- What is the TET?
Comprising of over 34,000km of dirt road, the TET is an epic motorcycle journey through some of Europe's most remote, diverse and inspirational landscapes.
Influenced by the pioneering Trans America Trail, the TET encourages adventurous riders to travel light and experience the rich diversity of Europe's land and culture.
Powered by a team of enthusiastic volunteers called Linesmen, the TET relies on its community to find and manage the evolving network of tracks that criss cross thirty countries.
We are not a commercial entity, we are not a tour company, we are not profit driven. Everyone involved in the TET has the same goal, to celebrate lightweight motorcycle adventure and the rich experience of exploring landscapes, cultures and borders.
- Where does the TET go?
The TET has two arms, one East and one West. The eastern route travels through Finland, the Baltic states, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria before entering Greece and running up through the Balkans, across Italy and into France where it joins the Western arm which has crossed Sweden, Germany, the Low Countries, the UK and France. After meeting in Southern France, the TET passes through Andorra, Spain and Portugal to Tarifa on the Straits of Gibraltar.
- How much of the journey is dirt?
As much as possible! The aim is to avoid bitumen but in our crowded continent this is sometimes impossible. Where it does follow tar roads, they are minor and scenic.
- What level of skill do I need?
The route is challenging in terms of distance and sometimes terrain. It crosses remote backcountry areas and a degree of riding and mechanical competence is required. Tricky sections can be avoided by taking tar detours – that’s the adventure, it’s up to you!
- Is it risky?
Motorcycling carries risks which we are all familiar with. Adventure motorcycling adds to these.
It takes you into remote areas on unpredictable terrain and road surfaces. Mobile phone coverage may be patchy or non-existant so summoning help may be limited. If help is summoned it may struggle to reach you and may incur high costs. Unpaved tracks vary from gravel to broken tar to sand to stone to boulder to grass. Each carries its own challenges of grip, stability and unpredictability all of which vary immensely with weather conditions which can change quickly especially in mountain areas.
The physical demands of riding a motorcycle, laden or otherwise, off road are not to be underestimated. If you drop it, picking it up can be hard work and recovering it from a hillside, river or mud hole where it has slipped can be exhausting. Add into the mix the variable climate in Europe - subzero to high 30s and above - and heat, cold and dehydration can impair performance and make a dangerous cocktail when mixed with the complex task of off pavement riding.
Navigation can be challenging, especially without practicing using GPS or map on the move, on the “wrong" side of the road or with signposts in an unfamiliar script.
Mechanical issues easily sorted out in one's own garage or home city can become much more of a challenge away from home in an area with poor infrastructure or dealer knowledge.
Local adults and children (and animals!) may be unfamiliar with motorcycles or their capabilities and misjudge situations. Driving standards and discipline vary hugely and often the perception is “might is right” with scant regard being paid to the little guy on a motorbike. Local wildlife both domestic and wild can pose risks. Bears and wolves are present in some areas, snakes in others, wild roaming reindeer in the far north and cattle and dogs are all over.
Laws and regulations are always changing across the continent, so a trail that contributors thought was legal, may not now be so. This may lead to conflict with the authorities, communities, landowners or other users - anything from a glance, a shout or a waved fist to arrest, bike confiscation, fine or loss of licence.
Concepts and practice of sanitation and hygiene vary immensely and medical facilities can be scarce, suboptimal or distant.
The seedier side of humanity can also impact on you through theft, assault or fraud. Be aware that some areas of eastern Europe also have heightened awareness of mobile populations following the influx of refugees so you may come across desperately poor people or wary authorities. In Bosnia and Croatia the detritus of war still exists in the form of uncleared mine-fields. Snow, water and soil creep all shift these so that straying from established well used trails can be dangerous and, needless to say, stupid.
Does this all put you right off the idea of living the dream and exploring the TET? Perhaps, but there’s nothing new here and being aware of the risks allows one to prepare for them and mitigate them. Overland travel has never been the easy option, but, for those who have done it, the rewards far outweigh those of two weeks in Magaluf.
Some things to think about:
Ensure you use the most recent version of the TET available on this website
Get bike fit, not just fit
Be licensed to ride your road legal bike
Ensure your paperwork is in order whether it be bike, breakdown or medical/repatriation insurance, licences or passports
Get some practice in to build confidence and competence (and respect for your own limits and those of your bike)
Get properly equipped with the right tyres, spares, protection, first aid kit, communications devices (and batteries!), luggage and camping gear
Think ahead and ask yourself, “What would I do if X, Y or Z happened?”
