Drivers don’t need to travel the globe to find the best driving roads according to the latest research from Alfa Romeo. It has identified the 10 best driving roads in the world and, working with the experts at Getty Images, unearthed their UK equivalents.
With the summer holidays just around the corner, Alfa Romeo consulted with members of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club to understand which roads drivers most want to experience. The Stelvio Pass in Italy, famed for its dramatic scenery and hairpin bends was voted the road most motorists would like to drive, followed by the Amalfi Coast Road in Italy and the Great Ocean Road in Australia.
Working with Getty Images to identify the key characteristics of each road in the top 10, Alfa Romeo was able to pinpoint the closest substitutes in the UK. The research took into account surrounding scenery, the length of road and each route’s distinguishing features to prove that the motorists can enjoy epic drives without leaving the UK.
Damien Dally, Managing Director of Alfa Romeo UK said: “International travel is possible again after years of disruption but, judging by our findings, UK motorists don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to experience an iconic drive. Our findings show the UK is home to epic landscapes and engaging roads that are tailormade for road trips in models like our Stelvio Quadrifoglio performance SUV or Giulia sports saloon.”
Alfa Romeo took its performance SUV, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, to try out the top three roads in the UK and put them to the test. The Applecross Pass in Strathcarron, Scotland is rated as the UK’s closest equivalent to the Stelvio Pass. The narrow and twisty road features tight hairpin bends and climbs more than 600m, giving drivers the chance to experience the sights and sensations of the iconic Italian road in the UK.
Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall is one of the UK’s most scenic coastal environments and a twin for the Amalfi Coast – the second-ranked location on the world list. Part of Cornwall’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, arriving at the bay and exploring its seaside towns on a summer’s day will evoke the idyllic Italian location.
Despite being thousands of miles apart, the tranquil Military Road that runs along the south west side of the Isle of Wight bares a strong resemblance to Australia’s Great Ocean Road. Military Road has developed a reputation as one of the UK’s finest routes for gazing into the horizons and experiencing the sea air of the English Channel.
The full findings are highlighted below.
Alfa Romeo’s ‘World’s Best Roads’ in the UK
1. Stelvio Pass, Italy
UK equivalent: Applecross Pass, Strathcarron
The Stelvio Pass in the Tyrolean alps combines stunning mountain scenery with a series of tight switchbacks as drivers climb up the mountain. The Applecross Pass in Strathcarron, Scotland, offers a similarly dramatic setting – nestled deep in the Scottish Highlands – with the narrow and twisty road running up to 600m with several hairpins before reaching a plateau.
2. Amalfi Coast Road, Italy
UK equivalent: St Mawes, Roseland Peninsula, Cornish Coast
The A3078 from Trewithian, Truro, to St. Mawes is a short and enjoyable road. But the real highlight is the small village of St. Mawes that conjures up images of the Amalfi Coast in Italy with its coloured sea-side houses, built right on the coastal wall, and sailboats and small fishing vessels occupying the seafront.
3. Great Ocean Road, Australia
UK equivalent: Military Road, Isle of Wight
Australia’s Great Ocean road snakes its way along the country’s South coast, combining long winding turns with lush green scenery and ocean views. The Old Military Road on the Isle of Wight runs along the island’s southwest coast, right next to the sea, with long stretches of open road and gentle corners to enjoy.
4. Transfăgărășan Pass, Romania
UK equivalent: Black Mountain Pass, Wales
Black Mountain Road (A4069) is a famous road that twists, dips and climbs in the western part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, in Wales, along the Black Mountains. This swooping mountain pass, a favourite of motorists and test drivers, is best tackled from north to south – especially the hairpin known locally as Tro Gwcw, or ‘cuckoo turn’- but the incredible views of the Tywi Valley are best appreciated driving the other way. The road has multiple tight turns, giving it a similar feeling to the stunning Transfăgărășan Pass in Romania.
5. Trollstigen, Norway
UK equivalent: Trotternish Peninsula, Isle of Skye
Only open during late spring, summer and early autumn months, the Trollstigen, or Troll Path, features winding corners and straights before tightening into a series of hairpins as the road climbs higher into the mountains in the Norwegian fjords. The A855 that heads to the Trotternish Peninsula from Portree, in Skye, comes with similarly stunning scenery, with drivers able to visit the Old Mann of Storr, before reaching the top of the peninsula.
6. San Bernardino Pass, Switzerland
UK equivalent: Snake Pass, Peak District
The San Bernardino Pass can be completed via the old mountain road or a new tunnel. Those opting for the twisty road are greeted with a stunning alpine lake that leads to long straights and very tight hairpin corners. The A57 ‘Snake Pass’ in the Peak District features similarly beautiful reservoirs, with drivers able to enjoy the Peak District’s unique landscape.
7. Julier Pass, Switzerland
UK equivalent: Mam Tor, Peak District
Another alpine road meets its match in the Peak District. The Mam Tor road can be found on a junction from the A623 Rushup Edge road. The road begins surrounded by a small woodland, before opening up to the stunning landscapes of the Peak District. With plenty of winding corners, it offers drivers similar thrills to Julier Pass in the Swiss alps.
8. Route 66, USA
UK equivalent: A82 through Rannoch Moor, Glencoe
Is there a more iconic road than Route 66 that runs from Arizona to Missouri? The A82 to Glencoe may not be as long, but it should be on everyone’s list to drive. It features several enjoyable corners with good visibility, and a long straight that leads towards the stunning Rannoch Moor moorland and the rugged Stob Dearg Munro. Like Route 66, the road is featured in plenty of postcards.
9. Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway
UK equivalent: Isle of Mull, Scotland
The 5.15 mile Atlantic Ocean Road snakes its way across the Norwegian archipelago, with a series of bridges connecting the small islands that sit between its start and end points. There are plenty of places to stop for photos, and even a small café on the road to enjoy the view of the Atlantic Ocean. The Isle of Mull also offers incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean, with the A849 and B8073 circling the island off the west coast of Scotland.
10. Sylvensteinspeicher, Isar Valley, Germany
UK equivalent: North Coast 500
While the Black Forest is often the go-to road in Germany, the Sylvensteinspeicher in the Isar Valley is also worth a trip. Near the Austrian border, it features similar long stretches of open road, surrounded by woodlands and forests as well as beautiful alpine mountains. In the UK, the North Coast 500 is quickly becoming a top driving experience, showcasing the best of Scotland’s stunning scenery, from the rugged and desolate mountain paths to coastal roads with sandy beaches and turquoise seas.
As part of the research, Alfa Romeo visited the top three UK-equivalent roads in the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a 2.9-litre V6 Bi-Turbo petrol engine, which generates 510hp and launches the car from a standing start to 62mph in 3.8 seconds and onto a top speed of 176mph. This responsive engine is coupled with Alfa™ Active Suspension, Alfa™ D.N.A. Pro, with Race mode, Brembo® high-performance braking system, Alfa™ Q4 all-wheel drive and 50/50 weight distribution for a class leading driving experience.