This tour has just about everything a long motorcycle ride needs. It is probably our most comprehensive and diverse tour which makes it the reason we have run the tour many times since 2014.
From the rolling hills of southern Germany to the high alpine passes in the Alps, the low Vosges mountains in eastern France to the roads in Austria with fast sweeping bends, this tour encompasses just about every type of riding there is. One day you are admiring the scenery as you ride and the next, the road is challenging your riding skills.
We have chosen mainly quieter scenic roads, well away from cities for the route to the European Bike Week rally in Faaker See and we stay at comfortable hotels along the way.
Combine that we attending the largest motorcycle rally in Europe and this is one heck of a tour!
The rally will host live bands, a custom bike show, dealer stands, demonstration rides and much more. The setting of the rally around a like is ideal, as the event is hosted in a number of close-together locations around that lake.
If you want to ride wonderful and scenic roads, with someone else making all the arrangements, then riding with Tour1 is for you. We are hugely experienced tour operators having ridden all over Europe and we know where the best roads are.
Day One (Saturday, 2 September)
The tour starts in Folkestone on the Saturday morning when we catch the Eurotunnel train to Calais in France. We then ride across the flat part of northern France and so we take advantage of the motorway system to get onto more interesting roads.
At Saint-Quintin we leave the motorway and ride smaller D-roads.
Our route is 256 miles today.
We stay the night in Saint-Dizier in a modern hotel.
Day Two (Sunday, 3 September)
The highlight for today is riding in the Vosges Mountains, in eastern France. There are some terrific roads here and are an early taster of the better mountain roads to follow. We stay the night in a small hotel set in woodlands in the southern Vosges Mountains. We will ride 198 miles to arrive there.
Day Three (Monday, 4 September)
We head out of the Vosges Mountains first thing on the morning of day 3 and after 40 miles we enter Switzerland and the terrain changes almost straight away from rolling hills to steeper mountains. When we reach the Infostelle Nature Park, the area become more alpine and the roads get more fun!
Just beyond Wolhusen we enter the UNESCO Entlebuch Biosphere, a natural reserve at the foot of the Alps, where the views start to become spectacular. The route is truly amazing when we ride an aptly-named road called the Panoramstrasse.
To end a great riding day, we ride two fabulous mountain passes, Grimsel (7,100 ft) and Furka (7,969 ft), the later of which became famous for being featured in the James Bond movie, Goldfinger.
We stay the night in Andermatt, centre of the best riding in Switzerland.
Day Four (Tuesday, 5 September)
Today is a busy riding day, with many great mountain passes on our route including the famous Stelvio Pass. Before we get there we start with riding Operalp Pass and we pass close to the source of what becomes the mighty River Rhine.
We head through the ski towns of Chur and Klosters before riding Wolfgand Pass on our way into Davos.
Next is the lovely Fluela Pass, which seems very remote and devoid of people. Heading south east, we then ride through the Swiss National Park followed by riding through the Nature Park Biosfera Val Mustair
As we near the border with Italy, we ride the wonderful Umbrail Pass, as it twists and turns its way to the border. As soon as cross the border we are at one of the worlds most famous roads, Stelvio Pass. We ride both sides of the pass and stop at the top in a couple of places to look down on the amazing road. Stelvio Pass is the second highest pass road in the Alps. It has 75 hairpin bends – enough to satisfy the needs and any biker! We stay the night in Bormio, at the bottom of Stelvio Pass.
By the time we arrive at our hotel, we will have ridden 165 incredible miles today.
Day Five (Wednesday, 6 September)
More great roads follow today as we ride 131 miles east across northern Italy.
First is the dramatic Gavia Pass, one of our favourite roads in the world. With its glacier and moon-like terrain, this is a wonderful road. Then it is onto Tonale Pass, followed by the stunning Mendola Pass, which clings impossibly to the side of the mountain as it drops down towards Bolzano.
Bolzano is at the western side of another favourite area to ride, the Dolomite Mountains. Its jagged craggy peaks and great roads make this an ideal place to ride motorcycles. We will stop to look at Karersee, a stunningly beautiful lake with amazing colours. We stay the night in a hotel with perhaps one of the best mountain views in the world.
