The tour runs for nearly 3,000 miles to the east and south of Germany in countries that few riders have ridden in. The route is a circular one, running clockwise through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy before returning to Austria and back to Germany.
The appeal of this tour is in its adventure. These are places that will not often be ridden and the thought of setting out with a group of like-minded motorcyclists to ride to unusual places will appeal to many.
The terrain is very varied and encompasses high mountains, forests, gorges, coastlines, national parks and of course many scenic roads especially chosen for the tour.
Some of the highlights of the tour are the very special roads we will ride.
The first is the famed Transfăgărășan Highway which was constructed between 1970 and 1974 during the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu as a response to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. Ceaușescu wanted to ensure quick military access across the mountains in case of a Soviet invasion. Built mainly by military forces, the road had a high financial and human cost. Work was carried out in an alpine climate, at an elevation of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), using roughly 6,000 tons of dynamite. Many workers died; official records state that only 40 soldiers lost their lives, but unofficial estimates by workers put the number in the hundreds. The road was officially opened on 20 September 1974 and was featured in the television programme Top Gear and quoted by Jeremy Clarkson as “The best road in the world.”
The second great road is the Grossglockner Pass, in Austria, which is the highest surfaced mountain pass road in Austria. The pass summit as at 2,504 m (8,215 ft) and the road is named after the Grossglockner, Austria’s highest mountain.
The third wonderful road is the northern part of the coast road in Croatia. With the turquoise blue of the Adriatic Sea to its side, the road hugs the coastal terrain, twisting, turning, rising and falling with the rugged land at the waters edge. The bends sweep wonderfully, making it an excellent (but little known) road for riding motorcycles. It creates ear-to-ear smiles along its length!
The tour takes in three mountain ranges – the Alps in Austria and Italy, the Carpathian Mountains in Romania and the western Balkan Mountains in Serbia.
The tour is 21 days long and will include 3 rest days – in Budapest, Brasov and Biograd. In Budapest we will explore the city, go see the River Danube, the magnificent Parliament building, Buda Castle and perhaps visit its thermal spa pool. In Brasov in Transilvania, we will visit Bran Castle, commonly known as Dracula’s Castle. In Biograd, we will do very little, except relax and perhaps swim in the sea.
Overall, the tour has some very interesting aspects to it.
This tour is for experienced riders only. Please see the information tab for a definition of what that means.
Day One – Sunday 6 August 2023
The tour officially starts in Munich, late afternoon on Sunday.
You can either (a), make your own way to Munich on your own bike and meet us there, or (b), ride on your own bike with us from Folkestone, UK, leaving on Saturday morning to get to Munich on Sunday afternoon, or (c), you could fly to Munich and rent a bike there. We can help with the arrangements for any of those methods if needed (let us know when booking). For specific information about renting a motorcycle for this tour, see the ‘Rentals’ tab at the top of this page.
However you choose to get to Munich, you need to be at our hotel, with your bike, by late afternoon on day 1 (Sunday) of the tour to meet your tour leader.
The hotels we stay at vary in size and quality, and where possible, we only use hotels with good off-road parking. These are mainly 3 star, occasionally 4 star. We don’t use large chain hotels in larger towns, but prefer smaller remote locations. On three of the nights on the tour, your evening meal is included within the tour price and on the rest of the evenings, you are free to eat where you like. Often, we will eat as a group, but it is really up to you.
Day Two – Monday 7 August 2023
We start riding on the morning of day 2. We will travel through southern Germany and into Austria. We use a short length of motorway to leave Munich and soon join the Deutsche Alpenstraße (the German Alpine Road) though a huge variety of landscapes – from lush Alpine meadows, gently rolling hills and verdant forests to craggy peaks.
We enter Austria near Salzburg and head east on very scenic roads, many of which meander through valleys set between high peaks. We ride 214 miles today before arriving at our hotel in central Austria, near a mountain called Grimming (2,351 m / 7,713 feet) which is an isolated peak in the Dachstein Mountains. Our hotel is a very typical chalet-styled Austrian building.
Day Three – Tuesday 8 August
Today we ride about 216 miles through eastern Austria and into Slovakia. In Austria, almost all of the roads we ride are classified as ‘scenic’ and are a joy to ride on a motorcycle. Austria has to be one of the prettiest countries in Europe and is definitely a Tour1 favourite.
As we reach the far eastern edge of Austria we travel close to (but not into) Vienna before crossing the border into Slovakia and we stay the night in its capital, Bratislava, close to the city centre.
Day Four – Wednesday 9 August
On day 4 we ride just 167 miles. We are in Slovakia this morning and riding east, we hug its southern border before crossing into Hungary near Esztergom. We then ride quiet country roads and arrive late afternoon in the wonderful city of Budapest.
This evening we will take a walk around central Budapest.
Day Five – Thursday 10 August
This is a rest day in Budapest, with little riding planned. You can choose what you want to do today, but it could include some sightseeing, a visit to the river Danube to look at the magnificent parliament building, relax in the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, ride the funicular railway up to Buda Castle, or visit some of the cultural delights the city has to offer. We could also get on our bikes to visit Budapest Harley-Davidson.
