Are you constantly scouting for your next eMTB adventure, be it a family holiday, an epic trip, a leisurely ramble or just new local loops? Whatever the purpose, here’s where you search ends. We’ve compiled a list of 10 lust-worthy locations that should tide you over for your next 11 trips.
1. Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park, South Tyrol/the Dolomites
In the Realm of the Senses: In the middle of this unspoilt landscape, St. Vigil/San Vigilio will incite the stoke within any mountain biker’s soul. The ancient village of San Vigilio is where to base yourself, where under the watchful gaze of the Dolomites of Braies/Prags, there’s around 250 km of diverse trails waiting for you. With freeride routes on Kronplatz, sublime singletrack, and pristine gravel contouring along the edge of mountain rivers, there’s something for everyone in this committed bike region. A standout ride takes you to the Pragser Wildsee, and can be ridden enduro-style by taking the Kronplatz-Furcia Trail.
Given the abundance of steep ramps and leg-burning climbs in the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park, not least up to the stunning Fanes Hut, you’ll be praising the invention of eMTBs. Up on the legendary high altitude plateau you’ll get better acquainted with official representatives of South Tyrol at the Parlamente delle Marmotte – Marmot Parliament. Riding choices are extensive and cater for every level: from the Kronplatz to the Seekofel rides, to a giant loop of the Nature Park, which surely counts as one of the finest rides in Europe. But perhaps even more enticing for some is the level of escapism here – ideal for getaways with kids, discovering Ladin cultural sites and the fairy-tale, fossilised landscape full of dwarves and water nymphs. For the post-ride wind-down you’ve got charming restaurants, cosy bars and warm hospitality in every direction. After such rewarding days in the fresh air, you’re bound to sleep well too.
More info: kronplatz.com
Guiding/Rental: Excelsior Dolomites Life Resort, other dedicated bike hotels
When to go: July–October
How: by car (roughly 3 ½ h from Munich), shorter travel time with bus or hire car from Innsbruck or Bolzano
2. Finale Ligure, Italy
Not just about the mountains and the Med, this area is packed with amazing, well-maintained trails built by some of the deftest trail builders around. Finale Ligure shot to fame by becoming a staple of the Enduro World Series, and has now developed into an eMTB mecca too. Expect to fall for this true sunspot almost immediately, swept away by the red hues of the seaside houses with palm trees in one direction and pine trees behind you. The mountains shoot up directly behind the town on gradients that do not phase an eMTB. The trail network for eMTBs is on an upward tangent – many of them are still very low-key as they’re often slightly too far off the beaten track for other riders who are shuttle-dependant. Of course, shuttles can certainly still be used, but you’ll manage to link in more than 2,000 metres of descending over six descents without having to use a transfer. (A mid-ride break to charge the battery might be necessary though).
There are trails for all skill levels, with more mellow and intermediate routes heading up to the Le Manie plateau at 400 m.s.l for year-round riding. Much like the jungle, expect to shred through rampant Mediterranean shrubland with spectacular glimpses of the sea. The Supergroppo trail ups the ante in the adrenaline stakes: built for the EWS finale, this 6 km stretch of singletrack can be pure flowy bliss, or put your enduro game face on and let off the brakes. The Rollercoaster trail is another highlight, littered with berms, steep halfpipe-esque corners, and flow sections – this is anything but boring. Link that in with the Caprazoppa or the Bondi trail and expect to experience new downhill highs. If you’re still hungry for more you could enter the annual 24-hour mountain bike race. With your finishers’ drink in your hand, we suggest closing your eyes and letting yourself fall into a well-deserved sleep, serenaded by the chirping of the crickets and the breaking of the waves.
Guiding/Rental: Evolve or TheUltimateBikeshop
When to go: Spring or autumn
How: by car, or fly to Genoa and take a local train or hire car
3. At home!
Think you know it all or perhaps you’ve not even aware of what your home turf has to offer? Here’s where we will wax lyrical on the perils of missing what’s right under your nose. It’s probably pretty good, right? All things considered, what’s normal for you might be great for others. But routine can be less than inspirational at times, and you might be longing for a change of scenery (we don’t blame you), so take some cues from this issue and set bucket list goals, hook up with new riding friends, and rediscover what’s outside your door. Who needs a destination when you’ve got the ride is the destination?
