Top five European winter destinations for bikers

Apart from the grayish landscape colors and freezing temperatures, one can tell that winter’s in town when people start moaning: “As soon as I’m retired, I’m moving to the south and riding my motorcycle day in day out.”

Tenerife

First on is Tenerife, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, a few miles off the coast of Morocco. January temperatures average around 17 degrees Celsius, so that shouldn’t be of any concern to your sun soaked wishes.

You might want to consider renting a bike though, as rental fares will outsmart the amount of euros you would need to pay to get your own bike shipped over from the mainland.

As Tenerife is a volcanic island sculpted by successive eruptions throughout its history, it would be silly not to start with a ride up El Teide - the third biggest active volcano in the world.
 

The most exciting over the infamous lava spitter leads you from Vilaflor through the lunar surface and great heights of the Parque Nacional del Teide, and returns swirling back down to eastbound Arafo.

Or you could steer that rental bike towards the high north of Tenerife: the ride from Las Mercedes to San Andrés is less touristy yet offers an endlessly curling road which takes you all the way through the Parque Natural de Anaga.

This time in a very different setting though: not a moon-like surface like the other parts of the island, but mountain views embedded in green, terraced fields and woods.

Greece

If there’s one thing Greece is known for - apart from its historic splendor and ouzo - it would be the enormous amount of islands surrounding the mainland.

One of them is Kefalonia, which shares a latitude with capital Athens but is situated on the westside of Greece, about 10 kilometers offshore from Vasiliki.

For less than 20 euros, a ferry will take you and your motorcycle to the island in about an hour, which leaves you the rest of the day to explore the spectacular coastal and mountain roads between the harbor of Fiskardo in the north and endless beaches in southern Skala.

Lunch tip: the twisty mountain road towards the stunning harbor village of Assos is well worth your time and detour.

Temperatures don’t often drop below 15°C in winter times, but a rain suit might prove to be a handy tool in your luggage.

Andalusia

Returning to Spain, we’ve selected a region which is enormously popular amongst motorcycle journalists as yours truly: Andalusia! The amount of new bikes we’ve tested over there…

But deservedly so, as the region rarely sees rain (about five days in winter), bathes in sunlight (average of about seven hours per day), and would be the word in Merriam-Webster to describe ‘an infinite amount of gorgeous twists and turns in an astonishing environment’.

Take for instance the road from Marbella to Ronda, which locals designate as ‘El Camino Ingles’ as it was built by the British who fled the summer heat of Gibraltar and aimed for the mild climate near Ronda.

You can choose the original approach - A377 towards Casares and the A369 from Gaucin on - or opt for the more challenging side which stretches over 40 kilometers from La Heredia to Ronda, El Madroñal.

A seemingly endless chain of sweeping switch-back corners that not only raise your heartbeat a few nudges, but also treats you to dazzling vistas. To top it off - quite literally, actually - a visit to the Ronda is a must, as the village clamps on to the mountain, dangling above jaw-dropping gorge that the Guadalevín river has carved out throughout history.

A lot of tourist traps in this ‘pueblo’ though - if you’re hungry we’d suggest Almocabar for a great meal within the city walls.

Sicily

Cosa Nostra and Sicily are two conceptions that regularly find themselves launched in one breath.

But the toe section of ‘The Boot’ has so much more to offer. Up north for example we’d suggest you aim your motorcycle from Campofelice di Roccella through and around the Parco Della Madonie for a historic ride, as it is exactly the place where the Targa Florio used to take place in the early 1900’s - one of the hardest automobile races in history.

No, the track won’t classify as the best surface you’ve ever ridden on, and temperatures in this part of Italy rarely rise above 14 degrees in winter times - but good lord, will you be riding in fairytale land.

Add a complete lack of tourists during that time of the year and a hard time spotting any straights on the track, and you know it’s game on.

Mallorca

At 250 kilometers from mainland Spain, Mallorca is one of the most exotic islands in the Mediterrean Sea: its drenched-in-green landscapes and amazing coastline should be convincing enough to pack your gear and set sail to the island.

It enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate of hot, dry summers and mild winters.

The island is fairly mountainous and this gives rise to varying climatic conditions according to location: the prevailing winds come from the northwest so southeast tend to be warmer and drier - but 300 days of sunshine per year almost assure a sun soaked drive.

With that sun on your roof, you might want to try the mind-boggling, mountainous northwestern coastal way, a.k.a. the endlessly curling Ma-10 from Andratx to Port de Soller.
 

Early in the morning, the 60 kilometer long road tend to be a bit cold and slippery, but once you’re used to that prudence you’ll be spoiled with splendid views.

Every twist of the tarmac hides an amazing view over the valley, the mountains or the ocean below - butterfly belly guaranteed.

Side note: as we already mentioned in the Tenerife part, rental might be cheaper than bringing your own bike over, depending on when you plan on coming over.

Where next?

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

 

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