The Top Gear boys first said it was Davos to Stelvio Pass in Switzerland, then they changed their mind and said it was the Transfagarasan Pass in Romania.
Popular Mechanics list 20 roads as ‘the Greatest’, with examples from the USA, to Australia, Italy, Europe and South Africa.
A quick search of the internet lists many articles and opinions on the subject, many of which consistently include the classics – Stelvio, Col du Turini, Furka, Susten, Grimsel and San Bernardino, amongst their favourites.
So which is the greatest of them all?
First, one must figure out exactly what criteria must be examined – length, corners, road surface, scenery and excitement.
Let’s look at two examples – Col du Turini in France and Furka Pass in Switzerland. In terms of excitement, Turini wins hands down due to its historic heritage (forming part of the famous Monte Carlo Rally), while Furka easily trumps in terms of road surface and corners.
In a modern, fast supercar, such as a Ferrari 488 GTB, We’d rather be on Furka… as the sun rises or sets to avoid the inevitable campervans, cyclers and motorbikes who clog up the roads during the day; however, if we were behind the wheel of a classic Jag or Porsche, we’d definitely choose the Col du Turini. Turini also tends to be quieter most of the year, while Furka is a nightmare during summer. Nothing spoils an amazing road faster than a line of cars snaking back kilometers due to a slow moving vehicle ahead.
By far, the most famous of them all is the Stelio Pass which, at 9,045ft above sea level, is one of the highest passes in Europe. Built in the 1820s, its 75 hairpin turns range from fast and flowing to extremely tight, and sometimes downright dangerous.
The road has been featured many times on television, and has been raced on, rallied, cycled and walked. Generally it opens on the 1st week of June each year and remains open until late September, but this varies according to the winter season.
Driving the road is nothing short of an exhilarating challenging, with the corners getting particularly as you get near the top. Once you reach the top, however, you are treated to one of the best views in Europe with an awesome vista of the road below – something every petrol head will love.
So what is our pick for the ‘world’s best driving road?’
We say it’s a tie for first place, and they are both in Europe. The first is in Switzerland, and its not just one road, its three – Grimsel, Furka and Susten, to the south-east of Interlaken which, when combined, make for a day you will never forget! Plenty of flowing corners, straights, and hairpin bends, plus enough height to make you dizzy if you get a look over some of the cliffs.
The second is on the border of France and Italy from the French town of Modane to the Italian town of Susa. Over the top you pass the spectacular Mont Cenis, which features a barren almost alien landscape at its peak. If you go early June or late September you will miss the tourist rush and have this road almost to yourself!
So there you go, better than Stelvio, Davos, Col du Turini combined! Enjoy, but keep it a secret, won’t you?