It is pleasant to travel along beautiful roads, especially if the route is long enough. Dull highways are exhausting, there is nothing to keep your eye on. But the succession of picturesque landscapes lifts your spirits. Driving on beautiful roads is pure pleasure! Consider the most beautiful roads in the world, where at every turn adventure awaits the tourist. They are open to tourists, but live by their own rules.
Pan-American Highway (USA)
The longest highway in the world. It stretches for 30,000 km and covers the interstate highway system of the United States almost entirely. It is twice as long as the second longest road in the world. The Pan-American Highway consists of highways connecting more than 20 states in North and South America. This road splits 100 km between Panama and Cuba. The gap is called the Darien. It is a swampy area, and it would cost a lot of money to pave the highway there.
The starting point of the highway is Buenos Aires, South America. The highway ends in Edmonton, North America. The project was conceived in 1889 as a railroad connection. And in 1950, the first section in Mexico was built. The Mexicans built the road alone, without the involvement of forces and funds from the United States. Later, federal highways of other countries joined this section.
Since the highway goes through many countries, you won’t get bored as the scenic vistas change one after the other. But you’ll have to spend many, many liters of gasoline on the trip. And if you cycle, it’ll take you months to get from start to finish.
Highway 1 (Australia)
This Australian road is the first longest in Australia, but the Pan-American Highway is second. Highway 1 is 14,500 kilometers of highways connected to each other. The road runs through all Australian states except Darwin and Brisbane. It was begun in 1955, then rebuilt in 1959, 1974 and 1998. Now Highway 1 carries more than 1,000,000 people a day.
Australia is quite a large continent, and conditions vary from area to area. In major metropolitan areas, Highway 1 is a multi-lane road with active traffic. But there are long, narrow, single-lane stretches that run away from populated areas.
The most comfortable stretch is from Sydney to Adelaide. The southeastern part of the mainland is not very hot. But there are picturesque wooded areas where you can find kangaroos and penguins. Yes, there are 17 species of these flightless birds in Australia!
The Trans-Siberian Railway (Russia)
The famous Trans-Siberian Railway is the third longest in Russia. The road stretches 11,000 km from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok from the Baltic Sea to the Sea of Japan, entering a section of the Asian highway network, AH6. The highway includes seven federal highways. The longest section of the Transsib is the Amur highway (Chita – Khabarovsk). Its length is 2 100 km.
In general, the road is good, but some sections are quite problematic and do not correspond to the status of a federal highway. Here, for example, the road between Chita and Khabarovsk was built back in 1949 by settlers of correctional labor camps. It was only at the end of the last century that this segment was given a more or less adequate look.
The main part of the route goes along the borders with Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. 200 km runs along Lake Baikal. Further on, the route heads even farther east, and in Vladivostok it turns south and ends at the border with the DPRK in the settlement of Khasan.
In general, the road goes all over Russia. And we have beautiful and interesting places everywhere, so you won’t be bored at the wheel and in the passenger seat.
Trans-Canada Highway (Canada)
Some sections of the Trans-Canada Highway are part of the Pan-American Network. But the road is still the third longest national highway, that is, passing through one country. Construction began in 1950 and was completed in 1971. The project cost about 1 billion dollars.
The 8,030-kilometer highway crosses Canada from east to west from Victoria (British Columbia) to St. John’s (Newfoundland and Labrador) and connects all the big cities of the country. Much of it runs along the southern border of Canada and the northern border of the United States. A large portion of the population is concentrated there – almost 70%. Probably because of the more favorable climate. And infrastructure, of course.
Along the Canadian Highway there are white and green maple-leaf signs. Part of the road crosses the rocky island of Newfoundland, and a large section runs through the Great Lakes. All in all, a trip along the Trans-Canada Highway will turn out to be an interesting and educational experience.
