Alps in June - questions

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by Inniswhe, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. Inniswhe

    Inniswhe Been here awhile

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    I am part of a group of 8 Canadians doing a self directed 9 day tour through the Alps starting mid June. I am starting this thread for input on any questions we have that I am sure many others can provide input on.

    Bike rental is booked out of Munich.

    First question regards accommodations.
    We are not big on organized tours with strict schedules and are wondering how difficult it is to find accommodation if you don't prebook rooms in the mountain towns along the way.
    Our loose itinerary is following the Edelweiss high alps route with a departure to Lake Garda thrown in. We were going to book rooms in Munich and Salzburg at each end of this trip but wondering how difficult it is to get accommodation when we arrive in these towns if we show up late afternoon looking for rooms.
    Lech/Warth
    St. Moritz
    Bormio
    Riva del Garda
    Cortina
    Lienz

    Thanks for any insight from those who have that time of year in the Alps

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  2. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Mid June is not yet peak tourist, so there is that.

    The places you mention are tourist places, so more popular, over a longer period. So others will be there.

    Arriving mob handed could present difficulties WRT smaller hotels and such. I have no idea about big/international hotels.

    As could "late afternoon", depends what you mean. The later you arrive, generally the more difficulties.

    What I have done for ages, is to start very early, miss the early stirrings and get gone before the traffic. You may need to settle up the night before.
    The roads are better, ie empty. Later, I am ready for lunch at first sitting, then get a couple of hours riding in before calling it a day mid afternoon. Find hotel/accommodation, then shit shave and shower and out and check out the town/village for sights, bars and restaurants.
    While in the bars, you can discuss the day and plan tomorrow. As well as slaking your thirst.
    For me, it seems like you are leading events, rather than chasing your tail, which can get very frustrating - especially with a big group.

    Have fun
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  3. alicethomas

    alicethomas Been here awhile

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    After the winter season and before the summer season some lodges are closed for vacation (of the employees).
    8 people might have to split sometimes, but you should get accomodation everywhere without long announced reservation.
    Though not always the cheapest. You have to take what is left.

    Perhaps you can plan the respective day in advance and phone that you'll arrive at 6pm (etc).
    The Alps are not African desert, phone and internet is in every town.
    So you can ride the day without worrying.
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  4. PeteAndersson

    PeteAndersson Swede

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    I wouldn't worry too much. Book your hotel the night before, booking.com works great, and you should be fine.

    I did the alps in june last year and most hotels were far from crowded. I booked my hotel stays the same afternoon but I was riding solo. A group of 8 is of course harder to fit but there will be places to stay.

    Don't plan on getting very far each day, twisty roads and photo stops and lunch breaks takes time, and it's worth it.
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  5. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Pretty much what the others have said. Nick's comment about the touristy places holds, but they will also have more accommodations and, as has been noted, most of Europe is still at work then. By mid July that starts to change. The Touristy places are also more likely to have larger facilities that can take you all in vs. splitting hotels.

    8 people isn't a large group, but how you want your rooms can be. Single rooms tend to be a bit rarer, Doubles are most common, and some places have triple and quad rooms. Depends on how friendly everyone is and how long that friendship lasts in close quarters.

    I like to have a room no later than 4. Early start, have a good day's ride, get the room and while Nick is checking out the local restaurants (:evil), I'm back on the bike to explore the local area.

    Booking.com also works if you have an idea where you're going to be that night. Hotels.com tends to focus on the cities and really hasn't been much use for the smaller towns.

    By mid June, everything (roads) should be open. Stelvio, Timmelsjoch and l'Iseran will typically be the last to open. Road works can close a route if it was a bad winter, and don't be surprised if you get snowed on. I've been snowed on in late July. Remember - there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

    John Hermann has his fans and detractors, but his book does have a lot of good info and is (IMHO) worth the expense.

    Along with plug adapters, pack one of these:

    [​IMG]

    Hotels have few outlets and they're never quite where you want one. Most of your gear will be 110/220V 50/60Hz, so you don't need a voltage transformer. If you travel without things that need charging, you can ignore the above.
    #5
  6. GvG

    GvG Been here awhile

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    This includes the clothing for your bike, as I found out when I drove with my Daytona 675 on sports tyres through the snow in the Alps in early August.
    And your helmet is also clothing, because the snow stuck to my visor.
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  7. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Yup, I have, and I know Michael has too, had snow in August - for me on the Galibier. Makes it all the more memorable.

    Another who has found booking.com one of the best and easiest ways to find next same day accommodation. Another plus, in France at least, they have Gites - sort of like appartments, sometimes multi room as for the winter ski market - which can often be rented by the night.
    Another possibility is Gites d'Etape which is much more like a hostel. Often very casual, but maybe they required assistance with cooking/washing up if the ones I have been to are any thing like normal.

    Also in France, but no doubt applies in other places with tourist economies, ask at the local tourist information office. In larger places often called Maison de Tourisme.
    Their job is to put bums on seats in restaurants and backs on beds on hotels. In summer at least they are open lots, but I doubt much beyond 5pm out of season, another reason to start and finish early.
    They often have language students to provide help with the non francophone tourists, but will work to get you a place regardless. IME, they always will ring ahead and book you in.

    Motorcyclists are almost always considered a regular human being, and because they are not cheap to run, the owner must be sufficiently well off to be given some respect, not judged by the state they are in as they arrive. I have stories....
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  8. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    As do we all.

    Here's one.

    I finally made it back to the Alps in 2002 after a 25 year absence. While stopped at a Belvedere above Caprile in the Dolomites I noticed a pair of bikes that were staying in the same hotel that I was, so I commented to the owners (a couple from the Netherlands) that I rarely saw another bike on the roads when I was here in the 70s. Their response was rather enlightening.

