Think past Daytona Beach and Sturgis. Way, way, past. A mere ocean or two away. Experts and beginners may look for awesome scenery and white-knuckle turns for the best motorcycle routes. What if you can have both? Or, maybe a leisurely run is more your style. Yep, you can have that, too.
And, then there’s you’ve-never-before-seen culture and wildlife to round out our top picks for the best 15 motorcycle routes in the world. These trips take some planning, but the results will brim with stories you’ll tell your grandchildren. And, every biker you know.
1. Reefton Spur, Australia
This is a favorite of both bikers and those who prefer to watch a movie rather than be in it. (Cars)
Offering up mountains, cliffs, forests, and more than 165 bends in roughly 18 kilometers, it’s a heart-pumping adventure.
Located about 80 miles from Melbourne, it’s a local favorite of the best motorcycle routes.
The ideal time of year for the run is late spring or early summer to avoid slippery conditions. You may still run across moss due to the tree-canopied asphalt, and the drop can kill you, but that’s why we ride.
2. Nurburgring, Germany
Infamous race tracks built in the 20’s and the 80’s still boasting some of the best of mean leaning and heart-stopping speeds.
All set in the winding bliss of green hills, mountains, and centuries-old villages and castles.
Every April, a “motorcycle mass” is held just for bikers, and about 12,000 of them gather for church, a procession, and a thrill seeker’s homage to the “Green Hell”. (In German, Hell means “light”)
This is one of the best motorcycle routes for those who love events as much as ride.
3. Los Caracoles Pass, Chile
Set in the Andes and connecting Chile to Argentina, this is less of a pass and more of an entrance into biker heaven.
Heavily traveled on one end before most of the traffic takes a tunnel instead, you share the road that’s up to over 10,000 feet altitude. Then, snake back down to 3000 feet on high-speed hairpins.
Threats of rock fall and snow close this down in winter, proving that there are limits to this death-defying trek. If defying death is your idea of the best motorcycle routes, you have met your match.
4. Trollstigen, Norway
This legendary mountain pass of Western Norway is named for the “trolls” who wandered through the area. Also called the “troll ladder” due to the bird’s eye view of the switchbacks.
The hair-raising turns make it look just like a ladder. Though the climb clocks in at just 12 kilometers, and the grade a mere 7%, the amazing view makes it a bucket list item.
Touted in the UK as one of the best motorcycle routes, bikers pass waterfalls, lush valleys, and steep cliffs.
5. Amalfi Coast, Italy
This is a mecca for honeymooners, travelers, and bicycles, and you’ll be sharing the road with all of them.
This makes the dizzying heights and blind turns even that much more exciting.
Overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, this pass boasts a bird’s eye view of jagged cliffs, ships and swimmers in the water, and the lovely, historic charm of an Italian village carved into mountains.
Visited by thousands each year, motorbike renters often remark they’ll never drive these roads again. Bikers, however, return again and again.
6. Pacific Coast Highway, California
For bikers looking to take the long, leisurely way home, this trek is one of the best motorcycle routes in the US.
And, this is perfect for a week or a few days of seeing California and the Pacific Ocean at it’s glorious best.
The 200 miles between San Louis Obispo and San Francisco offers up beaches with seal families, redwood forest, steep cliffs, and world-famous San Francisco Bridge.
And, some of the best stops for food and wine on the planet.
7. Chasing Che, Cuba
If you didn’t already know, Cuba is just 90 miles from the Florida Straits, but much more than miles separate it from US border.
Less than 7 years ago, US citizens barely traveled there, and those who left Cuba knew they couldn’t return.
Now, the borders are more open, and bikers have newly discovered a 2,000-mile trek in which the 50’s never forgot.
From Havana and the Bay of Pigs to mountainous unpaved trails, bikers learn to love this island from the inside out. (interesting note: police in Cuba strictly rode Harleys until the 50’s, so antique versions dot the roads)
8. Pyrenees Loop, France, and Spain
This 1500 mile road is revered by European bikers as one of the best motorcycle routes on the continent.
