The most beautiful mountains in the world
Lofty grey peaks, lush green slopes, fragrant woods and crystal-clear mountain lakes... not to mention miles of curving tarmac served by regular, high-quality cafes and comfortable hotels. This is motorcycle touring heaven - and it's easily explored with just one week off work on this eight/nine-day self-guided tour.
This is the Dolomites in Northern Italy. It's a place that gets under your skin and into your blood, so you simply can't get enough of them. It has some of the most beautiful biking routes - not in Europe, but in the entire world. And while mountains can throw all kinds of weather up at any time of year, the reality is that summer in the Dolomites is usually sun-drenched and warm, even at the top of the highest passes.
The ride to, around and back from the Dolomites takes eight days - which leaves one day free with a week off work (assuming you leave on a Saturday morning and come back the following Sunday). There's an optional riding day in the Dolomites, adding even more passes and ensuring all the key ones are ridden in both directions, or the free day could be kept as a rest day or a sightseeing day - it's flexible so you get the touring holiday you want.
What’s included on the route? Each day’s route includes recommended places to stop for coffee in the morning and afternoon, with a suggested lunch stop and planned fuel stops (upto 130 miles apart). Tourist attractions along the way are highlighted, so you can pick which to visit.
How long is each day’s ride? It's not an Iron Butt Rally but it is a riding holiday, so these are day-long rides: check-out and hit the road by 9-9:30am, to get to the next hotel at 5:30-6pm. That's with stops for coffee and lunch: each day is a full but relaxed ride, suitable for pillions or small groups, as well as experienced tourists looking to discover a new area. Saddle-time rating: six out of 10.
What are the highlights? Italy's a long way from the UK, so the tour packs in plenty of great riding on the way, through the Black Forest, Bavaria and Austria. The time in the Dolomites includes the famous Sella Ronda route, plus more than 20 other passes. On the sightseeing front there are museums, castles, cable cars... plenty of attractions to make an extended break from the saddle a memorable pleasure.
Why eight/nine days? This tour is designed to fit in with having one week off work, leaving Calais on a Saturday morning and returning the following Sunday afternoon. There are eight riding days across France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium - plus an optional additional day in the Dolomites. But that's optional, so you can have a full day off the bike, if you prefer. The aim is for it to be flexible.
How is it supplied? Just download the GPX files and install them in your sat nav. Garmin or BMW Navigator users should download the complete file, which comes with additional waypoints for the various attractions that aren't directly on the route; TomTom users (or riders using a GPX compatible phone app like Scenic or MyRouteApp Navigator) should download the individual files. I also supply a tour pack of day-by-day route notes and marked-up maps (not sold separately). Garmin/BMW users can order it at the same time as downloading the routes; TomTom users should use the "Contact" section to arrange it.
Download the tour
Garmin/BMW users should download the complete-route file. Individual day files should be downloaded for TomTom or GPX-compatible phone apps.