We are at the same hotel for two nights in Budapest.
Day Six- Friday 11 August
We ride across eastern Hungary this morning and use a motorway to do so.
In the afternoon, we ride smaller roads and soon cross the border to enter the main destination country for this tour, Romania. We make our way south-east on a variety of road types and arrive in the town of Zalău where we stay the night. We will have ridden 236 miles today to get there.
Day Seven – Saturday 12 August
On day 7 we are in northwest Romania all day. We depart from Zalău and soon enter the Apuseni Natural Park, where we spend most of the day. With and area of 75,000 hectares, the park is protected and includes peaks, lakes, caves and huge valleys in the Western Carpathian Mountains. We ride around the park in a anti-clockwise direction before arriving at Turda, where we are for the night.
About 120 miles of todays ride of 172 miles is ridden in the park.
Day Eight – Sunday 13 August
We are again in Romania all day and this part of the country is called Transylvania, which is known for medieval towns, mountainous borders and castles like Bran Castle, a Gothic fortress associated with the legend of Dracula.
On day 8 we ride 165 miles including scenic roads near Targu Mures and more scenic great motorcycling roads as we near the city of Brasov. The city is located in the central part of the country, about 166 km (103 mi) north of Bucharest and 380 km (236 mi) from the Black Sea. It is surrounded by the Southern Carpathians and is part of the historical region of Transylvania.
Day Nine – Monday 14 August
Today is a rest day, spent in the Romanian city of Brasov.
For those who want to, we will visit the famous Bran Castle, a national monument and landmark in Transylvania. The castle is commonly known outside Transylvania as Dracula’s Castle.
The city of Brasov is the furthest point east we will travel on this tour.
Day Ten – Tuesday 15 August
Day ten has amazing roads to ride on our Harley-Davidson’s, as we ride some of the best parts of the Carpathian Mountains. We ride 144 miles of twisting, fabulous mountain roads.
As we ride south west away from Brasov, we skirt the edge of the Bucegi Natural Park.
At Costita we turn to head west on more terrific riding roads and at Ivancea, we head north to ride one of the best roads in the world, the Transfăgărășan Highway. Today, we ride its southern section as it climbs up into the mountains, passing Lake Vidraru as we climb upwards.
We stop for the night right at the top of the Transfăgărășan Highway, in a small local hotel. We will go see the fabulous road in preparation for riding it tomorrow.
Day Eleven – Wednesday 16 August
This is a very special day, for we spend it riding the main part of the Transfăgărășan Highway. You will be able to ride it as many times as you like. Described by the BBC’s Top Gear as “The best road in the world” the road twists and turns to create what Jeremy Clarkson described as “…automotive prefection…” Check out the Top Gear video here.
We will have ridden a long way to get here, so we won’t rush riding the Transfăgărășan as we will be here all day, taking our time to ride and photograph the road. We spend the night at the same hotel at the top of the road.
Day Twelve – Thursday 17 August
We depart last nights hotel and ride the Transfăgărășan once more before heading west to ride Romania’s highest road, the Transalpina, which crests at 7,037 feet above sea level. This is another fantastic road that twists and turns in dramatic scenery. Check out this video of the Transalpina. This road has an interesting history and was was originally a mountain path, used by shepherds to cross the mountains with sheep herds. The road was rebuilt and paved by the Germans during World War I
Restoration works took place between 1934-1939 and King Carol II attended the inauguration of the road in 1939 and the road became known as Drumul Regal (Royal Road), which replaced the popular name of Poteca Dracului (Devil’s Path).
After that, for more than 70 years, the road received little to no maintenance. Improvement works began in 2008-2009 in order to transform this spectacular road into a modern single carriageway (148 km).
After riding 165 miles today, we reach our hotel for the night in Petrosani.
Day Thirteen – Friday 18 August
Today is our final day in Romania and we ride 173 miles to the south west.
As soon as we leave the hotel we ride in the Jiu Valley National Park. The park is located along the gorge formed by the Jiu River between the Vâlcan Mountains and Parâng Mountains (subgroup of mountains in the Southern Carpathians).
At Targu Jiu we turn onto smaller country roads which in places become a series of many tight hairpin bends to test our riding skills. We then head south on Route 66 (yes really!) before crossing into Serbia at Drobeta-Turnu Severin. We then ride alongside the River Danube once more, which we last saw in Budapest.
Finally we ride more twisty roads to arrive at a small town in eastern Serbia where we spend the night.
Day Fourteen – Saturday 19 August
Today we ride 170 miles south west across Serbia. This is on a wide range of road types, but no motorways.
Geographically, Serbia is in the central Balkans area.
Serbia applied for European Union membership in 2009. Accession negotiations are currently ongoing and Serbia is expected to complete its negotiations by the end of 2024, allowing it to join the Union by 2025.
During the morning we will ride through the low-lying Homolje Mountains which rise up to 3,080 feet. The region of Homolje is sparsely populated and because of the small population, its nature is unspoilt. One of its attractions is a vast forest called Trest.
