Green laning and bike trails. The wind billowing through your clothes, the adrenaline rush of riding down an uneven dirt trail, the triumph of controlling your motorbike well enough that you get through it without any scrapes, the views you see along the way.
Not much can beat a good bike trail, but if you’ve ever tried to find lanes you can ride on legally in the EU, you’ll know that this is often the most challenging part of the experience. At Bikesure, we’ve highlighted some of the best European bike trails and green lanes so you don’t have to search for them!
Before you ride
Riding in rural areas of Europe is fun, but it does involve quite a lot of planning to ensure you remain safe and law-abiding. Make sure to follow these tips while you’re travelling.
- Know your vehicle: each motorcycle is different, so it’s best to know your motorbike before you go out for a ride on a trail. If you’re going on a toured ride, they might loan you a bike to ride – this is completely fine, but you might want to take a little time to get to know your motorcycle before taking on the tougher trails.
- Travel with another person: the last thing you want is for your bike to stop working in a deeply rural area without any chance of getting help. Whether you’re inexperienced or you’ve been green laning since you were young, it’s best to bring along a more qualified friend.
- Map out your routes first: taking a map of the local area on your journey is a great way of staying organised on your travels. Mapping out your route is an even bigger plus. And yes, we do mean an old school physical map! Most will give you information about the area’s topography and green lanes that are open to the public.
- Know the rules: when it comes to green lanes, each country is different and rules change quite frequently. Be sure to read up on rules in the local area so you know you’re abiding by the law.
For the beginner bikers
Croatia is a great destination for bikers, with many off-roading and green laning opportunities. Coastal mountains are in abundance, meaning a lot of time can be spent on cliffs and mountains overlooking the stunning Adriatic Sea. Whilst Croatia is becoming more popular with tourists, you can still find some areas of the country that are less frequented.
France is home to hundreds of thousands of green lanes, all of which can be ridden on legally at this point in time. The only exceptions are the country’s national parks, so make sure to steer clear of these. In the north and west of France, the land is fairly flat and any hills are relatively small. This makes the areas perfect unofficial training zones for those getting to grips with bike trails and green lanes.
Once you get used to these, you can “graduate” to the east of France, which tends to be more mountainous than the rest of the country. There are, of course, the Alps in some parts of this area, but they might be a little tricky for beginner bikers; we’d save them for another trip.
For the experienced-but-not-quite-veteran green laners
A guided tour of the Alps is always an option, and you have a wide range of countries to choose from for this. According to MotoTrip, the following countries are the best for motorcycling in the Alps: Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France and Slovenia. You might even decide that you want to travel through a number of different countries, which would allow you to stop off in various towns for a taste of the local culture.
Another destination for the experienced rider is Iceland. You can actually do a full circuit of the island on your motorcycle! Reykjavík is as good a place as any to start. Make sure you check the weather before you go though; icy roads won’t be your friend if you go during the colder months.
The Pyrénées in Northern Spain is also on a lot of motorbikers’ bucket lists. You can either choose to go it alone or join a motorcycle tour for this one. With a number of routes shown online (e.g. Ride has marked quite a few routes already), the Pyrénées can actually be a good choice for all experience levels – so long as you choose your route wisely!
For the seasoned motorcycle riders
You might want to take on the Trans Euro Trail (TET), which spans almost 24,000 miles and covers over 20 European countries. There are two different arms of the journey that you can choose between, with one branching off to the east and one branching off to the west. You can, of course, do a round trip, but this takes a couple of months to complete. And even if you want to ride just a small part of the trail while you’re in the area, that’s completely fine too!
There’s also an app you can download to map out the journey, with points of interest marked on the map. You can find this navigation information on the TET’s official website, as well as links to the apps. Better yet, whether you’re looking to relax at a plush hotel after a hard day’s riding or you want to try your hand at wild camping, there are plenty of options along the trail.
Another option is Romania. The country is often seen as one of the destinations for motorcycling. You’ve probably heard of the Transfăgărăşan, a paved mountain road crossing that basically looks like a MotoGP track. This was brought to the world’s attention by Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear. Filled with sharp adrenaline-inducing corners and straight stretches, this is a great destination for those with a little more experience under their belt.
Sadly the trail can be very busy with motorcyclists, drivers and hikers alike, so be sure to choose when you travel carefully. Be warned also that there are some stretches with dark tunnels, which shouldn’t be attempted with dark sunglasses on! Balea Lac, a glacier lake, is a great attraction to see in this area too.
Touring and enduro insurance from Bikesure
If you’re almost ready to give your next tour the green light, make sure that you have adequate bike insurance first. As one of the UK’s leading specialist brokers for bike insurance, we offer policies for unique situations, including touring motorcycle insurance and enduro insurance.
Just let us know that you’re planning on going on a tour in Europe and we’ll add green card cover to your policy. In fact, all our policies can be tailored to your needs and budget.