If you want the ride of a lifetime, you like riding in mountains, on twisty roads with fantastic scenery, then you are in the right place!
Riding a Harley-Davidson across Europe, on some of the World’s best roads among dramatic scenery is an amazing adventure and great fun.
However, many riders don’t have the experience of riding abroad, or don’t have time to research and plan the best routes to get the best out of a European ride. Wouldn’t it be terrific if someone was able to do all the hard work for you, plan great routes, book good hotels and lead the ride on the way to show you some of the best riding in the world? That is exactly what we do!
This is our premier tour, where we have selected our favourite central and western European roads and combined them all into one very special tour indeed. These are some of the best riding roads in the world and many of those we will ride are in the Alps Mountains. The tour has to be in mid-summer, during a very short window when we can guarantee the high alpine roads we will be riding will be open. This is our most technical tour of the year and should only be undertaken by experienced riders who enjoy challenging and twisty roads, with many tight hairpin bends. You need to be reasonably fit as we will be riding long days, for many days in a row. We will be riding over 20 mountains passes!
We will ride almost every day, but do have 2 rest days where we take it easy. The total distance we will ride will be just under 2,300 miles. A lot of these miles are done on some of the very best riding roads available, set among wonderful alpine scenery.
There are a good mixture of road types, from tight and twisty to faster and sweeping. We have chosen many that we know will put a smile on rider’s faces.
Day One – Sunday 24 June 2018
We catch a train from Folkestone to Calais in France and make progress to leave the less exciting roads of northern France behind. The best roads are further south on our trip and the sooner we get there the better. As soon as we leave the train we therefore use some French and Belgium motorways to get to more enjoyable areas. We ride a total 219 miles this day. We do get to ride some scenic roads on this first day, near Namur and Liege in Belgium and again as we near our overnight accommodation, a historic Château in Harzé. The Château dates back to the 14th century and in 1631 the château took on its present appearance. Tonight we will eat in the château and the cost of the meal is included in the tour price. The hotels we stay at vary in size and quality, and where possible, we only use hotels with good off-road parking. All are 3 or 4 star. We don’t use large chain hotels in larger towns, but prefer smaller remote locations. On two of the nights on the tour, your evening meal is included within the tour price and on the rest of the evenings, you are free to eat where you like. Often, we will eat as a group, but it is really up to you.
This is ‘rivers’ day. Early in the morning of day 2 we ride the scenic roads that hug the rolling hills in this part of Belgium before entering Luxembourg. We travel alongside the River Our and stop in the town of Vianden, known for its impressive castle and beautiful location in the Our valley. We then ride alongside the River Sauer, which forms the border with Germany and at Echternach we cross that river. Near the city of Trier, we change direction and head northeast along the very scenic River Moselle towards Bernkastel, at the centre of its well-known wine growing region. We eat at a restaurant overlooking the river. After following the twisting route of the river once again, we head south towards Kaiserslautern, a city in southwest Germany that is home to 50,000 NATO troops, mostly American, who form the largest U.S. population centre outside the territory of the United States. Our route today is 190 miles.
Day 3 is all about riding amazing roads in the Black Forest. Soon after leaving the hotel we ride the fantastic B48 road, with ten miles of sweeping bends. Scenic roads abound as we continue south along the German Wine Route and we will stop at the gate at the wine routes southern end near the town of Wissembourg. After passing briefly back into France we cross the mighty River Rhine at one of its most dramatic points, before spending the remainder of the day riding one of Germany’s best riding roads, the B500, as it winds its way through the dramatic scenery of the Black Forest. These are splendid remote roads in dappled sunlight where power and thrill of riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles can be enjoyed to the full. Our lunch is a traditional Black Forest meal of meats and cheeses. We will have ridden 184 miles of some of the best biking roads Europe has to offer.
Completely different scenery awaits us on day 4 and today is about one thing – enjoying the spectacular scenery of the Alps as we ride through the mountains in Switzerland. We cross the border into Switzerland just minutes after leaving our hotel and we soon we use the Swiss motorways (toll) to head south to get to where the better roads are. On the way, we come off the motorway to ride the scenic road along the edge of Lake Lucerne before re-joining to arrive at around lunch time in Andermatt, where we will be based for two nights. In the afternoon, we ride three spectacular mountain passes. First the Furka Pass [7,992 ft], where we stop to look at the Rhone Glacier, and then on a loop back to Andermatt via the Grimsel Pass [7,100 ft] and the Susten Pass [7,421 ft]. By the end of the day, we will have ridden 182 miles.
This is either a rest day staying in Andermatt, or for those that want to ride (and you will want to do this next part), we go for a 25 mile ride on the stunning old cobbled road of St Gotthard Pass [6,909 ft], returning back to the hotel early afternoon. An easy day.
With 218 miles to ride, this is a long day, ridden in three countries; Switzerland, Italy and Austria. We use motorway to get to our first pass of the day, the famous St Bernard Pass [8,100 ft]. Then onto Splugen Pass [6,939 ft], with its dramatic bends that take the road up a dramatic slope with terrific views. As soon as we cross the border into Italy, there is a noticeable change in the style and quality of the roads – dramatic and very tight hairpin bends, yes, but also with a sometimes questionable road surface! We cross back into Switzerland in time for lunch on the outskirts of the well-known ski town of St Moritz. We enter Austria and stay the night in a modern Austrian hotel.
