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The 7 Most Extreme Drives in the World

Looking to shake up your daily commute? Take a tour of the most incredible roadways on earth with Europcar. From the twists and turns of France’s Col de Turini to New Zealand’s very own Crown Range Road, our guide to the world’s most extreme drives will have you clinging to the edge of your seat.

Crown Range Road, New Zealand

Crown Range Road New Zealand

Kicking off our list with a highway that’s close to home, New Zealand’s own Crown Range Road is more than worthy of its reputation as one of the country’s most spectacular motorways. Located in the heart of the South Island’s Otago region, this 50-kilometre drive links Queenstown to the tranquil, lakeside town of Wanaka, reaching an astonishing 1,121 metres above sea level along the way. At six hours southwest of Christchurch, you’ll need a car rental to reach this hidden treasure, but make the trek and you’ll be rewarded with rugged, untouched wilderness and endless alpine views to match.

Valley of Fire Road, Nevada

Valley of Fire Road Nevada

A far cry from the snow-capped mountains that line New Zealand’s southern shores, Nevada’s Valley of Fire Road bursts to life in vibrant red-orange hues, giving the appearance of a passage engulfed in flames when the sun shines overhead. While it may only be an optical illusion, the beautiful red sand stones that flank this 17-kilometre stretch are a phenomenon that needs to be seen to be believed.

Ruta 40, Argentina

Ruta 40 Argentina

After a drive with a little more diversity? Look no further than Argentina’s longest roadway, Ruta 40. Encompassing 27 mountain passes, 20 national parks and 18 rivers within its 5000 kilometre span, there’s no shortage of incredible landscapes to explore along the way, from giant glaciers to arid desert terrain.

Atlantic Road, Norway

Atlantic Road Norway

One for thrill seekers and architecture aficionados alike, Norway’s Atlantic Road combines uninterrupted ocean views with innovative infrastructure, resulting in a heart-stopping and jaw-dropping trip to be remembered. While it may only run for 8.3 kilometres, this one-of-a-kind highway crosses eight bridges, including the famed Storseisundetbrua – an ominously curved structure that appears to dive headfirst into the sea.

Canning Stock Route, Australia

Canning Stock Route Australia

A stark contrast to Norway’s coast-hugging collection of bridges, the quintessential outback experience can be found along Australia’s legendary Canning Stock Route, where arid landscapes and extreme conditions collide. Tracking more than 1,800 kilometres through the Top End, this rugged drive is for experienced adventurers only, requiring a 4WD and full self-sufficiency for every leg of the journey.

Col de Turini, France

Col de Turini France

A favourite location for the famed Tour de France and Monte Carlo Rally alike, this feat of modern engineering slices through the French Alps to connect two towns – but it’s more about the drive than the destination when it comes to the Col de Turini. Renowned for its high altitude and hairpin turns, the hazards that accompany this unique mountain pass make it one of the most beautiful – and most nerve-wracking – roads on our list.

Tianmen Mountain Road, China

Tianmen Mountain Road China

A towering motorway that puts the Col de Turini’s 34 hairpin turns to shame, China’s Tianmen Mountain Road twists 99 times before reaching the top of the summit. Ascending the cliff-side in a snake-like fashion, this dizzying route is best experienced from one of the cable cars that hover above, giving a bird’s-eye view of the spectacular roadway below.

Feeling inspired to explore New Zealand’s own extreme drives? Pick up a car rental in Auckland and strap yourself in for the trip of a lifetime.

Col de Turini image by: BrainMaY, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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