Starting out from the beautiful World Heritage city of Bergen the ride takes around seven and a half hours - if done in one stretch. It passes through out-of-this-world scenery, where you’ll look down glacial valleys enclosed by towering 1000m cliffs and cross magical fjords on ferries. Passing along the country’s longest fjord, the Sognefjorden, you’ll find yourself in the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord, a stunning location named as Scandinavia’s best travel destination by Lonely Planet and home to the Seven Sisters waterfalls.
On this ride you’ll enjoy wonderfully contrasting scenery, starting with the Black Sea coast dropping away to the North and dramatic mountains to the South. Travelling almost to the border with Georgia, the sea views give way to lush tea plantations as you turn inland, then quickly shifts to the arid landscape of Eastern Anatolia. With Savşatahead of you the scenery changes once again, with Alpine forests perfuming the air with pine and lush meadows raising your spirits on the final leg.
Known as ‘Ceausescu’s folly’ this route has been more favourably described by Jeremy Clarkson as the “most amazing road he’d ever seen”. You’ll wind your spectacular way over the Carpathian Mountains through hairpins, generous bends and long, dark tunnels. Heavy snowfall often brings the fun to a stop between mid-October and early June, so check that it’s open before you set off. The Transfagarasan Highway will be an unforgettable experience for any biker, and one you shouldn’t miss.
Keep it to yourself, but Albania offers amazing scenery and roads with this 78-mile trip making the most of them. Olive groves and orchards keep you company as you head out of the resort town of Sarandë, one of the Albanian Riveria’s jewels. Look to your left and you’ll see the sparkling Ionian coast, while high mountains loom over you on the right. Things get even more impressive when you reach the Longher Pass, with its 1,000m incline to the sea. The final stretch takes you to Vlorë, an important city that was once the country’s capital.
With its stunning landscapes and spectacular views the Amalfi Coast is unsurprisingly popular. However, ride this route out of peak tourist season and you’ll be amply rewarded with quieter roads, beautiful coastal vistas, turquoise seas and twisting highways. This 31-mile stretch of southern Italy mixes classic seaside towns such as Positano and Ravellom with inviting sandy beaches, along what is known as the ‘Road of a Thousand Bends’.
Europe’s Grand Canyon’ offers all you might imagine by way of challenging roads, with mile after mile of twists and turns. Lift your eyes from the tarmac and you’ll appreciate the drama of the Verdon Gorge itself, as you ride along its rim. Or why not wind your way down to the D23 that bisects the bottom of the canyon? Technical and scenic, with steep inclines, tight hairpins and useful passing places this 55-mile circular route is not to be missed. Less experienced riders may want to travel clockwise to avoid most of the drops.
The route from the city of Rouen to the medieval monastery Le Mont Saint-Michel takes you past evocative sites like the D-Day Landing beaches, old German bunkers and war graves where thousands were laid to rest after the Second World War. The Normandy coastline itself is beautiful and your halfway point of Caen is one of France’s most attractive ports. The ferry crossing from Dover to Calais is probably the cheapest and quickest, but the route from Portsmouth or Poole to Le Havre, Cherbourg or Caen takes you closer to the ride’s starting point.
It may be just 11 miles long but this spectacular run from Buxton to Macclesfield highlights what makes biking in the UK so wonderful. The A537 road has been named as the most dangerous in the country by the RAC, so watch your step as you take on the hair-raising bends. And don’t be distracted by the incredible scenery of the Greater Manchester conurbation, the Peak District National Park and Cheshire plain. Along the way, make sure you leave enough time to chat with fellow bikers at the Cat and Fiddle Inn, for which the run is named.
With excellent ferry access, this route is simple to get to. It’s one of the longest coastal roads in Europe, so you might not want to ride it all at once, but whichever stretch you choose you’re guaranteed a treat. With towering cliffs and deserted coves, mountain tracks and lush interiors it’s a fantastic tour through Ireland’s mythical landscape, perhaps even more rewarding than the Alps or Pyrenees. For film buffs it even includes distant views of Great Skellig Island, featured in recent Star Wars movies.
This circuit of the whole island takes you through mind-blowing scenery and provides the chance to explore some of Iceland’s larger towns. Much of the time you’ll be able to experience challenging roads almost entirely to yourself. They’ll take you past volcanoes, glaciers, icebergs and waterfalls as you make your way around this absorbing and extraordinary country. To get there, you can either take a two-day ferry from Denmark or have your bike shipped across.