Swiss/Italian Alps Route Planning

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by insureguy, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. insureguy

    insureguy Adventurer

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    Planned lots of international trips for myself......but this looks tough. I can't easily estimate distance, travel time, etc.....

    I'm planning on riding out of Zurich heading southeast into Italy in July. I have no specific requirements other than I want to be out of the mountains in 2-3 or so days. I'd like to stop in the prettiest towns/cities and cross the most impressive passes. I was thinking something like Zurich, Lucerne, St Moritz, then into Italy, but I'm open to any help or suggestions.

    I don't ride terribly slow and leisurely, but I'm not in a hurry either. I want pretty scenery during the day with nice hotel and activities at night. I don't mind riding long days 6-8+ hours. I've ridden in Austrian Alps and Dolomites.

    I had it in my mind that I wanted to cross Stelvio Pass, but I'm not even married to that idea. Looks like it takes me pretty far easy with no ideal target stop over. Ultimately heading south into Italy. Total trip will be about 10 days or so, but I'd like to leave myself a week plus after crossing Swiss Alps. Don't need to see everything....just passing through and want to squeeze the best in.

    Anyway, any ideas? I'm open to anything. Need actual route from Zurich into Italy. Thanks!
    #1
  2. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    Dolomites? Going through Davos and Fluelapass will get you to Stelvio by the back door at Passo Umbrail then Bormio and east. The Lakes? St. Mortiz via Chur, then west to Chiavenna to Lago Como. Skip Stelvio? Davos to Bolzano, then knock yourself out all around Cortina.

    Personally, I'd give Lucerne a pass. Head for Andermatt for Sustenpass, Grimselpass, and Furkapass, St. Gotthardpass, maybe the Lukmanierpass. Actually, there are just too many possibilities to mention. Not a bad thing.:D

    For times and distances, plus highlighted scenic roads in green at http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/

    Keep in mind that those figures are approximate.
    #2
  3. insureguy

    insureguy Adventurer

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    RTLover, thanks so much for the assist. You're right.....too many options. I think that's why I'm struggling. If you were going to do 2 days of riding from North to South, again, heading somewhere south into Italy, which of those would you choose?

    I know...it's just one opinion, but that's what i'm looking for. I will be taking my son on a ride. We want to get as much distance, sights, towns in as we can in 10-12 days. I try to fit as much riding as we can in each day to end up in a city/town with something to entertain us.....nice hotel, sites, food,, etc...

    i'm in the preliminary stages of planning, so I'm not locked into anything. We could head toward Venice or South toward Florence....it's all up in the air. I'll pin all that down after I figure out the most excitement we can pack into those first 2+ days. I could also make it a southbound route and then pick another route through the mountains on the way back?? Hey, there really are too many possibilities.

    FYI, I've already ridden through Grossglockner/Heiligenblut and south.

    So...what's your favorite each way...if you don't mind one more stab at it?
    #3
  4. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    for Zurich heading south I have done the following:
    (keep in mind it is usually a bit of a late start after the flight over the first day).

    south from Aarau (a bit west of Zurich, it's where we get our bikes from) along the back roads, I think it's 26, and then pick up the road that runs parallel to the A4 autobahn to neat Altdorf. Stay on the secondary road to the Susten Pass, then to the Grmsel Pass, and finally the Furka Pass. This drops you down into Andermatt, about 230 km, and a pretty good / full day (if you set off mid to late morning as we do).

    in 2011 we did something like this:

    [​IMG]

    the rest of the story is HERE

    this year we headed more towards France, but this was part our trip back north

    [​IMG]

    the rest of that story starts HERE


    From Andermatt you can then cose to continue honestly south into Italy via the St. Gotthard Pass or the Lukmannier Pass. they both drop you in the region of Bellinzona and you'd easily make your way to Lake Como etc. You'd have plenty of time to stop, take pics etc. It's only 180 km from Andermatt to Mandello Del Lario.

    You could also leave Andermatt and head east towards Chur. Head over the Oberalp Pass leaving Andermatt, and then the Albula and the Bernina down into Italy. Or you could do the julier south towards Silvaplana / St. Moritz area.

    As to the question of distance, it's all up to you and how you like to ride. I always figure a "good day" here is 250 or so miles, and it seems a good day in the mountains is about 250 or so km.

    One word of advice, the Swiss police are humorless when it comes to speeding :deal



    enjoy!
    #4
  5. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    Sustenpass, both ways. Nufenenpass for mostly cruising, eastbound. Julierpass north from St.Moritz, fast and sweeping. St. Bernardino if you want a work out on the old road but the downside is that south from the pass is a long and boring ride on the autostrada to Bellinzona. S44 Passo du Monte Giovo then S238 south from Merano. My first ride in the Dolos was toward the end of a long day and I ended up on S48 east all the way to Cortina. Spectacular but I could hardly dismount after that. The next morning I re-traced it. It was better when I was conscious.

