Route Planning through the Alps - Advice Needed!

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by Krime, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Krime

    Krime Been here awhile

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    My girlfriend, father and I are leaving for yet another Europe adventure on Sept. 5th. We'll be leaving from Munich, Germany for 11 days on the road. I've got a general sense of the area we'll cover, but would greatly appreciate any thoughts on roads/passes to take as well as recommended wineries to visit along the way (for those connoisseur out there).

    We're looking at putting on roughly 3000kms round trip.

    Here's the general highlights I can think of, along with a very rough google map route.

    - Dolomites, Italy
    - Riva del garda (Verona), Italy
    - Lake Como, Italy
    - Gorge du Verdon, France (Farthest point West)
    - Route des Grande Alps into Switzerland

    [​IMG]

    We're looking for the best roads and views around. Would appreciate any advice, as I need to start loading my new zumo with a route soon (of which I have no idea how to do at the moment)!

    Below is the route we did last year. I'd like to avoid as much overlap as possible, so we can be exploring new roads.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

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    Gonna keep an eye on this just in case I ever get to do something this cool...

    :lurk
    #2
  3. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Looks like a nice loop and eminently do-able.

    I'd book 2 or 3 nights into either Arabba or Corvara in Badia in the Dolomites - absolutely spectacular roads and scenery with plenty of amenities for the weary traveler.

    The Gorges du Verdon are spectacular, but huge (comparatively). The Gorges de Daluis and de la Bourne (below) are much more intimate, although the latter (in the Vercours (between Grenoble & Die) is a bit more west than you're looking to go.

    [​IMG]

    Personally, I'd drop the Verdon and head west to Die and then north up the Col de Rousset to Grenoble and then across to the Route des Grandes Alpes. There's a great little bike friendly hotel in Rencurel - Le Marrionier. It's a bit isolated, but not far away is Villard de Lans - a bit touristy, but lots of choices.

    See if you can find a copy of John Hermann's book "Motorcycle Journeys through the Alps...). It's presently out of print with a new (5th) edition due out in November. Later editions have added non-alpine regions, so just about any edition will suit your needs.

    PM me if you'd like Google Earth KML files of passes & hotels that I've collected over the years.
    #3
  4. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz ...

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    Since you're starting from Munich this time, you're already 4 days ahead!!
    (2 days each back/ forth from the UK)...
    Pop into http://www.alpineroads.com/phpBB3/ for some good route ideas.
    The guys over there already got it all sussed out.
    For some pretty pics + a little story , maybe look at this?

    2007/ 5 weeks

    http://www.austouring.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1506

    2009/ 3 weeks/ Eastern Alps
    http://www.austouring.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2645

    2013/ 3 weeks/ Western Alps
    .....coming Oct '13... :D
    #4
  5. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz ...

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    Arghhh...beat me again!!
    I'm slippin' :lol3
    @ Krime:\
    Good "homework"!
    But a Gmap- link would be better than a jpg, to get some more detail.
    #5
  6. Teabar

    Teabar Been here awhile

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    Hi Krime,
    That's a fantastic trip. A few inputs from me which I hope are of help:

    - Spend at least 2 full days (as MJ states) in and around Arabba. There are so many passes within a stones throw and the scenery is unique. It will be the highlight. You've got to hit Passo di Giau but not just for the riding.

    - Don't know if you're camping or rooming but if the former then you could do a lot worse then heading for Camping Vantone on the SE shore of Lake Idro (SW of Trento), just west of Lake Garda. It's fantastic. This would also keep you west of the big lake which I've been told is the less busy side.

    - Just west of Riva del Garda is the road to Storo. Once you emerge from the tunnel it opens into a weekend warrior's dream, and beautiful as well.

    - The road from Idro up to the Swiss border via Edolo and Tirano is beautiful. Great scenery and some lovely little Italian towns. It's a scenery ride rather than a fast ride as such.

    - Your horizontal jaunt just north of Brescia takes you really close to the Swiss border (around Tirano in Italy). The road into Switzerland is another paradise and just further up is the fantastic Julier pass (just after St Moritz when heading SW). Check out alpineroads.com as already mentioned.

