So, you love road biking! You are dreaming about spending hours in the saddle while riding along picturesque routes and exploring famous or almost unknown places. But have you ever wondered what are the most beautiful routes in the world?
We did, and came up with this list of 20 awesome road biking routes. Discover these fascinating places, then head on to your next cycling adventure.
1. Beartooth Highway, USA
The Beartooth Highway is located in Montana and it passes by the Yellowstone National Park. Considered one of the most beautiful roads in America, the highway is visited by many cyclists every year.
The route is characterized by a series of switchbacks that rise to over 3000 meters of altitude. Passing through the wonderful landscapes of the area, the road offers scenic views of the lakes in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area.
The only thing to be aware of is the weather, that can easily change. Snowstorms have been reported even in the summer, so make sure to take some warm clothing with you.
2. Karakoram Highway, China/Pakistan
Another awesome highway to consider for your next cycling adventure is the Karakoram. The road links China and Pakistan and it stretches over 800 miles. The route is fantastic, boasting splendid views and incredible landscapes. Rising to over 4000 meters, the Karakoram Highway is considered the highest paved road in the world.
This route will certainly offer you a new perspective into road biking. From the road, it can be admired the Hunza Valley and the imposing Karakoram Mountains.
Throughout the year, there are organized many cycling tours, or you can choose to plan your own adventure. A thing to keep in mind is that the route can be quite challenging, so if you don’t really like trail biking, maybe it would be a good idea to only ride along the Chinese side of the road.
3. Garden Route, South Africa
If off the beaten track cycling routes inspire you, then one to consider is the Garden Route in South Africa. This popular panoramic road stretches along the southern coast line of South Africa, between Cape Town and Port Elisabeth.
The itinerary crosses the region of Karoo and it reaches the mesmerizing beaches of the Indian Ocean.
If you like to combine road with trail biking, don’t miss the Garden Route National Park, an area that includes ancient forests and wild coastlines that are connected with a succession of lakes.
4. Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Cycle Path, Netherlands
What do you think about a night ride on a cycling path that glows in the dark? And even better, a cycling path inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night?
If this idea sounds appealing, and if all you want is a short ride in an amazing city, then head to Eindhoven and cycle along the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Cycle Path after the sunset.
The path is quite short, nevertheless, it is undoubtedly unique.
Then, if you want to continue discovering Van Gogh’s art and life, there is a cycling path throughout Netherlands that passes through the most relevant cities that are linked to the artist.
5. Shimanami Kaido Highway, Japan
Discover an unusual Japan, riding along the Shimanami Kaido Highway. The official name of the road is Nishiseto Expressway and it links some of the most charming places of the country while literally crossing seven seas.
The route crosses six islands and it passes through characteristic fishermen’s villages and other unique attractions. The route is simple to follow and, even if you don’t read Japanese, the signs can be easily understood thanks to the convenient signaling of the precise directions.
For the most adventurous ones, there are also numerous biking trails that can take you to one of the smaller islands where you can enjoy a meal and a night at a traditional Japanese inn.
6. Pass Of The Iron Cross, France
In Europe, one of the most beautiful roads you can ride on is the Pass of the Iron Cross, in France. This popular road rises in the heart of the Rhone-Alpes region and it is one of the many iconic ascents of the country.
Nevertheless, this road stands out thanks to the impressive waterfalls and amazing landscapes that the mountains can offer.
The road is rather short and it stretches on only 19 miles. Despite this, the landscape is extremely varied and includes dense forests and snow-capped mountains, meadows, and amazing valleys.
7. Bealach Na Ba, Scotland
When thinking about European cycling routes, most cyclists think of the iconic paths of France or Italy. There are only a few to consider the beauty of the northern areas, but there is to say that a ride through the wild areas of Scotland will impress.
There are many road biking routes throughout Scotland, yet one of the most representatives is the Bealach Na Ba, in Applecross. The climb might not be as spectacular as the ones in the Alps, nevertheless, the Scottish landscape will probably find a way to your soul.
This area of Scotland will amaze you with its rugged scenery and with the wilderness of the territory.
8. Hebridean Way Cycling Route, Scotland
There is another amazing cycling route in Scotland that you should include on your bucket list.
The Hebridean Way Cycling Route stretches along the whole territory of the Outer Hebrides and this is probably one of the most amazingly remote places you will be able to cycle around. You can choose between easy rides or breathtaking ascents while exploring the isles of Lewis and Harris.
The landscape is simply spectacular, and the fresh salty breeze of the ocean will keep you company throughout your journey. Remember to look for the unique flora and fauna, and we can guarantee you will remain amazed.
9. Paso de los Caracoles, Chile
Chile is one of the most popular destinations for cyclists, and there is no wonder why. The country boasts amazing cycling paths and trails that satisfy the needs and desires of all cycling enthusiasts.
For the ones preferring road biking, a route to consider is the Paso de los Caracoles, a famous road that rises to 3200 meters and connects Chile with Argentina.
The road is characterized by an incredible number of hairpin turns and the translation of the name, which means the pass of the snails, can give you a hint on how fast you’ll be able to ride up this path.