When to go: ALL YEAR ROUND!
How: usually just a few minutes from the sofa to the shed
4. Ischgl, Austria
Austria’s après-ski haven has a whole other side during summer. Far, far quieter as the temperature rises, the landscape – covered in snow each winter – is a sight to behold once everything is in bloom. A year-round destination with views in every direction from the top of the peaks, you’ll find beautifully made flow trails for all abilities criss-crossing the ski pistes. The cable car network serves a great purpose in summer too and lets you drastically increase your eMTB’s range by eliminating climbs. The Flimjoch trail, which is part of the 20 km Schmuggler ride, is a real gem and takes you for a jaunt into neighbouring Switzerland. Those who prefer to continue pedalling rather than catch their breath in a cable car can refuel their own energy (as well as that of the bike’s) up at one of the many mountain huts.
We’re particularly fond of the Friedrichshafener Hut on the crystal-clear Bergsee lake. From here you’ve got the choice between rapid gravel tracks or amazing yet pretty tough singletrack back down. Families aren’t out of place here either, and can have their fill of well-signed posted hiking trails, the wild animal park, or a foray to one of the many lakes. So whether you’re après-skiing in winter or looking for an unspoilt summer paradise, Ischgl is a region of contradictions in the best possible way. Go to our website for a more in-depth guide.
More info: paznaun-ischgl.com
Guiding/Rental: Hotel Fliana, local bike shops
When to go: July–September
How: best by car, or fly to Innsbruck and take bus or train
5. Sintra, Portugal
Given that Sintra was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, it’s no surprise to discover it’s still a real treat to visit. Only 30 minutes from Lisbon, this national park with ancient palaces and castles was once a getaway for the royals from the crushing heat of the country’s capital. One highlight is the Palácio Nacional da Pena. Another highlight are the hills, of which there are plenty. With an eMTB the Serra de Sintra becomes marginally easier and you can explore each corner of the subtropical surroundings away from the stream of tourists.
The lanes and gravel tracks give way into fantastic trails that alternate between running through an idyllic forest covered in moss and ferns or giving extraordinary views over the Atlantic coast and the many surfers making the most of the conditions. It’s a place that’s best explored with a local guide who’ll know exactly how to make the most of your eMTBing by linking in the best trails, in the best way. The highest point is only 530 msl, so it doesn’t take long until you’re back at sea level. Does this lack of vert mean it’s easy? Not at all; they’re peppered with berms and jumps and you’ve got everything on your itinerary: steep, flowy, techy, or just nice and mellow. Back at the coast, it’s time to hop on your surfboard and catch the waves. So whether Sintra is a chilled summer residence for the royals or the year-round biking paradise where the jungle meets the postcard-perfect coastline, we don’t mind as long as we can still have 365 days of great riding .
When to go: all year, but spring and autumn are recommended (by September and October the Atlantic has had time to warm up)
How: fly to Lisbon
6. 7stanes, Scotland
Scotland = Mountain biking. A bombproof equation that can contain any number of variables including torrential rain or spontaneous whisky distillery stops. When talking about 7stanes it’s the 7 biking hubs between Dumfries, Galloway and the Scottish Borders. But what is it exactly? Imagine a landscape that’s stolen from Snow White And The Seven Dwarves and packed full of super accessible world class trails that cross mountains, gorges and forests, with climbs and descents galore in rugged terrain. Many of Scotland’s trails are old and natural – ripe for discovery, you could say, providing you act accordingly (such a thing as ‘etiquette’). Strung out across the southern bit of country, all seven bike centres can be explored in three to five consecutive days. Difficulty levels range from family-friendly through to testing singletrack and cross-country downhill.
Navigation is a breeze thanks to ample maps and signposts, and Scottish cafes all know how to give a warm welcome to a rider. ‘Stanes’ means stone, so look out for the stone sculpture in the 7stanes centres, which each tell the story of their respective legends. The warm Scottish welcome extends to families and, as such, the market for kids rental and workshops is grand. Once you’ve had your fill of the well-looked-after trails, there’s time to practice skills and jumps in the bike park. Bikes aside though, Glashow’s Cuningar Loop also has an outdoor bouldering park for off-bike entertainment. We’re convinced that 7stanes will soon become your go-to destination once you’ve experienced the riding, the people, and the land.
