When it comes to epic motorcycle journeys, it's hard to beat the stunning landscape of Europe. Rich scenery, tall mountain passes, and wide open roads make a Euro trip essential for any rider's bucket list.
The only question is where do you go? With so much great riding to choose from, narrowing things down can be a bit tough. We've put together a list of the best routes that Europe has to offer, so you have the freedom to choose your own adventure.
We'll run through Europe's top routes and everything you'll need to know for your journey. Whether riding is a small part of your trip or you're planning a full tour around the continent, Europe is truly a riding heaven for motorcyclists.
TOP 14 MOTORCYCLE ROUTES IN EUROPE
Trans European Trail
The Trans European trail is the mother of all trails. It spans a whopping 80,000km and covers over 30 countries! Most of the way is unpaved, so expect rough terrain and remote locations if you choose to take on this massive trail. This is one for the adventure riders.
Riding the entire trail in one shot would take weeks, so you might opt to only ride part of it. If you really want to immerse yourself in the trail riding experience, camping along the way is an option. But if you need some comfort, hostels, and B&Bs are available in some areas.
The Atlantic Road, Norway
This picturesque road on the Northwest coast of Norway is the perfect way to experience the country's coastal scenery. Hugging the Atlantic Ocean, it's a stunning combination of coastal views and dramatic cliffs.
The road stretches for about eight kilometres, so it's a short trip that can easily be knocked out in the morning or afternoon. A highlight is the famous Storseisundet Bridge or 'Bridge to Nowhere', which is built with a curved design to give the illusion that it's rising out of the water.
The North Coast 500, Scotland
This gorgeous route will take you across the Scottish Highlands and show off all the country has to offer. Often referred to as Scotland's answer to Route 66, this journey gives you the chance to explore historic castles, whiskey distilleries, and a variety of outdoor activities.
Spanning 500 miles (hence the name), expect to see plenty of amazing panoramic views while taking on the twists and turns of this epic journey. The North Coast 500 takes about 5-7 days to complete, depending on how much you take your time, but there are plenty of charming towns and villages to stop and spend the night along the way.
The Swiss Alps, Switzerland
It's a classic for a reason. The Swiss Alps is a famous trip that will take you through scenic mountain passes, amazing landscapes, and some windy roads. Aside from the incredible views, the roads are both well-maintained and marked for a smooth experience.
There are plenty of different routes to choose from. It can take up to 7 days if you want to experience everything, or you might just take on part of the trip. Either way, expect some cold temperatures at high altitudes and plan accordingly, even in the summer months.
The Ring Road, Iceland
If you want to experience everything Iceland has to offer, this is the way to do it. This trip will take you on a circular route around the entire country, so you can experience all the scenery and natural wonders of Iceland all at once.
This unique road will take you through otherworldly volcanic landscapes and even near some still-active volcanoes. In saying that, the weather and riding conditions can make this route challenging so it's best to plan ahead.
Measuring at around 1,300km, this journey can be done in six days of hard riding or stretched out to a more relaxed 10-12 day trip. It connects through major towns and cities, so you can stop and spend the night wherever you choose.
The Transalpina, Romania
Known as the "King's Road" and the "Road of Clouds", this trip is not for the faint of heart. Taking you through the Carpathian Mountains, this route has some hairpin bends, steep inclines/declines and narrow roads.
While the Transalpina packs plenty of action and rough terrain, don't forget about the stunning landscapes. It's a picturesque ride though forests, alpine meadows and beautiful vistas.
The Transalpina road doesn't offer much in the way of services, especially in remote areas, so plan ahead with plenty of food, water, and fuel. So if you're looking for an exciting challenge, this might be your ideal trip.
The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
A scenic ride that covers the western coast of Ireland, this route is famous for its incredible views, dramatic cliffs, and winding roads. As the name suggests, this is a thrilling but challenging ride that will take you through some twisty roads for an exhilarating experience.
The Wild Atlantic Way stretches for about 2,500km and covers the entire west coast of Ireland. There are plenty of historic sites and charming coastal towns to spend the night, so you can immerse yourself in the culture of Ireland along the way.
The Amalfi Coast Road, Italy
The Amalfi Coast Road is a coastal ride that offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Stretching along the southern coastline of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Campania region, it's a great way to experience the charming scenery of Italy.
