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Planning a motorcycle trip to France, Spain or Portugal – here’s what you need to know

Planning a motorcycle trip stands out as the most fun you can have off two wheels. There’s nothing quite like pouring over a map to research routes and locations, while imagining the sights, sounds and smells awaiting you behind exotic place names.

For some, this is as far as planning a motorcycle trip goes. All they need is a course of travel, a tent and a bank card before hitting the street. For others, the devil is within the element. Meticulous planning ahead of time allows them to loosen up and enjoy the journey, protected within the information issues like food, accommodation and gasoline are all in hand.

Right here at ABR, we tend to walk the road between the 2 approaches once we’re driving routes for the journal. Some planning is required because we have now a temporary to work to and deadlines to meet. However experience has shown the sudden typically leads to adventure, and it’s the discoveries that we make on the street we get most excited about sharing with you.

Because all of us strategy motorcycle journeys in several methods, we’ve pooled our information with that of journey specialists Brittany Ferries to spotlight the knowledge we all should know earlier than travelling to three of Europe’s most popular motorcycle touring locations – France, Spain and Portugal.


We promise to solely mention the phrase once, however with Brexit across the corner, the UK Government has advised UK passport holders to guarantee they’ve no less than six months left on their passport before they travel.

If you’re planning a trip away this yr, it’s value checking now to see when your passport expires.

Taking the ferry

There’s nothing quite the like the sensation of driving up the ramp onto a ferry, strapping your bike down and sailing off to sea at the beginning of a motorcycle adventure. There are a couple of ideas to be mindful earlier than your journey.

  • Guide prematurely – ferries are very fashionable in the course of the peak summer time holiday durations so ensure you ebook a ticket nicely prematurely of your trip. The additional ahead you guide, the extra probably you are to get a higher worth.
  • Ebook a cabin – this is important for me on an overnight journey, but I additionally attempt to e-book a cabin on long day cruises. Having the ability to loosen up, get some sleep and have someplace to depart my gear makes the journey that bit more satisfying.
  • Be a part of the mailing listing – as a rule I attempt to limit the number of mailing lists I enroll to, however Brittany Ferries’ emails are nicely value receiving in your inbox to ensure you are first to hear about presents and offers on crossings.

Driving in France

Verdon Gorge Road France

France is a fantastic place to journey a motorcycle, providing a few of the greatest roads and Alpine passes on the earth. But you’ll discover the enjoyment of driving in this lovely nation as quickly as you roll off the ferry.

The French street community has more than 9,000 miles of autoroutes that are usually well-maintained and quieter than roads right here in the UK. Nevertheless, our favourites are the smaller D (departmental) roads and N (national) routes, that provide up the most effective driving. You gained’t regret choosing these routes over the motorway if time allows.

French toll roads are a superb method to cowl lengthy distances at velocity, however watch out for the fees which may add up to a whole lot of pounds over the period of a trip depending on how far you travel.

What you need to experience in France

  • Valid UK driving licence – you’ll need to be over 18 to journey
  • Proof of ID (UK passport)
  • Proof of auto possession – that is your car registration doc, often known as a V5C
  • Proof of insurance coverage
  • GB sticker in your bike
  • A hi-vis vest or jacket – you must wear this within the occasion of an emergency by the roadside
  • Spare set of motorcycle bulbs
  • A street authorized car which have to be taxed in the UK
  • Spare pair of glasses (if you put on spectacles)
  • Breathalyser – while this regulation does not seem to be enforced, we’d advocate taking one
  • CE-approved gloves – if you’re caught with out them you face a fantastic
  • You should additionally show dipped headlights when shifting


Common velocity limits (until in any other case indicated)

Remember, static velocity cameras in France aren’t as seen as they’re in the UK. They’re often housed in a gray, freestanding box by the aspect of the street and aren’t notably straightforward to spot.

Velocity limits can differ depending on whether or not the climate is dry or moist and if roadworks are happening.

  • Motorways – 130 kph (80 mph) decreased to 110 kph (68 mph) in moist climate.
  • Twin carriageways – 110 kph (68 mph) lowered to 100 kph (62 mph) in moist weather.
  • Different roads – 80 kph (50 mph) decreased to 70kph (43 mph) in moist climate.
  • Cities – usually 50 kph (31 mph), although it will possibly drop to 20 kph – 30 kph (12 mph – 18 mph) in certain areas.

Breakdown and accidents

  • If you breakdown or have an accident, park in the emergency lane if potential and name 112.
  • If you have a collision with a French car, you’ll be asked to fill in a constat amiable (an amiable declaration) by the driving force of the other car.
  • Watch out if you don’t converse the language and attempt to call your personal insurance coverage company to get the advice of a local French representative earlier than signing something.
  • If somebody is injured, you must remain at the scene until the police attend.
  • In the event of an damage, or if the street is blocked, police have to be referred to as.

Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro

Emergency phone numbers

112 – European common emergency quantity

15 – Medical emergency, accidents, ambulance

17 – Police or Gendarmerie (routinely transferred to the nearest station)

18 – Hearth brigade (Les sapeurs pompiers)

Low emission zones

The French government has introduced low emission zones that require a colour-coded ‘clean air’ sticker referred to as a Crit’Air vignette. What color you obtain will rely upon how heavily polluting your bike is.

They value around €3 however you might face a fantastic of up to £117 if you don’t have one. You should purchase a sticker from

Everlasting and versatile emission zones are presently working in Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, Lille, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Chambery and Marseille. Nevertheless, these are anticipated to improve in number.

We’d advocate testing the newest RAC recommendation on the subject earlier than leaving for France.

Driving in Spain

Triumph Tiger 1200 on road

Warm weather, excellent roads, scrumptious food and spectacular landscapes, Spain has all of it when it comes to motorcycle touring. Whether we comply with the coastline or head inland to the mountains, Spain is a country we find ourselves returning to time and time once more.  Thanks to Brittany Ferries you can journey direct to northern Spain.

Like France, the Spanish motorways and toll roads usually have wonderful surfaces and are usually not as busy as those in the UK. Beyond these, the standard of roads varies tremendously and you must be prepared for uneven surfaces, notably in more distant areas.

We’d advocate avoiding toll roads if you can, as they will prove pricey. Nevertheless, they’re a superb method to cowl lengthy distances in a brief period of time, so it’s value budgeting for toll expenses if you are on a tight schedule.

What you need to experience in Spain

  • Legitimate UK driving licence – you need to be 18 years previous to experience a motorcycle over 75cc
  • Proof of ID (UK passport)
  • Proof of auto ownership – that is your car registration doc, generally known as a V5C
  • Proof of insurance
  • GB sticker on your bike
  • A hi-vis vest or jacket
  • A street authorized car which have to be taxed within the UK
  • Spare pair of glasses (if you wear spectacles)

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Common velocity limits (until otherwise indicated)

  • Motorways and toll roads – 120 kph (75 mph)
  • Dual carriageways – 110 kph (68 mph)
  • Different roads – 90 kph (56 mph)
  • Towns – usually 50 kph (31 mph)

Ideas for driving in Spain

  • All fines have to be paid on the spot, with police escorts to a money machines widespread for these with out cash.
  • Use of a horn in city areas is prohibited, besides in an emergency. Flash your lights as an alternative.
  • Spanish riders don’t often stop at zebra crossings until they are accompanied by visitors lights.
  • In the occasion of an accident, don’t signal any varieties if you don’t perceive what’s written on them. Name you insurance firm and ask to converse to a local consultant.

Emergency telephone numbers

112 – European basic emergency quantity
061 – Medical emergency
zero80 – Hearth brigade
091 – Police

Driving in Portugal

BMW-R1200GS-Rallye-2017-pic 7

Portugal is a actual treat for any motorcycle traveller and a place we’d advocate to anyone in search of adventure. While it shares its landscape and climate with Spain, it feels more remote and remoted than its neighbour.

Rich in culture and spectacular surroundings, it’s a country you can simply lose your self in, whether you’re exploring the mountainous interior or hugging the stunningly lovely coastline.

A Brittany Ferries crossing to Santander or Bilbao in Spain, leaves you with a brief journey to Portugal and its motorcycling riches.

What you need to journey in Portugal

  • Valid UK driving licence – you’ll need to be over 18 to journey
  • GB sticker
  • Proof of ID (UK passport)
  • Proof of auto possession – that is your car registration doc, often known as a V5C.
  • A hi-vis vest or jacket
  • A street authorized car which have to be taxed within the UK.
  • Spare pair of glasses (if you wear spectacles).

Common velocity limits (until in any other case indicated)

  • Motorways – 120 kph (75 mph)
  • Open roads including dual carriageways  90 – 100 kph (56 – 62 mph)
  • Towns – usually 50 kph (31 mph)

Driving ideas

  • Concentrate on By way of Verde (inexperienced lane) toll lanes marked by a huge green sign with a slanted V on them. To use these lanes you should buy or lease a prepaid electronic transponder which is debited each time you drive via a toll booth.
  • Portugal’s street accident fatality fee is larger than the EU common, with drunk driving more widespread than it ought to be. Take care and assume drivers may be unpredictable.
  • If you are involved in a collision during which someone is harm, you should wait on the scene for the police to arrive.
  • Police can situation on the spot fines which have to be paid in money in native foreign money to the arresting officer.

Emergency phone numbers

112 – European common emergency number

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