September in Europe

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by DolphinJohn, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. DolphinJohn

    DolphinJohn Caveman

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    I've got the month of September to explore EU. (minus travel to and from, and maybe a day or so in Barcelona to get the bike and get ready).

    I've never been. I have a friend I will visit in Poland, other than that I just want to ride great roads and see great sites.

    My tentative route has me going through a few major cities which I figure I should see while I'm there. (or am I wrong?)

    I'm more interested in small villages really.

    Here is my tentative route. Bear in mind I really just put in waypoints and selected "avoid highways".

    I would appreciate any advice.

    I'll be on an F800GS, I own one here in the states. I'll be renting.

    I will be staying in hotels, no camping this trip. 8 hours riding would be about the longest day I'd want to do.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=B...dirflg=h&doflg=ptm&mra=ls&via=2,7,8,10,12&z=5


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    #1
  2. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    Hey John

    First thought is that you're missing the Route des Grandes Alps; great ride:

    [​IMG]

    Probably better routes through the Pyrenees too; I'll check it out later and get back. I'll be heading from UK to Morocco via Munich, Zurich and Lisbon in September; maybe catch you en-route.
    #2
  3. eddie98

    eddie98 Been here awhile

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    From my experience last year in sept. weather can be iffy. We finished our trip on September 11 in Milan. A week and a half later they got a nice snow storm and most of the passes were closed. I hope you can avoid major cities since they are really busy and they drive like crazy. Are you taking a GPS? That really helped us there and made it easy to navigate. If I was you I would spend more time in the Alps and Dolomites. We rode around that area for 5 days and didn’t get to see it all.
    Safe travels.
    #3
  4. sphyrnidus

    sphyrnidus born to ride

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    September can be wet, but also beautiful. Dependending on what you want to do there are different things to do here in Europe. If you want to visit cities remember that traffic in Europe is different, the roads are narrower and in more southern countries a lot of people interpret traffic laws as suggestions.
    Nice rides.. In Spain the N260 in the Pyrenees. Of course the route des Grandes Alpes, but also Austria, Switzerland and the south of Germany (Schwartz Wald) has nice roads.
    I can't see the route you planned for some reason on my IPad.

    I have quite a few GPS rides you are welcome to use. Feel free to ask.
    #4
  5. TXjames

    TXjames High Sider

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    My knowledge is strictly France but here are my thoughts...

    I was unimpressed, actually rather disappointed, with Bordeaux. And I wasn't even on a motorcycle. It's a rather grungy city and getting there from Toulouse was unremarkable. However, if you're a wine fanatic then St. Emilion is the place to be. Also, the Pyrenees are gorgeous, have some great roads, and all the Languedoc castles. I would recommend spending some time there.

    Some of the more memorable locations from the small slices of France I've experienced:

    Southern France:
    Rennes le Chateau - Very cool castle with an odd history. And there are places to stay nearby; just ask around at the bar.

    Galamus Gorge isn't far from Rennes le Chateau so you might want to take a ride through there. Not huge but very cool.

    Carcassone - A little commercial but the castle is truly impressive.

    Chateau de Montsegur - Hell of a hike for a small castle but the view is incredible.

    Just look up Pays Cathare or Cathar Castles.

    I found northwestern France full of things to see as well but it's not on your route and I don't blame you since you'll be travelling all over Europe. But if you end up there, check out Mont St. Michel This place is absolutely breathtaking and the 3 meter tide is quite impressive.

    I don't know if they're on your route (since I've never been) but I would personally head straight for all those insanely good Alpen roads that are so often discussed here. Although September may be too late to travel them on a bike.
    #5
  6. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    Well, what a surprise. If you take the route you've outlined, you'll go through the small town I live in. But I don't recommend it. :D

    Speaking only of France for the most part, I'd have a few suggestions. Wildman beat me to it on the Route des Grandes Alpes. If you do the whole route, plan on a modest three days to enjoy the scenery.

    After Sete and Aigues Mortes, do a detour in The Camarge to Sainte-Maries-de-la-Mer to see the white horses and black bulls.
    As for Cannes, forget the films from the 60s where you see nothing but hot babes, millionaire playboys, etc. It's no longer on the jet-set itinerary, been taken over by tourists looking for the jet-set. Nice, same. I'd head to Castellane and keep going east until you pick up the Route des Grandes Alpes. The N75 Route de Napolean is nice but once your arrive at Grenoble, its all trucks.

