All avid bike riders can agree that the perfect route comes with plenty of tight turns and some stunning scenery to boot. Getting the blood pumping and the adrenaline racing, a great stretch of open road can be virtually irresistible to adventure lovers, seeing the world without the metal confines of a car.
Whether you’re looking for a trek through countries or a quick afternoon jaunt, Europe boasts some spectacular routes that all serious motorbikers should experience at least once in a lifetime. Here are some of the highlights:
Furka Pass – Gletsch to Andermatt, Switzerland
Made famous by the car chase in James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’, this sprawling run is a connecting pass that cuts right through the Swiss Alps. A mixture of narrow bends and wide drags, the pristine white of the mountains offset against the impossibly blue skies will have you thinking that you need to adjust the colour settings of your goggles.
The Amalfi Coast – Naples to Salerno, Italy
Take in the sea air on an Amalfi Coast ride, a 50km ribbon that snakes its way around the bay. Known to locals as ‘The Road of a Thousand Bends’, this is no cruiser – riders have to pay keen attention to all the unexpected twists and jagged turns. Best ridden in the off-peak months, this road can often become congested with tourists – get ahead and plan your ride during the early morning sunrise.
Cabo de Gata to Granada, Spain
If you can manage the Spanish heat, the contrast between the volcanic cliffs of Cabo de Gata and the undulating land of Las Alpujarras is truly stunning to behold. And if it’s good enough for Clint Eastwood, it’s good enough for the rest – the canyon land of Andalucia was where The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was filmed. Take your time – this stretch of road carries on for 130 miles.
The Cat and Fiddle Run – Buxton to Macclesfield, England
Labelled by the RAC as Britain’s most dangerous road, a trip on this Peak District run comes with a strict 50mph speed limit. With a string of bends that get increasingly tighter, thrills are guaranteed, complete with a stop at the Cat and Fiddle pub to meet up and swap notes with likeminded bikers.
Bergen to Geiranger, Norway
Wrap up warm and take on the myriad fjords of Norway, riding your bike on and off the ferry network that will take you past the glaciers and onto the Trollstigen, zigzagging its way right down to the coast. Experts recommend that you allocate a number of days to this journey, stopping regularly to take in the natural environment and sheer 1,000m cliffs. Cut off from the hectic tourist centre, this is the perfect place to be at one with the road.