The world is full of wonders, but sometimes seeing them the easy way isn't enough. These 15 roads are sure to add an extra boost of adrenaline to any trip.
North Yungas Road, Bolivia
This road seems to have many names, many of which include some derivative of ?fate? and ?death.? At 56 kilometers long, North Yungas Road runs from La Paz to Coroico. It won the title of world's most dangerous road in 1995, and some figures from 2006 claim that between 200 and 300 people per year were killed attempting to cross it.
For daredevils, there's no better spot. It's been attracting thrill-seekers since the '90s, and while facilities and safety precautions have improved, there's no denying that this road is treacherous. Adrenaline junkies are rewarded however with beautiful views of the Bolivian countryside.
The Transfagarasan may be Europe's most beautiful road, but it's also one of its most dangerous. Built by Nicolae Ceausescu, the Romanian dictator from 1967 to 1989, it was built after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia to ease the trip of the Romanian military through the mountains less they suffer the same fate. The road stretches through the Fagaras mountain range and reaches an altitude of 2,042 meters, second in height only to the Transalpina in Romania. Along the road's hairpin turns and sheer cliffs, visitors can find incredible hiking trails, glacial lakes and even Poenari Castle, the former residence of Vlad the Impaler.
Tianmen Mountain Road, China
This marvel of engineering is not only equipped with 99 hair-raising bends, but at just 11 kilometers it also manages to fit in a walkway with glass flooring, if the drive isn't enough of a jolt. Upon reaching the top of the mountain, visitors can enjoy a meal at a vegetarian restaurant and a visit to a Buddhist temple.
Karakoram Highway, Pakistan
As one of the highest paved roads in the world, it should come as no surprise that the Karakoram Highway makes the list. 1,300 kilometers long and 4,714 meters above sea level at its highest point, this highway connecting Pakistan and China is almost designed for adventure rather than function. And if cliffs, switchback turns and occasional spots of gravel aren't enough, natural disasters such as landslides and flooding will certainly raise the stakes. But for those who attempt this road for fun, the unbelievable mountain views and the bragging rights that come with crossing the world's highest international highway are worth it.
Kolyma Highway, Russia
Paradoxically, this road is actually easier to traverse in winter than summer, but that doesn't make it just another Sunday drive. It's the only road connecting Magadan and Yakutsk in Siberia, and the road runs about 1,900 kilometers total. During the winter, heavy snow and ice make driving conditions difficult, but during the summer, the road becomes a muddy trough and the trip can take days with severe traffic jams and stuck cars.
Central Cross-Island Highway, Taiwan
The word highway might be a bit of a misnomer, as this road was merely a mountain path until the 1960s. Still narrow and precipitous, the highway is often closed to tourists due to landslides, flooding and falling rocks. If visiting at the right time, the road offers incredible views of the Taroko Gorge and access to hot springs.
Guoliang Tunnel Road, China
Much like the Central Cross-Island Highway in Taiwan, this mountain pass was made through a series of tunnels cut out of the mountainside. The road winds along the side of a steep gorge, lined with 36 "windows" looking out at the sheer drop below. The road has a fascinating story to go with its vexing exterior. In 1972, 13 villagers from the surrounding area took it upon themselves to build a tunnel connecting them to nearby Guoliang. Using only hammers and chisels, the villagers somehow finished the tunnel in 1977, just six years after it was proposed. Think about that the next time you're stuck in traffic due to planned works.
Zoji La, India
Part of the highway that connects the Indian states of Ladakh and Kashmir through the western Himalayas, this mountain pass is mostly paved, but uneven, and guardrails are few and far between. Mud and snow frequently make the road impassable, and the sheer drop from the road to the valley below isn't to be tested. But those who have the skills and stomach for a nail-biting ride like this one will be rewarded with views of snow-capped mountains and green jungle landscapes.
Fairy Meadows Road, Pakistan
For anyone afraid of heights, a drive along this pass is anything but a fairytale. A part of the aforementioned Karakoram Highway, it's just wide enough for a small SUV, and the bumpy, unpaved surface isn't made any more bearable by the sheer drop into the valley below. The views from the road are incredible, and the actual Fairy Meadows on the other side of the road is an unbelievably scenic national park, but hiking to this idyllic setting might be the best way to go.
Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway
This 8.3-kilometer section of road runs across an archipelago of tiny islands off Norway's central coast. Originally planned as a railway, this road curves up, down and around the rocky islands, and during storms the rough Norwegian Sea leaps up over its guardrails. Although not very long compared to some of the other roads on this list, it offers unfettered views of the water and Norway's infamously dramatic coastal scenery. The unpredictable weather and isolated location of the road make it particularly tricky to navigate at times.
Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand
This road is so dangerous that rental car companies actually prohibit visitors from driving it. But thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies still have options, as there are guided tours of this winding pass overlooking the Shotover River. Built by miners during the gold rush in New Zealand, it hasn't changed much since its completion in the late 1800s. As a bonus, visitors will also get a glimpse of Skippers Bridge with its incredible views of Skippers Canyon and the surrounding scenery.
Trans-Labrador Highway, Canada
Most of this highway is gravel, and it's one of the only ways to get from Quebec to Labrador. Due to its location, extreme weather is to be expected in almost any season, and taking an SUV or truck is usually the only option. The road is also closed to visitors during winter, as heavy snow and landslides are frequent. But one thing is for sure, anyone looking for peace and solitude will undoubtedly find it here. The empty stretches of gravel go through some of Canada's most remote and dramatic regions.
Passage du Gois, France
This road is impassable during high tide as the ocean water flows over the pavement, and it's only truly dangerous if visitors get the tide times wrong. The passage has existed since the 16th century, but wasn't paved until much later, and it's the only way to reach Noirmoutier Island besides by boat. It does take careful navigating even when dry as the road is almost parallel to the water.
Pikes Peak Highway, Colorado United States
The infamous Pikes Peak is known for its stunning vistas and changeable weather, but the road up to the mountain is spectacular as well. Its hairpin turns are home to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a race to the top that takes place every June. Having been paved in the early 2000s, Pikes Peak Highway is much safer than it used to be, and it's just the thing for those looking for a boost of adrenaline, but not too much.
Gorges du Dades, Morocco
Running from Ouarzazate to the Todra Gorge, drivers need four wheel drive to tackle this road's difficult twists and turns. But those who take on the challenge are rewarded with incredible views of the Dades River and access to delightful villages along the way. There's no better way to experience the High Atlas Mountains.