Five destinations to ride over a (long) weekend: 2nd Edition

“I want to break free… I want to breeeeak free…” Although the bass guitarist of Queen shares his name with a well-known enduro racer, we doubt the latter lyrics of his hand had anything to do with John Deacon’s - the four string one - need to get out on a motorcycle trip. But sometimes a weekend out on your bike is all you need to ‘break free’ and get things sorted out in your mind.

A blow of fresh air, heading from your nostrils to the bottom of your lungs and back, cleaning out any fog in your thoughts. Aah! No worries, we’ve got you covered: we’ve gathered ten suggestions for a (long) weekend out in Europe, weaved together by Motorcycle Diaries roads. 

 

France: Vosges

Looking for a challenging weekend trip, but not in the mood to spend hundreds of kilometers in the saddle?

Then the Vosges area in eastern France might just be what you’re looking for: while not as well-known as the Alps, the region has a truly epic number and variety of twisty roads, with everything from long sweeping corners and mountainous hairpins, to long and fast stretches through pastures and forests.

Where the high alpine passes appeal to amateurs of the more craggy scenery, the Vosges are all about the greenery – the nature parks on both French and German side of the border are sincerely alluring.

You will often find yourself twisting through bend after bend on a heavily wooded mountainside road then suddenly there will be a gap between the trees and you are beside hair-raising mountainous vista views that stretch as far as you can see.

The majority of the roads are very well preserved and sporty riders, keen to take advantage of the glorious curves, will take confidence in the grasping surfaces to grind a hero blob or knee slider as much as they want to.

Just be careful about the infamous French speed control checks (speed guns!) while doing so, as the new max speed on secondary roads is 80 km/h…

While slowing down just a nudge, you’ll have the time to enjoy the duality of rural France: a typical amalgam of sometimes desolate, sometimes profoundly beautiful towns. Well worth your time and effort is a detour towards Colmar: although bordered by apartment blocks and industrial estates, the center of the ancient town is home to some perfectly preserved timber-framed buildings overhanging narrow cobbled streets.

After a well-deserved break in the old city center, you might want to return the way you came in - you won’t regret it!

 

Discover our two days trip in the Vosges and download the GPX tracks.

 

 

Weekend trip in the Vosges

 

Portugal

As the limitations of a (long) weekend won’t allow you to ride for thousands of kilometers, sadly you won’t be able to cross the whole country in a few days - no need to worry though, we’ve arranged an equally challenging as beautiful ride from the Algarve towards halfway up Portugal.

Our trip will guide you from Monte Gordo towards the Portuguese capital, Lisbon - but not before taking a detour via the marvelous, serpentine roads swerving towards Monchique, and riding along the coast via Setubàl.

During the ride you’ll discover a country with one of the greatest diversity of landscapes in the whole of Europe, gathered on a proverbial stamp: stunning coastal roads lead to mountains that descend into red dust planes, switchback after switchback, panoramic view after panoramic view.

Thrilling in every possible way. The south is famous for its desolate roads, where the horizon stretches as far as the eye can see. Imagine the thrill of being the lone rider on the mountain pass, overlooking thousands of meters of rugged natural landscape. Just you, the bike, an appealing string of asphalt and the hair-raising scenery.

Discover our two days trip in Portugal and download the GPX tracks.

 

Weekend trip: Portugal

 

Sardinia

From a rider’s point of view, Sardinia might just be motorcycle heaven:  a rather large island with only a small population, right in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, which is fairly easily reachable by ferry in an overnight sail.

Which means that if you do not have a lot of time but you want to ride in the ultimate motorcyclist’s playland, this is the trip for you!

Riding these twisty roads is a roller coaster ride of excitement: dramatic maritime scenery and roads clinging on to steep cliffs and mountain peaks will leave any motorcyclist baffled.

From the undeniable natural splendor of the islands’ national parks to the deep blue waters fencing with the many pulchritudinous beaches, from the copious gastronomy to Sardinia’s architectural authenticity: whether you enjoy an easygoing cruise or love dragging that knee through every corner, Sardegna has something for everyone.

This Motorcycle-Diaries trip will take you over mountain roads with spectacular curves with great road surface, along seaside cliffs, and through the wilderness. As much as we would suggest you to enjoy riding every rideable inch of the island, we’ve focused on the eastern part.

 

Discover our two days trip in Sardinia and download the GPX tracks.

 

Weekend trip: Sardinia

 

Luxembourg

Small country, short distances, but track-like quality of road surface on every running inch: with its excellently maintained road network and proximity to Calais, Luxembourg is a dream destination for bikers - not in the least for British riders.

Riding along wooded valley roads through the flourishing natural surroundings of the Luxembourg Ardennes, between extraordinary rock formations in the Mullerthal region - nicknamed ‘Little Switzerland’ - through the grapevines alongside the meandering River Moselle, through the streets of the capital or past the industrial heritage of the ‘Land of the Red Rocks’ in the south of the country, you will be enchanted by the beauty and the diversity of this picturesque country.

As if that wasn’t enough to lure you into a ride towards and through the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, gas prices are also in the lower regions of the whole of Europe.

Make sure to take a break in Vianden: the town itself is ideal to give your bike a rest.

Try for instance the only chair lift in the mini-country, taking you up to a cafe with stunning views over the Our Valley. Highly recommended.

 

Discover our two days trip in Luxembourg and download the GPX tracks.

Weekend trip: Luxembourg

 

Switzerland

From ‘Little Switzerland’ to the real deal. Although the whole country will spoil you with fairytale-like surroundings and roads, we’ve narrowed our target to Parc Ela, the largest nature park in Switzerland, situated in the east of the country.

It lies in a variegated landscape around the historically significant alpine passes Albula, Julier and Septimer, which are drenched in unspoiled nature, unscathed villages and a buoyant culture.

There are also over 50 minor passes where winding paths lead over rugged ranges into other valleys. Each pass connects and supports cultural exchange - be it Roman cart tracks and pillars, medieval castles, baroque churches, hotels from stagecoach times or historical villages, they all testify to the rich pass history.

The extraordinary cultural richness of the Parc Ela lies in the wide variety of nature. The scenery transforms unceasingly from its lowest point in Schinschlucht (745m) to the peak of Piz Kesch (3418m): shrubbery country, floral grasslands, jagged canyons, unaffected forests, arid landscapes with glaciers and mountain lakes, views of high summits and an unusual variety of plants and animals. Truly magnificent.  

We had originally planned a trip around the three major passes, but the Septimer is not asphalted - and not even rideable on an offroad bike. Luckily, the region is saturated with mountain roads, so you won’t be left with anything to be desired: we’ve handpicked the Passo San Bernardino, the Splügen Pass, the Bernina Pass, and the Maloja Pass. For your pleasure only.

 

Discover our two days trip in Switzerland and download the GPX tracks.

 

Weekend trip: Switzerland

 

#ForYourRidingPleasureOnly


 

Missed our first episode? Check the Five destinations to ride over a (long) weekend: 1st Edition

 

Where next?

Explore the best roads & POI's around and plan your next trip based on those roads.

 


 

 

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