|10-29-2007, 10:00 AM||#1|
Patriot Guard Rider!
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Lexington, KY (as of 8/08)
Germany Tour -'08 - - Suggestions?
OK Folks - starting to plan a trip to Europe for the '08 summer/fall season and would really like to hear the GOOD, BAD and the UGLY that others have encountered.
The plan is for a 2up trip, approx 1 week to 10 days in length with a strong emphasis on the Alps and the castles. Looking to rent a bike there and would obviously like to keep a little money in my posession for some good times and a beverage or 2.
Some basic questions from the more educated masses are:
1. Use a tour service or just rent a bike and go it alone?
2. What are issues with driver's licensing/insurance etc?
3. Are the group (guided) tours worth anything at all?
4. What mistakes have others made on a trip like this?
5. Knowledge of weather that time of year?
6. Must see places?
7. Must avoid places?
8. What did you forget that you wish you had not?
Thanks for any help provided folks!
|10-29-2007, 09:27 PM||#2|
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: The Badlands (of NJ)
On the other hand, touring outfits provide very valuable services: everything will be taken care of, there may be a sag wagon with your luggage; if your S.O. is tired, she may ride shotgun in the van. Failures are attended to, there will be an evening camarederie with other participants. You will have a mental safety blanket. Something to consider quite seriously if this is your first motorcycle trip to Europe - and particularly if you do not travel too much otherwise.
The negatives of group touring are that they cost more and that typically the runs last 2 weeks or more. Few if any offer only 1-week long outings.
Liability insurance will be provided by the renting company. You will be responsible for the bike's damages, up to a certain limit, typically 1500-2500 Euro - usually secured as a deposit on your credit card.
It is highly recommended that you obtain medical coverage before departing. A couple of hundred of dollars will buy you $100K coverage for a week-long trip through sites like www.insuremytrip.com. Also, I am a member of Medjet (medical evacuation service) - even though in Europe the medical services are just as good as here.
Another point of concern: guided tour operators will arrange all details of overnight accommodations and of bike rentals.
When on your own, you will have to rent yourself. By the way, most tour operators (like AdMoTours or Bosenberg) will also rent without participation in tour. They are geared toward American tourists and thus may be worthwhile since they allow you to make all arrangements in advance when still stateside. The drawback is that you do need to make reservations well in advance to secure a bike for desirable period - plus, generally you reserve a rental class, but are not guaranteed a particular model of motorcycle. Nevertheless, I used both above outfits and have been quite pleased with the service.
Another source for rentals is www.motorradvermietung.net, sponsored by German motorcycle dealers of many brands. That site is in German only, worth exploring though, since it provides a lot of flexibility in locations, brands and availability.
May may be too early for high passes, some are snowbound and closed until early June!
Best time is in late September - or very beginning of October: less crowded, less costly, passes still open, still moderate weather (although at that time of year I experienced temps from 30F to 95F). High mountains, just as here, will have low temps and very variable weather - be prepared.
Or, the south-west loop: from Hessen (Frankfurt) into France, down to the high peaks, across into Switzerland, back to Germany.
Do not plan on doing everything in one week. You just cannot make it! Just enjoy, relax - and plan on coming back.
Here is one of my favorites, off the beaten path: overnight Autozug (autotrain) from Frankfurt to Narbonne on the other side of France. Jump across the Pyrenees into Spain or Andorra, just for a day. Then cut across Massif Central and Voges ranges en route through France back to Germany.
By the way, you will be amazed how well all Europeans treat motorcyclists, regardless of national origin or politics. Super friendly.
You will be given the right of way on the road, especially in Italy: expected to blast between opposing lanes of traffic, while cars curteously swing into shoulders. Hmmm... Germans and Swiss are a bit more uptight, if I may stereotype a bit.
Last year in France, we walked into a restaurant, dripping from pouring rain. Friendly welcome, no problems - even though we apparently destroyed beautiful leather benches...
For more info: refer to the European travel bible: John Hermann's "Motorcycle Journeys through the Alps" (Whitehorse Press, I believe).
Also, I wrote an article for Backroads Magazine on the topic of preparations for European trips, about a year or less ago - I'll try to post a link to that here, later on.
Have fun. Dream, salivate - and JUST DO IT!
|10-31-2007, 11:22 AM||#3|
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Styria / Austria (Europe)
First of all, sorry for my bad english (English is not my native language).
I found this board yesterday and love it
And i hope i can give you some information for your Trip.
