There’s lots of useful motorcycle touring information, shared freely here, if you choose to go exploring these regions by yourself, it would be great to hear any feedback. Thanks and enjoy 🙂 Moto-exploring eastern Europe, Steve H’
If you like the thought of mile after mile of varied landscapes and stunning motorcycling roads, then motorcycle touring to eastern Europe should be high on your bucket list.
There’s a strong motorcycling and overlanding culture throughout all of eastern Europe and you will be warmly welcomed were-ever you travel. I first explored riding these regions, around 2007 with a somewhat unusual story and reason to buy an Africa twin motorcycle and ride to Budapest. You can read about it here! PressGo
Meanwhile, I will share some of the top places and motorbiking routes that I discovered, for you to go and enjoy however you like to do it, either alone, free-style, you might choose to camp and travel cheaply, as I first did on my own adventures east, or to hook up with one or two friends and enjoy the huge variety of motorbiking friendly hotels and guest houses throughout the region.
Motorcycle touring to Budapest
It’s my favorite east European ride, sure – I’m biased, as a half Hungarian! it has a special sentiment, but that aside, it’s really also about the stunning, varied riding, landscapes, Countries and cultures through which we travel to get there. Approaching from either Slovakia in the north, or the Austrian Alps to the south west, it’s an equally stunning ride. Both are high up in the top list of motorcycling routes you could discover in eastern Europe.
Of-course, if you’d like to have most of the leg work done for you, whilst still travelling in a nice free-spirited, flexible way, with just a small group of other moto-explorers, you are welcomed to get in touch and join myself, when I usually travel with my moto-support vehicle, from UK to Budapest, in either May or September, those being the best times to travel in eastern Europe, it’s mild weather and less conjested roads.
Why visit Budapest? tell me more about Buda-Pest!
Budapest is the capital and largest city of Hungary, located in the heart of Europe. The city is divided into two parts by the Danube River, with Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. Budapest has a rich history and culture, and it is often called the “Paris of the East” due to its stunning architecture, cultural attractions, and romantic atmosphere.
Some of the must-see attractions in Budapest include; the Hungarian Parliament Building, which is one of the largest and most beautiful parliament buildings in the world; the Buda Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 13th century; and the Fisherman’s Bastion, a stunning lookout point with panoramic views of the city.
Other popular sights include the Chain Bridge, the St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Heroes’ Square, and the thermal baths, such as the famous Széchenyi Baths, where visitors can relax in natural hot springs.
With 3 days to relax away from our motorcycles and vehicles, we shall have plenty of time to see most of the key Budapest attractions.
Budapest also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and theatres. The city is also known for its lively nightlife, with many bars, restaurants seving a wide range of excellent food at fair eastern European prices!
Overall, Budapest is a beautiful and fascinating city with a rich history and culture, stunning architecture, and plenty of attractions to explore.
What about the rest of Hungary!?
10 interesting things about Hungary;
Hungary is a landlocked country located in Central Europe with a rich history, unique culture, and beautiful landscapes. Here are some more things to know about Hungary:
Budapest – Hungary’s capital city, Budapest, is a popular destination known for its stunning architecture, thermal baths, high quality of resteraunts, fabulous quality coffee shops and of-course the avid chess players!
Cuisine – Hungarian cuisine is known for its hearty dishes, including goulash (a meat and vegetable stew), paprikash (a meat dish with paprika sauce), and chimney cake (a sweet pastry).
Wine – Hungary has a long tradition of winemaking, with several wine regions producing world-renowned wines such as Tokaji, Bull’s Blood, and Egri Bikavér.
Music – Hungary has a rich musical tradition, with famous composers such as Franz Liszt, Béla Bartók, and Zoltán Kodály. The country also hosts several music festivals, including the Budapest Opera Ball and Sziget Festival.
History – Hungary has a complex and fascinating history, with influences from the Roman Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Austro-Hungarian Empire. The country has also played a significant role in European history, including the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
Thermal baths – Hungary is home to several natural thermal baths, including the Széchenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest, which is the largest medicinal bath in Europe.