    I've done a write up of my trip at the following link. Hope it can give you some ideas.

    http://sdtravelogue.blogspot.co.uk/
    #6
  7. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    And, adding to Teabar's comments (he's obviously a man of refined tastes - or at least I agree with him - same thing, IMHO :wink:)

    Or if you'e not - the hotel Al Pescatore right on the north end of the Lago d'Idro was nice. The east side of Garda is a string of towns and villages - picturesque, but trafficky. The west side hugs the cliff face and ducks in and out of tunnels and galleries.

    From Storo, over the Passo di Te Croce to Breno. From Breno avoid the main road north - it's all tunnels now. Instead head west to Schilpario and take the Passo Vivione to Forno d'Allione and back on the road north.

    Vivione:

    [​IMG]

    Passo Mortirolo rather than the Aprica. The west side of the Mortirolo is narrow and tight. The Aprica is in the middle of a not-so-small town.

    Edolo is a great lunch stop - there are a couple of restaurants right on the main Piazza. You can sit in the shade and people watch.
    #7
  8. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    True - but I've never used GMaps - all of my mapping tools are resident on my laptop so I'm not in need of an internet connection for route planning.
    #8
  9. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    I'd add keeping an eye on the weather and staying flexible on where you'll be spending your next night (make no long range reservations). There's far too many great places to go in that 'circle' to worry about missing a place or two on your list of where you'd like to visit.
    Jim
    #9
  10. Oz_

    Oz_ Adventurer

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    I spent a lot of my infant/early years summering on Lake Como and then my recent years riding round it and I find the lake side road(not the Super Strada!!) on the eastern side of Como (Bellano, Varenna etc far more interesting/less tourist based. You could always get the Car ferry across from Varenna.

    Also the road(SS38) from Tresenda through Sondrio to Colico can be a pain, the road is nothing but an A to B kind of road (google streetview for confirmation if you want) I do like the Bernina pass up to Saint Mortiz, so you could loop that over to Chiavenna via the Majola Pass if you have the time?

    I am arriving into Munich on the motorail train on 30/08 and spending a few days in the Dolomites before heading to Como to visit family going via the JaufenPass, offen, Umbrail and Stelvio.. but only staying in around the Lake for 2 nights before heading south to Tuscany and Umbria.

    https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=Hotel+Martinerhof,+St.+Martin+30,+39030+San+Lorenzo+di+Sebato,+South+Tyrol,+Italy&daddr=SS44+to:Via+Umbrail+to:passo+dello+Stelvio%2FSS38+to:Dervio,+Lecco,+Italy&hl=en&ll=46.379149,10.489197&spn=1.481754,2.469177&sll=46.846573,11.348877&sspn=0.091813,0.154324&geocode=FQS8yQIdJIW1AClpkH7rcB94RzEMAfuJNefhOw%3BFTrtygIdHgutAA%3BFYPoxgIdqiqfAA%3BFXUfxgIdxjKfAA%3BFbwKvwIddv-NACkxJCS1jRWERzGV9xnAyCoiEw&oq=Dervio&mra=ps&t=m&z=9

    Taken in the Dolomites last year, top of Pordoi I *think*

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Krime

    Krime Been here awhile

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    Appreciate all the helpful responses so far... so much to think about!

    Amazing, thanks for the tip. Would I be missing too much of the route des grand alps? I suppose I could always take part of the route des grand alps heading south, then loop up and head north west to Grenoble, and then back to the route des grand alps to head north into switzerland.

    Great, thanks for the tip I'll have a look.

    Sounds like a plan... the biggest concern I have is losing 2 days from not actually covering the ground necessary to complete the route. Although this year at 3000kms in 12 days, we're looking at 250km/day which compared to last years experience of 3250km in 10 days, should be much more manageable. I'll have to get a tighter route mapped soon and see how many km's we're looking at with all things considered.

    We'll be staying in hotels the entire trip. We'll be looking for hotels that accommodate larger rooms so we can can comfortably sleep 3, with 2 separate rooms for sleeping space... this I realize could be a challenge.

    Wondering if it's worth riding around the lake Garda... from what I've seen in videos it looks quite amazing. Or are we better off riding in to the north part of the lake, and then heading straight for Storno? Also, wondering what side of the lake is more appealing if it is worth it?