A 50km ride with no shortage of cafes, restaurants, and shops along the way, you can easily stretch this ride out to an entire day of sightseeing. It's recommended to book early, especially in peak tourist season if you plan to spend the night.
The Picos de Europa, Northern Spain
The Picos de Europa is a mountain range in the North of Spain that's an exciting destination for riders. This mountain range is a perfect combination of fantastic scenery with hair-raising bends, so you've got the best of both worlds.
The ride can take between three to five days, depending on how much you want to see. There's a variety of accommodations and local cuisine along the way, so you can take a load off after a day of exhilarating riding.
Alghero to Bosa Route, Sardinia, Italy
The Alghero to Bosa route is a brilliant ride that lets bikers take in the crystal-clear waters of coastal Italy. Stretching for about 45km, you can easily make a day out of this route by hitting up the beaches and taking in some local seafood at the coastal towns along the way.
The Road to Nordkapp, Norway
The road to Nordkapp is an adventurous ride that will take you to some remote and scenic parts of Norway. It's about 2,000km, but you can start the journey anywhere you choose. Most people opt to begin from Norway's capital Oslo.
The road to Nordkapp has some stunning natural beauty. In summer you can experience the phenomenon of the midnight sun, which doesn't set north of the Arctic Circle so you can experience daylight at midnight. During winter, you might even catch a glimpse of the spectacular Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
The Route des Grandes Alpes, France
Spanning a massive 700km, this scenic route will take you from Lake Geneva all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. It crosses the French Alps and offers stunning mountain views and alpine towns along the way.
This is a well-known route for motorcyclists, and there are numerous accommodation options and services that cater to riders. The road is mostly well maintained, but expect the occasional tight turn and narrow road.
The Camino de Santiago, Spain
This famous pilgrimage route, also known as the Way of St James, attracts thousands of walkers and cyclists each year but can still be taken on with a motorcycle. Just keep in mind that the infrastructure is built more for pedestrians than motorists, so you'll be in for some rough riding at times.
A cultural and spiritual experience, the Camino de Santiago is a chance to explore historic towns and churches while taking in incredible landscapes along the way. Just research ahead, because some sections may have restrictions on motorised vehicles.
The Deutsche Alpenstrasse, Germany
Also known as the German Alpine Road, this amazing route stretches across southern Germany and offers stunning landscapes with picturesque mountain views. It's popular among motorcyclists for its winding roads, charming towns, and alpine scenery.
At 450km, this route will take you through the Bavarian Alps and some thrilling mountain passes with winding roads. Try to take in some of the sites, like the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, or the Zugspitze which is Germany's highest peak.
Accommodation can range from hotels to campsites or even mountain huts, but make sure to book ahead during the busy season.
Best Motorcycle Tours in Europe
There are two ways you can go about a European motorcycle tour. The first is a guided tour, which means you pay a company to provide you with a rental bike and take care of your entire itinerary - accommodation, routes, and even meal stops.
The second is a self-guided motorcycle tour. In this case, you're the boss. You decide where to go, what to bring, and how to go about it.
How you choose your motorcycle touring style comes down to personal preference. With that being said, let's run through some of the best options for both guided and self-guided motorcycle tours.
Guided Motorcycle Tours in the EU
If you choose to go through a touring company then try to pick one that's reliable. Some of the ones we recommend for Europe are Moto Tours Europe, Overland Motorcycle Tours, and Magellan Motorcycle Tours.
These firms offer cross-border and multi-country tours, so you've got plenty of flexibility. Of course, you might have a specific destination in mind that's not covered by the above companies. In these cases, some extra research might be required.
Self-Guided Motorcycle Tours in the EU
If you choose to be your own master there's a ton of exciting routes to choose from. Here are just a few examples of some great self-guided tours to take on:
The Alps: Touring the Alps is an amazing riding experience that will take you through some incredible alpine landscapes. You can plan your own route through any of the Swiss, French, Italian, or Austrian Alps for a unique and personal experience
The Scottish Highlands: Rugged landscapes and rich history make Scotland a very special place to ride through. The North Coast 500 is an iconic road trip that stretches for 500 miles and will take you across the entire Northern coast of the country.
