Long ribbons of smooth asphalt run through enchanting landscapes, defying the obstacles that nature puts in front of man’s path, or glittering with lights and luxurious boutiques. There are millions of miles of roads and highways in every corner of the world that have helped people move from place to place since ancient times. They are a resource of immense logistical importance that can also become a unique setting for dream journeys. Those who like to plan their vacations “on the road” know this well, often without a specific destination and stopping where a place or a glimpse takes their breath away and gives them a sense of peace. There are more roads and highways worth taking at least once in a lifetime than you can imagine.
The Lakeshore Highway: a first in the world
From Europe, which has the privilege of hosting the world’s first freeway. Italy and Germany are vying for the title (in this case). We have the lake highway and the Germans with the AVUS (Automobil Verkehrs und Übungs-Straße or Road for Traffic and Test Driving). Both were designed and built in the 1920s. The diatribe stems from the fact that although the AVUS was completed earlier, in reality it was not born as a highway but as a test track for cars. It was only later that it was transformed into a road with no traffic. On the other hand, the road that the engineer Pietro Puricelli designed in 1921 to connect Milan to the tourist areas of Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, was born as being reserved for fast traffic and with the payment of a toll to cover the construction and management costs. The road was designed around a peaceful nature.
The streets of the ancient Romans
The ancient Romans had already thought of building long and functional communication routes. Even without the help of modernity, they did it very well. From Rome, the roads connecting the city to the four corners of the Stivale were and still are leaving. Among these is the Via Appia, which went as far as Brindisi and was used to bring men and goods to the port from where ships bound for Greece departed. Today, the ancient Roman roads are valuable state highways that lighten the traffic of the main highways and connect small towns. The state roads were placed for several years.
The famous streets of Europe
Two other examples of roads to see (and travel) in Europe are in Norway and Ireland. The fjord country has one of the most daring road works, the Atlantic Ocean Road. A road only eight kilometers long, similar to a huge eight-wheeler suspended over a series of islets linking the towns of Kristiansund and Molde. It is so exposed to wind and swell that it is classified as the most dangerous road in the world. On the other hand, in 2006, the British newspaper The Guardian voted it “best road trip”. In Ireland, there is the magnificent Conor Pass, a mountain pass in the Dingle Peninsula in the north of the island. An impassable and treacherous road that climbs the slopes of Mount Brandon and offers breathtaking views of the bay of the same name and a series of small lakes scattered in the valleys. Like its Norwegian “sister”, the Conor Pass requires a lot of driving effort. In some places, the road is limited only by a stone wall, beyond which there are precipices of more than six hundred meters. If you don’t like wild landscapes and strong emotions but prefer the lights of the metropolis and the beauty of the monuments, you can always treat yourself to a long and satisfying walk on the Champs Elysees in Paris or the Ramblas in Barcelona, the two most beautiful lounges of the Old Continent, still alive and populated day and night.
On the other side of the Atlantic and you can see the American continent and its road trip. You can focus on the road wonders of the United States, starting with the famous Route 66. The most famous and oldest American highway, also made famous by numerous film appearances, crosses the United States from coast to coast for 3,755 km long, linking Chicago to California and passing through unique landscapes. Today, unfortunately, the original route no longer exists, replaced since 1985 by the Interstate Highway System (the theme is also addressed in the famous 2006 Disney Cars animated film). But in each state crossed by what is now called Historic Route 66, the different counties have tried to restore the old route. In fact, today, thanks to careful and precise route planning, it is possible to travel on the original route. Of course, there is no shortage of good living rooms in the United States. Two of them: the famous 5th Avenue in New York and the less famous but equally luxurious Magnificent Mile in Chicago. Streets in which the best stores and boutiques of the biggest fashion brands are concentrated, and which are visited every year, like their European counterparts, by millions of tourists.
Roads and highways in the rest of the world
Looking at the rest of the world, the Ruta 40, which crosses all of Argentina from north to south, from Bolivia to Tierra del Fuego over 5,000 km of breathtaking scenery, is worth the trip. The Garden Route, a magnificent panoramic road that runs along the southern part of South Africa. And finally, the Great Ocean Road, another coastal road that draws about 200 km of the southeast coast of Australia. A highway that is also symbolic from a historical point of view, as it was built by Australian soldiers returning from the First World War, and dedicated by them to their fallen comrades. You can ride along the roads with your motorcycle to admire the beauty of nature. Some roads may offer you a view of the park.