    I think this could be heading too far north at this stage for us, but you're advice is great - we hit the julier pass last year and it was incredible.

    Debating if we'd be heading too far north towards switzerland too soon here (when we can be hitting Switzerland on the way back heading East towards the end of the trip). thinking about instead going from Breno, but heading west to Clusone - Oltre Il Colle (area) - lake Como. No idea what that route would be like or whether it's worth it, but the zig-zags look exceptional on google maps. ;)


    Great advice, last year we actually stayed in Bellano and had one of best nights of the trip. We also headed to Verenna for lunch the next morning before heading back up north towards Stelvio. We haven't gone south of Verenna yet, but I'm thinking about skipping the entire southern ride along the lake (Bellano, Verenna, etc) having done it last year.

    Ah yes! That road SS38 towards Bormio... what a mistake that was last year - wish I read this sooner. Plus, there was an accident at the time which meant gridlocked traffic for about 10 km's... the Majola Pass was spectacular as well... I not sure if we got the Bernina pass in last year though.

    Looks like a great trip! We did the Umbrail pass and Stelvio last year and loved them. Have a look at the link below in my signature if you'd like to see my version of it.

    Here's a pic from Umbrail Pass - one of the most fun roads I've ever ridden... and completely unexpected too.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks again for all the advice, looking forward to more.
    #11
  12. Oz_

    Oz_ Adventurer

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    Ha seems I told you about a lot of things you already know about! In regards to the SS38, I was in Dervio visiting my folks at the start of July and it looks like the area have got funding to complete the superstrada bypass from Colico as they had finally completed the half built junction at the top of the lake, you may well have seen the random road structures in the middle of fields alongside the SS38. So fingers crossed in a year or two that single lane hell road will be just another local road.

    Will take a look at your RR when I get a chance!

    If you are in the area the road from Bergamo > Primaluna > Bellano can be fun if there isn't much traffic, in August there is usually a Moto Guzzi festival/museum display in Primaluna.(no doubt you have already done this :p)
    #12
  13. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    The east side is slow, congested and trafficy - an endless stream of small towns, tourists and only one road through.

    The west side (La Gardesana) has MUCH less traffic and great views of the lake. As a plus, you also get to avoid most of Riva's traffic.

    If you do go up the west side, take a short side trip up to Pieve (GREAT little road) to the Hotel Paradiso for a cafe (or whatever). They have a small balcony cantilevered over the cliff face with a superb view of the lake.

    [​IMG]

    Looking down from the balcony, about 370 meters to the water:

    [​IMG]

    If it's hazy, don't bother.
    #13
  14. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    I thought that Colico rang a bell. There's a Chinese restaurant, "Da Lin", on the main drag. Classic Chinese place - all red and gold - staffed entirely by Chinese.

    Arguably the best pizza that I've had in Italy. :huh

    Go figure. :D
    #14
  15. Cooltours

    Cooltours Rider of passion

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    ... in Rencurel, Le Marronnier
    [​IMG]

    Great place to meet other motorcyclists. I came down from
    Gorges du Nan (A+)
    via Col de la Croix Berard (A+) and
    Col de toutes Aures (A).
    All that after a looooong 12h day on the bike.... but that's annother story to soon be told;-)
    #15
  16. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Plenty of parking spaces, too :D

    [​IMG]

    AlpineRoads.com meeting - 2011
    #16
  17. Isgro

    Isgro Free ranging...

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    This thread is going to be VERY useful for my trip. Bookmarking. :evil
    #17
  18. atomicalex

    atomicalex silly aluminum boxes

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    Also bookmarking. Planning also a similar trip!
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  19. Krime

    Krime Been here awhile

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    Appreciate the trip idea towards Bellano. Originally I've been thinking to stay south and head from Storno area to Como... but wondering now if that route will be too flat and boring. It may be worth (time permitting) heading north towards Bellano and then up and around the lake, coming down passing through Lugano Switzerland maybe?
    #19
  20. Krime

    Krime Been here awhile

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    Great tip with Hotel Paradiso, thank you! We'll be sure to avoid the east side of the lake.
    #20