Great European Rides: Scandinavia and The British Isles

Norwegian valley around Trollstigen road, famous serpentine mountain road in Norway

We’ve teamed up with TomTom to showcase 100 of the greatest riding routes around Europe.

Throughout the next year we’re going to be showcasing some of the greatest riding routes across Europe, as featured on the TomTom Rider 410 Great Rides edition. These 100 routes come pre-loaded on the SatNav, though we’re going to be breaking them down into chunks of 20, we’ll also be showcasing our favourite ride in each area in greater detail. 

Plus, we’re going to be offering you the chance to get your favourite route featured in an issue of Adventure Bike Rider magazine, as well as have it pre-installed on the TomTom Rider. All you have to do is email [email protected] and tell us what your favourite ride in Europe is, as well as giving us a bit of an explanation as to why.

We’re going to be compiling the best answers throughout the year, and in 2017’s November/December issue we’ll feature 20 of our favourite user-submitted rides. 

So, to kick us off, in this issue we’re starting with Scandinavia and the British Isles, focussing on the exciting Fjordland ride through Norway, as well as a fantastic ride that takes in the best of Wales and the West Midlands.

Fjordland, Norway

While the Alps in Central Europe act like a magnet to bikers looking for great roads and epic scenery, the Fjords in western Norway sit quietly, waiting to be discovered. This route, aptly named Fjordland, will take you from Oslo on an epic circuit which allows you to explore the stunning Western Norwegian Fjords and the magnificent roads that are carved into the rugged landscape. 

At approximately 1,000 miles long, you’ll need to allow plenty of time to complete it, though if you do book the time off work you’re in for one heck of a ride. This area of Norway is world famous for its natural beauty, and there’s not a bad road you can take. 

As you leave Oslo, the further west you go the more dramatic the scenery becomes. Travelling through the county of Telemark affords you views of the gentle valleys and vast forests, which begin to prepare you for the mighty fjords. 

Skirting the boundary of Hardangervidda National Park, Norway’s largest such area, you begin to ride up the amazing west coast of the country. Along the way you’ll travel through the Lærdal Tunnel, the longest road tunnel in the world, which burrows through the mountainous landscape for 15.23 miles, before you reach Sogne orden, Norway’s largest fjord, and the second largest in the world. 

For hundreds of miles the scenery will blow you away, and all I could think of was ‘this is exactly what Scotland would look like if it had abused steroids’. Our journey peaks in the characterful city of Trondheim before following close to the border with Sweden in a southerly direction, finally ending in Oslo. 

While the proposed route has an uncountable number of great roads, there are two that we recommend you venture off course for: the infamous Trollstigen and the Atlantic Ocean Road. Consider the Trollstigen Norway’s answer to the Stelvio Pass, while the AOR is a magnificent coastal road with epic bridges.


Wales & West Midlands

Sometimes we don’t realise just how lucky we are. On our small islands we have some of the best riding going, through such varying terrain and on, generally speaking, great quality roads. Having ridden around most of the UK in the past few years, I’ve been amazed at just how much there is to explore, especially when I thought I had already seen much of what our great nations have to offer us. 

The 10 routes below will take you through the best riding areas that the UK has to offer, whether it’s a multi-day tour through Scotland, which tackles the Cairngorms, the Highlands and the best parts of the NC500, or a shorter day out exploring the beautiful Ring of Kerry in Ireland, there really is something for everyone. But the route I wanted to highlight is this fantastic ride through the Midlands and North Wales. 

Starting near Swindon, the journey will take you through the picturesque rolling hills of the Cotswolds, dropping you into the historic spa town of Bath. From here you head north, once again enjoying the roads of Britain’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, before skirting around Gloucester and Rosson-Wye.

We follow the River Wye north from here, running parallel to the Welsh border, before taking some time to explore the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

Before long we dive into Wales, riding the twisting and turning A458 from Welshpool, rising into Snowdonia National Park. At the Cross Foxes Inn the scenery becomes incredible as we follow the A487 into Machynlleth, the imposing slopes of Cadair Idris rising from the side of the tarmac. 

The going from here is simply incredible as we take in the best roads and views that Snowdonia has to offer, such as the Llanberris Pass, which is pictured here, before heading back into England and our finishing point near Wigan.