Driving in a foreign country can be tremendously exciting, and yet somewhat daunting. The street signs will be in a different language, and even some English speaking countries will word the same sign in a different way. Americans visiting Australia will need to learn that “Give Way” is the same as their “Yield” signs, and vice versa. There are some drives around the world that should come with a warning. We’re no experts when it comes to road safety, but there should be a warning along the lines of, “Look… we know the coastal views here are stunning, but please try to keep your eyes on the darn road!” OK, so it might be difficult to fit all that onto a sign, but even so. There are some coastal drives around the world where such a warning should be mandatory. So what are these utterly beautiful coastal drives?
- The Great Ocean Road, Australia
From Torquay to Allansford (Both in the State of Victoria)
Length: 243 km (151 miles)
While the whole drive is lovely, the point along the Great Ocean Road where you will definitely want to stop is once you reach the much-photographed Twelve Apostles. These mammoth structures are limestone rock formations that jut dramatically out of the ocean (technically there are only eight of them, since a few have collapsed due to erosion). The drive takes in the vast array of Australia’s dramatic landscape, with the view changing from one moment to the next. It’s an ideal day trip, and there are numerous small towns and villages along the way to explore. It’s not in the middle of nowhere either, and the road starts just an hour’s drive from Melbourne.
- The Southern Coast Road, Cuba
From Pilón to Santiago de Cuba
Length: 185 km (115 miles)
In terms of length, this stunning drive is not a particularly long one. It can take rather a long time though, as you will be driving an older car that does not go all that quickly, and the condition of the road will slow you down. These are not bad things though, as your relaxed pace allows you to take in the breathtaking scenery as you navigate the coastline, no doubt stopping along the way to soak it all in. If you don’t fancy driving yourself, you can arrange a private tour in Cuba and request that your route into the relatively large city of Santiago de Cuba is via the Southern Coast Road.
- The Ring Road, Iceland
From Reykjavik to Jökulsárlón
Length: 376 km (234 miles)
As the name suggests, Iceland’s Ring Road forms a circle… around the whole island. While Iceland is not particularly large, such a drive would take several days, so you’re better off just driving the portion from the capital Reykjavik to the jaw-droppingly gorgeous glacial lake Jökulsárlón. It’s a perfectly straightforward day drive from Reykjavik, and you can spend a night or two in one of the accommodation options near the lake before heading back to the city.
- The Pacific Coast Highway, USA
From San Luis Obispo to Monterey
Length: 218 km (134 miles)
If you have the time and the inclination, you could certainly drive the entire Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Various stretches of this road have been the backdrop for a huge number of movies and TV shows, so you can easily feel like you’re on a Hollywood style roadtrip. The stretch of highway between San Luis Obispo and Monterey is amongst the most picturesque and its length makes it far more manageable for a day of leisurely driving. While you could drive this part of the highway within a few hours, it’s better to dedicate an entire day to it. There are numerous national parks on the way, and you will want to stop and explore.
- The Øresund Bridge, Denmark and Sweden
From Copenhagen, Denmark to Malmö, Sweden
Length: 45 km (28 miles)
OK, so this is technically not a drive along the coast, but a drive over the Øresund Bridge will give you an elevated view of both the coastlines of Sweden and Denmark, with a wonderful look at Copenhagen. The bridge is a technical marvel and it’s amazing to think that it will transport you from one country to another. Given the fact that both Sweden and Denmark are part of Europe’s Schengen Zone (meaning passports are not necessary to travel from one country to another), a lot of people will live in Sweden and commute to Denmark for work, and vice versa. Because of this, a drive across the bridge should be avoided during morning and evening rush hour traffic.