Looking for a budget-friendly off-road riding getaway in Europe, preferably exploring places off the beaten path and riding with local guys obsessed with dirt bikes? While Western Europe isn’t exactly a cheap motorcycling destination, Eastern Europe still is – and it offers several mind-blowing off-road experiences across the board. From enduro tours to off-road and rally training, Eastern Europe and the Balkans offer ridiculous amounts of dirt riding fun, and it’s still more affordable than anywhere else on the continent.
Here are three off-road riding destinations and tour options if you’re looking for cheap summer rides in Europe:
Ukraine: Enduro Dreamland
Still one of the more undiscovered – and thoroughly awesome – places in Europe, Ukraine is an off-road riding paradise with no limits. The Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine are wild, rugged, and open for dirt bikes: forget restrictions and limits – out here, if a trail can be ridden, it’s ridden.
If you’re planning to ride your own bike, Ukrainian TET is the best resource for routes, trails, and travel information. Looking for an off-road tour? Enduro Dreamland , a team of local Ukrainian riders, offer tours for as little as Eur 480 for a four-day tour and Eur 720 euros for a 6-day tour, bike, accommodation, and meals included. While I haven’t personally ridden with them before, I’ve heard Enduro Dreamland guys are as dedicated and as nuts as you want your off-road guides to be.
Easily one of my favorite countries in Europe, Romania is likely to become the new Spain or Portugal when it comes to the best two-wheeled destinations on the continent. Out here, both paved and off-road motorcycle roads are out of this world, and Transylvania offers so many enduro trails no wonder Romaniacs are, well, Romaniacs. If you’re traveling Romania on your own bike, finding off-road trails is easy – just pick any dirt track shooting off a paved road, and you’re good to go. Alternatively, much like with Ukraine, Romanian TET is an excellent resource for routes and trails.
For guided off-road tours and off-road training, Enduro Escape based in Transylvania offers pure unadulterated off-roading bliss on small dirt bikes. Their tour prices start at 600 euros, bike, accommodation, meals, and sightseeing at Dracula’s Castle included; the guides speak some English, and they take you across gnarly, technical terrain in the mountains They may also be open to renting dirt bikes for solo riders, and they can source ADV bike rentals if you prefer off and on-road routes in equal measure.
Much like Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Albania are Europe’s crown jewel when it comes to off-road riding, especially in the Dinaric Alps (Croatia and Bosnia). If you have the time, it’s best to ship your own bike here and explore the Balkans over a course of a couple of months – this region is so diverse and so awe-inspiring in terms of scenery and riding you won’t want to rush, but if you are pressed for time, Untamed tours offer all-inclusive off-road riding holidays of 14-16 days, tour prices starting at Eur 1,860. It’s not a two-week cruising vacation, though: the Untamed crew will take you across some of the most insane mountain terrain, you’ll be camping and sleeping in tiny mountain huts, and the riding will be as gnarly as it can get. Untamed offers tours in Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Albania, and if two weeks of off-roading in the Balkans aren’t enough, consider doing the Dinaric Rally before or after – it’s a new rally racing event celebrating its second edition this year based in Knin, Croatia.
Rally Training Ridecation
Is that too weird a word? Maybe, but I’m not sure what else to call an escape to ride and race at the same time. Bosnia Rally (July 25-31) is a hybrid event combining roadbook training, rally conditions, technical terrain, and an insane amount of dirt and ADV riding fun: essentially, it’s a rally race without the racing – while the event mimics a real rally, there is no timing, so participants get to play Dakar without the pressure of competing. It’s an awesome way to experience what a rally race is all about, get a crash course in roadbook navigation, and get hopelessly hooked on rally format – based riding.
Bosnia Rally is based in Kupres, Bosnia, a winter ski area – turns out, ski slopes make for fantastic off-road tracks in the summer! Bosnia Rally entry prices start at Eur 700 with your own bike with optional bike rental offers available from the ORGA team. Bosnia Rally covers 5 rally-style stages and over 1,400 km on varying terrain from fast-flowing tracks to gnarly mountain trails.
Are you planning a ridecation this year? If so, where are you headed? Share some tips and destinations in the comments below!
Featured image: Bastian Brusecke