Witnessing breathtaking vistas blurring past your peripheral vision through the helmet, as you traverse some exotic terrains is a compelling allure for every passionate biker. Riding through some of the most spellbinding locations in the world, as that motor propelling you churns out a melodic symphony is one of the most heavenly dreams a biker could ever dream.
Now, India has a vast range of remarkable geographies, weather conditions, landscapes and terrains of its own. However, the charm of riding over the most exotic global riding routes is rather unparalleled. Witnessing new landscapes, while also meeting new people and soaking in new cultures makes riding the indescribable experience that it really is. It’s a wish that every traveller biker nurtures deep within his heart. While the sheer economics of doing such a fantastic trip might be a tad too gargantuan to be realised, those dreams don’t cost a thing. And dreams, as they say, often come true. So here’s our list of the ten most exotic riding routes in the world that every passionate rider dreams of riding on. And dream on, we say, as you might end up riding one of these someday.
The Great Ocean Road – Australia
One of the most storied pieces of tar anywhere in the world, the Great Ocean Road is located in Australia and runs between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. Owing to the beautiful views and the way it runs hugging the coastline tightly, it’s been a tourist attraction for ages now. It’s about 245 km in length and every turn, straight and switchback would treat the rider-traveller in you with a refreshing new vista. Built between 1919 and 1932, the road is not just great to ride on with its pristine surfacing, but also provides access to some prominent tourist landmarks. With speed limits ranging from 50 km/h to 100 km/h, the road can be covered in a day, but ideally should be covered in two. In addition to the spectacular views of the sea, the road also offers fantastic views of wildlife.
Amalfi Coast – Italy
Counted easily among the best coastal roads to ride on in the world, the Amalfi Coast road (SS145) stretches 50 km between the city of Sorrento and the little village of Amalfi, after which this poetry in tar has been named. Offering absolutely spectacular views of the sea, as well as those of the traditionally built and brightly painted buildings, the Amalfi Coast Road is a Disneyland of sorts for the biker within you. It isn’t however for those with a child’s heart though. The 50-kilometre long stretch is as dangerous to ride on as it is gorgeous. Comprising very high cliffs and dangerous, sharp turns, those who are too careless would likely miss a braking marker and sleep with the fish if they got too absorbed with one of the countless splendid views on offer. The road is also narrow in some parts, and is a great place to test your riding skills in the land of performance machines, while also satiating your hunger for some of the most exotic views anywhere in the world.
Trans-Siberian Highway – Russia
The Trans-Siberian Highway is arguably one of the longest national highways in the world, spanning over 10,000 km. The road covers the distance between St Petersburg to Vladivostok and comprises a network of highways that are mostly not very well maintained. The sheer length of the road, the bad surfacing along with some of the most challenging weather conditions and terrains in the world, make the Trans Siberian highway an ultimate challenge for the adventure rider. The Highway runs across the width of Russia from the Baltic Sea of the Atlantic Ocean to the Japan Sea of the Pacific Ocean. The road passes through remote areas, forests, barren lands, snow and mountains. There are some long sections where you won’t even find fuel and food, forget anything else. The enormous length of the road and the danger involved makes the Trans Siberian highway a tempting route for every rider who wants to challenge his courage and stamina to the limit.
Ceuta to Marrakesh Loop – Morocco
Starting off from the Spanish island city of Ceuta on the north coast of Africa, you’ll cover a total distance of 2500 if you ride the full loop. From Ceuta, you have to take a ferry and then hit the mystical Morocco which is like nothing else you’d probably have seen in terms of landscape. The diverse Moroccan landscape will offer everything ranging from dusty Saharan sands to snow-capped mountains with beautiful ancient Moroccan kasbahs, souks, gardens, palaces and mosques. You travel down south covering Fez to the Atlas Mountains and complete the loop as you return via exotic Marrakesh, Casablanca and Rabat.
