For motorcycle enthusiasts, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of hitting the open road. The feeling of freedom, the rush of the wind against your face, and the roar of the engine beneath you – it’s an experience that can’t be matched. But as any seasoned rider knows, not all roads are created equal. Some paths carve their way through landscapes so breathtaking they elevate the journey to a whole new level.
Whether it’s winding your way through towering mountain ranges, cruising along sun-drenched coastal highways, or navigating the sweeping curves of a country backroad, Europe is full of roads that offer not just a ride but an unforgettable adventure.
In this blog, we will take you on a virtual tour of Europe’s top 5 motorcycle routes. These are the roads that every motorcyclist should have on their bucket list – routes renowned for their scenic beauty, challenging twists and turns, and unique points of interest. So, strap on your helmet, rev up that engine, and let’s hit the road.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is a popular destination for motorcyclists because of its scenic beauty. This 37-mile stretch of coastline runs from Positano to Vietri Sul Mare in Italy’s Campania region and has stunning views of cliffs, the sea, and charming villages. It is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Riding along the Amalfi Coast offers a thrilling experience as the road winds its way around sharp cliff edges and through vibrant seaside towns. Each bend reveals a new breathtaking vista, making this route a visual feast for riders.
The best time to ride the Amalfi Coast is typically during the spring (April to June) or early fall (September and October). The weather is comfortable during these periods, and the summer crowds have lessened, making for a more enjoyable and safer ride.
There are numerous places of interest along the Amalfi Coast. Start your journey in Positano, a photogenic town with multi-coloured houses clinging to the hillside. Make sure to stop at Amalfi town, the coast’s namesake, known for its historic sites, including the stunning 9th-century Amalfi Cathedral. Take advantage of Ravello, perched high above the sea, offering panoramic views and is home to the beautiful Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone.
When it comes to tips and warnings, it’s worth noting that the roads on the Amalfi Coast can be narrow and winding, with numerous hairpin bends. Riders need to remain cautious, especially on blind corners. Also, remember that parking can be challenging in the small towns, so plan ahead.
Lastly, while the journey may be filled with awe-inspiring views, remember to take regular breaks to not only rest but also fully appreciate the beauty of the Amalfi Coast. The roadside cafes offer the perfect opportunity to relax and soak in the atmosphere of this remarkable motorcycle route.
The Stelvio Pass, Italy/Switzerland
Perched in the Italian Alps near the Swiss border, the Stelvio Pass is a mecca for motorcyclists seeking an adrenaline rush. Rising 2,757 meters above sea level, it’s the second-highest paved mountain pass in the Alps. The road stretches approximately 15 miles (24 kilometres) from Bormio to the Swiss border, featuring a staggering 48 hairpin turns on the northern side that offer a thrilling ride.
Often referred to as the “Greatest Driving Road” in the world by the British TV show Top Gear, the Stelvio Pass provides a challenging yet rewarding ride with its tight corners and high altitude. The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking, overlooking snow-capped peaks, verdant valleys, and glacial landscapes.
The best time to ride the Stelvio Pass is during the summer, from June to September when the pass is typically snow-free. It’s worth noting that the pass is often closed due to weather conditions outside these months.
While the main attraction of the Stelvio Pass is undoubtedly the road itself, there are a few places of interest along the way. On the journey up, you’ll pass through the Stelvio National Park, home to diverse flora and fauna. Once at the top, a viewing platform offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
As for tips and warnings, riders should know that the Stelvio Pass can be pretty busy, especially during the peak summer months. The road is narrow, and the turns are sharp, requiring careful navigation. Also, the high altitude can sometimes cause mild altitude sickness, so take regular breaks and stay hydrated.
In conclusion, conquering the Stelvio Pass is a badge of honour for any motorcyclist. The combination of challenging hairpin turns, high altitude, and stunning alpine views make this one of the most memorable motorcycle routes in the world.
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
The Ring of Kerry, also known as the Iveragh Peninsula, is a circular route located in the southwestern region of Ireland. Covering a total distance of approximately 111 miles (179 kilometres), this famous trail starts and ends in the bustling town of Killarney, taking riders on a journey through some of Ireland’s most stunning landscapes.
As you traverse the Ring of Kerry, you’ll be treated to diverse scenery, from rugged mountains and serene lakes to pristine beaches and charming small towns. The route offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, historical landmarks, and cultural experiences that encapsulate the very best of Ireland.