In the afternoon we ride through the Gledic Mountains, again low-lying. The houses here are mainly lived in at weekends, with people travelling out from nearby Kragujevac to stay there.
More mountains follow as we near our destination for today. Essentially we are in a region at the very western end of the Balkans Mountains. We stay the night in Uzice, in western Serbia.
Day Fifteen – Sunday 20 August
On day 15 we ride 194 miles and due to the smaller and twisty roads we will be using, this will be a long riding day.
We first have 33 miles left to ride in Serbia and this is on scenic roads. We cross the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina in the mountains and as we approach Sarajevo, we ride through the Trebević National Park. The park contains the Trebević mountain which is known locally as the “lungs of Sarajevo.”
Sarajevo was the scene of the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. Sarajevo was sieged from April 1992 to February 1996 (1,425 days) during the Bosnian War.
When Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1992 Bosnian Serb forces encircled Sarajevo with a siege force of 13,000 stationed in the surrounding hills. A total of 13,952 people were killed during the siege, including 5,434 civilians. After the war, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted four Serb officials for numerous counts of crimes against humanity committed during the siege. We will pass through the middle of Sarajevo.
We then ride more scenic roads, especially alongside the River Neretva as we approach Mostar, in the south west of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where we spend the night.
Day Sixteen – Monday 21 August
On the morning of day 16 we first ride 27 scenic miles alongside the Neretva River before entering the 8th country of the tour, Croatia. After crossing border from Bosnia, we have a further 20 miles to ride until we reach the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
We then spend three days on the wonderful Croatian coast, two of which are spent riding a lot of its fantastic coastline roads.
We start riding that coastline this morning and we have about 150 miles to go before we get to our hotel for tonight. All but 40 miles of that is ridden on the coast road.
Late afternoon we arrive in Biograd, where we will spend two nights.
Day Seventeen – Tuesday 22 August
This is a rest day, spent in the coastal town of Biograd. There are many things to do here, mainly centred around relaxing!
Day Eighteen – Wednesday 23 August
Today we ride one of the best motorcycling roads we know – the magnificent Croatian coast road from Modric to Rijeka. This is 104 miles of biking nirvana, because the road twists and turns, and rises and falls with the coastline. We will have the turquoise blue of the Adriatic Sea to our left the whole way. This coastline is not well developed, so there are few facilities on the way, which makes the ride even more adventurous.
We stay the night in a coastal hotel.
Day Nineteen – Thursday 24 August
We have 172 miles to ride on day 19 in Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and finally Austria.
First we ride a short distance back along the coastline before heading inland on the Istria Peninsula and we enter the Ucka Nature Park. The roads here are very good for motorcycling.
Soon we arrive at the border with Slovenia, which we enter but being a narrow strip of land here, we are only in Slovenia for about 14 miles, before we cross another border, into the tenth country of the tour, Italy. We reach Trieste and ride the Italian coastline for a short distance before heading inland across the flatlands near Udine, where due to the terrain, the riding is not particularly interesting.
However, ahead of us lies the Alps and we slowly make the climb on some very good riding roads once more. We ride Plocken Pass just before we enter Austria and we stay the night in a motorcycle friendly hotel on the Gailberg Saddle.
Day Twenty – Friday 25 August
We have 193 miles to ride on day 20, and the highlight of the day is riding another of the worlds great motorcycle roads. Just north of Lienz, we ride Grossglockner Pass, over the main Alps Mountains. The pass rises to 8,215 feet and the road sweeps and hugs the mountainous terrain. It is a joy to ride.
Beyond Grossglockner we ride to Kitzbuhel, the famous skiing resort and onto more terrific riding roads as we cross the border into Germany. We complete the tour where we started, in the middle of Munich.
Day Twenty One – Saturday 26 August
The tour officially ends after breakfast today.
For those who rode to Munich on your own bikes, you will start your journey home this morning, doing that ride back to the UK over two days riding with Tour1 if you wish, or alternatively, you can do that ride on your own. If you ride back with Tour1 we will arrive back in Folkestone at around 5pm on Sunday evening.
For those who rented motorcycles, this is the ideal day for you to return your rental bike back to the Harley-Davidson dealership in Munich today, or later depending on your onward travel plans.
Our group sizes normally range from 10 to 14 motorcycles.
Each day, we normally start riding at 8.30am sharp and cover in the region of 120 to 220 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.
The hotels we stay at vary in size and quality, and where possible, we only use hotels with good off-road parking. The hotels are not super luxury and not bottom end, but mid-range – normally 3 and 4-star. We don’t use large chain hotels in larger towns, but prefer smaller remote locations. On some nights on the tour, your evening meal is included within the tour price and on the rest of the evenings, you are free to eat where you like. Often, we will eat as a group, but it is really up to you.
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.
8 of the 10 countries we will visit are in the EU. The other two countries are Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. None of the 10 countries require a visa for anyone travelling on a British passport. If you are travelling using a different passport, you should check if any visas are required.
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 five 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.