The Pyrenees: The Pyrenees mountain range, which borders France and Spain, offers winding roads and picturesque valleys that make for some pretty fantastic riding. Some notable routes are the Col du Tourmalet, Col d'Aspin, and the N260 through the Spanish Pyrenees.
What Gear Do You Need for Touring Europe on a Motorbike?
Motorcycle Jacket: A lightweight, comfortable, and breathable riding jacket is essential for taking on Europe. Not only will it keep you protected, but waterproof options could be handy in the right environment. Alternatively, put a waterproof throw over on top of a jacket if it doesn't have waterproofing.
Boots: A comfortable, worn-in pair of touring boots is a must. You'll be riding for a while so make sure your feet stay comfy.
Helmet: Wear a motorcycle helmet that's both comfortable and safe. Try to get one with an anti-fog visor and an internal sun visor as well.
Navigating Your Motorcycle Trip in Europe
Riding bikes around a foreign country can be a fun but chaotic experience. It's best to start planning now because there are just so many awesome routes to choose from. Be realistic in your planning and don't try to cram everything into one trip. Stop and smell the roses.
Bring along asat nav or try to hire a bike that includes one. However, having a paper map can be a handy backup if you're in a sticky situation with no reception. This is especially true if you plan on riding to any remote region.
Lastly, try booking accommodation as early as possible. Your trip might be partly improvised, so you might not know exactly where you'll be in a week's time but try to at least always have your next destination booked ahead.
Safety When Travelling Across Europe by Motorcycle
Europe is a diverse continent so familiarise yourself with the local traffic laws and regulations for each country you plan to visit. Keep in mind the cultural differences as well. Some countries will obey the traffic laws a lot closer than others.
Be self-aware while riding, because everything around you will be unfamiliar and you'll need to be on your toes. Stay focused and alert, taking frequent breaks to avoid fatigue.
Lastly, consider your gear. Arm yourself from head to toe with proper motorcycle gear so you can ride safely and confidently. Things sometimes go random on the road, so prepare yourself as best as possible.
Which country in Europe is best for motorcycles?
There's no one country in Europe that is best for motorcycles, but a few definitely stand out. Here are a few of the best places to ride:
Spain: Spain is famous for its diverse landscapes, from the Pyrenees mountains to the coastal roads of Costa Brava and Costa del Sol. It has a favorable climate, great road infrastructure, and picturesque routes like the Picos de Europa and Andalucia.
Italy: With its rich culture, amazing cuisine, and iconic cities, Italy is an amazing place to ride through. From the Amalfi Coast road to the Alghero to Bosa Route, bikers are spoiled for choice with this beautiful country.
France: France offers plenty of stunning landscapes, charming towns, and incredible food. The French Alps, Provence, the Loire Valley, and the Côte d'Azur are some of the most popular destinations for motorcycle touring.
Can you ride a motorcycle through Europe?
You can absolutely ride a motorcycle through Europe. It's an incredibly popular destination for motorcycle touring. Of course, it's important to familiarise yourself with the laws of a country before planning your next riding trip.
In most cases, you'll need an international driver's licence. Your bike will also need to be registered and insured, so double-check whether your insurance policy covers international travel. Remember, travel insurance and motorcycle insurance are two separate things.
Be prepared for border crossings and road tolls. Always carry the necessary documents to avoid getting caught out in the wrong situation.
What do you need to travel in Europe on a motorcycle?
So what do you need to travel in Europe on a motorcycle? The most obvious thing is a passport. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the planned duration of your trip, and always keep it on you.
A driver's licence from your home country will also be needed, but most likely you'll need to get an international driver's licence as well. Check the requirements of each country that you plan to visit.
Insurance is a must, especially for motorcycle touring. Keep in mind that you'll need both travel insurance and motorcycle insurance unless you can find a policy that covers both.
Lastly, keep your vehicle registration documents handy at all times. These should include proof of ownership and any necessary import or customs documentation.
Can you tour on any motorcycle?
So can you tour on any motorcycle? While some bikes are certainly better than others, almost any motorcycle can be used for touring. Some will just have certain advantages over others.
For example, an adventure bike is great for off-road riding, but a proper touring bike is ideal for those massive cross-country trips. So you can tour using basically any bike but try to be realistic when planning your rides.