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Motorcycle tours in Europe: 5 motorcycle routes in Europe



The UK has a huge amount to offer, but if you fancy venturing further afield then here are 5 motorcycle trips in Europe that might be of interest. Obviously, the list isn’t exhaustive, but should offer some idea as to great directions and destinations to consider. The main thing to remember is that, while it can be nerve wracking, riding in Europe is little different to the UK – once you get the hang of being on the other side of the road and not being able to speak the lingo. Take your time, and don’t give yourself unreasonable time frames or distances to cover. Above all though… enjoy the ride!

1. The Iceland Ring Road

Where does it start? Reykjavik

Where does it end? Reykjavik

How long is it? 828 miles

Why’s it great?

The ring road of Iceland is by no means the best route on the island, but it does serve as a great jump off point for exploring the more interesting corners of the island.

What do I need to know?

Getting to Iceland is the tricky part. You can either take the two-day ferry from the top of Denmark (about a 1000 mile run from the UK) or ship your bike with Eimskip out of Immingham and fly in to meet it. Both options cost roughly the same at around £1000 by the time you’ve paid for either the flights if you’re shipping in, or the travelling costs through Europe if you’re taking the ferry. Not cheap, granted, but then bike rental is on the expensive side, with costs of around 250 Euros per day, which might make sense if you’re there for less than seven days.

Anything else?

Be prepared for poor weather even in summer; it can be a bleak place. Prices are high, especially for restaurant meals, alcohol and hotels, but if you’re camping and stove cooking it shouldn’t cost you any more than travelling to mainland Europe. The roads are surprisingly well surfaced, with the unpaved F roads heading into more remote, challenging places that are perfect for trail bike riders. But even a Harley could make a good fist of touring Iceland.

Download the GPX file of this route for your TomTom or Garmin SatNav by clicking here

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2. Trans European Trail

Where does it start? Wherever you like

Where does it end? Wherever you finish

How long is it? 21,000 miles

Why is it great?

A hugely ambitious project – initiated by Brit John Ross – to map a largely unpaved route from the top to the bottom of Europe, and from the East to the West. The route map is free to download and should keep people entertained for years.

What do I need to know?

As well as through the UK, the TET passes through 27 other countries, including the Scandinavian countries - Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the southern Mediterranean nations of Spain, Greece and Italy, the Eastern European countries of Poland, Romania and Serbia, as well as France, Germany and Belgium. The route spends as much time away from tarmac as possible, though there are linking paved sections taking you from one trail to another. The Scandinavian countries seem to have miles of easy forestry trails, with Portugal and Spain also offering plenty of variety.

Anything else?

Bike choice is a big factor and while plenty of the TET is accessible to large capacity adventure machines, a lot comes down to skill level and tyre choice. A lighter trail bike might make life easier, and even look at the possibility of renting a machine out there, enabling you to maximise your holiday time on the trails, rather than ploughing through Europe to get there.

The Facebook group is a great place for picking up advice for local riders.

To download the maps and to find out more visit www.transeurotrail.org

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3. The Transfagarasan Highway

Where does it start? Bascov

Where does it end? Sibiu

How long is it? 56 miles

Why is it great?

An obvious suggestion ever since Top Gear featured it a few years back, the road definitely carries some romance and gives good reason to push east out of western Europe.

What do I need to know?

The road is 56 miles in length and crosses the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains. It’s located approximately 130 miles west of the Romanian capital Bucharest, and almost 1500 miles east of Dover, meaning that it’s going to need a couple of weeks to get out there and back. The advice, if you do go, is to get there early as traffic can be dense.

Anything else?

Check the road is open before heading out. Generally, it’s closed from mid-October to early June due to snow, so the window is short. In a way the road would arguably best serve as a marker for a wider trip, with good excuse for finding an interesting route for getting down there and back. A route down through the Balkan countries of Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia is increasingly popular with bikers, while a route back through the Alps would give you the best of both worlds.

But so much depends on how much time you have. If you’re racing to get down there and racing to get back, then maybe consider an interesting road a little closer to home. Good information can be found here.

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4. The Wild Atlantic Way

Where does it start? Kinsale, County Cork

Where does it end? Londonderry

How long is it? 1553 miles

Why is it great?

Officially the longest coastal route in the world, and with inexpensive ferries from the Welsh ports of either Fishguard or Holyhead, the Wild Atlantic Way is a dream destination for those with limited time or looking for adventure a little closer to home.

What do I need to know?

It’s not so much a point-to-point route, more a theme of travel along the coastline of Ireland, covering a total distance of 1553 miles and passing through nine counties and three provinces. The tourist board designates six regions of the route; Northern Headlands, Surf Coast, Bay Coast, Cliff Coast, Southern Peninsulas and Haven Coast, with the Southern Peninsula likely to be increasingly popular as it’s just off shore that Great Skellig – the island featured in the latest Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi – can be found, with boats from the mainland able to take you there.

Anything else?

Prepare for rain and be realistic about distances. Those narrow country lanes take a lot longer to navigate than a regular A-road, so 150 miles a day might be the top end of what’s manageable. To plan a route or to find out more head to the official site at www.wildatlanticway.com

5. The Three Passes of Switzerland

                

Where does it start? Andermatt

Where does end? Andermatt

How long is it? 80 miles

Why is it great?

An easy to navigate route that takes in three amazing Alpine passes with the full route do-able in a day.

What do I need to know?

The three passes of Susten, Furka and Grimsel are in the Alpine region of Switzerland, crossing the Bernese Alps at an elevation above 2000 metres. The passes are generally closed between October and May due to show.

The Grimsel is a personal favourite due to the multiple well-surfaced switchbacks on the way up, heading clockwise, with emerald blue lakes on the way down. The Furka Pass is higher, at a peak of 2429 metres, and arguably tighter and not as well surfaced, but still an excellent riding road, as is Susten.

Anything else?

The small Alpine town of Andermatt is a good place to base yourself, with all the facilities and some great riding east of there if you wish to venture further into Switzerland. Be wary of Switzerland’s strict speed limits and try not to get carried away; fines are harsh. Also be wary of busy weekend traffic, and as with all foreign riding, try to keep within your own limits and enjoy the scenery. If you have the time then the Nufenen Pass, just to the south of the loop, is also worth riding.

Time wise, if you push straight through France it is easily possible to do this loop and be back home again in a week.

Download the GPX file of this route for your TomTom or Garmin SatNav by clicking here



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