Day Six (Thursday, 7 September)
We start today by riding the best parts of the Sella Ring, a wonderful road that circles the Sella Massive, a huge outcrop of mountain in the Dolomites and the views are simply spectacular. After that we head east towards Cortina and onto the Parco Regionale Dolomiti D’Ampezzo, an area of forests in low-lying mountains.
Soon we cross the border into Austria once more and ride through the Gail Valley, a wonderful road with fast sweeping bends.
We arrive in Villach late afternoon and make our way to the hotel we will be staying at for 3 nights, our base for the rally.
At the Rally (Thursday night, Friday and Saturday)
There is always much to see and do at European Bike Week. The huge rally site at Faaker See hosts bands, dealer displays, demonstrator bikes, vendors, bars and all shapes and sizes of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. On our arrival day of Thursday, or perhaps on Friday morning, we will have a group orientation ride / walk to ensure you all know where the various rally activities take place.
For most of your time in Faaker See, from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning, you are able to do as you please, whether that is ride in the local area, visit the rally site, watch some of the live bands on the many stages, or visit the custom bike show – it is up to you.
On the Friday afternoon we are likely to visit the custom motorcycle show.
On the Saturday, if you wish, you can join thousands of others in riding in the parade.
The rally site is just a few miles from our hotel base in Villach. Most people choose to travel to the rally site in the evenings either by the free shuttle bus, or by taxi.
Day Nine (Sunday, 9 September)
First thing this morning we start our ride back to the UK. Today we will ride 401 miles through Austria and Germany. Clearly with such a distance to ride, we need to use motorways all day. We stay the night just north of Stuttgart.
Day Ten (Monday, 10 September)
We spend the second day riding back to the UK in Germany, brfiely in The Netherlands and finally in Belgium and France. We ride 406 miles today, again all on motorway. We catch a Eurotunnel train back to Folkestone where the tour ends.
Our group sizes normally range from 10 to 14 motorcycles. Due to the likely popularity of this tour, we might run two groups.
Each day, we normally start riding at 8.30am sharp and cover in the region of 150 to 200 miles. We try to avoid motorways wherever possible and only use these when there is no real alternative. We take mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks and of course find somewhere for lunch. Our plan is to normally arrive at that evening’s hotel by around 6pm.
We use good quality hotels – not super luxury and not bottom end, but mid-range – normally 3 and 4-star.
We ride at a pace to suit all of the riders. We stick to all speed limits in towns, but in rural areas we ride at, let’s call them ‘more appropriate’ speeds. We generally ride in staggered convoy on straighter roads.
As we have pre-booked hotels and a schedule to stick to, we ride in all weathers. During any exceptionally inclement weather, we will pull over for short periods. We could experience a range of different types of weather, so bring waterproofs, just in case.
We like these tours to be about having a real adventure, riding on great roads with like-minded people. For that reason, we do not use a support van, but we always have a back-marker.
*Ride Difficulty Rating
Each of our tours has a difficulty rating and this tour is rated as ‘challenging’. That means this tour is for experienced riders only, with say, a minimum of three years of riding large motorcycles. You must have ridden on the right-hand side of the road before on many occasions and you must be comfortable with travelling in a group of riders and be able to keep a good pace within that group. We do not ride very fast, but at the same time, it is better if riders do not go too slowly.
The route will include many twisty roads, plus many high mountain roads with many tight hairpin bends / switchbacks. There will be some sections of road with steep drop-offs at the side and no guardrail. If you or your pillion are at all uncomfortable at riding at height, then this tour is not for you. If you are from the USA, please note some of the roads you will be riding are significantly narrower and have tighter bends than in the USA. All roads are fully paved. While there is not much motorway riding on the tour, as a guide, the group will be riding at speeds of 75mph+ on motorways. You must be confident of riding in rain and on wet roads.
Each day’s riding will be around 9 hours, with breaks. You must be able to ride all day. If you are at all unsure if your riding ability is good enough for this tour, then you must contact us by telephone to discuss.