For motorcycle fans, there is nothing like the combination of breathtaking landscapes and mile upon mile of open road. Some of the world’s most iconic routes offer just that. Here is a selection of roads that are heaven on earth for bikers.
More than a highway, Route 66 has become a symbol of adventure and Americana. ©donvictorio/shutterstock.com
More than a road, this legendary highway is a key part of American identity. At 4,000km long, Route 66 spans nearly the entire length of the US from east to west, from Illinois to California. "The Mother Road," as it is known colloquially, crosses through three time zones and eight states. Packs of Harley Davidsons are frequently seen roaring down this desert highway. Riders can take in countless symbols of Americana, from the stunning desert landscapes of Arizona to the Cadillac Ranch in Texas.
Open only four months out of the year, this route takes riders through mountain-top landscapes in India, Tibet and Nepal. Experienced motorcyclists can even ride up to the highest motor-able road in the world, at 5,600 meters. Glaciers, flowing rivers and Buddhist monasteries are among the sights along the way.
Once the primary link between East and West, the Silk Road is one of the oldest trade routes that still exist today. Though the road originally spanned from China to Turkey, many riders choose to follow adjacent routes further west into France or Italy. Among several other remarkable attractions, riders will come across the ancient city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, with its Islamic architecture dating from the 15th century. Travelers should be warned, however, that the route crosses through a number of politically unstable regions, including Syria.
Great Ocean Road
Located on Australia's southwest coast, in the state of Victoria, this coastal road of over 240km provides an unparalleled view over the Indian Ocean and its turquoise waters. The Great Ocean Road begins in Torquay to the west, near the popular surfing destination Melbourne, and ends in Allansford. Among the nearby attractions are the Kenett River reserve, where koalas can be observed in their natural habitat, and the Port Campbell National Park, famous for its "Twelve Apostles," immense rock formations emerging from the ocean (today there are seven).
Officially named Norwegian County Road 63, this winding route passes through the village of Geiranger, known for its fjord, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thrill-seeking bikers will enjoy the road's 12 hairpin turns. An observatory located 625 meters above a glacier allows visitors to observe some of the country's most exceptional landscapes. The Seven Sisters Waterfall alone is worth the trip.