I am fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to visit many beautiful countries in the world. Besides the iconic landmarks, my most memorable travels include driving through scenic routes. I share the first installment of my Top 5 scenic drives in Canada, USA, Europe and Australia. I hope you include them in your bucket list of travel destinations, and please feel free to send me a message so we can add more to this list. Enjoy!
1. Icefields Parkway, Highway 93, Alberta, Canada
Total distance: 232 kilometers
Start: TransCanada (Hwy #1) /Highway 93 interchange just outside of Lake Louise
Rated as one of the top drives in the world by Condé Nast Traveller, the Icefield Parkway is a 232 km stretch of double-lane highway winding along the Continental Divide through soaring rocky mountain peaks, icefields and vast sweeping valleys. The Icefields Parkway is built almost parallel with the Continental Divide. That’s why they say a drive on the Parkway is like driving on the backbone of the North American continent. The highway travels through Banff National Park for 122 kilometres. The rest of the Icefields Parkway traveling north, including the Columbia Icefield, is situated in Jasper National Park, Alberta.
Photo credit: icefieldsparkway.com
2. Sea-to-Sky Highway, Highway 99, British Columbia, Canada
Total distance: 163 kilometers
Start: North Vancouver
This spectacular drive winds from Vancouver to Pemberton, just north of Whistler, British Columbia. The journey is just as beautiful as the destinations along the Sea-to-Sky corridor (Highway 99). Look out for Cultural Journey interpretive kiosks, designed in the shape of cedar-bark hats, and pull over to learn more about the area’s local Indigenous people.
Photo credit: Shutterstock via hellobc.com
3. 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, California, USA
Total distance: 27.4 kilometers
Start: Pacific Grove along the Monterey Peninsula
17-Mile Drive is a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula in California, much of which hugs the Pacific coastline and passes famous golf courses, mansions and scenic attractions, including the Lone Cypress, Bird Rock and the 5,300-acre Del Monte Forest of Monterey Cypress trees (Wikipedia).
Photo credit: pebblebeach.com
4. La Grande Corniche (French Riviera), Nice in France to Monaco
Total distance: 31 kilometres
It is roads like this that make you realise that the South of France should be experienced from behind the wheel of a car (preferably a sporty soft top) rather than looked at through the window of a tour bus. “Les Trois Corniches”, which translates to “the three cliff roads”, consist of three routes following the mountainous stretch from Nice to Menton.
The High Corniche (La Grande Corniche) is the highest of the three and has arguably the most dramatic views as it is 500 metres above sea level. It dates back to Roman times when it was called the Via Aurelia and used to conquer the West. From the Grande Corniche you not only have spectacular views of the Mediterranean but you also see the enormous wealth of Monaco’s inhabitants in the amazing mansions and villas on display (perfectlyprovence.co).
Photo credit: viamichelin.com
5. Black Spur Drive, Victoria, Australia
Total distance: 27.9 kilometres
Driving time: 30 minutes
The Black Spur Drive cuts through the lush forest landscapes of the Yarra Ranges, linking the Yarra Valley with the mountain areas around Marysville. Famous for its towering trees and spectacular valley views, the Black Spur connects Healesville with Narbethong on the Maroondah Highway as it winds its way up the Great Dividing Range.
Lower the windows and savour the fragrance of the Australian bush as you pass through the forest. Gaze up at the immense mountain ash trees, which scatter the sunlight on the cool understorey of green ferns below. At the base of the Black Spur you will find Fernshaw picnic area with rest facilities. You can also utilise the picnic facilities at Dom Dom in Marysville State Forest. (visitvictoria.com).
Photo credit: visitvictoria.com