I'm from Austria (from the south-east corner of Austria), so i can't give you information of guided tours, tour-service, driver's licensing/insurance for non EU-citizen and so on. (Because i don't need such things ;-) )
But some information:
It's the best tip for motorcycling in the alps.
(Okay, the France-part of the alps should be also very fine for motorcycling, but i was'nt there till now :-( )
If you came from Germany, a nice way is from "Sölden" (Austria) via "Timmelsjoch" to "St. Leonhard" (Italian: "San Leonardo").
And from "St. Leonhard" via the "Jaufenpass" (2094m altitude) to "Sterzing" (Italian "Vipiteno").
Last year i was in sterzing, a wonderful place. There are enough pass-streets and beautiful small streets there for more than one week.
If it's not out of your way, the way from "Cortina d'Ampezzo" via "Lozzo di Cadore" and "Ampezzo" to "Tolmezzo" is also a nice trip.
Sepemter should be okay.
And take a look at the ... sorry, i don't know the correct word ... i think high days or holidays, i mean the free days as an result of "church-day" or an free day as result of an national holiday (in German: "Feiertage"). If thursday or friday is such an day, than are many, many, many people around on the well known motorcycle routes.
I think the big problem in your case is the time, because one week is to short.
Some additional tips:
If you went to Swiss, don't forget the speedlimit. They only allow 80 km/h (i think that's 50 miles/h) on highways (i hope thats the correct translation ) and 120 km/h on motorways.
And in Swiss it's more expensive to break this limit than in Germany or Austria ;-)
Swiss is not in the EU, so you have customs controls and another valuta (Swiss franc instead of Euro).
Don't use gas stations and shops on the motorway, they are much more expensive than the other one.
Keep attention if you drive near rock faces when it rains. In this case the street is almost ever very silippery (because of the stone-powder).
On our last trip we have two crashes because of this
And very important:
Greetings from Austria, konni
PS.: feel free to contact me if you are in Austria/Italy for an meeting and ride together
if i had spare time, we can do a trip for an weekend (its about 500km from my homeplace to South Tyrol, so it's near enough to meet there for an weekend ;-) ).
|10-31-2007, 12:04 PM||#4|
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Buffalo,Frozen North
Germant tour '08
Have a look at http://www.muenchnerfreiheit.de/english/en_index.htm It's BMW's tour company. They provide the bikes,guides,food and lodging ,everything but gas and beer. You just show up ready to ride. You could even do 2 tours back to back. Hard to beat for the money and IMHO an excellent way to get your feet wet in Europe. The Alps are the BEST. Feel free to PM me for more info. I've done several tours.
|11-02-2007, 08:32 AM||#5|
Just along for the ride..
Joined: Nov 2003
Location: Petersburg, Virginia
Best road book for touring Europe? John Hermann's "Motorcycle Journeys thru the Alps and Corsica." You can buy it at Whitehorse Press. It is the bible for riding the Alps.
Best concise website for European motorcycle touring information? The BMWMOA Global Touring webpage. It may be a bit BMW centric, but it has tons of links for shipping renting, insurance, bike exchange, etc.
I personally have used Stefan Knopf (http://www.knopftours.com/) He rents, or will help you ship yours, will pick you up at the airport, and will provide the "green Card" insurance for your own bike as well.
If I had to pick one "must see" spot, it would have to be the Lauterbrunnen Valley, just outside of Interlaken in Switzerland. It is a dead-end, hanging glacial valley, with dozen of waterfalls cascading off its sides. In the summer BASE jumpers jump off the 1000 foot cliffs on the side, into the valley. You can camp there too. (Camping Jungfrau)
Just do it. Learn a couple words of German, carry John Hermann's book, learn to look for cheap accomodations in the "zimmer frei's" and you'll have the time of your life.
If you need more help, ask Global Rider. He practically lives in the Alps every year, and has links to his information pages under his signature. Some good stuff there too.
When it is all said and done, the decision between tours versus doing it yourself is personal. Mine was always a matter of money. I could stay on the road twice as long by myself as I could afford to do on a tour. If you have the money, a guided tour is fantastic, but it is not necessary to ride and see Europe, especially in the Alps.
Good luck with your planning. I'll be happy to help in any way I can.
Ride to challenge yourself and to expand your horizons. But be warned, once you've ridden beyond the U.S. border, you might begin to realize that the world doesn't revolve around us......