The best time to ride the Ring of Kerry is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is typically warmer and drier. However, spring and autumn can also offer excellent riding conditions, albeit with cooler temperatures.
The Ring of Kerry is rich in places of interest. Highlights include:
- The bustling town of Killarney.
- The picturesque village of Sneem.
- The historic Staigue Fort.
Take the chance to visit the Skellig Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site, or the stunning beaches at Derrynane and Rossbeigh.
When it comes to tips and warnings, riders should note that the roads on the Ring of Kerry can be narrow and winding, so caution is advised, especially in wet weather. Also, be aware that the route can get quite busy during peak tourist season, particularly with tour buses. As a result, many locals recommend riding the route in reverse (clockwise rather than the traditional counter-clockwise) to avoid the heaviest traffic.
In conclusion, the Ring of Kerry offers an unforgettable motorcycle journey through the heart of Ireland. With its spectacular scenery, rich history, and warm local hospitality, it’s a route that deserves a place on every rider’s bucket list.
Transfagarasan Highway, Romania
Transfagarasan Highway, also known as DN7C, is a scenic route that runs through Romania’s Carpathian Mountains. It stretches for about 56 miles (90 kilometers), starting from the town of Bascov and ending at the crossroad between DN1 and Sibiu. This road is known for its dramatic and thrilling experience and has been widely recognized as “the best road in the world” by the British TV show Top Gear.
Built-in the 1970s as a strategic military route, the Transfagarasan Highway reaches an altitude of 2,042 meters, making it the second-highest paved road in Romania. The road is a marvel of engineering, with its series of sharp hairpin turns, long S-curves, and steep descents providing a thrilling ride for any motorcyclist.
The best time to ride the Transfagarasan Highway is from June to October when the road is open. It’s typically closed during the winter months due to snowfall.
Along the Transfagarasan Highway, there are several places of interest to explore. Be sure to stop at the stunning Balea Lake, a glacial lake located at the highest point of the road. The Poenari Fortress, which was once the residence of Vlad the Impaler, is another must-see sight.
As for tips and warnings, riders should be aware that the weather in the mountains can change rapidly, so it’s important to be prepared for all conditions. Also, the road can be challenging, with its sharp turns and occasional rough patches, so caution is advised. Lastly, be mindful that heavy traffic can occur during peak tourist season, particularly on weekends.
In conclusion, the Transfagarasan Highway offers a unique motorcycle experience that combines thrilling riding with breathtaking scenery and fascinating history. It’s a must-ride route for any serious motorcyclist.
Route Napoleon, France
The Route Napoleon, officially known as the Route Nationale 85, is a historic route that traces the path taken by Napoleon Bonaparte upon his return from exile in Elba in 1815. This highway stretches over 200 miles (325 kilometres) from the French Riviera town of Golfe-Juan, where Napoleon landed, to Grenoble, the city where he was finally welcomed back.
The route takes riders on a journey through the picturesque landscapes of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regions. Along the way, you’ll experience a variety of terrains, from winding mountain roads to sweeping countryside vistas, making it a favourite among motorcyclists.
The best time to ride the Route Napoleon is between late spring and early fall, when the weather is generally warm and dry. However, it’s worth noting that the roads can be busy during the summer months, particularly in July and August.
The Route Napoleon is dotted with numerous places of interest. In Cannes, you can explore the old town and the famous Croisette. Further, along the route, the town of Castellane offers a gateway to the stunning Verdon Gorge, often referred to as Europe’s Grand Canyon. As you approach Grenoble, don’t miss the chance to visit the medieval town of Sisteron, known for its imposing citadel.
As for tips and warnings, riders should be aware that while mainly well-maintained, Route Napoleon includes some challenging sections with sharp turns and rapid changes in elevation. It’s important to stay alert, particularly in wet conditions. Also, keep an eye out for local wildlife, especially when riding through forested areas.
In conclusion, the Route Napoleon offers a unique blend of historical intrigue, diverse landscapes, and engaging riding. Whether you’re a history buff or a motorcycle enthusiast, this route promises an unforgettable journey through the heart of France.
I hope you enjoyed reading this overview of Europe’s Top 5 Motorcycle Routes. From the snow-capped peaks of the Stelvio Pass to the rugged mountains of Romania, these routes offer a variety of breathtaking adventures for any rider. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-fueled ride or a tranquil journey through stunning landscapes, there’s something here for everyone. So get out there and explore the beauty of Europe from your bike seat! Bon voyage!