Festivals – Hungary hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Budapest Wine Festival, Budapest International Documentary Festival, and Budapest Pride.
Lake Balaton – Lake Balaton, located in western Hungary, is the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe and a popular summer destination for swimming, sunbathing, and watersports.
Folk art – Hungary has a rich tradition of folk art, including embroidery, pottery, and woodcarving. These traditional crafts are still popular today and can be found in markets and shops throughout the country.
Currency – is the Hungarian Forint, exchange rates vary around 400 / £1 (it used to be closer to 300 when I first started visiting Hungary, so now is an excellent time to get good value for money, using either UK Pounds or USA dollars to travel with) Exchange kiosks are plentiful and will generally give you the best exchange rates.
Overall, Hungary is a fascinating and beautiful country with a rich culture, history, and traditions.
Motorbike Riding Romania
If you’d like to travel a little further east, then Transfagarasan Highway in Romania is amongst the best motorcycle rides in the world, it goes over 2000 metres with 150km worth of pure motorcycling bliss! Mountains, curve after curve, the roads are varied and exhilarating, with plenty of places to stop and enjoy the views. It needs to be explored in the summer months bewteen July and early September, as it closes for the cold, snowy winter months.
Why I like it; That road is like travelling every type of challenging motorcycling, or driving road you can imagine, all in one day!
Where to go; the family run small hotel, down the lane here, is a real gem, it’s a steep drive down to it!
Top tip; start at the north, and driving from the north to south, it just feels right!
These are actual, acurate GPS co-ordinates, taken directly from my own ride notes, as I explored much of the Balkans, by motorcycle:
The start of the Transfagarasan Highway from the north side is here: N45.76312 e024.57230
If you’re touring with perhaps a small group of friends, it’s a good idea to meet here ahead of the ride and check no-one was eaten by bears already.
There is a good stopping and viewing point here: N45.61022 E024.61815
The big dam, you shall pass it on your way, there’s also a cafe near by.
There is a town and hotel, after the mountain stages, Curtea de Arges. There’s all facilities there, hotels, fuel station, moto tyre repair shop etc.
If you’d like to enjoy even more motorcycling through Romania, there’s the second highest paved road, which riders have said is equally exhilarating! The Transalpina.
Romania is also full of absolutely stunning, varied countryside, hospitable, high quality hotels and delicious food. It’s also really high up on my personal list of all time favorite motorcycle adventures!
I can share the whole ride notes, with lodgings, great roads, hotels etc, with anyone who likes to join me to travel up to Budapest, then go exploring Romania as a free-spirit.
Motorcycle touring info for east Europe & The Balkans
Here’s some eXtra info that I’ve persoanlly gathered, exploring much of the region. I hope it helps you get an appetite for moto-exploring eastern Europe more yourself, either joining up with some friends, or meeting new ones along the way, you’re sure to have an amazing adventure, once you PressGo! enjoy 🙂
Why I like it; It’s a big flat landscape, good roads & perfect to practice navigating deviations!
Where to go; Klatovy, you can go see the catacombs! there’s a nice church, in the town square.
Top tip for budget travellers; visit my fiends fabulous, cheap biker run pension, also has a really great bar, old style saloon and is a short 10 minute walk down to the town square.
Why I like it; The Tatra mountains and that fabulous ride south to Budapest!
Where to go; so many places, so many lovely little roads to explore. There’s a modern fast expressway nowadays, but most of the old roads still run alongside, or close by, if you have time for a slower route, it’s still very nice.
On the Slovakian side of the Czechia/Slovakia border runs 2 main routes to Zilina, route 18 or on the newer motorway (was constructing since completed 2007 and is fully completed now)
The non motorway route is still quite fast & a nicer ride. (just set your sat nav to avoid motorways)
Depending on your own itinerary, either take the northern smaller roads, up towards the Polish border, or for a meeting point alongside the main route there is a good fuel stop, alongside a useful supermarket, at Ruzomberok – we use the fuel stop as a way point;
Co-ordinates: n 49.07607 / E 19.31731 You have lots of great riding options in every direction from there.
