~ Overview ~
Touring around Europe on a motorcycle was a concept I hadn’t considered until I met my boyfriend; who had already done this adventure 3 times! His previous trips sounded amazing, and with both of us being motorcycle enthusiasts, it was only natural that our first big adventure together started to form quickly and before we knew it, we were on our way!
Let me begin by giving a couple background bits of information. Our trip was not a “tour group” trip, it was just the two of us, free to ride wherever the road took us. I rented a motorcycle in Germany, and my boyfriend stores his own motorcycle in Germany year round. I’ll put links at the bottom of the page for those wanting to rent or store a motorcycle in Germany.
Our travels started in Heidelberg, Germany, and took us west to France, south to the Mediterranean, west through Monaco and into Italy, south to the Amalfi Coast, and then north up through Italy, Austria and back into Germany. It was an amazing trip that took us on high speed interstates, narrow twisty country roads and cobblestone city centers. We crammed ourselves into tourist destinations and toured castles with only a few other visitors in them. We did a summer toboggan run, rode bicycles and climbed more stairs than I ever thought possible! It was a fantastic trip, one that will definitely be repeated!
We learned many valuable lessons along the way:
Lesson 1: Never assume that the parts you buy in Canada, for your bike in Germany, will actually fit properly on the bike once you arrive in Germany. Always carry or have access to tools!
Lesson 2: Motorcyclist are respected in Europe. Motorcycle’s can be parked anywhere…really! Motorcycle’s can split traffic and pretty much do whatever they want.
Lesson 3: Cobblestone is near impossible to stop on when wet, and surprisingly not much more enjoyable to ride on when dry.
Lesson 4: Do NOT expect stores or restaurants to keep the same hours as they do in North America!
We found that most restaurants in southern France and Italy close between the hours of 2pm – 7pm, so make sure you’ve stopped to eat before 2pm, otherwise you’ll be hungry for a very long time. Small cafe’s with gelato and crepes, seem to stay open though. Gas stations also close early, usually by 7pm (unless you’re in a bigger city).
Lesson 5: If you’re traveling to Europe to see all the tourist destinations, go in the middle of winter, otherwise you’ll be surrounded by hordes of tourists and long wait times. It’s really hard to see a lot of the stuff you’ve gone to see, when thousands of people are standing in your way. Disappointing, really. The traveling by motorcycle part made up for it though!
Lesson 6: Booking.com is a fantastic website for booking hotels as you go, we used it on our entire trip and are 100% pleased with it. Before we left a hotel in the morning, we would go online and find a hotel at our next destination, book it and then not have to stress about where to stay once we got somewhere. It lets you sort hotels by price, location and user reviews (I highly recommend reading some user reviews before booking, very helpful).
Lesson 7: Riding the Amalfi coast is very pretty, but somewhat frustrating to do it at 30 km/hr the whole way. It took us about 4 hours to ride 80kms!
Lesson 8: They really do know how to make a good pizza in Italy!
Lesson 9: Europeans in general are very fit and very friendly. I think it’s because there’s not a fast food restaurant on every corner! Although, McDonald’s is somewhat better tasting over there, and there’s usually a few in every big city.
Lesson 10: Germans are amazingly good drivers! Why can’t the rest of the world drive like that!?!
If you’re interested in renting a bike from Frankfurt: Allround Motorcycle Renting
If you’re interested in storing a bike in Heidelberg (an hour south of Frankfurt): Knopf Tours
If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments or send a question through our “Contact” page above.