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Author: Ollie Rooke

As lockdown restrictions ease up across the board, it can be tricky to know where you can go and what you can do. That’s why we’ve put together a list of countries that us British riders love to travel to and through, so you can get an answer to the question: where can I go motorcycling this summer?

Before we get started it’s important to note that official Government advice currently advises against non-essential international travel, except for travel to and from select countries:  “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

Any returning travellers are also subject to a 14-day ‘quarantine’ period where they must remain self-isolated at home. However, ‘travel-corridors’ have been announced between England and 60 other countries (the closest are listed below) where this quarantine period will not apply, unless you’ve been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.

It’s worth noting any travel through countries on the UK’s no-travel list will count as a visit, and thus you’ll be required to self-isolate. This includes a journey to the ferry port in Santander from Portugal, for example.

This article will be updated regularly if and when restrictions change, it was last updated on 27 August, 2020.

motorcycling in Europe COVID-19 restrictions

British Isles

England

Yes. Non-essential travel is allowed. From 4 July, you can also stay away overnight for the first time since lockdown began, as hotels, B&Bs and campsites can reopen. All visitors, including residents, from outside of the UK will be expected to quarantine for 14 days unless travelling from a country on the list of exemptions.

Looking for something to do close to home? Take on this epic two day tour of England, the Three Kingdoms Way.

Scotland

Yes. As of 3 July, rules regarding a five-mile travel limit have been relaxed, meaning travel across the border is possible. Tourism is expected to resume on 15 July, with B&Bs, hotels and campsites opening from then.

Local restrictions may be in place, for example recent local restrictions have been imposed in Aberdeen.

When travel is permitted, check out this fantastic route through the Cairngorms.

Wales

Yes. From Monday 6 July residents and visitors are able to travel as far as you like. B&Bs, hotels and campsites are expected to open soon.

Northern Ireland

Yes.  If you’re travelling from the British Isles you won’t be required to isolate for 14 days. Hotels, B&Bs and campsites are now open.

Ireland

No. The Foreign Office lifted their advice regarding non-essential travel to Ireland earlier in July. However, arrivals from overseas, including residents, are legally required to complete a passenger locator form and are expected to self-isolate for 14 days. There are some exemptions from a so-called ‘green list’ of 15 countries, but the UK is not on it.

motorcycling in Europe COVID-19 restrictions

European Mainland

  • France

No. Voluntary 14 day self-isolation period for travellers from the UK. Any symptomatic travellers identified during border health checks are subject to quarantine, regardless of their nationality. From 15 August people arriving to England (but not the rest of the UK) from France will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Brittany ferry services resume from 29 June between Portsmouth to Caen and Plymouth to Roscoff, while Dover to Calais services continue to run on a reduced service. While on a ferry you’ll be expected to wear a face-covering.

Travelling to France? Check out our top D-Day Sites to visit, all a stone’s throw from British shores.

  • Belgium

No. No self isolation period. 1.5m social distancing restrictions have to be observed.

From 7 August people arriving to the UK from France will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

  • Netherlands

No, although travellers from Sweden and the United Kingdom are strongly advised to go into quarantine for 14 days.

From 15 August people arriving to England (but not the rest of the UK) from the Netherlands will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

  • Spain

No. From 26 July UK travellers are advised against travel to Spain, with those returning required to adhere to the 14 day isolation period. On entry to Spain they will be asked for their country of origin and to register in case of contact tracing. Visitors will also undergo a temperature check.

From 26 July people arriving to England (but not the rest of the UK) from Spain will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Face masks are obligatory in public spaces. Social distancing measures and other safety precautions must be observed at all times.

Brittany Ferries will resume services from 29 June from Portsmouth, Plymouth, Cork and Rosslare to Santander and Bilbao. You’ll need to wear a face-covering while on the ferry.

Check out six unmissable roads to ride in northern Spain and Portugal.

  • Portugal

Yes. Portugal is now exempt from self-isolation restrictions when you return. However, for those motorcycle touring, you may need to fly out and hire a bike, as any transit will take you through countries which will require you to self-isolate.

  • Italy

Yes. Regional travel is also permitted. You must wear a mask in public and maintain social distancing of at least 1m. Regional restrictions can differ and change at any time.

From 10 July people arriving to England (but not the rest of the UK) from Italy will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

If you’re visiting Italy, don’t miss out on the spectacular roads of the Dolomites.

  • Switzerland

No. Face masks are recommended in public and social distancing of 1.5m should be observed.

From 27 August people arriving to England (but not the rest of the UK) from France will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

  • Germany

Yes. Regional restrictions can differ however. From 10 July people arriving to England (but not the rest of the UK) from Germany will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

  • Austria

No. Entry to Austria is subject to presenting a medical certificate at the border with a medical certificate of micro-biological test results no more than 4 days old.

Arrivals from the UK without a valid medical certificate will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Returning travellers who have travelled to Austria will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival back in the UK.

motorcycling in Europe COVID-19 restrictions

But, can I travel through France/Spain and not have to self isolate?

Government guidelines are tricky when it comes to this. It’s a valid question: can I get the tunnel/ferry to France or Spain, and then ride straight through to Portugal (for example) without stopping or coming into contact with anyone?

Government advice may seem contradictory on this, as advice on travel corridors could be interpreted as being positive at a first glance (sourced from this page):

“You don’t need to self-isolate if you travel through a non-exempt country and you don’t stop in the country.

“If you do make a stop, you don’t need to self-isolate if:

  • no new people get into the vehicle
  • no-one in the vehicle gets out, mixes with other people, and gets in again

“You do need to self-isolate if you make a stop and:

  • new people get into the vehicle, or
  • someone gets out of the vehicle, mixes with other people and gets in again”

However, the advice on transit stops seems to suggest this advice won’t apply to bikers in most scenarios that we’d find ourselves in (based on us needing to use the ferry/channel tunnel to travel to Europe):

“A transit stop is a stop where passengers can get on or off. It can apply to coaches, ferries, trains or flights. Your ticket should show if a stop is a transit stop.

If your journey involves a transit stop in a country not on the travel corridor list, you will need to self-isolate when you arrive in England if:

  • new passengers get on
  • you or other passengers get off the transport you are on and mix with other people, then get on again.”

While further advice also suggests:

“If you travel from an exempt country but have been in a country that is not exempt within the last 14 days, you will need to self-isolate for the remainder of the 14 days since you were in a non-exempt country. If you transit through a country that is not exempt you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.” 

Ultimately, getting a ferry or the channel tunnel would involve sharing space with people who are travelling from a country on the ‘no-travel’ list. As such , it would appear you’ll need to self-isolate when returning to the UK.

Travel Insurance

It’s important to note that current advice regarding non-essential travel can void travel insurance policies and cause issues in the event of a claim.

Make sure you call your provider before setting off to ensure you’re covered and that your destination is regarded as safe to travel to.

Where can I go motorcycling this summer?

Full details of restrictions for every European country can be found here.

This article will be updated regularly if and when restrictions change, it was last updated on 27 August, 2020.