Author: Ollie Rooke

5 mountain ranges in Europe that you need to ride

Transfagarasan Highway Romania

Struggling to decide where to go on your next motorcycle tour? Why not head to the mountains?

Towering peaks provide the ideal playground for us bikers thanks to their mix of sublime winding roads and staggering views seemingly guaranteed at every turn. For riders in Europe, there are plenty of mountains to choose from, but it can be all too easy to become complacent and simply revisit the same familiar destinations year after year.

Enter your email address below to sign up to the ABR newsletter and receive the 96-page Guide to Motorcycling in Britain absolutely free.
Your Free Guide to Motorcycling in the UK
Enter your email address below to sign up to the ABR newsletter and receive the 96-page Guide to Motorcycling in Britain absolutely free.

So, to help inspire you to explore further afield on your next adventure, we’ve teamed up with motorcycle tours operator Moto Tours Europe to take a look at five of the very best mountain ranges in Europe for adventure bikers looking for high-altitude thrills.

Dinaric Alps

Where to ride if you’re short on time: Croatia

Here’s one you may not have heard of before. Lying almost parallel with the Adriatic Sea, the Dinaric Alps provide a physical land barrier between the Balkan mainland and the sun-baked coastal resorts of Croatia and Montenegro, the perfect location to embark on Adriatic motorcycle tours.

The vast mountain range quickly drops away to the coast, where you can enjoy a cruise along the seaside. This means there’s plenty of variation in the riding should you get tired of riding through deep valleys, and you’re guaranteed a nice place to kick back and relax in the evenings with a cold beer.

While Croatia’s distance from the UK (almost 1,000 miles) can make it difficult to visit on your own bike during a week or two off work, Moto Tours Europe offers guided tours that take in the very best of the region, including the Dinaric Alps.

Check out their tours of the area here, from a 6 day Adriatic motorcycle tour of Croatia that will allow you to explore the coastline in all its glory, to an epic 16 day Adriatic and Balkans motorcycle tour that will take in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro and cover over 1,500 unforgettable miles in the process.

The Swiss Alps

Where to ride if you’re short on time: The Carousel (the Susten, Furka, and Grimsel passes).

While most touring bikers will be familiar with them, we couldn’t assemble a list of the best mountain ranges in Europe to ride without including the most popular of them all, the Alps. But, as the Alps is such a vast mountain range, we’ve narrowed it down further, focussing on the Swiss Alps, that are located in Switzerland.

Not only is it one of the easiest to reach from the UK, it’s also packed with stunning snow-capped peaks, picturesque overnight stops, and enough wiggling mountain passes to last a lifetime. A particular highlight is what is known locally as ‘The Carousel’, made up of the Susten, Furka (pictured above), and Grimsel passes, which can all be ridden in just one day during a motorcycle tour of the Alps.

If you’re looking to discover the best of the Alps with the help of a knowledgable local guide, Moto Tours Europe offer 10-15 day Alps motorcycle tours. Starting in Munich, you’ll set off on an adventure that will take you through four countries (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy), covering over 1,000 miles along the way, and ticking off a number of the best passes in the Alps as well.

The Dolomites

Where to ride if you’re short on time: The Sella Ronda

While the Dolomites, located in north-eastern Italy, is technically part of the southernmost tip of the Alps, we had to give it a separate mention. The Italian region has been a firm favourite with the ABR team since the very first issue of the magazine, when founder Alun headed to Italy.

With phenomenal roads and towering, sheer rocky mountain faces that rise above the lush alpine meadows, it’s an unforgettable place to travel through on two-wheels, and one that simply needs to be visited. While you could get lost for days following the myriad of roads in the area, our favourite is the Sella Ronda, a circular route that links four mountain passes and can be ridden in just one day.

If you’re looking to explore the Dolomites for yourself, Moto Tours Europe offers a 10 day Dolomites and Tuscany guided motorcycle tour of the region. The tour begins in the magnificent city of Venice, where you can soak up the local culture before heading to the mountains to ride some stunning roads. Along the way you’ll explore much more of northern Italy, including visits to Florence and the famous region of Tuscany.

Carpathian Mountains

Where to ride if you’re short on time: Romania

At just under 1,000 miles in length, the Carpathian mountain range is the third-longest in Europe. It’s western edge is in the Czech Republic, but UK bikers looking to experience the best of the mountain range will need to travel a little further east to Romania. It’s worth the extra effort though, as this section of the Carpathians offers up two of the best biking roads in the world, the Transfăgărășan and the Transalpina.

Riding these two mountain passes is one of the most life-affirming experiences you can have on two-wheels, offering up a gluttony of twisting turns that snake their way over some of the most spectacular landscapes Europe has to offer. The Carpathians certainly deserve a spot on any adventure bikers bucket list.

If Romania seems a little out of reach for riders looking to travel from the UK on their own bikes, Moto Tours Europe offers motorcycle rental across Europe. Simply fly out to your destination, pick up your rental bike, and hit the road without putting in any mile-munching to get there.

The Cantabrian Mountains

picos de europa mountain range

Where to ride if you’re short on time: Picos de Europa National Park

Stretching over a distance of 180 miles across Northern Spain, the Cantabrian Mountains include the famous Picos de Europa National Park, a hugely popular destination with touring bikers. There’s plenty of brilliant riding to be found across the entire mountain range, but if you’re stretched for time, the Picos de Europa is the place to head.

The Potes Triangle, which starts from the small town of Potes and takes you on a pleasant loop around the national park, is a particular highlight that takes you up into the mountains on a twisty road that will have any rider grinning from ear to ear.

It’s easy to reach from the UK, with the nearby ferry ports of Santander and Bilbao regularly served from southern England. And, with warm weather that continues long into autumn, it won’t take long for bikers to realise why others regularly flock to the area for their annual dose of two-wheeled adventure.

Ride the best mountain ranges in Europe with Moto Tours Europe

We’ve put this list together with the help of guided motorcycle tours provider Moto Tours Europe. Offering a range of guided tours across Europe, as well as motorcycle rental and self guided rides for those who prefer to travel without a guide, it’s safe to say the team know a thing or two about the best European mountain ranges for motorcyclists.

Check out the full range of guided tours today here.