Where do you go to escape winter in North America? California? New Mexico? Or just Mexico? In Europe, winter motorcycling destinations are a little more limited – but if you happen to be here during the cold season, there are still places to ride and explore.


An island of pirates and poets, Sardinia is unlike anything in mainland Italy. Out here, it feels like wild country: Sardinia’s mountainous inland territory is perfect for off-road riding, as the entire island is crisscrossed by trails, tracks, and sheep paths; there’s so much off-road riding to do just in the mountains that you can easily fall of the grid in Sardinia for days.

Winter Motorcycling Destinations in Europe  // ADV Rider

There are abandoned mines you can ride past, wild beaches to explore, the food is to die for, and the locals seem to be living between the dolce far niente concept and siesta, welcoming foreigners with a friendly “ciao” and the best espresso in Italy. Added bonus? Insanely twisty tarmac roads for those days when you feel more ciao than braap and want a leisurely but curvy cruise on pavement.

Sardinia is a year-round motorcycling destination, but it’s especially enjoyable in late fall and early spring when it’s the off-season. You’ve got the place to yourself, and there’s a certain sweet melancholy to Sardinia when October comes.

Winter Motorcycling Destinations in Europe  // ADV Rider


Much like Sardinia, Crete feels like an autonomous territory where people tell you they’re Cretan first, Greek second. A large and sparsely populated island, Crete offers virtually unlimited off-road riding, plenty of paved twisties, jaw-dropping mountain views, and the soft breeze coming from the African shores.

Winter Motorcycling Destinations in Europe  // ADV Rider

Crete is a fantastic destination whether you’re riding on or off the road, and off-season, the locals are happy to see foreigners traveling the island. Be sure to stay in small mountain villages to experience Cretan hospitality, and don’t be surprised to see nomad shepherds everywhere on the island – out here, shepherds still walk miles upon miles to graze their animals in the mountains and valleys, and it’s like the time sands still in Crete once you leave Rethymnon and Heraklion.

Winter Motorcycling Destinations in Europe  // ADV Rider


I’m not sure there’s a better place to ride off-road in Europe than Andalucia, and as luck would have it, Andalucia is also a year-round motorcycling destination.

Winter Motorcycling Destinations in Europe  // ADV Rider

Out here, there’s no limit to how much you can ride dirt: near Granada, there’s the majestic Gorafe Desert boasting red rock formations, canyons, and dry riverbeds – easily a place you can spend three or four days exploring, especially if you follow the dry riverbeds. A little south-west of Gorafe is the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, a beautiful mountain country ith plenty of grave roads and narrow single track to enjoy; and if you prefer tarmac, simply leave the coast and head inland – you’re guaranteed to find more twisties than you’ll know what to do with.

Winter Motorcycling Destinations in Europe  // ADV Rider


Some riders will tell you off-road riding in Portugal is better than in Spain. That’s debatable, but the fact is, Southern Portugal is a paradise for dirt bikes in winter: unlike in Western Europe, there’s no hostility towards off-road riders here, there are countless dirt trails to explore, and the food alone is worth the journey. If it’s getting cold and chilly in Northern, Western, and Eastern Europe, but you still want to ride, head for Southern Portugal and plan to spend at least a couple of weeks here. Or, better yet, combine it with Southern Spain and just stay here till spring!


Okay, not technically Europe, but Morocco is so easily accessible from Spain and Italy (just jump on a ferry, and you’re in Morocco) that it sort of counts. The undisputed Mecca for off-road riding, Morocco is the perfect winter motorcycling destination: whether you’re headed for the famous Erg Chebb dunes in Merzouga ready to play a Dakar rider, exploring the Atlas Mountains, or simply hoping to cross the Sahara Desert, Morocco has it all. Now that the Moroccan borders are finally about to open – November-December at the latest – it’s time to head South.

Winter Motorcycling Destinations in Europe  // ADV Rider


One more country that’s not technically in Europe but so close it counts, Turkey is not exactly a popular motorcycling destination among Europeans – but it should be. Steeped in rich history and offering so much in terms of scenery, off-road riding, and exploring that you can easily spend a month here and only see a fraction of it, Turkey is great for a winter escape (just avoid high-altitude mountain passes), and you’ll probably end up coming back for more in spring.

What are your favorite winter motorcycling destinations in Europe? Share in the comments below!

Images: Egle/Pixabay

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