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Ahh, road trips. Just thinking about those words paints a picture in your head, doesn’t it? Tunes made for singing along with at top volume, sugary gas station snacks, sunglasses with the perfect tint—these are all crucial elements for a successful drive. But even more important than the destination is the journey, especially if the road itself is the main attraction. If you’re a driving enthusiast determined to see something unique on your next turn at the wheel, point your car towards these 10 wonderfully strange roads:

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Stelvio Pass | Flickr CC: absoluteczech

Stelvio Pass: Italy
Elevate your experience on the roads with a cruise down Stelvio Pass in northern Italy. Clocking in at over 9,000 feet above sea level, the striking road has more than 70 hairpin turns to keep you on your toes. It’s the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps. While cautiously navigating its twists, know that you’re driving over what was once the border of the Kingdom of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Mysterious Road: South Korea
Items are supposed to roll down downhill slopes, because you know, gravity, but at some bizarre spots around the globe, that’s doesn’t seem to be the case. Dokkaebi Road in Jeju, South Korea is one such spot and has gained the nickname Mysterious Road for that reason. Put your car in neutral on what appears to be an uphill slope on the road, you’ll roll down instead of up. Is it an illusion or just magic? You be the judge.

Hanshin Expressway | Flickr CC: Jeff

Hanshin Expressway: Japan
What’s it like to commute to work when you can drive right through your building? That’s not actually what happens when the Hanshin Expressway goes through the Gate Tower Building in Osaka, Japan, but the offshoot does serve as an exit ramp for the roadway. The highway occupies three floors of the 16-floor office building. Since it doesn’t make contact with the structure, workers can tap away at their desks oblivious of the exceptionally close highway, thanks to killer noise-proofing.

Civic Musical Road: California
Motorists like to say they can hear the music of the road, but some thoroughfares are designed to actually play tunes. One place where you can experience the rhythm of the asphalt is in Lancaster, California on the Civic Musical Road (located on Avenue G) in the Antelope Valley. Drive into the far left lane and travel at 55mph to hear the rumble strips emit a take on the finale of “William Tell Overture” by Gioachino Rossini.

Baldwin Street | Flickr CC: chee.hong

Baldwin Street: New Zealand
Find a different driving angle by taking a trip down the steepest street in the world in Dunedin, New Zealand. Baldwin Street is at such a harsh gradient that it’s surfaced with concrete instead of asphalt, because the latter would cause tar to trickle down the slope on a hot day. While you slowly steer down the incline, note how the homes lining the streets look lopsided.

 ALSO: What’s the fastest route to travel rewards? Orbitz Rewards, of course!

Capulin Volcano National Monument | Flickr CC: Philip Stewart

Capulin Volcano Road: New Mexico
Wouldn’t you like to add “drove around the rim of a volcano” to your vehicular resume? You can do so by visiting the Capulin Volcano National Monument near Capulin, New Mexico. A two-mile road spirals around the extinct cinder cone to the top; it’s not a drive for those hesitant about heights, but it is a drive for those hungry for dramatic landscapes. 

Guoliang Tunnel

Guoliang Tunnel: China
Get ready to practice exercising laser focus; you’ll need it to safely traverse the Guoliang Tunnel in China. This remarkable hewn tunnel in the Taihang Mountains was crafted by a mere 13 villagers over the span of five years. You can catch glimpses of the surrounding nature along the 3/4 mile tunnel through 30 gaping windows carved into the sides. Though it accommodates two vehicles, the tunnel is tight and gets quite slippery in inclement weather—it’s not for the faint of heart.

The Atlantic Road | Flickr CC: Johan Bichel Lindegaard

The Atlantic Road: Norway
The Atlantic Road, or Atlanterhavsveien, will take you for an exhilarating whirl on the coastal edge of Norway.  Seemingly designed to accentuate the most lovely parts of the surrounding ocean, the Atlantic Road hugs the Atlantic as it connects small islands like a gentle, winding roller coaster. Over the course of five miles, you’ll go up and down and possibly be knocked out of your seat by the scenery.

Lombard Street | Flickr CC: Daniel Cukier

Lombard Street: California
San Francisco claims a number of angular streets with sharp turns, but Lombard Street is the crookedest of them all. The infamous one-block section of Lombard includes switchback after switchback with eight tricky turns. Watching vehicles descend the hill is like looking at a M.C. Escher painting. Tip: Drive this road in the spring for a floral spectacular.

Nordschleife | Flickr CC: D15

Nordschleife: Germany
Sometimes a road is both a Grand Prix race track and a road the public can access. That’s the case with Nordschleife. Tucked away in a motor sports complex near Nürburg, Nordschleife is one of the tracks at Nurburgring and travels through the Eifel forests with steep inclines, changing road surfaces, and other challenges. If you want to take a spin in an everyday vehicle, you can book tickets and pay a toll for a trip around the 12-mile track.

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Tagged: Feature, Top 10 Lists

Amy Ratcliffe

Amy Ratcliffe

Amy is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers all things pop culture and is constantly afflicted with wanderlust. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.
Amy Ratcliffe

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