Jenna's top five roads in Europe

One month ago we introduced you to Jenna Philippe, the French girl who is always ready to go the extra mile! For the past 3 years, she has ridden through Europe, chasing scenic roads and smooth curves.

This is her top five!

 

“I tried to think about an ideal road day trip to visualise what I would appreciate the most. I thought it would be an unexpected one, beginning with fresh sunlight on an empty road, with wonderful curves of different geometric characteristics, slopes, and different levels of difficulty.

The roads would be lined with charming landscapes, painted mountains and pastel oceans, the sunlight would scatter on the forest soil and birds would be playing with the clouds in an endless sky. At a corner I would discover an old abandoned church or temple, an old infrastructure in the middle of nowhere, telling me in secret a bit of the history of people who have lived there. In the evening I would catch the sunset, somewhere lost, alone with my bike.

I would then ride to a village or a small city where I would try a regional culinary speciality and meet some other lost souls, with whom I would share smiles and talks.

I would then set-up my tent on a cliff, maybe, admire the stars and finally dive into my sleeping bag.”

A136 with Col d’Aubisque, Col du Pourtalet and the border crossing between France and Spain. 

I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but was already in love with all the roads in the Pyrenees. I had discovered the Col de Peyresourde, Col d’Aspin and Col du Tourmalet previously, which are definitely wonderful.

And now I was riding alone, reaching the clouds that were disappearing slowly behind the mountains. The atmosphere was unique, the oxygen had a special taste and the curves were delicious.

I did the Col d’Aubisque and thought I couldn’t see more beautiful landscapes that day, but then the Col du Pourtalet appeared and I crossed the border. I first thought I was riding on the moon; big smile on my face, light-headed and very happy.

And then I landed in another landscape, sunk into the earth, zigzagged between the feet of the mountains and passed by a small sea, a kind of mirror dividing the panorama in two: I was in Spain.

See the Col de l'Aubisque.

See the Pourtalet.
 


 

Grossglocknerstrasse, Austria.

This road is one of the few I actually heard about and wanted to discover. I hadn’t planned to do it during this journey and it was already very cold when I decided to give it a try. On the way to this particular road I was scrutinizing all the mountains, spotting the whitest and waiting for that moment, where I would finally discover the Grossglockner.

I said myself at least ten times: “that’s the Grossglockner!” and my heart was bumping around, until another mountain would appear. It was already late and I actually arrived 25 minutes after the road had closed. I had not seen the Grossglockner yet and was sitting in front of the entry of the vignette control, while the sun disappeared behind the mountains; I had a heavy heart.

I finally took the decision to ride back and spend the night in the surrounding area.The following day I woke up the earliest, rode to the entry point of the road, and went for it. It was a dream come true, and I was riding carefully to capture both the sensations with my motorcycle and the details of the landscape.

There was snow on the road, the wind was playing with the bells of the sheep walking by, and the sky was metamorphosing itself every five seconds. I had no idea that it would be so beautiful.

After a first stop I spoke with a biker from Denmark who was riding here for the eighth time: he showed me a paved road on the left; soon after I would arrive at the first top. It was slippery, but incredibly funny, and the view, incredibly stunning. What I didn’t know, is that it was only the first part of the road, and the rest was amazing too.

The mountains looked like a giant zebra, because the snow hadn’t covered everything.

At some point it started to rain, but it was like nothing else mattered. I had seen the Grossglockner.

See the Grossglockner Alpenstrasse.
 


 

Cap Corse, Corsica

Some weeks after my journey began, I decided to book a ferry from Nice to Bastia and do the Corsica tour I couldn’t do one year ago. Corsica already had found a special place in my heart, because I had met wonderful people in Porto Ôta and was looking forward to seeing them again.

While in the boat, I looked at the map, and partially drew a kind of path, counter clockwise, so that Cap Corse would be the first destination. Now I was getting out of Bastia, heading to the north and enjoying the curves, until a rally car passed me. I stopped in a corner and then saw two other cars, driving crazily.

I drove on, and thought of the luck I had to experience a rally course at the same time, until I actually reached their departure point, and learned that the Cap Corse was closed to the traffic for that reason.

Three hours later, I decided to leave the cap behind and cross to Saint-Florent. I had to accept it: it wouldn’t be for that year either. But…one day before the return ferry was scheduled, I managed to pass the Desert des Agriates again, and did the cap. It was wild, cliffs were sharp, the wind was distinct, and the ocean master.

I remember that I rode very early to enjoy the landscape on my own, and was struck by the sumptuous beach of Nonza with its black sand and pebbles, that reinforced the intensity of the ocean blue.
 


 

D902 - SS26 – SS27 from Col du Mont Cenis, through Col de l’Iseran to Col du Petit and Grand Saint-Bernard.

Theoretically, we could say it is one road...and a marvellous one. It’s indescribable and it was an emotional moment, as I also left France by that road. When you think you have reached the last curve, there is another one, and another. It’s a forest of mountains lost in a drunken sky where colours do not know how to embrace one another any longer.

The ride is rhythmic and dynamic and only the breath-taking views and the desire to capture them in your mind or with your camera will make you stop.

See the Little San Bernard.

See the Col de l'Iseran.
 


 

Picos de Europa.

What about being caught by the rain and the darkness earlier than you thought, surrounded by an army of stones? This little drop of rain sneaks between your glove and the sleeve of your jacket like a spy, and invites all the others to the entrance. The drop becomes a river that infiltrates all the supposedly waterproof corners of your gears.

Your helmet becomes a sponge swimming in a bucket and your boots save all the water they can, like a water cistern in the middle of a desert. The wind blows the water and you feel goose bumps waving on your skin like a surfer.

The sun plays hide and seek with the clouds and artfully vanishes like no sunset ever would do. You’re in the middle of the park, the Torre de Cerredo climbs up to 2200m and it is getting dark.

Picos de Europa is an impressive park with thrilling views, and it looks like the picos were ridges on the back and tail of a dragon that would have felt asleep in the mountains a long time ago and fossilized in stones.

See the Pass San Glorio.
 


 

Where next?!

Explore the best roads around and plan your next trip based on those roads.

 

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