Roads as tourist attractions

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

Large or spectacular buildings and bridges can give local people pride in their area, but they can also give strangers an identifiable fix on an area they have yet to visit. It goes beyond this as well with people actually deciding to visit an area to see a building. Examples of this are too numerous to mention but to name a few, from oldest to youngest are: Newgrange, The Pyramids of Gaza, The Parthenon, The Colosseum, The Tower of London, The Vatican, The Taj Mahal, The Eiffel Tower and the tallest building in the world the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. These are the best known tourist attractions but there many more. However what about famous roads?

I have been lucky enough to have driven through the Alps, driven along The Great Ocean Road in Australia and cycled the famous Ring of Kerry in Ireland, so I can understand the idea of roads as tourist attractions. But a regular reader, John, recently e-mailed me details of a road I have never heard of before; it is the Atlantic Highway in Norway. This section of ocean road is 8km long and was completed in 1989. It has since become one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations. Tourists especially like to visit it during storms when the road is pounded by high seas and strong winds. The road’s sharp turns and wild surroundings have ranked it first on The Guardian’s list of the world’s best road trips. The road is on Norway’s west coast and has beaten other world renowned attractions, to top the list, such as Northern Ireland’s Antrim coast road and roads in the Himalayas. The British Newspaper stated:

The Atlantic Road zigzags across 12 low bridges that jut out over the sea, linking the islands between Molde (famous for its annual Jazz festival in July) and Kristiansund in the western fjords. The Hustadvika is an infamous stretch of ocean and when in storm it’s fantastically dramatic. In calmer weather you might spot whales and seals.

So if you are lucky enough to be considering where to take your Summer Holidays this year, you could do worse than to ponder which engineering landmark you would like to visit and base your holiday plans around that. I would love to visit this road at some stage especially during a winter storm but to be honest the road/ bridge I would like to visit most is the Milau Viaduct in France.

Atlantic Highway, Norway
Atlantic Highway, Norway
Atlantic Highway, Norway
Atlantic Highway, Norway
Millau Viaduct, France


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