Motorcycle routes into Europe and Scandinavia

Travelling to France on a motorcycle

There are many choices: ferries from Dover, Portsmouth, Weymouth and Poole, and the Channel tunnel for a 25 minute roll-on, roll-off train ride to Calais.

Depending on where you are headed the shortest crossing is not necessarily the most efficient or the most relaxing. For instance, if you are headed towards western France, we recommend you consider the Portsmouth ferries to Cherbourg and Le Havre, or the overnight ferry to St Malo.These take a few hours, during which you can have a decent meal on board, take a cabin for the day (or night)if you wish, and at the other end there are some great places to stay within an hour’s ride of the ports. If you take the overnight ferry then you can hit the road first thing in the morning, refreshed, relaxed and ready to ride. The D-Day beaches are well worth a visit, particularly Arromanches, as are the picturesque and ancient villages and towns of Normandy. If you prefer a shorter crossing then land at Calais and take the Pas-de Calais southwest to get to Brittany/Normandy.

From Calais, if you head to the East, then Bruges and Antwerp are only a couple of hours ride away.

Heading south and towards the east (from Calais) there are some magnificent motorcycling roads through Champagne and then routes southward and eastward into the Vosges mountains and onward to the Black Forest in Germany. Cut across Austria from Southern Germany and you can find yourself at the mighty Stelvio pass in Northern Italy.

Travelling further south through Eastern France brings the Jura mountains and then you can head into Switzerland through high Alpine passes for the Andermatt loop; or head further south via Mont Blanc and on to the lakes of northern Italy.

The N85 (Route Napoleon) can be picked up at Grenoble and will take you all the way to Cannes on the Cote d’Azur. There are then some fantastic roads and routes in Provence to explore.

Travelling to Spain by motorbike

You can reach Spain by land or sea. A long ride through France to the Pyrenees: we have done it ourselves on a number of occasions, and you can plan many a beautiful route there and back. If you decide to head that way, you will want to ride as much of the N260 along the south side of the Spanish Pyrenees as you can. Alternatively, you might want to take the overnight ferry from Portsmouth or Plymouth to Santander or Bilbao, and head out either East towards the N260 or westward through the Picos de Europa and along the northern coast of Spain, through mediaeval Cantabria, Asturias and on to Santiago de Compostella or La Corunna in beautiful Galicia. After that, head South to Portugal or perhaps loop round to ride homeward through northern Spain. The E.U. has invested heavily in Spanish infrastructure, and you will be amazed at the quality of the blacktop!

Ferry Crossings to Holland and Belgium for motorcycle riders

Other ferry routes are available from further afield in the U.K. :

Harwich to Hook of Holland
Hull to Rotterdam, Zeebrugge

Going to Scandinavia for a motorcycling holiday

We have had a few enquiries from riders wanting to reach Scandinavia. Unfortunately, further to the cessation of the DFDs cargo ferries that used to run between Immingham and Gottenburg it’s no longer possible to cross from the UK to Scandinavia directly by sea.

DFDS are still running cargo ferries (cargo ships that will also carry passengers and vehicles) from Ghent in Belgium up to Gottenburg in Sweden and this route may be worth exploring.

For more information  we recommend sending an e-mail directly to DFDS