Why I like it; It’s a really fantastic journey to get there + a true taste of east-meets-west
Where to go; Budapest of course! + also really nice along the Danube + twisty ride north
Top tip; my Aunts homemade cake, only available on Motoexplorer eastEurope tours !
Ferry for crossing the Danube river, from the north side is here; N47.78920 E18.96133
goes to / from Visegrád, Hungary. You can continue on road 11 by the river, it’s very nice riding to Esztergom. Has lots of good facilities, shops, market, nice well priced hotels and guest houses.
Why I like it; Lovely coastlines
Where to go; Of-course everyone will tell you Dubrovnik! ok it’s nice, but also touristy. If you continue driving/riding up the coast, look at the smaller Islands to your left, they’re very nice and have quieter places. You will discover the small ferry crossings and quieter coastal villages, there’s plenty to explore.
Top tip; watch out for traffic cops & radar often positined after a nice bend, especially along the coast!
Why I like it; The roads can be really quiet, whilst gorgeous scenery, it still feels quite old fashioned ways of travelling in some places
Where to go; The inland Country E61 road from Italy or smaller road 6 from Austria via Topolc, I liked riding this route alot. (route 32 through Croatia and going by Izvor Kupe reserve and Risnjak National Park is also nice and popular).
All of these places are easily reached from Budapest. You can include a one night stay alongside lake Balaton, if you choose to travel the south ways from the city. The main faster highways go south of the lake, for speedier travel to Croatia. Personally I much prefer the north side of the lake, with slower roads and villages. It’s a slower drive though, so almost definitely means you will be distracted to stop and take a swim on a hot day, then find a nice guest house by the lake.
The Balaton ferry can take you across the lake, it’s situated towards the south part, you will easily discover it.
Why I like it; The roads, the landscape, friendly people, great prices, it feels a bit more off-the-grid
Where to go; Mostar, but more so the inland roads to reach there are fabulous
Top tip; choose the smaller, family run guest houses, they’re so much more inviting
Why I like it; It’s a luxureous feeling part of eastern Europe, even the cruise ships go there!
Where to go; Kotor + it will be a fabulous ride to get there, the P22
Top tip; stop at the top on nice road P22, for a great view at; n42.40872 e18.76922
There are also hotels and apartments nearby.
Routes; Road in through mountains on E65, Good coffee/cafe stop at; Q9HV+M6M Bare, Montenegro, use GPS: n42.77922 e19.39306 this is a great ride.
Free motorcycle parking bays are here, near the harbour; n42.42541 e18.76918
Why I like it; they’re hardy people surviving a troubled past, it’s a fine land, good to show our support and appreciation for the openess to be hospitable to all our European neighbours.
Route to go there from Macedonia is by the border crossing at; N42.14151 E21.30269 it’s also really, really nice motorcycling on road 110 to Prizren and lovely mountain road!
Top tip; Route through the mountain here is great, especially on an early misty morning, it’s a lovely ride into or out from Montenegro this route.
Kosovo Motorcycle insurance: we obtained it easily on the Kosovo border, cost was €15 so maybe now it can be around €25.
You didn’t think about travelling there before, right!?
Where to go; the border crossing from Montenegro is by road E762 at Hani i Hotit – Bozhaj
Top tip; you can also travel to / from Albania, by ferry boat via Italy and Corfu – for something different!
Small group supported motorcycle tours
If you’d like to see it all, or just some of the best bits and have it all made easier planned for you, then just join me! if there’s a space, you’re welcome to come along in either May or September.
It’s all flexible and fun, as you’ll discover. Here’s all the eXtra Motorcycle touring support I include.
You can join and start from UK, or in Europe.
It is also an option, to travel just as far as Budapest, Hungary, gather up all my knowledge and experiences, then go your own way, as far as you like to adventure afterwards.
Discover more about riding motorcycles to eastern Europe
or contact me to learn more about motorcycling to eastern Europe, Steve Hotson – Motoexplorer
T; +44 (0) 7788 101144