    For the return, once you get near Orleans south of Paris, take the A20 autoroute (one of the few toll-free in France) and get off at Limoges, head southwest to Perigueux or southeast to Figeac. Both areas are made for bikes. Wander south and then head toward Montauban, then on to st. Gaudens, before going across to Spain. Don't miss the N260 in Spain that will take you back to Barcelona.
    #6
  7. speiche

    speiche Adventurer

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    Location:
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    propose

    arriving at

    CH - Meiningen

    change to

    Grimmsel-Pass
    Furka-Pass
    Andermatt
    Klausen-Pass (L)
    Walensee change to

    Bad Ragaz
    Davos
    Zernez
    Merano
    San leonardo
    Brenner
    Innsbruck (I)



    good luck

    By the way some remarks
    - Looking at the bikes your drive/drove, you are touching some one of the most beautiful areas in the Alps ( French Alps, Liguria, Piemont,.....) for bike riding on and offraod. In every region you could spend easy 1 to 2 weeks!
    - You touch the Alps only in CH
    - Berlin to Amsterdam is boring roads are flat and straight
    - Amsterdam till France the same
    - North of the Alps weather in September is mixed and could be rainy
    - If you want to focus on "the way is the target" than you should think about to spend more times in the Alps (e.g cross the Alps from West to East to / France to Lake of Garda - 4-5 days, small roads/villages ) and to drive fast to Poland -

    Of course if you would see Berlin, Amsterdam it is difficult......

    Here see
    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=204869467381019347116.0004bda3d430b388bb147&msa=0

    one possibilty
    #7
  8. Roadpizza

    Roadpizza n00b

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    You made your best suggestion yourself. Avoid the big cities. Hitting the big cities will rob you of at least half a day getting in and then getting out. Since your time is limited, spend it wisely.
    #8
  9. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Glad to see that you're bypassing the Dolomites entirely.

    You wouldn't want to go there.

    Heavens, no!

    I especially like the Autobahn blitz from Liechtenstein to Poland. Might as well stay home and run up and down I-95.

    IMHO - From Vaduz (get your passport stamped - 2 Franc fee - looks cool) I'd head down to Klosters and Davos, over the Fluela Pass towards Santa Maria Val Mustair, over the Umbrail Pass, pick up the last bit of the Stelvio and head down the Trafoi side towards Merano. From there to Bolzano and towards Cortina in the Dolomites.

    It's worth booking into either Arabba or Corvara in Badia for 2-3 nights and just riding the local passes.

    OTOH - it will absolutely spoil you for the rest of the world.

    From Cortina, north to Dobbiaco, back west to the Brenner pass to Innsbruck and continue on.

    Check out my links to ADV ride reports and pics.
    #9
  10. DolphinJohn

    DolphinJohn Caveman

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    Thanks for the help and suggestions, even the sarcastic ones. :D



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    #10
  11. 2WheelieADV

    2WheelieADV Been here awhile

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    Interesting that I also plan on starting my trip on sept 1 from Barcelona goint kind of the same way. here is the route I planned. I'll have to cut thru Milan cas of time limit, and continue to Innsbruck and Munich from there.
    http://g.co/maps/8yc78
    http://g.co/maps/29bu6

    My goal is to see the countryside as well, but also get a glimps on some cities as Milan, Munich maybe Praga and Vienna, than get down to Balkans. Since we have 24 days we may readjust as we go...
    #11
  12. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    You might also check out Austouring - one of the inmates - "Glitch" - has done a couple of September rides in the Alps. I'm sorry that I don't have a direct link, but it should be fairly easy to find (he says innocently).

    Pete's (Glitch's real name) is a good guy and does a nice write up.
    #12
  13. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    #13
  14. hadye

    hadye The Pharaoh

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    Well, that's an interesting route . Will have a long one like passing through central Europe From UK to end in Faakersee in the first half of it passing through Mannheim

    Hope u enjoy theride


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    #14
  15. DolphinJohn

    DolphinJohn Caveman

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    I have made some changes thanks to the replies here.

