Connecting human settlements ever since the people on this planet decided it is time to stay put and take up farming and growing animals, roads have been the main tool for trade, communications and the expansion of the human race across the planet. Starting with the footpaths created by the countless steps taken over the same piece of the ground over and over again and ending with the vision Acabion
has for the future, roads will forever be the main link between cultures, nations and humans.
As every other thing created by man, roads are beautiful, ugly, dangerous or simply dull. After sometime last year we brought you a little taste of the world's most dangerous roads
, we thought to present you in 2011 some of the most exciting pieces of tarmac the planet has to offer.
Of course, the selection below is not complete. We are sure that there are many other pieces and stretches of roads that deserve a better look, a closer inspection or just a mention in this piece. For that, you can use the comment box below. Let us know if there is a road you think would be worth the title of World's Most Exciting Road. Before you do, however, take a look at what we came up with. (Keep in mind that the order in which we are mentioning the roads here is random).
ATLANTIC OCEAN ROAD – NORWAY
Known to the locals as the Atlanterhavsveien, the Atlantic Ocean Road is part of the Norwegian national road 64 and links the villages of Karvag on Averoy with Vevang in Eide. Currently, the Atlantic Road ranks at the top of the list for tourists going in the region and is recommended by almost all the travel agencies as a worth remembering road trip experience. At the same time, the road has been voted Norwegian Construction of the Century.
The construction of the road begun in 1983, taking the builders six years to complete the 8.3 km (5.2 miles) stretch of road. During this time, the construction site was hit by no less than 10 severe storms.
The road uses small rocky islands as support, giving it one feature you don't easily find with other roads; as you travel along, you can feast your eyes on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The fact the road has been built to include fjords and mountains adds to the dramatic effect.
JEBEL HAFEET MOUNTAIN ROAD – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
From the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean to the scorching heat of the desert... As with most of the gargantuan engineering projects in the oil rich Gulf region, the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road is a more recent accomplishment, having been constructed to help motorists climb the mountain wearing the same name. Jebel Hafeet Mountain is the highest peak in the United Arab Emirates, rising 1,249 meters above sea level and overseeing the city of Al Ain.
The road, which stretches for 11.7 km (7.3 miles), as everything constructed using oil money, comes close to perfection. The 60 bends and corners that animate it mean nothing for a well-balanced car, which travels on the perfectly flat tarmac.
SEVEN MILE BRIDGE – FLORIDA KEYS, US
Considered by some the most exhilarating road in the world, the Seven Mile Bridge is a... nearly seven-miles-long bridge. It links Knight's Key to Little Duck Key over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The bridge, the longest segmental bridge in the world when it was finished in 1982, rises 65 feet above the water (20 meters) to allow boats to pass underneath it and has been built to withstand winds of up to 200 mph.
Considered a wonder of the engineering world, the current bridge builds on an older one, the Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge, erected in between 1909 – 1912 and nearly destroyed by a hurricane in 1935. Parts of the original bridge are currently used as fishing piers and access to Pigeon Key.
The popularity of the bridge is so big that each April it is closed on a Saturday for 2.5 hours to allow scores of people to take part in what has come to be known as the fun run (or Seven Mile Bridge Run), an annual event meant to celebrate the building of the bridge.
GROSSGLOCKNER HIGH ALPINE ROAD - AUSTRIA
The Austrian road in between mountains links the state of Salzburg with the state of Carinthia, taking tourists into some of the country's most respected and highly regarded natural wonders, the Hohe Tauern National Park, the Grossglockner mountain (the highest in Austria, 3,798 meters) and its glacier, the Pasterze.
The Grossglockner High Alpine road stretches for 48 km (30 miles), bringing the tourists and passer-bys through 36 bends and all the way to an altitude of 2,504 meters (8,215 feet). During the trip, drivers and riders will encounter anything and everything from alpine meadows, mountain forests, massive cliffs and, of course, tons of ice.
TIMGAD – ALGERIA
Proof that, at times, the ancients were way ahead of some of the nations currently considering themselves as part of the modern age can be found in Algeria, in the former Roman town of Timgad.
Built by Emperor Trajan in 100 AD at the convergence point for no less than six major roads in the region, the ancient city has been erected with respect to all the city building principles in use today.
At the center of the town lies the 12-metre-high triumphal arch, called Trajan's Arch, underneath which the main road of the city passes. As a witness to the engineering capabilities of the Romans, the road has survived pretty much in its original condition to this day.
In between the Carpathian Mountains, where Dracula is said to have been born, lies a 90 km-long piece of road (56 miles) that is surely going to give you nausea. The road is called the Transfagarasan and it passes through the tallest section of the Carpathians.
Caught in between the two highest peaks in the country, Moldoveanu and Negoiu, the road connects Transylvania to the cities of Sibiu and Pitesti, on the outside of the mountain arch.
The road is full of twists and bends, climbing to an altitude of 2,034 metres (6,673 deet) and taking the tourists not only through a wide range of landscapes, but also from summer at the bottom of the road to all out winter at its highest point.