We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

best driving roads

Is this the best driving road in the world?

This week’s Road Trip focuses on the Stelvio Pass in Italy.

Google Maps Google Maps

  • Each week, motoring mag will feature a reader’s best road trip. If you’d love to see your top trip featured, email us on

ONE OF THE hallmarks of a great road trip is a great driving road and the road that time and time again is labelled the ‘greatest driving road in the world’ is the Stelvio Pass.

Where: Italy
Route: Prato Allo Stelvio to Passo dello Stelvio Ghiacciaio, Bormio
Distance: 25km
Altitude: 2,757 metres (9,045 feet)

Shutterstock / Yuri Turkov Shutterstock / Yuri Turkov / Yuri Turkov

The Stelvio Pass is in northern Italy near the border with Switzerland. At 2,757 metres (9,045 feet) above the sea-level, it is the second highest paved mountain pass in the Alps (the Col de la Bonette in France is the highest at 2,802 metres (9,193 feet).

Shutterstock / ptnphoto Shutterstock / ptnphoto / ptnphoto

If you tackle this road from Prato on the northern side, there 48 switchbacks packed into just 24.3km of road with each hairpin turn marked by a stone on the road. On this side of the pass, the elevation gain is 1,808 meters with an average gradient percentage of about 7.4%.

Shutterstock / (Richard Semik) Shutterstock / (Richard Semik) / (Richard Semik)

If you approach the pass from the southern side, the road snakes its way for 21.5km up the deep Braulio ravine. On this side of the pass, the elevation gain is 1,533 metres with an average gradient percentage of about 7.1%.

Shutterstock / Goran Bogicevic Shutterstock / Goran Bogicevic / Goran Bogicevic

This challenging road has become a rite of passage for driving enthusiasts and thrill-seeking motorcyclists. It is also extremely popular with cyclists, too and every August the road is closed to motorised vehicles so that bikers and walkers can enjoy this scenic cycle without having to worry about oncoming or overtaking traffic. This year the road is closed on 27 August.

Shutterstock / dolomite-summits Shutterstock / dolomite-summits / dolomite-summits

The road is stunning, as are the views from it. It really is a marvel of engineering and has changed little since it was first opened in the 1820s. It has also been labelled the world’s most dangerous road and the world’s scariest road by those who have travelled on it.

Shutterstock / ptnphoto Shutterstock / ptnphoto / ptnphoto

Back in 2007, the Top Gear trio declared it the ‘greatest driving road in the World’ but they had only conducted their search in Europe. Then in 2009 they snatched the crown off the Stelvio Pass and handed it to the Transfăgărășan Highway in Romania. I wonder if they will find an even better road when they hit our screens again.

Shutterstock / LianeM Shutterstock / LianeM / LianeM

Have you driven the Stelvio Pass? Do you think it is the greatest driving road in the world? Is there a road that you think should be crowned King of the Roads? Let us know.

READ: My best road trip - Kenmare, Killarney, West Cork>

READ: Latest motoring news>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.