Guiding/Rental: such great way-marking that a guide isn’t necessary; great eMTB hire at Alpine Bikes in Glentress Forest Park
When to go: solid terrain means year-round riding
How: fly to Edinburgh or Glasgow
7. Flims, Switzerland
Those who insist that Switzerland is a country where slowness prevails will rapidly be proven wrong in Flims. This Alpine town has 330 km of riding trails that attract the speed-hungry, the #soenduro crew, weekend warriors and families. This town in the Swiss canton of Graubunden is well versed in satisfying ebikers with a legion of charging stations that enable you to tick off long rides. With their ‘rent and enjoy’ tagline, the menu of hire bikes is not only limited to eMTBs – fancy downhill? Freeride? Cross-country? Plus, kids bikes and all the necessary equipment. Even after leaving the town, the great service continues: whatever the marked difficulty of the route, you’ll find multiple service points at mountain huts with track pumps, tools and spare parts for emergency repairs. Here’s hoping they won’t be your first port-of-call.
We’d start with the Three-Lake Tour. Observe the aftermath of the collision of the two tectonic plates of Africa and Europe at the Tectonic Arena Sardona with the Tschingelhörner mountain. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site resulting from a shift in the plates that meant older rock was pushed above younger rock. Uniting old and young is a bit of theme in Flims: pick a cross-generational route that will entrance kids as you pedal past gushing waterfalls, with the option to shorten the route with cable cars if desired. Or settle for the day at the skills area in Flims/Laax to start honing the kids’ technique on the jumps. They might pick it up quicker than you. If it all still feels too slow-paced, you could blast around the Swiss Grand Canyon loop, careering through the Rhein Gorge. Velo, as the Swiss call their bikes, comes from the Latin ‘velox’ meaning fast.
More info: flims.com
Guiding/Rental: most bike hotels have rentals
When to go: July–October
How: by car, fly to Zurich
8. Baiersbronn, Germany
“You’ve got to exceed seven Stars now!” This must have been the thought process of this small holiday town in the Black Forest as they claimed their eighth Michelin Star and rose to the top of the ranks of Germany’s gourmet stakes. But one claim to fame isn’t enough for this picture-perfect town in Freudenstadt: it’s developed an approach to tourism called Biker Kodex that regulates a fair relationship between riders and hikers on shared-use paths – even the ones that are narrower than the 2-metre width, which restricts riders in Baden-Württemberg. This highly successful approach to tolerance and the appreciation of a good time received a Design & Innovation Award 2018.
Its eMTB route network covers 400 km over 11 well-signposted routes that’ll woo every cyclist going. Measuring between 13 km and 81 km with varying difficulties, we suggest using the tourist board’s app for navigation so that you can cruise through the finest trails in the Black Forest, whether it’s the Steep Slopes Trip or the cross-country-style Stöckerkopf Tour. A third of the trails are singletrack and some of them have so much flow that your kids will be in their element. Whatever the time of year, this town has a host of events and attractions, plus a climate that means you and your family can ride in every season. Did we mention there are also designed routes for parents riding with bike trailers?
More info: baiersbronn.de
Guiding/Rental: Baiersbronn Touristik, Hotel Tanne, Hotel Heselbacher Hof and the bike shops
When to go: May–October; but rideable all year-round if there’s no snow
How: by car, or fly to Stuttgart and take a train
9. La Palma, Canary Islands
Calling La Palma ‘a mountain biker’s winter paradise’ doesn’t do it justice. Where else marries jungle-esque trails and dry, sometimes sandy lines through fragrant eucalyptus and pine forests in such harmony? Tell us that. Its volcanic status didn’t just give the Canary Islands their fill of exotic flora and deep forests, it also left some pretty high mountains. 400 km out from the coast of Morocco you’ll find La Isla Verde with its satisfyingly mild climate and climbs that are made to be charged up thanks to the natural endorphins coursing through your veins. And if you like the climbs, you’ll love the descents: steep wall rides, cool drops, and sublime speed traps on the Top-to-Bottom trail from Roque de los Muchachos to the Tazacorte beach. The island has four of these big mountain descents that drop more than 2,000 metres of vert in one hit – a natural, washed-out rollercoaster over riverbeds and scrub, sand, scree and black lava rock. One highlight is the Supertrail from Pico de la Nieve to Puerto Naos, which cuts through multiple vegetation zones on its way down. For eMTBs the options are endless, with so many ups and downs to make great loops – it’s worth utilizing a local guide though. After all the exertion, the island’s beating heart needs exploring with a visit to the capital Santa Cruz or a look deep into the volcano. There are tours for exactly this purpose. Afterwards, we suggest chilling at a beach bar to process the day’s events; you’ll need it.