2004 ADVRider Mileage Champion 48,350 miles
Riding Central America Feb 2006
England to China Apr-Aug 2007
Central America Ride Planning and Road Wisdom
|11-02-2007, 10:15 AM||#6|
Old enough to know better
Joined: May 2006
Location: Overlooking Severn Estuary
Have a look through this thread
We had a great time, will be going again.
Jonathan (munichboy) knows of KTM rental not far from him.
|01-03-2008, 02:11 PM||#7|
Ride as much as you can!
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Losser, Netherlands
I can agree with Konni from Austria. I think he already mentioned the best places for motorriding in Europe. I would add the Stilfserjoch (Stilfserjoch in German,Passo dello Stelvio in Italian) to the list.
Another good option is to ride the route des grandes Alpes in France. It is a road wich goes over the most beautiful roads of the Alpes. The road starts in the place called Thonon-les-Bains and ends 700 km south in Menton at the French south coast. The road is easy to follow because you can follow the route des grande alpes signs. Because you have time for about a week, I would consider the route des grande Alpes.
|01-03-2008, 04:51 PM||#8|
2: get an International Driver's Licence from the AAA.
3: depends on your likes/dislikes, your riding style. I would find them pure hell, but then, you'd never find me on a tour bus either.
4: not a single one yet.
5: weather? Well if you are going for a week to ten days, I'd go in mid to late June to avoid the vacationing Europeans who you'll find more of on the roads from mid July till the first week of September. A trip after that might also be nice. I go June every year and have never had weather issues.
6: the Alps. If you are only going for a week to ten days, I'd concentrate on the Dolomites and the Lakes Region of Italy. Fly into Munich or Milan.
7: cities, unless you like traffic. Munich does have an excellent technical museum and numerous others. Up the road from Milan on Lago di Como, there is the Moto Guzzi factory and museum.
8: nothing...you're dealing with a pilot...I work from checklists.
For starters, go to the link below where I put together a How-To Europe/Alps article. Most of the info is in the first two threads.
Check out the accomodations lists and the which-maps lists. Also note the FREE downloads of ADAC (same as you AAA in the US) suggested motorcycle tour routes.
Best rental rates are from Knopf Motorradreisen in Heidelberg and Allround Motorradvermietung in Frankfurt.
You can get to Bolzano (Dolomites) from Munich in a short day on the autobahns (boring) or a longer day by taking the back roads (fun).
See you there in June.
All the best,
Euro & North American Travel & Technical Stuff for the R1150 GS & Adventure
Euro & Alps Motorcycle Tours - Priced Right, How to go about
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.....A. Einstein
|01-05-2008, 08:59 AM||#11|
Joined: Dec 2004
If you love fast cars/bikes and fancy a blast on the NURBURGRING toll road....no speed limits and a complete loop like a race track....hang on,it is a race track!!8 euro's a lap was the price when i was there.
I would definately go to SCHWANGAU and surrounding area's.The castle that Walt Disney use as their logo is based on the castle overlooking Schwangau.
Alps....yeah although i much like the black forest.
I did a ride report back in Sept '05 called 'Euro trip' which has some half decent pics.A search should find it.
I wished i'd spent more time in Germany....hindsight huh??!!
|01-06-2008, 03:37 PM||#12|
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Central Missouri
Riding in Germany
I think all of the advice given so far is right on. There is a good place to base out of in the Summer near the Neuschwanstein Castle ( Disneyland Castle mentioned before) in Southern Germany. The town is called .Garmisch-Partenkirchen. There is a US military facility there if you are a military member . You can stay there and get fuel there at the American rate. If you are retired military you can use it too. I have used it many times. From Garmish you can go to the Dolomites, Corsica, Austrian and Swiss Alps. But if you also want to see beautiful castles and cathedrals then that is a good place to start. If you do go to the Neuschwanstein Castle you must see Weis church (Wieskirche) that is also in the area. I could go on and on about places to see in South Germany and the surrounding nearby countries that border that area. If you have ten days use them. Seven is not enough. I live in Heidelberg Germany. If you fly into Frankfurt you basically pass by my place as you head south 50 minutes from the Airport. By curiosity what bike will you be shipping or wishing to rent. I may be able to help. If you come, give me an email I'll treat you to a Guiness or a Weisbeer. I would come in May or June and bring the proper cool weather riding gear. July and August are very crowded in that area of Germany. I do not think you need a tour service. With tihis web forum and some research you can do about everthing they can do for you. Don't sweat the language barrier in Germany. Get to know some basic terms and words and bring a pocket paperback to help translate. Just don't yell when you talk. Many Americans speak louder when trying to make themselves understood. It may be worth your money to get an ADAC membership even if for a short time. If you want I can ask them if they have a tourist membership. I would get the German road sign phamphlet and study it for one night too. I can email one to you. If your riding ten days I hope your Pillion rider has a padded seat and a back rest. If not, bring Motrin. Most folks use GPS now. Thats good but do a proper Map read of all the routes and places you want to go. I prefer using a map to plan my trips and then I write directly on them during my trip with the people I've met and the different food or wine/beer that I have had and of things I have seen. It makes a great memory to frame. You can't do that on a GPS. Plus with a GPS you will get there but won't know were you have been . Do bring one with Europe maps loaded though. Even if for a back up to find a local address when you are given a specific B&B, Zimmer, or Gasthouse to find.
