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A list of bucketlist routes to ride during the summer holidays alone or with all of your riding buddies. Read more about the most awesome roads in Europe and get inspired!
Being able to see for miles at a great height, enjoy beautiful surroundings and steer over winding asphalt. Any traveling motorcyclist knows (hopefully) the great feeling of mastering a challenging mountain pass. That is why it was clear to us to dedicate the necessary pages in this ChromeBurner Magazine to the gems of European mountain passes.
No matter how iconic, we avoid the Passo dello Stelvio in this list. The reason is that, in the end, there are many more beautiful mountain passes in Italy. We therefore travel a little more towards the northeast of Italy, the place where there is a great playground for the motorcyclist.
You can never really go wrong in the Dolomites, because here you will only find wonderful winding roads. The Passo di Fedaia (the name alone sounds beautiful) is one of them. This mountain pass has a nice variety of corners and leads you to a maximum height of 2,057 meters. Once you reach the top, you will discover a beautiful lake that collects the melt water from the nearby Marmola Glacier. In addition to the beautiful steering, you can also visit a museum that focuses on the First World War. Another little tip, just a few kilometers away, you will also find the Passo Pordoi. Another beautiful mountain road hiding in the Dolomites.
It is beautiful to ride in Norway. This makes the country automatically very suitable for a wonderful motorcycle trip. If you plan to go, be sure to include the Trollstigen in your travel route. Via eleven hairpin bends, this winding road leads you to Trollstigheim, a viewing platform with fabulous views of the peaks of Dronning, Kong and Bispe. These mountains are all above 1,450 meters.
The Trollstigen is the northernmost point of Fylkesveg 63. This road of more than 100 kilometers takes you past Geiranger, also a place where you will find breathtaking views. Please note, do not plan this trip too early in the spring. You then have a chance that various parts of the 63 are closed, including the Trollstigen.
This one is definitely worth putting on your bucket list! Serra da Estrela does not have that name for no reason. Translated into English, you end up in the star mountains. A nice starting location is the largest town in this region, called Covilhã. From this city, you ride towards Santa Maria and when you leave this village, you immediately enter a great beautiful nature park. The N339 takes you to the highest point in this area, Torre. This is at an altitude of 1,993 meters.
Of course, this is not all, because this part only serves as a warm-up. We continue the beautiful steering adventure and add another heavenly piece to the route. Continue north on the N339 and then eventually turn off onto the N232. This will lead you to Manteigas, the Portuguese mecca for motorcyclists. Here you will get dizzy from the number of corners. There is no other way. For dessert, there is an interesting ride to the starting point of the day, Covilhã.
A week of motorcycling and making sure you can ride a mountain pass every day? Then this Swiss area is recommended. The reason is that you are very close to the borders of France and Italy and therefore also encounter many high border crossings. A winner within this region is the Col du Sanetsch. From the town of Daillon, you follow the Route du Sanetsch. After two tight tunnels, you ride from one photogenic location to the other. For a while, you can really enjoy yourself because the steering is so much fun, but then you reach the end.
Here you can enjoy yourself twice as much, because you will be welcomed with the beautiful view of Lac de Sénin and you can score a delicious snack at Ta Cave. Please note, the door is locked on Mondays and Sundays. After you reach the top you go back via the same route, because you can not continue here. You can hardly call that a punishment, because you will notice that the way back will give you a completely different experience.
You wouldn't expect it right away, but even an English mountain pass has ended up on this list. Perhaps a little less known, but the Hardknott Pass in the Lake District (North West England) offers motorcyclists a nice challenge. In some parts, you will find a slope of 33 percent, making this mountain pass the steepest road in England.
In addition to the height difference, some bends are also quite blind. It is therefore a road that is not immediately suitable for a novice motorcyclist. And oh yes, if you especially get a kick out of high speeds, then you better skip this one. You don't get a high average on the Hardknott Pass. Also nice, by the way, when the weather is clear, there is a chance that you will see the Isle of Man. You know where that famous street race is held.
This one is for motorcyclists who do not shy away from rough off-road terrain. About a hundred kilometers west of Turin you will find the town of Bardonecchia, where in 2006 the snowboarding part of the Olympic Winter Games was performed. It is a great ski area, but motorcyclists can also enjoy playing here. It takes some searching, but in the northern part of the village you will find the Strada per Rochemolles and it leads to the Col de Sommeiller. The first kilometers to the top are still paved, but after a while you will discover unpaved terrain.
An all- or off-road motorcycle makes the job a lot easier, but it is also possible to reach the top with a 'normal' motorcycle. A bit of engine control is a requirement, because you have to overcome some tough parts here and there. When you pass the village of Rochemolles, the unpaved adventure of about 20 kilometers begins. Sounds like a short piece, but the pace is not too fast. Plus, you'll also want to stop every now and then to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. At the top, you are treated to a beautiful lake and a view of the actual Col de Sommeiller. In addition, it is not possible to travel to France because the terrain is too rough. So you will take the same, spectacular way back.
"Stelvio is on my wish list. I really want to ride my Yamaha MT-09 on it. I've been there before, but that was by car. At the time, I did not have my motorcycle licence, but this pass still made a big impression on me with the car. I am convinced it’ll be even better on my bike. It's time I go there with some friends."
"I think Scandinavia is beautiful, so I would definitely ride a mountain pass like the Trollstigen. I also really like the Italian mentality, the land of speed with the various car and motorcycle manufacturers. Furthermore, when it comes to fit riding, there is a wide range of options. There is a good chance that I will make such a trip on the new Tracer 9 of Yamaha. I am seriously thinking of exchanging my current bike, a Suzuki GSX-S1000F, for this bike. An ideal machine for making these kinds of trips."
"It's not exactly a mountain pass, but I would really like to make a nice trip to Macedonia next year. A good friend of mine is from there and it turns out that there isn’t a TET (Trans Euro Trail) route there. We actually want to add that. I am also a fan of the old Dakar Rally stories, when it was still held in Africa. It is, of course, not Europe, but I would like to go that way with my Yamaha XT660 Ténéré. I have already been to Morocco on a motorcycle and that was really fantastic. Lovely driving there, especially the Dadès gorge. Definitely recommended for someone who is looking for an adventure outside Europe."
If anyone knows where there are beautiful passes in Europe, it is Juan Noguerol. The Spidi ambassador became the FIM Touring world champion last year. Some tips from this experienced Spaniard are included in this article. Want to follow Juan's adventures on his Kawasaki Versys 1000? Then check out his social media channels. You can find him on both Instagram @juan_noguerol and Facebook: jvnoguerol.