Try and travel in groups of 3 or more (but not more than 5-6 please)
Ride with an awareness of the terrain, surface and in anticipation of unexpected hazards
Moderate your speed - it’s a journey not a race
Keep yourself and the bike fuelled up and keep those fluids going on board
If you’ve got a medical condition then think carefully and take some medical advice
Get familiar with your bike, what daily checks to make and how to fix issues with it
Ask for advice on the TET forum page or from many of the other resources out there
Don’t treat the TET gpx as gospel. Use your common sense and obey traffic signs, rules and authorities
Get familiar with your GPS device.
Buy a back up paper map
Take security precautions with your possessions and self
Accept that you are master or mistress of your own destiny, safety and security. Only you can take responsibility for whatever happens.
This is an adventure, not a package tour and there’s no one to hold your hand - isn’t that exactly what we want!?
By following the above simple advice (by no means all inclusive!) and planning your TET carefully, we are positive that you will have the adventure of a lifetime!
- What do the trails look like?
You name it! Tar, gravel, mud, sand, rock, river and grass. Some are wide enough for a car but many are single track. It’s certainly not recommended that 4x4s use it – they will find there are points where it is too narrow or impossible to turn round or reverse.
- What will I see?
Castles, forests, prehistoric monuments, passes, snow, desert and meadows. Medieval towns and 21st century bridges. Remnants of the cold war and modern bypasses. Horse drawn carts and flocks of sheep scattered across hillsides. Fields of lavender and swards of maize. Poppies, war memorials, beaches, gorges and plains.
- What kind of bike is suitable?
The TET is aimed at small and medium capacity trail bikes - bikes such as Yamaha’s WR250R and XT600 and XT660Z Tenere, CCM’s GP450, KTM’s 690 and Suzuki’s DRZ400. Larger bikes can tackle it but riders need to be more experienced and competent. Soft luggage, travelling light is the ethos – leave those panniers and armchairs at home. This is overlanding in its purest form.
- How long will it take?
Phew! Have you got a few months? Many will choose to plan to ride sections of it over the years – a few will try the full TET. The country pages give an idea of how long it might take to cover each country’s section. Don’t hurry it. Take time to explore off the TET. Europe has so much to offer that it would be wasteful to focus on the destination and covering the miles rather than soaking up the experience.
- Do I have to do it all in one go?
Not at all! If you’re in Europe, pick a section and relish it and then come back for more in your next break.
- When is the best time to do it?
Each country’s Linesman suggests the best time on their country page. Weather plays an important part – snow blocks passes, roads are closed when fire risk is high. A dry trail easily covered in a day can become a slog of many in bad weather. Breathe deep of the European air and relax. Treat it as an adventure and come prepared for changeable weather.
- Can someone help me plan my route?
The TET is provided as downloadable GPX files. These can be transferred to phones, tablets, PCs or GPS units. They provide a spine, a starting point for your explorations and adventure. View them and explore them on your PC . Edit them on Basecamp or similar. There are a multitude of sites on the internet or guidebooks (suggested on Country pages) that enable one to tailor a unique trip. Our forums provide the medium to discuss options with other riders and Linesmen. Part of the fun of planning a trip is discussing, reflecting, researching and tailoring.
- What is the accomodation?
Carry a tent or bivvi bag. Camp wild or in campsites. Use local hostels, B&Bs or 5* hotels. Your budget, your dreams, your trip. One can download routable Open Street Map maps from the internet free which have accommodation marked and as the TET gets used, riders will recommend locations to stay along the route.
- Can I download a GPS map?
The intention is to have a Open Street Map available showing landforms, roads and POIs covering a corridor along the full route. This will be available on the website. Otherwise use commercially available maps or paper versions.
- How much does it cost?
The TET is Priceless! Free of charge, it is provided with the support of Adventure Spec through the generosity and hours of hard work of contributors and Linesmen.
- Why are you giving the tracks away for free?
A mix of good karma and practical common sense! This project is all about giving folk the opportunity to share a great adventure on the most varied continent on earth. We depend 100% on the freely given contributions of riders from across Europe and the freely given time and efforts of our Linesmen and women. The ripple effect of charging for the end product would travel right down that chain and, we think, taint the concept of the community effort. The end users are also the contributors after all. You are the TET.
