10 of the world’s craziest road routes and passes

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 28 April 2020

Some of the world’s most astonishing winding roads and passes are incredible feats of engineering, while others seem to be just straight-up crazy. From sharp hairpin bends at soaring altitudes to more dangerous-looking roadways on the precipice of tall cliff faces, from the right angle, they can inspire as much awe as they do fear.

Take a look at these ‘crazy roads’ from around the world:

1. Mã Pí Lèng Pass, Vietnam

This mountain pass in northern Vietnam connects the towns of Đồng Văn and Mèo Vạc. The views from above include lush green valleys, rivers and misty mountainscapes.


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2. Serra da Leba Pass, Angola

Angola’s tourism industry is still emerging after years of civil conflict ravaged the country, but this mountain pass in the Serra da Leba mountains, near the town of Lubango, is sure to be included on future bucket lists as an epic mountain pass to tackle. Some folks have even dared to cycle up. Perhaps that’s one way to conquer those hairpin bends.


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3. Grimsel Pass, Switzerland

The Grimsel Pass crosses the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. It’s connected to the Furka Pass, which also includes winding bends and naturally, some incredible alpine views.


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4. Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway

If you can believe it, this terrifying but masterfully crafted road was constructed in 1989. The road is quite exposed and can be wet when the weather isn’t sunny and the ocean is choppy, sending waves and sea spray to splash up in front of cars or against them. The bridge is just over eight kilometres long, connecting two Norwegian towns across an archipelago.


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This video gives you a better idea of how crazy it can get on this road:

5. Sani Pass, South Africa & Lesotho

This gravel pass is a popular 4×4 challenge, and connects the Underberg in KZN with Mokhotlong in Lesotho. The best time to go is during the summer, when you’ll be able to take in the undulating hills and valleys from over 2,800 metres above sea level.


6. Los Caracoles Pass, Chile

Up in the Andes, this crazy, serpentine mountain pass connects Chile’s capital to Argentina. From about 800 metres, you descend to a lofty 3,200 metres. Los Caracoles or ‘The Snails’ has no roadside safety barriers.


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7. Taroko Gorge Road, Taiwan

This road in Taroko Gorge National Park is extremely narrow, but the views are very rewarding. With the passage of time, the Liwu River running through the park has carved a gorge into the marble.


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8. Trollstigen, Norway

You may have already seen this popular mountain road which leads to the tourist village of Geiranger in Norway. This scenic 55-kilometre route takes about two hours to drive.


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9. Gamkaskloof/Die Hel, Karoo

Also known as Elands Pass, this 37-kilometre road is sure to satisfy your dreams of rugged adventure. The pass is a sho’t left off another must-do drive, the 24-kilometre Swartberg Pass, a masterpiece by South African road engineer Thomas Bain.

Also read: The art of road tripping


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10. Guoliang Tunnel, China

This incredibly narrow tunnel in China’s Henan Province was carved out of the Taihang Mountains by a small group of local villagers. The locals completed this 1,2-kilometre tunnel in five years using only hammers and chisels.


Image: Anton Crone


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