It’s fair to say Europe has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to what it can offer adventure bikers. Whether you have a penchant for silky smooth mountain passes, rugged off-road trails, or a mix of both, there is a huge list of destinations to choose from.
However, there is an area of Europe growing in popularity with bikers that seems to have all the ingredients for the perfect motorcycle tour – South Eastern Europe, and in particular the cluster of countries dotted along the Adriatic coast.
These include the likes of Croatia, Slovenia, Albania and Montenegro, which all boast spectacular biking routes on and off-road. The landscape is world-renowned for its beauty, and visitors rave about the warmth of the welcome from the region’s people.
With all this in mind, we’ve teamed up with local motorcycle tour experts Alkemist Adventures to explore why the region could be Europe’s ultimate adventure biking destination.
The roads are incredible…
South Eastern Europe is littered with superb motorcycling roads, from the twisting mountain passes of Montenegro to the snaking roads of Croatia’s exquisite Adriatic coast. One of the best known is the Kotor Serpentine which switchbacks sharply as it climbs from the fortified town of Kotor up to Lovcen in Montenegro.
You’ll get spectacular views of the bay below if you’re brave enough to take your eyes off the road and ignore the sheer drop off beside you. Once you’ve slayed the Serpentine, the ride around Kotor Bay is also a treat where mountains tower from the water’s edge.
And the trails are spectacular too
There are seemingly endless off-road riding opportunities in the region to suit all skill levels, but it gets truly gnarly in Albania and Montenegro. Tourism in these areas isn’t as developed as neighbouring Croatia and you’ll feel that intoxicating mix of isolation and exploration as you venture into the highland areas of these beautiful countries.
Alkemist Adventures offers a series of tours mixing gravel roads, trails, and road riding to ensure you experience the best adventure biking the region has to offer.
It’s easy on the wallet
Being an adventure biker isn’t cheap once you’ve totted up the cost of your bike, gear, accessories, insurance and servicing costs. And all that comes before you’ve even thought about booking a ferry and accommodation for your next trip abroad.
Thankfully, South Eastern Europe offers some respite for your wallet. The likes of Albania, Slovenia and Montenegro are often cited as some of the most affordable destinations in Europe for accommodation, food and travel.
People travel from around the world to experience the natural wonders South Eastern Europe has to offer. Imposing mountain ranges plunge into the sea along the Adriatic coast. Roads are dotted with pristine lakes and panoramic views as you feast your eyes on awe-inspiring scenery. If exploring natural wonders by motorcycle is your thing, the region has got you covered.
Vibrant cities and towns to explore
At the end of a day riding through spectacular scenery, it’s nice to dump your gear in a hotel room, shower and hit the town in search of some nightlife. Vibrant cities like Sarajevo, Dubrovnik and Split are brimming with bars, restaurants, and nightspots where you can have a cold beer and unwind after a day in the saddle. These cities are also steeped in history and culture, providing fascinating places to explore on free days off the bike.
It’s not overrun, yet…
It can be infuriating finding yourself on a perfect mountain pass only to have it ruined by an endless stream of cars, coaches and campervans dawdling along the road. Unfortunately, this can be a reality of riding in Europe in summer.
While South Eastern Europe is by no means a secret to travellers, it does offer an alternative to Europe’s more mainstream destinations. Croatia does have a well-established tourism industry, but bikers won’t find it hard to escape the crowds, especially if you head towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia or Albania where tourism is less developed.
The two friends behind Alkemist Adventures, Marko and Tony, started the business to share their passion for motorcycle travel in the area they grew up in and still call home. They use their intimate local knowledge of South Eastern Europe to show customers the best places to ride, eat and sleep, enabling them to experience the riches the region has to offer, off the usual tourist trail.
Each Alkemist Adventures tour is limited to six riders to ensure the individual needs of each guest are catered for. Riders wanting to rent a motorcycle can choose from late model BMW R 1200 GS and GS Adventure bikes. Head over to the Alkemist Adventures website for more information.