Gate Bridge, shared with Highway 101.

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Oceania

Explorer Highway

Coober Pedy welcomes you!

Coober Pedy welcomes you!

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

The Explorer Highway is just one of the examples of great road trips in Australia. The route follows the trail of legendary explorer John McDouall Stuart, the first European to cross Australia from south to north. Although the original route is not exactly the same anymore, parts of it still are. The route starts in Adelaide, or actually in Port Augusta, north of the city. From there you cross the deserts of South Australia and the Northern Territory before ending in tropical Darwin. Along the way are many points of interest including Coober Pedy, Alice Springs and Katherine. But don't forget to take bypasses to Uluru (Ayers Rock) for example, or to Kakadu National Park up in the north of the country. To enjoy this trip, take at least about 3 to 4 weeks. Since several years, it is also possible to travel all the way by train from Adelaide to Darwin.

Great Ocean Road

Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles

© All Rights Reserved Peter

The Great Ocean Road is one of the world's most stunning coastal drives, winding along Australia's southern coast in Victoria (Australia). The undisputed highlight of the drive is the Twelve Apostles, but the Great Ocean Road leads past many more sights of interest. The Great Ocean Road starts in Torquay, a surf town located a short drive south from Geelong and about an hour from Melbourne. From here, the road leads west along the coast at sea level, passing through Anglesea and Lorne, after which the road ascends. This is where it becomes truly spectacular, with many dramatic lookout points along the winding road. After Apollo Bay, the road turns inland, leading through Great Otway National Park and onwards through Lavers Hill, where the road turns southwards towards the coast again. Between Princetown and Port Campbell lie some of the road's most famous attractions, including the Twelve Apostles. From Port Campbell, the road leads north to Warrnambool, where it comes to an end. The Great Ocean Road was built between 1919 and 1932 by Australian World War I veterans, as a memorial to their fallen comrades. Their labour is all the more impressive considering the steep coastal mountains the road is built into.

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South America

Yungas Road

Death Road  2008 12 01 (114)

Death Road 2008 12 01 (114)

© All Rights Reserved elliemike

The Yungas Road, or also called the Death Road, is a 60 to 70-kilometre long road from La Paz to Coroico, which is northeast of La Paz in the Yungas region of Bolivia. It is legendary for its extreme danger and in 1995 was officially named the "world's most dangerous road". It is estimated is that 200 to 300 travellers are killed yearly along the road. The road includes crosses marking many of the spots where vehicles have fallen. This is the northern section of the Yungas Road. The southern section connects La Paz to Chulumani, east of La Paz, and is considered to be nearly as dangerous as the northern part. Since 2006, the Yungas Road has an enlarged carriageway from one to two lanes, there is asphalt pavement, and a new section has been built between Chusquipata and Yolosa, bypassing to the north one of the most dangerous sections of the old Death Road. The original North Yungas Road is currently much less used by traffic, although an increasing number of adventure travelers bike it for the thrills. The road is especially rewarding when biking down from La Paz, which is a very popular daytrip, and recently it was even featured in a Top Gear episode!

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This is version 13. Last edited at 13:59 on Mar 9, 12 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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