10. Zermatt, Switzerland
Starting point: Furi. Might sound like a race horse but it’s actually an Alpine plateau in the Valais, just 3 km outside of Zermatt. Horsepower is necessary though – in the form of your motor. The Stafelalp eMTB route is suitable for beginners and kids, with the Moos Trail’s average 7.3% gradient and sublime flow setting the ultimate stage for their first flow intoxication. Don’t say we didn’t warn you: clear up space on your phone before starting any ride here, especially one with such views over the north face of the Matterhorn. The same applies to the Stellisee ride, with two rocks emerging from the lake with its Matterhorn reflection. It’s the signature Zermatt image, you’ll see. If you’re more into real-time 3D experiences the descent will be right up your street. The newly built Sunegga Trail promises a whole lot of flow and airtime for both newbies and pros. You’ve got 680 metres of vert to enjoy, time after time. Alongside guided rides, there’s also eMTB workshops and the option for one-to-one rides with technique teachers. Adrenaline junkies will go mad for the Kelle ride, which has so many tight hairpin turns and a whole lot of steep, boulder-strewn sections. Wrap up for the ride to the Gornergletscher as the natural trail up high weaves through the snow and ice. Those who prefer ice in their drinks should check out the area’s culinary tours. And don’t miss the Hohtälli ride: even though you start with the Gornergrat cable car, your eMTB is still needed to reach the highest point of the ride where you can personally get acquainted with Zermatt’s giants. Still not close enough to heaven? Go paragliding then.
When to go: July–September
How: Zermatt is car-free so go by train, taxi or helicopter after parking at the Matterhorn Terminal Täsch
11. Madeira, Portugal
The island of flowers, the beach island, the hiker’s paradise: giving Madeira one single moniker doesn’t cut it. Geographically closer to Africa than Europe, João Gonçalves Zarco must have been swept away by the beauty of the volcanic mass when he settled here in 1418. It has a blissful springlike climate even in winter and blossom that’s simply out of this world. The whole island basically consists of steep lumps, and by steep we mean steep, in every direction. The 1,862 m Pico Ruivo is crying out to be shredded. Local guides are well versed in ebike routes that traverse the whole island and give riders insight into the inner workings of the land mass. You won’t need any shuttles here. As well as imposing ridgelines and stunning coast views, expect quiet lanes, panoramic roads, challenging trails, hidden cultural and botanic gems, quaint bars and even diverse climate zones. The lush northern part is more precipitous while the south has a subtropical climate, characterised by sunshine and dryness. Whatever ride you pick, always take the chance to gorge on the island’s locally grown fruit. As you can’t yet fly with an ebike battery, you should hire an eMTB on the island directly. Out for a city tour or a wild adrenaline rush, Madeira knows how to please. Take your pick between organised events, guided tours, or tailor-made rides that can include hiking, canyoning and watersports as well. For a different sort of downhilling, the island is also known for its street sledging – a must for every generation of guest. From cruises to whale watching and swimming with dolphins, João Gonçalves surely had fun founding his community here.
Guiding/Rental: Turitrans, Bikestation Madeira, Zeller Tours
When to go: all year round, April–October are recommended
How: fly to Funchal, potential stopover in Lisbon
It's finally here: The 2019 E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition, our timeless annual issue! Consisting of around 240 (!) pages, the 2019 E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Editon offers a ton of inspiration, buyers advice, and eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the hottest bikes of the year. Our premium magazine is aimed at experienced eMTBers and beginners alike. Click here for more information (new window) or order it directly in our shop or on Amazon.de!
Words: Simone Giesler Photos: E-MOUNTAINBIKE-Team