Pyrenees Loop – France and Spain
The Pyrenees form a natural mountain border between Spain and France. This enormous piece of rock, however, has turned into a heavenly escapade for bikers. The Pyrenees loop starts in Barcelona and traverses the picturesque Pyrenees, crossing the border of the two countries several times during the journey. Pristine roads which have switchbacks and sweepers in abundance with scarce traffic and majestic views would enthral the rider in you to the core. With its breathtaking scenery and a course that allows you to test your riding skills, this route is an absolute favourite among bikers in Europe. Starting off from Barcelona, you enter the Pyrenees, and traverse the small town of Seu D’Urgel, near Andorra and move towards Bielsa. Thereon, you pass through Valle Del Tena, Cardona and back to Barcelona while having ridden on what’s also a route for Tour de France.
The American West and California
Taking the long way from Los Angeles to San Francisco, you’ll traverse close to 6000 km as you complete this iconic riding route. One of the most revered riding/driving routes in the world, this one will take you through some trademark American landscapes and landmarks. The delights on offer include, but are not be limited to a multitude of breathtaking national parks, the Route 66, the Grand Canyon and the mystical Monument Valley. The journey between Los Angeles and San Francisco can be completed using several routes. However, for those wish to soak in the views to the fullest, the slightly longer, and slower Highway 101, or the lengthiest Highway 1 are the most recommendable.
Himalayan Ride to the Everest Base Camp
While travelling to Leh and Ladakh all the way to Khardung La, which is often considered one of the highest motorable roads in the world is something every biker in India has on his bucket list, there’s another facet to exploring the Himalayas. For those who wish to do it the international way, can travel to the Mount Everest Base Camp through Nepal and Tibet. From Kathmandu, you take on the Mighty Himalayas and traverse your way close to the Everest base camp through Lhasa. The ride will show you the Himalayas in the different light as you ascend to the foothills of the world’s highest peak through Kerung, Shegar, Hyantse, Lhasa and Rongbuk. Riding through the Roof of the World, this ride has to be one of the most epic ones anywhere on the planet.
Havana Santiago Loop – Cuba
The Havana-Santiago road trip covers the charm of Cuba in 1500 km. Starting off from Havana, the magical city known for its rum, revolutions, and of course, cigars, one can take a dip in the Bay of Pigs, the very waters where the US-based forces first invaded Cuba. Needless to say, you’ll pass through the spectacular Trinidad which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is also the place where legendary Che Guevara, the Argentinian revolutionary has his tomb in Santa Clara along with a museum depicting his life and times. Other highlights include the famous Guantanamo Bay and Baracoa, the eastern tip of Cuba where Christopher Columbus first landed.
The Pan American Highway
If long distance riding is your thing then this one’s for you! Considered the world’s longest motorable road, the Pan American Highway is over 48,000 km of roads, traversing the Americas from its northernmost to southernmost tips. The Pan American Highway stretches from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina. The route is interrupted by a 160 kilometre-wide Darién Gap between Central and South America. If you manage to cover the full distance on the highway, you would have travelled through a minimum of 14 countries – The United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina. It’s an epic ride if someone has the resource and fortitude to undertake it.
Oslo to Nordkapp – Norway
Nordkapp, or North Cape, is the northernmost point of Europe. Not only is the landscape and visuals very different from what you’d find anywhere else, the entire route comprises of ferries and fjords and some really breathtaking sceneries. The entire journey spans over 2000 km but the distance is subject to the route you take, as there is much to see and people often spend up to 3 weeks covering the distance, soaking in the sights and visiting the towns en route. It’s a topsy-turvy ride which takes much longer than what the distance suggests. Specifically, if you choose to take the E39 and E6, you’ll get to take on one of the most complex routes in the world.
Got a dream destination of your own? Do share the details with us, and help the readers find destinations they can use as an inspiration. If you’re a first-time adventure motorcycle rider, then check out our blog on long-distance riding tips for a wealth of information.