From the Publisher
“Our editors’ pick as the top book of the year…Belongs on the bookshelf of every avid road tripper. It is sure to inspire automotive travelers of every sort to find their own roads less traveled.” –Automotive Traveler Magazine
“It’s a guide for the worldly road warrior…Even armchair travelers could get their fill in the pages of this beauty.” –San Jose Mercury News, Sunday Times (Central Contra Costa), Oakland Tribune
“With choices from all over the world, this book has something for everyone ready to take a trip. Even if you weren’t planning to take the road less traveled, one look at some of the enticing photos that accompany the narratives…may persuade you otherwise.” –The Sunday Oregonian
“National Geographic Traveler magazine’s editor-in-chief, Keith Bellows, provides an introduction to this beautiful, stirring guidebook that is a pean to hitting the open road; and what follows is an attractive and well-presented series of information (with maps) to some of the best road trips that anyone can experience.” –Booklist
“Inspiring, photo-rich…” –Chicago Tribune
“For the worldly road-tripper…” –Associated Press, –Richmond Times-Dispatch, -Newsday, -The Sun (Baltimore), -Philadelphia Daily News
“With choices from all over the world, this book has something for everyone ready to take a trip…enticing photos accompany the narratives.” –Sunday Denver Post
This volume continues the series of the same name published in the popular magazine National Geographic Traveler. Trips from all over the world are grouped thematically into such categories as "By Sea and Shore," "Village Byways," and "Driving Through History" and range from a 90-minute drive through the Pine Ridge country of Nebraska to a ten-week trip the length of Africa. The photographs are typical of National Geographic publications—richly colored and dramatic—and travelers will find much to inspire their wanderlust. The minimal text, only a sentence or two for more than half of the trips, will leave planners searching for additional information elsewhere (regional Frommer's, Eyewitness, or Lonely Planet guides are good choices), although a website address is included for each trip to help with the process. The small maps are useful for only orienting readers.Verdict While this attractive book is likely to end up as a gift for many travelers, it is appropriate for all public library travel collections; its geographic scope and excellent photographs will appeal to many.—Linda M. Kaufmann, Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts Lib., North Adams
Read an Excerpt
THE TOP 10 DRIVERS’ DRIVES
From the adrenaline rush of a Formula One track to the sedate pleasures of a quiet Alaskan highway, here’s our choice of roads that are fun to drive
Highway 89, Arizona/Utah/Idaho/Wyoming/Montana
From the Sonoran Desert to the Rocky Mountains, this geological field trip of a drive from Flagstaff, Arizona, to the Canadian border traverses cactus-filled desert, a volcanic plateau with lava flows, the red rocks of Sedona, and the Great Salt Lake. Open roads rarely come finer.
PLANNING: Visit the route’s national parks, including Yellowstone. www.untraveledroad.com
Denali Highway, Alaska
Completed in 1957 to give access to Denali National Park, this largely gravel road offers bracing views of untamed wilderness with few signs of human occupation. It was replaced in 1971 by a newer road, now known as the George
PLANNING: The highway leads from Paxson Junction to Cantwell Junction and is closed in winter. www.bellsalaska.com
Ruta 40, Argentina
Ruta 40 stretches along the whole country from Cabo Virgenes in the south to
La Quiaca in the north, extending more than 3,045 miles (4,900 km). It runs parallel to the Andes, crossing 236 bridges and many rivers, lakes, national parks, and mountain passes. From sea level, it ascends dramatically to 16,404 feet (5,000 m) in the north around Salta.
PLANNING: Ruta 40 is largely paved, but the southern part crosses mostly barren terrain. www.ruta40.gov.ar
Nürburgring, Nürburg, Germany
Designed to flaunt Germany’s automotive prowess, the original mountain ring track emerged between 1925 and 1927 for the country’s first Grand Prix. A new track was completed in 1984, but the original 12.9-mile (20.8 km) Nordschleife (Northern Loop) regularly opens to the public as a toll road. This is probably the world’s most challenging purpose-built racetrack, featuring a relentless series of hairpin or blind bends.
PLANNING: Check opening times. There’s no speed limit but German driving laws apply; unlicensed racing is banned. www.nuerburgring.de
Davos to Stelvio via Bormio, Switzerland/Italy
Implausibly etched through the peaks of the eastern Alps, this dizzying zigzag road built in the early 19th century is a hardcore workout for even the very best of drivers and automobiles. The 60 hairpin turns bring you up the mountains to a height of 9,042 feet (2,756 m). The heady views are mostly yours alone.
PLANNING: The road often closes in winter. Midway along, Bormio offers year-round skiing. www.davos.ch
Starting in southern Norway and driving as far north as you can is an excellent way of testing both you and your car’s endurance. This rugged 1,499-mile (2,412 km) road leads from Haugesund on the west coast, Norway’s oldest settlement, into the Arctic Circle, ending up at the bleak headland of Nordkapp, one of the most northerly points in Europe.
Visual highlights along the way include fjords, forests, fishing villages, glaciers, mountains, and tundra, as well as the northern lights. Expect little traffic, but watch out for roaming reindeer.
PLANNING: Allow 36 hours for the drive. In summer expect continual daylight. www.visitnorway.com
Col de Turini, Alpes-Maritimes, France
With as many hairpin bends as a tightly coiled spring and the skimpiest of barriers, this vertiginous death-trap of a mountain pass looks designed for a James Bond car chase. It’s a high point of the Monte Carlo Rally, held every January, when spectators throw snow on the normally ice-clad track for added fun.
PLANNING: Focus on the road and try not to look down. www.frenchriviera-tourism.com
A18 Snaefell Mountain Road, Isle of Man
The Isle of Man has been a leading motorsport destination since 1904, when racing was legalized on public roads. This 15-mile (25 km) road between Douglas and Ramsey is the motorcycle-race circuit used for the Isle of Man TT and the Manx Grand Prix. The Isle of Man is one of the few British territories with no national speed limit, a key attraction for many.
PLANNING: The TT runs from late May to mid-June; the Manx Grand Prix starts in late
August. Both last 14 days. www.gov.im
Crossing some of Britain’s loveliest open countryside and frequently used for testdrives, this narrow winding road packs in panoramic views over Brecon Beacons National Park and the Black Mountains—along with plenty of challenging mountain corners and dreamy villages.
PLANNING: The B4560 runs north from Beaufort to Talgarth via Llangynidr, Bwlch, and Llangors, but the prettiest part is between Llangynidr and Bwlch. Ice and snow sometimes close the road. www.breconbeacons.org
Atlas Mountains, Morocco
From Marrakech, take the N9 southeast toward Ouarzazate across the majestic Atlas Mountains. The road’s twists and turns provide a test of skill and nerves for drivers, while the ascent into the Khaki Mountains provides passengers with panoramic pleasures.
PLANNING: Snow may close the road in winter. The 200-mile (322 km) drive takes about four hours. www.visitmorocco.com