    That's exactly what I was looking for, people who know the area to suggest better roads/routes.

    I will ride the Route de Grande Alps and also the passes MichaelJ suggested in Italy.

    I realize that I will have to sacrifice good riding in order to visit Amsterdam, Paris, etc. but I think it may be worth it.

    Actually I'm torn on this issue. I want to see and experience Europe as much as possible and I don't know whether that means I should see those cities or that I should avoid them in favor of small villages.

    In the states I tend to enjoy the rural areas and open country more than the cities, but I would hate to be there and regret not seeing the cities.

    I may have to decide whether this is a "see Europe" or a "ride Europe" trip.


    I will post a link to an updated but still tentative route when I get it done.

    Thanks again.....


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    #15
  16. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    My bias is to the countryside, having lived all of my working life in big cities. Is Paris worth visiting? Yes, if you can take your time to really get to know it. Doing the three hour tourist bus thing doesn't count. Driving/riding isn't for the faint of heart and for someone who's never done it, even worse. Get to your hotel, park the bike and take public transport, the bus or underground. Paris proper isn't that spread out, a good pair of legs will get you from one end to the other in four hours. And on foot is the best way to absorb the atmosphere. It's one of, if not the only, cities I've been to where each street and each neighborhood is different. That said, not all of the neighborhoods are recommended.

    Marseilles, on the other hand, is to be avoided. It's become a real toilet.
    #16
  17. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    I've sent you a PM.
    #17
  18. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Adding onto RTLover's comments.

    Having a motor vehicle in most European cities is a liability. My preference would be to stick to the back roads and villages while on the bike - you'll get a much richer experience as to what the local culture actually is. Cities, by their very nature, tend to be artificial.

    Plus, the scenery is staggering. I took my kids over in 2003 (moto trip) and while we were waiting for border clearance into Livigno, my elder son commented that the scenery had to be experienced to be believed - words fail to convey the reality.

    That being said, if you really do want to visit the cities, pick up a Eurailpass before you leave the States and use the train - either before or after the moto phase. Train will bring you to the heart of each city, you get to see some countryside whilst in transit, and you don't have the hassle and expen$e of a rented moto sitting in a garage at $150+/day or so.

    This way, you get to have your cake and eat it, too.

    Since you've got a month, I'd spend about two weeks plus a bit in the Alps. I'd rent either in Munich (clockwise loop) or Zurich (counterclockwise loop). This is, without a doubt, the most intense motorcycling area that I have experienced in over 50 years of riding. The flat parts of Europe tend to be heavily populated with the attendant traffic that goes with the population - there's a reason that mass transit works in Europe.

    Since you're looking at September, I'd do the bike part first and then the train part (weather issues).

    Either way, you'll have a great time and will quickly come to the realization that one trip just isn't enough.
    #18
  19. 2WheelieADV

    2WheelieADV Been here awhile

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    I'd concentrate more on a countryside and leave cities for another trip. You can 't have it both ways unless time is no limit... That said you still can go-thru some cities to get an idea if you wana come next time for longer stay. Paris is amazing city and if you can have a full day/night in there, get a detailed map and do your homework. The city is very compact but has lots and lots of streets, and if you not familiar with it and don't drive like locals, you will lose lots of time, and be aggravated going in circles. So, divide the city into the parts you want to see. try to be there early in the morning. It consists of districts (like dist 1, 2,...10,11 etc. If interested, I can recommend areas for you to see in 1 day). Park the bike in each district and spend 1 to 2 hours walking and explore. If start early, by the evening you'll think it was one long day, like a week... but lots of memories to take back. Next time you'll do it in more relaxed way, but you'll feel like a resident of the city :)
    Amsterdam is smaller and maybe you can do the same.
    #19
  20. dutchie

    dutchie Lower than most

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    As you only have one month, I would concentrate on Vosges/Black Forest, Alpes, Toscane, south of France and Northern Spain.

    I mean, Amsterdam f.e. is a nice place (lived there for 20 years), but squeezing yourself thru dense traffic on straight roads for hundreds of kms to get there ? Better spend those days on twisty roads more to the south of Europe.
    #20