This is an amazing riding day, spent mostly on scenic roads in Austria. Almost as soon as we leave the hotel, we rise up a steep and narrow road that takes us to a spectacular viewpoint. We take the opportunity to get to more scenic roads by using a motorway for a while before finding much smaller roads in the middle of Austria. We will visit a Harley-Davidson dealership today. To end our day, we ride east once more taking in the Brenner Pass [4,495 ft] and Gerlos Pass [4,921 ft]. By the end of the day, we will have ridden 155 miles.
This is our last day in Austria, but we ride one of the most spectacular roads in Europe, Grossglockner Pass. Rising up to 8,215 feet, the road twists and turns its way up the mountains and it is almost guaranteed you will have a smile on your face as you take in the views. Once at the top of the main road, we can take the twisty road up to the Edelweißspitze viewpoint, to gaze over one of the most dramatic views in Austria. After Grossglockner, we ride into Italy and head straight for the most dramatic peaks in the Alps, in the Dolomite mountains. We ride five passes in the Dolomites today, Giau pass [7,336 ft], Pordoi Pass [7,346 ft], Gardena Pass [7,008 ft], Campolongo Pass [6,152 ft] and Sella Pass [7,362 ft] which are all set amongst dramatic scenery. After riding just 165 miles today, we stay in a hotel with dramatic scenery and we will sleep well tonight!
Most of the day is spent at high elevations and we ride just 130 miles today, but due to the twisty nature of the roads, this will take all day. We stay in Italy for the whole of day nine and ride four mountain passes. The first of these is Karer Pass [5,725 ft] as we leave the Dolomites, before we ride along the Eggental Valley in the South Tyrol region, just south east of Bolzano. We skirt this city and then rise up towards the Oltradige Plateau on the dramatic Mendola Pass, which at 4,469 feet is not very high, but steep and impressive as the road is cut into the side of a tall cliff. Straighter roads then beckon as we continue to rise over the Tonale Pass [6,178 ft], with its adjacent ski resorts. At Pont Di Legno, we change direction and head north and ride one of the most dramatic roads in Italy, Gavia Pass [8,599 ft]. The views from the remote and narrow road are spectacular before we ride back down the mountain towards another ski town, Bormio.
This is a rest day, where you can spend the day relaxing in the mountain town of Bormio, adjacent to the famous Stelvio Pass. We will take the opportunity on this rest day to do a little riding, but what a road that is – Stelvio Pass! This is one of the most dramatic roads in the Alps, which twists and turns its way up to 9,045 feet. After riding Stelvio, we come back to Bormio for a relaxing rest of the day.
At 233 miles, we return to a long riding day on day 11. We again ride up the first part of Stelvio Pass [9,045 ft] before diverting onto Umbrail Pass [8,205 ft] as we start out long journey heading back north to return to the UK. There are however many more great roads to ride. The first of these is Ofen Pass [7,051 ft] set in the beautiful Schweizerischer National Park. We then head through the famous ski resort of Klosters, often frequented by royals from around the world and we then ride Fluela Pass. We might ride briefly into the tiny country of Liechtenstein if we have time. In the afternoon, we return once more to France, crossing its border at Basel.
On day 12, we ride 225 miles, starting on quiet back roads in eastern France. The morning sees the highlight of the day, which is riding in the Vosges Mountains, which are a range of low mountains, near Strasbourg in the Alsace region. The rounded summits of the Vosges are called ballons in French or “balloons” and these roads are the last we do at altitude before returning in the afternoon to the flat lands of France. We use motorway in the afternoon to speed our journey.
Day Thirteen – Friday 6 July 2018
We have 200 miles to ride to get back to the Channel Tunnel Terminal at Calais, which is all done on motorway. We plan to catch a train at about 3pm to get back to the UK. Due to the time difference between France and the UK, we should arrive back in Folkestone at about 3pm. The tour ends when the train arrives in Folkestone.
Our group sizes normally range from 10 to 14 motorcycles.
Each day, we normally start riding at 8.30am sharp and cover in the region of 150 to 200 miles. We try to avoid motorways wherever possible and only use these when there is no real alternative. We take mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks and of course find somewhere for lunch. Our plan is to normally arrive at that evening’s hotel by around 6pm.
We use good quality hotels – not super luxury and not bottom end, but mid-range – normally 3 and 4-star.
We ride at a pace to suit all of the riders. We stick to all speed limits in towns, but in rural areas we ride at, let’s call them ‘more appropriate’ speeds. We generally ride in staggered convoy on straighter roads.
As we have pre-booked hotels and a schedule to stick to, we ride in all weathers. During any exceptionally inclement weather, we will pull over for short periods. We could experience a range of different types of weather, so bring waterproofs, just in case.
Each of our tours has a difficulty rating and this tour is rated as ‘challenging’. That means this tour is for experienced riders only, with say, a minimum of five years of riding large motorcycles. You must have ridden on the right-hand side of the road before on many occasions and you must be comfortable with travelling in a group of riders and be able to keep a good pace within that group. We do not ride very fast, but at the same time, it is better if riders do not go too slowly. The route will include many twisty roads, plus many high mountain roads with many tight hairpin bends / switchbacks. There will be some sections of road with steep drop-offs at the side and no guardrail. If you or your pillion are at all uncomfortable at riding at height, then this tour is not for you. If you are from the USA, please note some of the roads you will be riding are significantly narrower and have tighter bends than in the USA. All roads are fully paved. While there is not much motorway riding on the tour, as a guide, the group will be riding at speeds of 75mph+ on motorways. You must be confident of riding in rain and on wet roads.
Each day’s riding will be around 9 hours, with breaks. You must be able to ride all day. If you are at all unsure if your riding ability is good enough for this tour, then you must contact us by telephone to discuss.