On the practical side, we are all aware of the multitude of other file sharing GPX sites on the internet (indeed, we’ve used many of them to help create TET v1.0), but there is no guarantee that GPX files posted on these sites reflect the current status of routes. If we charge for accessing our routes, inevitably some folk will post them on one of these other file sharing sites or share them amongst their friends or groups. You then end up with out dated versions being touted or ridden as gospel (think GPSKevin and the Trans America Trail). This in turn leads to upset from users, local communities, authorities and a reinforcing of the perception that trail riders are just a bunch of law-ignoring, dangerous, inconsiderate hoodlums. By making our frequently updated files free to access and use, it minimises the risk of the GPXs being shared in any other fora. What would be the point when all folk need to do is download it straight from the source? We hope by this means to maximise the chances that folk will use the most up to date routes, minimise confrontation and upset and do something to improve the reputation of our community as responsible adventurous individuals keen to experience Europe in their own way.
Help us by emphasising this point and sign-posting people to this site.
- Is it legal?
The intention is to ensure the trail is legal HOWEVER laws change, laws are inconsistently applied and we are in a climate where motorised off tar travel often has a poor reputation with many hoping to stop it completely. Neither the Linesmen, nor the contributors, Adventure Spec nor the TET Moderator or anyone associated with the TET in any form or manner can take ANY responsibility for the legality of trails and users ride and follow the TET ENTIRELY at their own risk. Any legal issues arising out of following the TET or information on these pages is the sole responsibility of the rider.
- What if I encounter a problem with the route?
Tell us! Use the buttons on the website of the relevant country to tell us about blockages, problems, gates or detours. We will then update that country's page in the Stop Press box and, when the new version comes out, update the TET.
- How did you develop TET v1.0?
TETv1.0 is the result over 18 months of concerted effort following years of thought and consideration. We’ve drawn together riders from across Europe with a shared passion and goal to create the route. We have used information gleaned from a multitude of sources - people’s archives of trips ridden, trail riding fora, clubs and groups, publicly accessible internet sources including Wikiloc and good old hours spent over Basecamp, Google Earth, Bing, overlays and topographical maps researching potential routes then recce riding them and adjusting them as required. For those of you that have ridden in Europe, you may recognise sections of the TETv1.0. It’s inevitable that with 34,000km of TET there will be some parts that are out of date or unrecce’d. Please bear with us and feed back any findings to the relevant Linesman. The TET is organic and will evolve as riders use it and tell us of issues.
- Is there somewhere I can share my journey?
We want to hear what you’ve seen, done and experienced. Adventures, dramas, highs and lows. Put a ride report on the forum or use the hash tag #transeurotrail and people can find photos and reports.
- Can I buy a T-shirt?
Sure! Stickers too. Take a look here.
- Can I use the TET logo and name?
The TET logo and name are in the process of being trademarked. This isn’t for the purposes of profit but to protect this not-for-profit community project from hijacking, unscrupulous misuse or reputational loss. We think we’ve worked hard to create something special.
We are selling some merchandise via our supporter Adventure Spec to generate funds to cover ongoing costs (server, website development etc) - please see the "Support the TET" page. If you want to throw the logo onto your own personal T-Shirt or bike please do, but it is not to be used for commercial or financial gain.
If you are interested in supporting this project and using the logo or name in a commercial sense, then please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with your proposal and if it fits with our ethos of "For riders, by riders” and “Respect for trails, environment and communities", we’ll give it a go!
- Any other top tips?
Europe's open spaces are growing more and more congested. As well as those that live and work in the countryside, there are many leisure groups wanting to take advantage of our dwindling green spaces.
As TET users we have a responsibility to ourselves and the riders that come after us to ensure that access is maintained.
We support the Code of Conduct promoted by our friends in the UK's Trail Riders Fellowship, France's Codever and Spain's AMVER. We hope you do too.
Use only vehicular rights of way and respect signs.
Motorcycles and riders must be road-legal, licensed and insured.
Keep to the defined way across farmland as wheels can damage crops and grass - they are someone's livelihood.
Give way to walkers, horses and cyclists by stopping and switching off engines on narrow trails and slowing down and avoiding sending gravel and dust flying on wider ones.
Leave gates as you found them so as to safeguard stock.
Travel at a safe speed taking regard of conditions and visibility - it ain't a racetrack.
Ride quietly and use the throttle with discretion as noise does offend.
Do not travel in large groups - six or less is the ideal.
Respect the countryside and those who live, work and play in it.
Remember that trails can be fragile and susceptible to erosion especially when wet.
Acknowledge the presence of other trail users with a friendly wave and a smile - it doesn't cost anything!: