Our Pick of the Top 10 Motorcycle adventure rides through Europe
Like most things, motorcycle riding requires practice, and a few faulty turns and starts at the beginning will always add to your experience. In this article we look a little closer to some of the top scenic, and challenging rides that we think are the among the best on offer in Europe today.
When you find yourself zipping effortlessly on steep roads with mountains on each side, you know all the effort in getting there is worth it. You know that the road you've chosen and your bike have brought you closer to enjoying life. Nothing ever compares to the feeling of wind on your skin, a buzzing thrum against your legs, and the feeling that the road is yours alone.
Below is a list of our top 10 rides through Europe. Click the link to the one that most interests you, or keep scrolling to see them all.
Experienced rider or novice - the thrill is the same!
As a motorcyclist, you know all too well the familiar feeling of the adrenaline rush in the pit of your stomach when you come across a difficult crevice. Even more so, when the flood of energy sparks within you, as you successfully land that sharp turn.
Every road on this list entices with its scenery and beauty. Each road will also simultaneously challenge you.
Either way, there are some roads that are simply made for you. These roads constantly beckon motorbike riders to discover themselves, and the world. They offer moments of pure pleasure. The best part about Europe is that it's small and varied enough to enjoy a variety of rides. Some of these roads are ideal even if this is your maiden experience on the road.
We always want more people to experience the sheer joy of motorcycling. Most of the roads on this list are great for novice motorcyclists as well as more experienced riders.
1. Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
If you are looking for an epic experience that offers everything, look no further than the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. It offers a raging sea by your side, with sea-cut coasts and cliffs, rugged mountainous terrain, and a silver-blue sky.
This is a 1553 mile (2500 kilometer) stretch that starts from the Inishowen Peninsula and goes to the Celtic Seashore. On the way, you'll see scenery that ranges from a wide azure expanse the Donegal Coast, to the historical limestone formations and terrain in the Burren.
Invariably, the road will bring you into close contact with both historical and present day Irish life. Make sure to keep yourself fueled with the traditional Irish fare served to you in the pubs along the way.
2. The Amalfi Coast Road, Italy
If you want to feel the sea breeze wash over your face as you watch the azure sea unravel before you, then head on over to the Amalfi Coast Road in Italy.
This iconic road winds around the sharp turn at cliffs, and bends at craggy shorelines, so much so that it is popularly known as “The Road of a 1000 Bends”. Each bend offers a postcard-like view of scenic, multi-colored Italian fishing villages.
You will dive, glide, and rise along the 50 kilometer stretch by the Isle of Capri, Sorrento, Positano, and Ravello, forever surrounded by the cerulean sea and sky.
A word of caution though: driving through this road is considered a dance with death, so make sure to prepare well in advance. Those who survive it, say it was worth it.
3. E65 Senj-Prizna, Croatia
If you are starting out, and you want the azure sea-sky combination, without the steep rise and fall of The Amalfi Coast Road, look no further than E65. This stretches from Senj to Prizna in Croatia.
The Adriatic coast and a vast blue sky are as easy on the eyes, as the 29.8 mile (48 kilometer) road is for your bike ride. Just avoid the road-clogging tourist season, be cautious of the roaring sea wind, and you are good to go.
4. N338, Serra da Estrela, Portugal
For those seeking the thrill of scaling mountains on their bikes, look no further than the 30 km stretch in Portugal, N338. It goes upward over the Serra de Estrela, which is Portugal’s tallest mountain.
Glacial wind will cut through your skin, you will feel a frosty chill in your fingers and the poorer roads at the top will slow down your bike. But as you watch the sunset at the summit, nearly 2000 feet above sea level, all you will feel is top-of-the-world bliss.
(Bonus: If you are in Portugal, you can also bike through the 27 km N222, which has often been called one of the best motorcycle routes in the world.)
5. The Transfăgărășan Highway, Romania
Biking down the Transfăgărășan Highway will bring you closer to history, as well as sheer human will.
The highway was built in the 1970’s with the intent of providing quick military access to prevent Soviet infiltration into Romania. But the terrain of the Făgăraș Mountains, where the road was being built, was difficult to cut through.
At nearly 7000 feet above sea level, it also had inhospitable conditions for construction and resulted in many deaths. The road was completed, and today it stands as a testimony to all those who lay down their lives in easing human communication.
The 21.7 mile (35 km) stretch has several narrow turns, S-curves, and hair-raising descents, and dark tunnels, making it illegal to go faster than 25 miles per hour (40 km per hour).
Yet every year, hundreds of motorcyclists across Europe undertake the arduous journey, because there is nothing quite like it!
6. BMW Motorrad Days, Germany
While not strictly a motorcycling route, no list about motorcycling in Europe can be complete without a mention of the BMW Motorrad Days.
Held over three days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, this fest sees motorcyclists across the world gather to display their motorcycling skills, watch stunts shows, and break records. Many choose to undertake biking excursions across the Alpine roads at this time.
This event, which beings the biking community together, is in its eighteenth year of running and will take place in July each year. And yes, you can attend even if you do not have a BMW bike.
7. Furka Pass, Switzerland
A staple on any European motorcyclist’s list is to ride across the magnificent Alps.
While the Alps has a series of roads worth checking out—all across Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, and Slovenia—one of the most iconic motorcycling roads is the Furka Pass in Switzerland.
Immortalized in the James Bond film, Goldfinger, the stretch is known for its sharp turns, serpentine roads, and high elevations.
While the panoramic views are beyond stunning, it actually also offers an experience like no other - you will cross the Rhone Glacier, and can even walk right into it.
If you are visiting in the peak season of June or July, be wary of tourist-clogging!
8. FV-30 - Antigua-Pajara, Fuerteventura, Spain
If you are looking for an altogether different landscape from mountains and beach sides, head over to the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura, Spain.
While the anterior of the island is all-beach, the inside of the islands is an imitable desert landscape with twenty-thousand years of topographical and geographical layers.
Its smooth, sandy roads will lead you to some of the most matchless sights you will ever see. The roads are well marked and conducive to thrilling high speeds.
The 21.7 mile (35 km) FV-30, in particular, winds through some of the oldest towns in Fuerteventura.
Stop by and savour the island—it is best experienced on a motorcycle.
9. Verdon Gorge, France
More than anything else, it is worth motorcycling through Verdon Gorge because of how visually stunning it is.
You name it, and the gorge has it: French Riviera in the close proximity, the turquoise Verdon River, widening and narrowing canyons on both sides, and shining limestone stores.
The 56 mile (90 km) journey through Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, is unpredictable in its topography and demands your attention, but you will only be too happy to give it. You can also choose to camp on the many campsites along the route to really explore the expanse.
10. Trans European Trail (TET)
You can’t be a motorcyclist in Europe and not have heard of the Trans European Trail.
A dream-like and ambitious project, it extends to 34000 km, comprising Finland, the Baltic states, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, the Balkans, Italy, and France in its Eastern arm. In France, it joins the Western arm, comprising Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Low Countries, the UK and finally, back to France. From there, it passes through Andorra, Spain, and Portugal to reach Gibraltar.
This journey began as a dream to experience the diversity of cultures and landscapes in Europe while being on the road. It brings together the best of motorcycling: adventure, the possibilities of the road, and its community. Bikers on the Trans Euro Trail can connect with local biking communities in the stretches they take up for road support and guidance.
Motorbiking is often a very personal interaction between an individual and their surroundings, whether in cultivated civilization or in open, uncharted roads. Whatever your choice, your motorcycle brings you close to the glorious offerings of the world. But even more importantly, in doing so, it brings you closer to yourself.