To single out just 10 interesting and unusual streets around the world may seem like a very small number given how many streets there are. Streets are probably something we give so little consideration to unless we actually walk one or walk/drive past one on a regular basis. Just what does make an unusual street? Think about the street where you live – unremarkable right? What about where you shop? Just a high street or a mall? What about where you go to work every day – just an average street with commercial enterprises – yes? Well, there are streets worthy of making you sit up and take notice and actually even of sufficient attraction to put on an itinerary should you be visiting the city/town where they are located. Read on for 10 amazingly interesting and unusual streets around the world.
1. Crash Course in Climbing
That’s right, a crash course in climbing is what this first street is. Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, has the right to call itself the steepest street in the world. Baldwin Street has a shocking 35% gradient which means they had to use concrete instead of asphalt because in the hot weather you would witness a black and slimy asphalt waterfall running down towards you.
2. Round and round We Go...
In Swindon, England, one of our unusual streets is what is known as the magic roundabout. This roundabout was obviously the brain child of an eight year old child because all cars have to go around the roundabout in the opposite direction, whilst also looking out for the five smaller roundabouts on the same roundabout. Confused? Obviously someone was having a bad day when they designed this.
3. Opposite Street
In Britain we are all used to driving on the left, and it works because we are all used to it. But Savoy Court in London is the one of the most unusual streets in the country because everybody drives on the right. The reason for this is debatable, but it apparently dates back to how the old Hackney Cabs used to work. This is allowed by a Special Act of Parliament so I suppose we are all stuck with it.
Lombard Street in San Francisco is one of the most famous and unusual streets in the world due to its extreme hairpin turns and unbelievably steep climb. The switchbacks were actually created to make the road passable for vehicles because without them the incline was just not scalable in a car.
5. On the Road to Giza
The Road to Giza is the oldest paved street in the world. Archaeologists argue over the exact age, but it’s apparently up to 4,600 years old and winds seven and a half miles through Egypt. It was the route by which stones were transported to the site of the building of the Pyramids.
6. Breathe in
Unless you are a size zero then you are going to struggle to get through the 50 meter long Parliament Street in Exeter, England. This Devon street is the world’s narrowest and measures just over 2 feet at its narrowest point. Built in 1300, it is 165 feet in length
7. 9 De Juli Avenue
Known in English as the 9th of July Avenue, this Buenos Aires monster has the honor of being the widest street in the world. You won’t find any shortage of space here as the street has six lanes and spans an entire city block. The only problem here is that it still doesn’t stop any traffic jams!
8. Is This Really a Street?
Ebenezer Street in Scotland is one of the most unusual streets in the world because people are often left asking the question about whether it’s really a street or not. The Scottish Parliament recognizes this marvel as a street, even though it’s only 7 feet in length and consists of the façade of one building - a pub. Still, I guess there’s no chance of the postman getting confused with house numbers on this street.
9. Longer than Route 66
Route 66 is often known as being one of the longest roads in the world, but the Pan-American Highway easily eclipses it. At 29,800 miles long it would take you weeks, and perhaps even months, to cover this ground. At least you will get to see the whole of the Americas if you do decide to take the long trek. You would pass through 15 different countries if you went from start to finish. Best pack a spare tire or two, though!
10. Up or down?
Gravity Hills are found in quite a few places around the world, but these are the most confusing and unusual streets known to man or woman. Due to the very slight gradient a car left out of gear will look to be rolling uphill instead of downhill, and this is where they get their name from. They
are also known as Magical Hills or Magnetic Hills and it is actually an optical illusion that you appear to be going uphill when stationary.
So, there you have it, the longest and the shortest, the narrowest and the widest, the oldest and the steepest, making up Amazingly Interesting and Unusual Streets around the World. Whether you want to be befuddled why there’s only one house in a street or how long it will take to drive the longest road, it’s down to your sense of curiosity to find out.
There are many other unusual streets around the world; for example I know of a street that always has a car accident on it every time I drive on it, but that could be just a coincidence. What weird and wonderful streets have you encountered in the past?
Top Photo Credit: Jim Ramsay