The Golden Quadrangle (India)
The road is 6,000 kilometers long and encircles India except for the mountainous areas and the southern part. On the map the highway looks like an irregular quadrangle, hence the name. The highway connects Delhi (north), Calcutta (east), Chennai (south) and Mumbai (west). Construction of the highway began in 2001 and was completed in 2011. The project cost 600 billion rupees, the equivalent of $10 billion.
Along the entire route, the quadrangle road has four to six lanes. Each of the four sections was built by different contractors. The highway is maintained by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) under the Ministry of Transportation.
A famous scandal concerning the Golden Quadrangle happened in 2003. Satyendra Dubey, an officer of the Indian engineering service, told the country’s prime minister that the state of Bihar was disrupting the highway construction schedule and using corrupt schemes. And then he was transferred to the same state and obliged to control the process of construction. So they sent the officer to his certain death.
Soon he was found murdered. But the killers were found and punished with life sentences, and the section was nevertheless completed. Not long ago, electric trains began running along the route.
Chinese National Highway 010
The colloquial name for this road is Tongsan. The 5,700-kilometer expressway extends from Tongjiang (eastern Heilongjiang Province) to Sanya (Hainan Province). There are six provinces on the route of the highway. Each has unique nature and infrastructure, so the journey will be interesting. But in the Qunzhou Strait area, the road is interrupted, and cars are ferried to Haikou by trains.
U.S. Route 20
The road is 5,415 km long and runs from Boston, Massachusetts, through nine states to Newport, Oregon. In the USA it is the longest national highway. In 1926 it was opened, and in 1940 it was extended. At first the route ended in Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming), but after the expansion it was extended.
U.S. Route 6
The second name is the Great Army of the Republic Highway. The 5,158-kilometer road stretches from Bishop, California, to Provincetown, Massachusetts. It is the longest continuous highway in the United States.
Interestingly, the highway used to have other names:
- Roosevelt Highway (1920s-30s);
- Midland Trail Highway.
And these roads can by no means be called the longest. But they are stunningly beautiful, so it is impossible to ignore them.
Seward Highway (USA)
202 kilometers of Seward Highway connects the city of the same name on the shore of the Pacific Ocean and Anchorage. This scenic route is a section of the Alaskan Highway. Along the way are Turnagain Bay, the beautiful peninsula and Kenai Mountain, and the Chugach Reservation, which is the northernmost forest in the country.
Since the road passes through permafrost and mountainous terrain, it is best to travel along it from early spring to early fall. During this time, there are comfortable temperatures and maximum daylight hours.
Hai Van Pass (Vietnam)
The scenic route goes through the Hai Van Pass. During all 21 kilometers travelers have a chance to admire the beautiful views of the turquoise sea expanses framed by the lush greenery of mountain forests. Hai Van Pass regularly tops the list of the most interesting hiking trails in the world.
But the serpentine mountain path is dangerous, especially in bad weather, so you should be careful. The road goes along steep hills which offer a magnificent panorama of the Da Nang coast and the mountains of the Annam Range.
Combe Laval (France)
The Combe Laval used to be one of the main trade routes in France. But now it is a purely tourist route. It runs through the French Alps and is characterized by many steep turns, climbs and descents. It is loved not only by motorists, but also by extreme cyclists. However, the Combe Laval also has gentle stretches where you can relax.
The most scenic and interesting part is the 13 km between the villages of Saint-Jean-en-Roilland and Col de la Machin. On the rocky wooded areas you can meet wild animals that are not afraid of people at all.
Tianmen Mountain Road (China)
The famous Tianmen peak can be climbed by the world’s longest cable car. But we are interested in the automobile trails. There is also a scenic road that leads to this mountain. On its way there are the following sights:
- The mystical Arch of Heaven’s Gate;
- the majestic Buddhist temple of Tianshan;
- a glass path on the edge of a precipice.
The journey passes through picturesque protected areas. The Tianmen Mountain Road is only 11 km of intricately curving bends that offer magnificent views, including a panorama of the sacred mountain.