    After WW2, people needed transportation, and motorcycles were both cheaper and more available than cars. So they rode bikes until such time as they could afford a car. If you rode a motorcycle, you were regarded as not being well off enough to afford a car - a bit of a stigma. Fast forward a few decades and you have a new generation that didn't make that association and discovered that motorcycles were fun.

    Now, riding a motorcycle is an indication that one has enough discretionary income to indulge in an expensive toy. And the time to ride it.
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  9. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    Will be there (again) second half of May. We usually ride until around 5 or 6 pm, then look for a place to stay and negotiate the night. Since it's not yet high tourist season, there's lots of availability, low demand, so we can bargain a really good rate for a stay + breakfast in many places. There will be one or two here and there that are not open yet, but by 05/15 they are pretty much all geared up and just in the stage of minor preparations.
    #9
  10. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

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    Some more hints :
    - Tourist offices in town may find you accommodations also outside internet giants like Booking.com or Airbnb
    - for Dolomites feel free to ask - its my place and may give you nice and not so usual destinations , need to know if able to ride some gravel, since Mountain huts often have dirt access roads
    and are exceptional places for lodging.
    - In Switzerland (by long the most expensive place) hotels on passes or secluded places are often cheaper respect towns.
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  11. rosmoe

    rosmoe Been here awhile

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    If you find yourselves in Riva del Garda & it is not to your liking, check out Limone just 15 minutes down the road, on the water. Also if you can spare an hour or so, take the little road up to Hotel Paradiso Tremosine. This road you will not soon forget. Photo of Limone. images.jpeg
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  12. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Platform at said hotel.
    [​IMG]

    And looking down from the platform - about 1,200' (365 meters) to the water. You can also see bits of the road up.

    [​IMG]
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  13. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

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    Was there in mid June 2017. Whole Tyrol region of Austria was shut down for a couple weeks for the seasonal switchover (from winter to summer tourism).

    Ischgl, Austria - huge ski center - had ONE B&B open and ZERO restaurants. We were sure glad we booked ahead and the grocery store was open!
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  14. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

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    This is a problem only in ski resorts , half-hour north of Ischgl in Landeck you will find open year-round.
    Just look to the places that are not ski-holiday only. Zillertal , Inntal, in Austria, Vinschgau in Austria-Sud Tirol, Cadore in Italy you will find life year-round.
    Anyway , apart exceptional weather, Mountain Huts open for 1st of may...

    For an example : half-hour from Brenner pass , Italian side, there's Enzianhütte Zirogalm
    [​IMG]
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  15. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    The Alps spread as far west as France, and the French seem to get ready earlier, and have more "all purpose" resorts. And there are plenty of towns to choose from.

    Another plus, if the weather gets shitty, then the Med coast is close by with places to look at and the warmer micro climate in the Nice area westwards.
    And lots of empty, interesting roads in the Alps Maritime.
    #15
  16. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

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    Yes , but it's a slog from Munich in 9 days.... same thing about Cote d'azur riviera could be said for Trieste-Istria and Rijeka
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  17. Inniswhe

    Inniswhe Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all of the great ideas. Mountain huts are a great idea and something I been wanting to try so any recommendations would be appreciated.

    No problem with some Gravel and dirt roads. That what we spend much of our time on when touring where we live in Canada. Would love to get off the pavement . Will be in rental bmw adv bikes which in Europe will likely have street tires but should be fine unless it's muddy.

    If the weather sucks in the Alps we can go further into Italy but plan on Lake Garda for a change of scenery.

    We will want to be be off the road early every day so it sounds like we may be fine. We can split up into a couple groups if necessary and will be booking double rooms so sounds like no problem.

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  18. Inniswhe

    Inniswhe Been here awhile

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    Really have no plan for where we should stay/go along Lake Garda other than a nice waterfront to enjoy a cold beer. Thought it might be a good place for a rest day off the road as well as it is about half way around our loop.
    My experience with small Italian towns in the shoulder seasons is that they are pretty quiet so just figured the larger towns might have more going on to explore in the evenings.

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  19. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Watch your rental agreement - most prohibit off-pavement riding. Of course, that's really only an issue if you drop it.

    LOTS of good riding on the sunny side of the Alps. You can easily spent 4-5 days riding from Aosta to Trieste. The Dolomites alone can keep you busy and happy for that period of time - base out of Arabba or Corvara and you're right in the middle of some of the best roads & scenery on earth.

    Gravel - most of the good stuff is on the Italian-French border (Assietta, Fenestre, Parpaillon, Tende (old road (if it's open again - major road works in the tunnel)). In the Dolomites you've got the Forcella Lavardet and the Tremalzo (note on the Tremalzo - it's closed to motorized traffic, but if you spend a couple nights in a local hotel (see Paradiso above) you can get a permit to ride it). Giorgio can certainly add more to this than I can.

    And, of course, there's Passo San Boldo. Not really significant other than the sheer audacity of the road builders (the hairpins are in tunnels). This dumps you down onto the Venetian plain right in the heart of the Prosecco region. San Boldo has been wussified - they've installed guard rails, lights in the tunnels and lights for one-way-at-a-time traffic. San Boldo circa 1976 - note that the 2 visible tunnel entrances are for one hairpin:

    [​IMG]
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  20. jbar28

    jbar28 Been here awhile

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    My hotel arrangements in these areas usually consisted of looking over a map at breakfast and choosing a place to end the day, then getting on a booking web site and finding a hotel for that night near my target. Never had a probelm, but I was usually solo. A group of 8 might need to split up, but should be able to find 2 places close by each other. I was always much more comfortable riding through the day being certain of a comfortable place to spend the night. Just my experience.
    #20