Both scenery rich and marked with hair-standing turns, bikers can choose any one of many options for one or two day ride. Starting just south of Barcelona, the loop covers the natural, and striking mountain range bordering France and Spain.
With peaks of over 10,000 feet, views of valley farmlands, local ranchers, snow-topped mountains, along this road of 90% turns, is stunning.
9. Sierra Gorda, Mexico
Way off the beaten path of Mexico City, the central Mexico area is preserved with the perfect mix of roads and off-road paths for bikers.
And, the scenery includes waterfalls, cave-dwelling green macaws, and enough local history to fill several travel guides.
Add the hairpin turns, mountain scenery, and honest-to-god Sonoran Mexican food, and you’ve got yourself a finger-licking dream come true.
Compared to others on the list, the ease and price of traveling to Mexico also make it one of the best motorcycle routes to try.
10. Tibet to Everest, the Himalayas
Just one look at the highest mountains in the world has inspired centuries of humans.
Whether you embark from Khathmandu or Nepal, take the road less traveled for a 14-day trip, or just a few days, it’s guaranteed to inspire even the savviest of bikers.
However you choose to traverse past monasteries on this trip, make sure you see the Everest base camp. At 5200 feet, the panoramic view will leave you (perhaps, literally) breathless.
11. Hana Highway, Maui
Graced with more than 600 bends and 60 single-lane bridges, the Maui Island of Hawaii shows off its curves in glorious views from this highway.
Dense rainforest, and views of Pacific Ocean waves which rival small skyscrapers are just a glimpse of what bikers see if they dare take their eyes off the road.
This 60-mile journey is perfect for the experienced biker which runs from Kipahulu Forest Reserve to Kahului. And, of course, it’s Hawaii, where there is plenty to explore off the bike, too!
12. The Jebel Hafeet Highway, Abu Dhabi
Just 90 Miles south of Dubai, this highway was built to test the technical skills of the finest of bikers.
On the scale of the best motorcycle routes, this one tops out with high-quality asphalt, 60 scream-worthy turns, and a 4,000-foot climb. And, at just over 7 miles, it’s a day of testing your skills to their limit.
Add the gorgeous desert mountain scenery, and any biker would add this to their “must go” list.
13. El Camino de la Muerte, Bolivia
This road has blood on its hands.
Killing more people than any other road in the world (300 a year in one toll), this trek is 35 miles of human dropping cliffs, blind turns, and a steep downhill grade, descending almost 10,000 feet.
The good news is that upgrades began in 2006 with asphalt, guard rails, and traffic diversion from the deadliest areas. And, fatalities have dropped significantly.
However, thrill seekers still flock to the site known as “The Road of Death”.
14. Ho Chi Minh Trail, Vietnam
This unique experience and one of the best motorcycle routes in the world offers up several options depending on your skill.
Most of the historic trail has been paved over and stands as the Ho Chi Minh Highway.
However, there are off-road paths still used by locals. And, they have monuments to the war they once helped. Rusted out tanks and bomb craters dot the paths, a certain homage to those who gave up everything.
Though the entire trail is a staggering 12,000 miles, planning a few days through the gorgeous subtropical mountains is perfect for some.
15. Cape Town Loop, South Africa
The Cape Town Loop is over 1000 miles and has everything you’d want for a fly-ride experience.
Switchbacks, gorgeous scenery, and the opportunity to witness some pretty amazing wildlife in their respective homes.
Not to mention Little Karoo Mountains with perfect views of the lush landscape.
Even if a biker decides on a day trip, spectacular ocean views from the Kogelberg Mountains and a lunch featuring local wines await.
The Best Motorcycle Routes is Just the Beginning
Travel and bikers are like twins. Either is fine alone, but together they open up a whole new world. We hope this list inspires you to wake up your inner traveler, grab a few friends perhaps, and see the world.
And of course, seeing the world from the saddle is better than just about anything else.