Have fun planning. Hope you get here.
|01-08-2008, 03:51 PM||#13|
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Germany, nearby duesseldorf
Greetings from Germany
some hints from me too:
1) don´t do the trip alone. You will see a lot of impressible things you MUST share with someone you are next to (interchange of ideas and feelings)
2) as other members wrote: 10 days aren´t enough! You have to come back, of course!
3) Nürburgring race track is nice to see, but very dangerous, because many many drivers leave their brain and intelligence at the counter, when they start their own race on the track, ready to die......!!
The race track management lets fastest bikes, cars AND motor-coaches and other slowest vehicles at the same time on the circuit....very dangerous, coming with 220 km/h around a corner and suddenly looking in the taillight of an 60 year old, 5 horse power strong car...
4) During summertime, the alpes are wonderful, but especially at the weekends crowded at the hot spots.
5) Swiss is very expensive in everything
6) I think, in all countries over the world, you should always assure your bike and accessory against theft.
7) The idea with the ADAC membership, the german automobile club, may be a good idea.
8) For my opinion, I prefer the Pyrenäen. The spanish site is much more cheaper as the french one. A MUST are both sides.
If you like some offroad trips too (in germany offroad biking is nearly completely prohibited), than the spanish Pyrenäen are a paradies par excellence.
For accommodation and point of origin I would recommend:
a simple and cheap hostal, but really lovely. We have been there two times.
Or: http://www.bikers-paradise.de/ , for sophisticated visitors?
In both locations, you will find friendly bikers, who would provide you with hints for trips and let you join their tours and the mare mediteranee is always a short ride away.
Along a stripe of surely 300 km wide along the border F/ES, you will find a lot of beautiful old castles, some of them altered to hotels.
You have to visit claustral Monserrat too !!
not far away from Barcelona (Moto-GP and Formula 1 circuit).
Next I show you some pictures from our last visit there without a lot of comments. All pictures are taken in a circle from 350 km around casa-holly (Figueras, Spain). We spend there 14 days....not enough!!
alpes = ****
Pyrenäen = *******
9) Very beautiful are the Vogueses (F), Elsass (F), seealpes (F) and the black forest (D) too. As said, 10 days are truely not enough!
Now the pictures. I´ll hope, I do not bore someone with that.
10) If you plan to enter europe via Duesseldorf (Germany), you may feel free to stay several days in my house. My friend from Finnland do it always in the same way.
If you want further hints, feel free to contact me.
congratulations to advrider for all the impressive pictures taken by members
|01-16-2008, 06:40 PM||#14|
Explore, Discover, Dream
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
So far so good
I really appreciate this information as well. I am planning the same trip and just found this link. My wife and I are flying into Frankfurt from Salt Lake on August 19th and then back on Sept. 2nd. I just booked the tickets last week. Sounds like it will be busy. I could change the dates to mid September but was afraid the weather would start to get too cool. Would the roads be much less crowded the first week in September?
I am in the process of renting bikes and planning a route. Everywhere I read people say 10 days is not enough but that is all we have unfortunately.
I'll order the book mentioned above and start planning a route and getting hotel rooms.
Thanks for all the replys and info so far.
2002 GS Adventure
|01-17-2008, 12:11 PM||#15|
teh 1337 5uxx0r
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: conshy, pa
thanks for the info!
i'll be in munich from Sept 13-23 but will only have 2 days to ride
can anyone tell me how important it is to get this international drivers license?
The beast is gone...waiting to heal so I can find a new beast.
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