Best motorcycle roads in Europe to cross off your bucket list
There are great motorcycle routes all around Europe: from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean and from the west coast in Portugal to east European countries.
Choosing a destination for a bike trip is one of the hardest parts – a lot comes down to time, money, and the right mindset. But above all, you have to decide what you want to get out of it: a challenge, spectacular views, or pure joy? You have probably answered “all of them”. Good for you! These five European motorbike tour routes have it all. And every biker should ride them at least once in their lives.
The Transfăgărășan Highway in Romania
Brought to the world’s attention after being featured by Jeremy Clarkson in Top Gear as the best motorcycle route in the world, it seems to be an obvious choice. The road indeed carries some nostalgia and gives good reason to head east. It’s located approximately 210 kilometers west of the Romanian capital Bucharest. This route starts in Bascov and stretches for 90 kilometers across the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. So it goes without saying – breathtaking mountain views guaranteed.
But before setting off, be sure to check if it’s open, as the snowless window is short – between mid-October and early June. You could also choose to combine this route with a wider journey around the neighboring Balkan countries of Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia with a route back through the Alps.
Motorbike roads in the Alps you won’t forget
Garmisch (south Germany) is a great place to start exploring some of the best motorbike rides in the Alps, spreading out as long as 322 kilometers.
Heading clockwise, this route takes you on two good passes of Stelvio and Timmelsjoch. Presenting charms of both the Austrian and Italian region of Tyrol.
Riding the E533 down to the A12, then 186 south, you will reach the ski resort of Soelden (Austria), where you can find some good camping options.
The Ötztal Glacier Road up from Soelden to the glacier is also a must-ride for every biker. From there south, along the Timmelsjoch, there are 38 kilometers of twisting Alpine road (a real treat for challenge seekers) leading to Merano (Italy) and then to the famous Stelvio Pass. It may be narrow in places, but this is the experience you will remember. Reaching the town of Bormio (Italy) at the bottom, you can easily come back towards Garmisch.
Riding through the Alps may be challenging, but it is definitely worth it. Try not to rush it and avoid the motorways where possible.
Best motorcycle tours in Croatia
We listed Croatia as one of our favorite destinations. If you want to experience the best European motorcycle routes, with some cool mountain switchbacks and the most sublime coastal scenery, we strongly recommend you visit this Balkan country.
The roads are mostly beautiful, even the motorways, and not that busy beyond a tourist season. Once you reach Split, you can head towards beautiful Omiš, then through Gornja Brela up to Aržano on the Bosnian border. Or do a loop from Split through Sinj, Vrlika, Knin, Kistanje, and down to Šibenik then back along the coast.
No wonder this route is a favorite among European bikers as during one ride you can experience both sensational mountain and coastal landscape.
Icelandic Ring Road – among every biker's top places to ride
The ring road of Iceland, as the name suggests – runs around the whole island for 1322 kilometers, starting and finishing in Reykjavik. Which makes the road an ideal jump-off point for exploring the more interesting attractions, such as waterfalls or glacier lagoons.
But how to get on the island with your bike? Having reached Denmark, you can either take the two-day ferry or have the bike shipped over there. Unfortunately local bike rental is not a cheaper alternative, as it costs around 250 Euros per day. So all options are rather costly, but amazing sights and challenging roads will definitely compensate for it.
If you’re camping and stove cooking the trip shouldn’t cost you much more than traveling to Scandinavia or Western Europe. But be prepared for rather poor weather even in summer. The roads are surprisingly well surfaced, with the unpaved F roads heading into more remote challenging places that are perfect for trail bike riders.
Trans European Trail – best motorcycle tour you create yourself
Which destination is the best for a motorcycle trip? The one you set yourself according to your needs. That’s why the Trans European Trail (TET) is a great option where everyone will find something for themselves. It can be as long as 33 000 km or just 33 km.
TET maps the largely unpaved routes from the East to the West, and from the top to the bottom of Europe. It passes through 27 countries, including among many: Sweden, Greece, Spain, Romania, Germany, France, and Poland. With each country offering plenty of terrain, scenery, and road variety.
Motorbike choice is a big factor here, depending on your skill level and the exact part of the trail you ride. Although the majority of the TET is accessible to large-capacity adventure machines, a lighter trail bike might make life easier. Be it one or the other, it’s worth checking the possibility of renting a machine at the location. After all, it’s about quality time spent on the trails, rather than rushing through Europe to get to the aim.With the rise of bike rental and tour companies in all corners of the world, you don’t need a year off work to explore new places. Organizing it well you could have a great week’s riding in Albania, Ireland, Greece, or even the USA.
Having an idea for a trip is easy, making it happen is harder, but it’s the most exciting part. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s hit the road!