Prepare for Your Trip
You’ll need a well-maintained motorcycle and all the proper motorcycle safety gear, including a helmet, goggles, gloves, boots and comfortable layers that can be added or removed depending on the weather. The temperature drops the higher you go. Wind, snow, and rain are possible, but the weather tends to be mild year-round. Many areas are even dealing with extreme droughts.
Give your bike a tune-up or inspect the condition before you head out on the road. Test the brakes, steering, and tire treads to prepare for steep inclines/declines, uneven roads, and hairpin turns that seem to come out of nowhere.
Use motorcycle helmet communication to interact with your GPS wirelessly so you can focus on perfecting every turn. It’s the safest way to talk to your companions as you navigate to the destination. Bring paper maps of the region if you can’t get a signal.
Where to Go
There’s no such thing as a straight shot in the Pyrenees. The mountains feature dozens of narrow winding roads that weave through valleys and low-lying areas in between the cliffs. You will curve in every conceivable direction as you meander from the Bay of Biscay to the Baltic Sea. There are thousands of individual routes to explore, but these world-renowned trails should be at the top of your itinerary:
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Known as a vibrant ski resort town and a tax haven for the ultra-wealthy, this independent principality sits on the border between Spain and France, complete with duty-free shopping and an autonomous spirit that will make you feel right at home. It’s also home to some of the gnarliest motorcycle roads in the world with each section lapping back around as you slowly ascend/descend the mountain. Spend the night to wake up in luxury.
Criss-crossing all the way from the French border town of Portbou to Sabiñánigo, Spain, the N260 is the bread and butter of any Pyrenees motorcycle tour. It runs just over 320 miles through most of the region, making it the centerpiece of your trip. You’ll pass by dozens of remote mountain villages that look and feel as old as the mountains themselves. It’s also known as the narrowest national road in Spain, with just enough room for two passenger vehicles. Be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice and reduce your speed when coming around the bend. Traffic will slow you down during the peak tourist season in the summer and winter. If you want more of an adventure, take one of the road’s many offshoots to avoid the hustle and bustle. Most connect to another major road or remerge with the N260 after a few miles.
Col du Tourmalet
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Get up high with one of the most famous and challenging mountain routes in all of Spain. The Col du Tourmalet reaches just under 7,000 feet above sea level, giving you unparalleled views of the countryside below. It’s particularly bruising for bicyclists with an average incline of 7.7%. Slow down for anyone brave enough to complete this feat without the help of an engine. You should only attempt this path in the summer to avoid the ice and snow.
Start Planning Your Pyrenees Getaway
Pack in as many days of rest before each travel day to avoid draining your body and mind. Plus, it gives you more time to soak up the beaches, rivers and historical sites along the way.
Ready to see more of Europe? Learn about the best Alps motorcycle tours to discover other hidden gems.