10. Passo dello Stelvio, Italy
On the border between Switzerland and Italy, it stretches one of the most iconic road biking routes in the world. The road became a legend thanks to Giro d’Italia, a cycling competition similar to Tour de France.
Passo dello Stelvio is the second highest paved road in the Alps and it boasts an impressive number of hairpin bends, 48 to be more precise.
The road is so beautiful that Top Gear once included it among the best roads in the world for driving. Nevertheless, this applies to cyclists as well, and you might want to include it on your bucket list.
11. Transfagarasan, Romania
Speaking about Top Gear and their tops of the best roads in the world, we head to Romania, a lovely country in the Eastern Europe where it stretches the best road on the planet, according to the presenters of the popular show.
Transfagarasan is one of the highest paved roads in Romania and, although it stretches on only 56 miles, it features an impressive number of stunning switchbacks that offer spectacular views over the surrounding landscape.
The road is closed in the cold season, and due to the presence of snow and danger of avalanches, it is accessible to the public only between June and October.
12. Trollstigen, Norway
Another jaw-dropping climb that offers unique views over the surrounding landscape and that boasts a great number of switchbacks and hairpin bends, is Trollstigen, in Norway.
The road is easy to climb, thanks to the low average incline of the slope, and we promise that from the top, the scenery is simply breathtaking.
Just as Transfagarasan, the Trollstigen road is usually open only during the summer period, from May to October.
13. Oberalp Pass, Swiss Alps
The Swiss Alps host one of the most charming roads in the world, a true attraction for cyclists and riders. Oberlap Pass is one of those mountain roads characterized by hairpin turns and twists, while it offers truly amazing landscapes.
Besides splendid panoramas and breathtaking views over Oberlap lake and the surrounding valleys, the area also boasts a working lighthouse that marks the spring of the River Rhine.
The road is usually closed in the winter months and available between early spring and late autumn.
14. Great Ocean Road, Australia
If your dream is that of riding along the coast of an ocean, the Great Ocean Road in Australia is another route to consider.
The Great Ocean Road stretches between Allansford and Torquay, and it covers 150 miles. Listed in Australia’s National Heritage, the road is the largest World War One memorial on Earth, and also one of the most scenic routes cyclists could ride along.
The route passes past the Twelve Apostles rock formation, a symbol of Australia, and along with it, you will also be able to admire lush rainforests and sandy beaches, steep cliffs and a splendid ocean.
15. Giant’s Causeway Coastal Road, Northern Ireland
Australia boasts the Great Ocean Road, but the Northern Ireland proves that some of the most beautiful cycling roads are located in Europe.
The Giant’s Causeway is stunning. Riding along it, surrounded by the sea and by the Northern Ireland’s rugged territory, is simply breathtaking.
The route stretches along 120 miles, between Londonderry and Belfast, and there are many incredible things to see along it. The wilderness of the Irish countryside, with its dramatic cliffs and deserted beaches, will certainly amaze you despite the frequent showers and rains that might surprise you even in the sunniest days.
16. Haleakala Highway, Hawaii
If riding up to the summit of a volcano sounds attractive, then you should probably plan your next trip to Hawaii. Maui, the main island of the state, boasts an impressive shield volcano, the Haleakala, and there is an absolutely amazing highway that climbs along the slopes up to the summit of the mountain.
The road is characterized by sharp hairpin bends and switchbacks that rise way above the clouds. From the top, you can admire some of the most mesmerizing views in the world.
17. Isle of Wight, England
The Isle of Wight is another of those stunning places in the United Kingdom that can conquer the hearts of cyclists and adventurers. Around the Isle of Wight, there is a beautiful cycling route that passes through the most picturesque villages of this island.
Stretching for only 62 miles, the route is short enough to be considered a day ride, but depending on how keen you are, you can stop along the way and transform the ride in a weekend trip.
The fresh salty air characteristic to Britain’s islands will keep you company, while along the way you will be able to spot unique birds and wildlife. The only thing to be aware of is the wind, and maybe it would be a good idea to pack a rain jacket too.
18. La Route des Grandes Alpes, France
From the banks of Lake Geneva to the sandy beaches of the Cote d’Azur, the 425 miles of the Route des Grandes Alpes are full of postcard landscapes, from snowy summits to alpine valleys and beautiful coasts.
The passionate cyclists will be able to spoil themselves with exquisite cheeses such as the Reblochon or Beaufort and hydrate themselves with delicious local wines. But if performance is your goal, conquering the steep Col de l’Izoard summit will certainly be rewarding.
19. Blue Ridge Parkway, USA
Designed for car cruising, the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina represents a true attraction for cyclists. The route starts in the Great Smokey Mountains with a 6-mile descent, quickly followed by an ascent.
The route passes by Asheville, where the characteristic tunnel of trees will certainly amaze you, while the beauty of the natural landscape and the incredible views over the surrounding area will take your breath away.
20. Askja Road, Iceland
The incredible variety of environments and landscapes offered by Iceland can hardly be found elsewhere in the world. And discovering this country by bike is probably the most direct way to experience the harshness of a wild territory that fascinates with its pureness.
Askja road will challenge you with its ascents, while a journey in Iceland will allow you to test your skills in a territory where the climate is highly unpredictable. Nevertheless, the beauty of the countryside will conquer you forever.