Top 10 Skyscraping Drives - Page 2

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Taking the high road in Colorado
Taking the high road in Colorado  (Eyewire)

5. Shimla-Manali, India
A 145-mile (233 km) road runs between the historic hill station of Shimla—once the summer capital of the British Raj with India's second oldest church—and Manali, a trekking trailhead with a more Asian ambience. Along the way you discover lush countryside, fruit orchards, rustic villages, small towns, and hotwater springs of the Kunlun Valley, all backed by snowcapped Himalayan peaks. For southern Indians unused to ice and snow, the region makes an exotic retreat.
PLANNING: Both Shimla and Manali are year-round resorts.

4. Transfagarasan Road, Romania
Running north from Arefu to near Cârţişoara across the Făgăra mountain range, the road rises from 3,392 feet (1,034 m) to 6,673 feet (2,034 m), its highest point, in only 19 miles (30 km). Precipitous switchbacks, viaducts, and tunnels all add to the fun.
PLANNING: The road is driveable from late June through late October only.

3. Grossglockner-Hochalpenstrasse (High Alpine Road), Austria
On the road between Heiligenblut and Bruck over Austria's highest peak, the Grossglockner, brace yourself for 36 hairpin bends, wildlife including chamoix, marmots, and ibex, and—on a clear day—views of 37 mountains, all higher than 9,842 feet (3,000 m), alongside 19 glaciers.
PLANNING: The road is generally open May through October, but check conditions before traveling.

2. Via Porrettana (SS64), Italy
This quiet 85-mile (138 km) backroad through the Apennine Mountains is positively bucolic. Linking Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, it leads northwest from Pistoia, just east of Florence, to Ferrara via Bologna. It crosses thick chestnut forests, the ancient spa resort of Porretta Terme, and small, sleepy towns.
PLANNING: Visit the excellent Lamborghini Museum in Sant'Agata Bolognese, near Bologna.

1. St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Pamplona, France/Spain
The most challenging stretch of the Tour de France is one of the Basque region's most scenic drives. It leads from the cobbled medieval town of St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port over the red-rock Pyrenees southwest through the mountain pass of Roncevaux to the Spanish city of Pamplona.
PLANNING: During the running of the bulls (July 6–14), accommodations in Pamplona are almost unobtainable. Winter snow can block mountain passes.

Reproduced with permission from Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Spectacular Trips, 2010, National Geographic. All rights reserved.

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