Rev it up with motorcycle and scooter tours
Picture this — you, the motorcycle of your dreams, a winding stretch of the most beautiful scenery you have ever witnessed, plus sixteen hours of daylight. Summers in Europe may be short, but their long days provide ample opportunity for outdoor adventure. The vast differences in European terrain also offer an endless supply of curving roads, breathtaking views and thousands of hidden destinations for short or long tours. Why not climb onto the back of a motorcycle, throw a camera in the saddlebag and see Europe from a new vantage point? For your next getaway, a motorcycle tour may be more than just a little R&R. It could be the destination vacation of a lifetime.
You can pick a day trip, weekend rally to even a month-long guided expedition, depending on time, budget and scenery. There are numerous touring companies across Europe with tailored services to meet the needs of those who love to ride. Want something with a little slower pace? Scooter tours are becoming more popular, with great choices in destinations. Or, you can map out your own course and make your own adventure, no guide needed. The choice is virtually limitless.
Choosing a touring company
When selecting a motorcycle touring company, no matter their size, consider companies with several years of experience, positive ratings and repeat customers.
Tours are organized and priced similar to destination cruises. Pricing can range from a few hundred euros to several thousand, depending on the location, length of tour, type of bike and accommodations. Tours are either escorted or guided, depending on the type of tour. Accommodations also vary depending on the style of tour. Some companies even provide vehicles that travel along with the group, carrying riders’ luggage.
Well-maintained, late-model bikes are rented for the duration of the tour, and depending on the type of tour and company you choose, bike brands range from BMW, Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Ducati, Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha. Tour companies choose the style of bike carefully for a tour’s specific terrain. Riders book tours then fly (or drive if close enough and if the tour loops) to the starting destinations, where guides and bikes are delivered and waiting.
We have provided a list of companies in Europe and the U.K. to cover any and every size and style of tour to the destination you’ve always dreamed of visiting.
Tours across Europe and beyond
If you have the attitude of “go big or go home,” a motorcycle expedition from Edelweiss Bike Travel in Austria may be what you’re after. Possibly the largest bike touring company in the world, they offer more than 1,700 different tours. Get this – for the absolute, no holding back, ultimate dream ride, they offer a year-long, 365-day tour that circles the globe. Yes, I said year-long. Broken into eight segments, each ride is actually an approximate month-long expedition that riders can choose to do either all at once, or individually. When one segment ends, a new segment begins. Starting in Los Angeles, riders travel to New York City; then Cape Town, South Africa to Nairobi, Kenya; Munich, Germany to Moscow, Russia; Moscow to Bangkok, Thailand; Perth to Sydney, Australia; Santiago de Chile, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina; Buenos Aires to Bogota, Columbia; Bogota to Los Angeles. For pricing on each segment or the whole shebang, send them an email.
As you float back to Earth from dreaming of that tour, there are just as many amazing yet affordable tours available. Adriatic Mototours, a small family-run business, specializes in tours through central and eastern European destinations. How about a week-long tour along the Adriatic coast? Seven days of perfect temperatures, beaches that aren’t lined with tourists and the perfect view of Croatian coastal azure waters. Riders will be challenged with both mountain and coastal rides as they wind around Roman ruins, quaint fishing villages and medieval walled cities. Prices start around 1,900 euros, all inclusive with accommodations, food, fuel and bike. A cool detail about the family – they all grew up behind the Iron Curtain, and can offer an interesting perspective to the ever-evolving European landscape.
For a slower-paced, “living like a local” tour, how about a Vespa scooter tour through romantic Italian, French and German destinations? Scooter Bella and Edelweiss Bike Travel and others offer 5 to 9-day tours that visit Italy’s Tuscan region, travel through Provence and along the French Riviera, the Romantic Road in lovely Bavaria and all the wonderful vineyards, villages and castles in between. You can also combine culinary and scooter tours for around 1,600-2,000 euros per person, all-inclusive.
Don’t want to ride a bike but still cruise through one of these fabulous tours? Beach’s Motorcycle Adventures offers their customers the opportunity to join most of their European tours in rented sports cars such as a BMW Z4, 1-Series Cabriolet, Mercedes SLC roadster or Smart Cabrio.
Local rides and rallies
For those with their own bike and a desire to stay close to home, a number of motorcycle groups and clubs offer rides, rallies and meets that help build friendships, raise money for charity and mentor safety awareness. A great website to help you search for new or upcoming events is Bikerwolke.com.
Although this year’s event has already passed, you can start planning now for next year’s annual “Ride the Alps” motorcycle ride, poker run and rally at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch (not to be confused with Edelweiss Bike Travel). Nestled in the beautiful Bavarian region of Germany, the two-day ride includes lodging, barbeque, photos and more. The price is around $400 for two guests staying at the resort (depending on your rank), or $75 for those who wish to join the rally but not stay at the resort. Visit Edelweiss Lodge and Resort for information to help you plan for next year’s event. Book early as it fills quickly.
The Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club™ is a non-profit organization founded in 1999 at McGuire Air Force Base. What started out as a small group of motorcyclists now has more than 80 chapters worldwide, including the Eifel Riders, a Green Knights chapter in Spangdahlem, as well as chapters in the U.K., Belgium, Spain and Italy. The family-friendly Green Knights openly accept riders from all U.S. military branches, retirees and DOD civilians, and organizes both on- and off-base motorcycle activities.
Don’t want to ride with a group after all? For the “lone wolf” riders looking for the best stretch of roads to blaze your own trail, map out a ride with the help of a few websites like Bestbikingroads.com and Motowhere.com where seasoned bikers have organized and rated rides. Best Biking Roads offers both an app for the Android and iPhone/iPad for a few dollars with options to browse and map routes, create your own and rate and read reviews from other riders. Motowhere’s site is also great, as its search tools let you narrow your search for routes based on tags like road and traffic conditions, difficulty, police patrol and more.
A few technical things
U.S. citizens visiting Europe will need a valid passport and U.S. driver’s license with motorcycle endorsement to ride in most E.U. countries. Italy requires an international driving permit (IDP) to accompany your U.S. license. It’s a good idea to have an IDP for all traveling in Europe. It can be picked up stateside at AAA offices or you can inquire at your base license testing centers for locations in Europe. Active duty military personnel and DOD civilians (who ride as part of their job) stationed in Europe must have a valid USAREUR or SETAF (Italy) license with current MSF card and motorcycle endorsement. Citizens of countries other than the U.S. need to check with their local authorities concerning what documents may be necessary.
Biking events listings
An assortment of touring companies to get you started
Motorcycle rentals in Kaiserslautern and Wiesbaden
Looking for a great destination or event to end your ride? Visit Stripes Welcome to Europe for a list a local fairs, festivals, events and fun locations.