First there was the Trans America Trail. Then there was the Trans Canadian Adventure Trail. Now, a bunch of adventure riders have pieced together the Trans Euro Trail.
The Trans Euro Trail is arguably even more ambitious than its North American counterparts, taking riders on a 34,000 km round trip from the Arctic Circle to Spain to Greece and back to the Arctic Circle. As its website states, “The Trans Euro Trail is a cultural dirt road adventure from deep within the Arctic Circle to the doorstep of Africa … and back.”
Given the opportunities for constant border-crossing in Europe, the Trans Euro Trail crosses through 30 countries. The eastern arm of the Trail goes through Finland, the Baltic states, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, the Balkans, Italy, and finally France. In France, it meets the western arm of the Trail, which goes through Sweden, Germany, the Low Countries, the UK and France. After the eastern and western arms meet, the rider can continue to push south through Andorra, Spain and Portugal to Tarifa on the Straits of Gibraltar.
Although Europe is a very densely-packed continent, the route organizers say as much of the road as possible passes through dirt roads, with paved roads only used when necessary.
And though you might think Europe has the advantage of less wildlife to encounter (no grizzlies, for instance), there are other unique dangers on the trail, such as the potential of encountering minefields on the eastern section. And given the remote areas the trail passes through, there’s still a chance of encountering bears or wolves or other potentially unfriendly animals.
The organizers recommend riders pick smaller dual sport bikes for the route—machines like Suzuki’s DR-Z400, or Yamaha’s WR250R, or the KTM 690 Enduro. It’s doable on bigger bikes, but the rider must be a competent motorcyclist to handle the rigours of the trail.
Find more details and maps at TransEuroTrail.org.