    For me, Venice is a destination but riding there doesn't push any buttons. Florence can be reached by a couple of nice roads. From Modena, hook onto the S12/66 to Pistoia or P65 from Bologna.

    I'm more inclined toward sweepers than hairpins. Stelvio via the S38 re-enforced that. :D
    #5
  6. lhendrik

    lhendrik Truffle Rustler

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    You are not kidding. Hairpins till you puke.
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  7. FlyingFinn

    FlyingFinn Long timer

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    I'd still say the Stelvio type hairpins are something to be experienced.
    Until one has ridden a pass like that, it's impossible to even imagine how tight and relentless those turns are.
    I loved the area. My faw town there is Livigno, didn't much care for St. Moriz.

    Mikko
    #7
  8. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    All I knew in advance was that Stelvio was a 'must'. The first leg was nice and then I hit a turn that had a big sign with the number '1' on it. No clue, until the next one, '2'. '48' was the end. In the rain. BTDT, IMO overrated.
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  9. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    toll on Stelvio starts in 2013....

    oh well....
    #9
  10. eddie98

    eddie98 Been here awhile

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  11. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Hi Neighbor! Renting from Moto Mader?

    I'm pretty much with g®eg on this, but I'd head for Luzern and ride along the north shore of the Vierwaldstattersee (Lake Lucerne) and then down to Andermatt. If you're picking up your bikes the day you arrive, Andermatt would be a good place to stop "early" and catch up on your jet lag. I'd do another night in Andermatt picking up the local passes (Susten, Grimsel, Furka, St. Gottart and maybe the Neufenen on day 2, heading out on day 3 over the Oberalp towards Chur and on to Davos. It's not a straight shot, as all those hills get in the way. :evil

    From Davos, over the Fluela towards Zernez and Santa Maria in Mustair and the Umbrail pass which drops you off just below the Stelvio summit. From there, you can go east down the Trafoi valley to Merano, Bolzano and then south towards Lago di Garda or south towards Bormio and the Gavia Pass, eventually dropping you past Lago d'Iseo and Brescia.

    Either way, at this point, you're in the Po valley and, in late July, you'll be roasting. In traffic. Everywhere. :puke1

    This is the point where I swing back north again - if I want traffic, I've got The Beltway :wink:

    Oh yes - and you do know that Europe is heading out on vacation at the same time, don't you? Accommodations can get thin, although you should always be able to find a room (assuming that you are bunking with your son).
    #11
  12. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    Now that I think about it, the numbers began with 48. That's even more diabolic. If you start from 1, you live in hope that there won't be tooooo many. But if you start with 48, you're foooked. If you turn around, you'll never be able to live with yourself.:D
    #12
  13. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Me again. Check in with the guys at Alpine Roads, too. Lots of info there (you'll need to join the list to get full access to the forums, though).
    #13
  14. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    Yup. What he said :thumb
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  15. insureguy

    insureguy Adventurer

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    You're all probably thinking I asked for help then disappeared......sorry. Crazy work week! Ok, so back to my planning. It appears that everyone agrees that heading more toward Andermatt is a good choice...lots of great passes. It also sounds like many agree that Stelvio is a must see. The others think maybe its over-rated....but, they've done it too! I might need to do it so I can claim its over-rated.

    Now I need to get a good map and study the recommendations.

    MichaelJ (neighbor), I was just in Sterling last week. Hate that beltway! I'm not sure where I'm renting yet. Normally I ship my bike over, but I'm definitely renting this time. Where is Moto Mader? I was looking at Bosenberg. I'm open to suggestions here too.

    I've studied Alpineroads.com for weeks, but while they give great commentary on the roads, they self admittedly don't offer much route planning.

    I appreciate everyone's suggestions. It's a real help....and lots of fun to hear about your experiences. Keep it coming.
    #15
  16. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    #16
  17. V Saarela

    V Saarela Been here awhile

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    Don´t try to go so many passes you can on this days. After a while it´s to much beuatiful wievs and yoy will get bored. Better to take few passes and give them more time instead.

    I´ve found Stelvio and Grossglockner passes "have to do passes"
    #17
  18. rosmoe

    rosmoe Been here awhile

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    If you are near Stelvio, do check out Gavia.
    #18
  19. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    If you´re gonna check out the Rhone-gletscher (source of Rhone), from there it´s possible to continue on the Rhone valley to Brig, and then rise up to the Simplon/Sempione pass, and then to Domodossola in Italy. You can visit the Cascata della Frua waterfalls from there (but that road is a dead-end).
    And from Domodossola, there´s also a nice but very narrow road to Cannobio on the shores of Lago Maggiore. Was a very nice route IMO (..but I did it about 10 years ago).
    #19
  20. insureguy

    insureguy Adventurer

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    Thanks again all! I just emailed Tommy at Motomader. Checked out his website, aber ich nicht gut im Deutsch. I'll wait for his response....hopefully in English.

    Anyone have any experience with Bosenberg in Frankfurt and Zurich? They appear to have a nice rental program.
    #20