There are better ways to have fun in a car than jumping curbs or racing your buddies from stop light to stop light. Try, for instance, cruising across Norway's Atlantic Road during a hurricane or crossing Bolivia's "Road of Death" unscathed. For those in search of tamer excitement, roadways like Tennessee's "Tail of the Dragon" provide breathtaking views -- especially now that autumn has arrived.
Never mind cliché travel destinations like the Eiffel Tower and Pyramids of Giza, below are six roads you need to drive before you die.
1. Guoliang Tunnel, China
Hand-carved into the side of the towering Taihang Mountains of China's Hunan Province, the Guoliang Tunnel is as culturally intriguing as it is exciting to drive and breathtaking to behold. Located atop a dizzying abyss of gravel and rock, the Guoliang Tunnel is less than a mile long and measures a mere 15 feet high and 12 feet wide -- barely wide enough for a single vehicle. What's more, it features uneven walls and a series of 30 large windows that scare the bejesus out of those brave enough to look out. While some sections of the open tunnel are lined with stone rocks that serve as guard rails, others are not. On roads like this, a single mistake is one too many.
Interestingly, the tunnel was carved through Taihang in the mid 1970s by a handful of men from the nearby village of Guoliang. Before then, their village had been so entrenched within the mountains that it was more or less isolated from Chinese civilization.
Choice Ride: Subaru Outback
2. The Atlantic Road, Norway
An extension of Norway's highway Rv64, the Atlantic Road zigzags for five miles across eight bridges hovering just above the turbulent sea and connecting the island of Averoy to the mainland. Renowned for providing picturesque views and an awe-inspiring glimpse into the power of nature, the Atlantic Road attracts visitors year round. In fact, many tourists flock to it during hurricane season to witness the drama unfold first-hand. During calmer weather, drivers have been known to spot whales, seals and other wildlife. Best of all, the drive is both pleasant and safe -- the perfect adventure for romantic couples and adventurous families.
Choice Ride: BMW 3-Series
3. Deals Gap, USA
Located on the Tennessee/North Carolina state line, Deals Gap is renowned for its 11-mile stretch of 318 uninterrupted S curves -- earning it the much deserved nickname "Tail of the Dragon." Not surprisingly, driving enthusiasts from across the globe flock there to give its head-spinning twists a shot.
Great year-round, but most especially during the colorful fall season, this stretch of U.S. 129 is lined by beautiful American forestry. In fact, Deals Gap cuts so deep into the woods that drivers have been known to spot bears, turkeys, deer and wild boars. Because of its remoteness, Deals Gap doesn't see much traffic -- which makes it all the better for leisurely cruises. The road's speed limit is set at 30 mph.
Choice Ride: Tesla Roadster
4. The Autobahn, Germany
To the naked eye, the German Autobahn looks no different than any American highway system. It features multiple lanes of traffic flowing in opposite directions, separated by a center barrier. Upon closer inspection, however, you'll notice that it differs in one fundamental way: There's no speed limit for cars or motorcycles. Instead, the Autobahn features an advisory speed limit set at 80 mph. Restrictions are imposed at some road junctions as well as during construction and inclement weather. But, in general, a speed limit is not enforced. Stretching thousands of miles throughout Germany, it's easy to understand why the Autobahn has become legendary among speed freaks and sports car enthusiasts.
Choice Ride: Mercedes-Benz SL600
5. Lombard Street, USA
San Francisco's Lombard Street is neither the steepest nor most crooked road in America. It is, however, a staple of American culture. Cute and quirky, it twists and turns for one block as it passes through the neighborhood of Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets. While the hill slopes at an angle of 40 degrees, the street takes off into eight hairpin turns or switchbacks. As fun as that might seem, however, traffic only runs one way (downhill) and speed is limited to a mere 5 mph. Slowing down will keep you safe and help you appreciate the scenery -- Lombard Street is paved with red bricks and, in the spring and summer, is lined with a slew of colorful flowers.
Choice Ride: MINI Cooper.
6. North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Dubbed by locals as El Camino de la Muerte (Spanish for "Road of Death"), the North Yungas Road should be placed at the top of every thrill seekers' list of Roads to Drive Before You Die... or, more accurately, Roads to Drive if You Want to Die. Less than 50 miles in length and only 10.5 feet wide, the two-way road climbs roughly three miles above sea level and connects the Amazon rainforest to the capital city of La Paz. Where the danger lies is in the fact that the road has no guard rails and rain and fog significantly limit visibility. Wet conditions often transform the road into a giant pool of mud, making it easy for rocks above and below to loosen and fall.
Needless to say, driving in such conditions leaves no room for error. "Every year it is estimated 200 to 300 people die on a stretch of road less than 50 miles long," reports the BBC. "In one year alone, 25 vehicles plunged off the road and into the ravine. That is one every two weeks."
Choice Ride: Jeep Wrangler
For more photos of these spectacular roads, see our slideshow.