Published On: March 12, 2024Tags: , , , ,

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Mountains are magic

And these are my favorites in the swiss alps

A few months after I got my license in May 2018 I crossed the border into Switzerland for the very first time. That trip really ruined me for the rest of my riding days to come, but in the best possible way. You see, the mountains have become one of my favorite destinations on a motorcycle and I truly think they are magical. It might have something to do with me being Dutch. But, after many kilometers on my bikes in between incredible summits, I now know for sure: this is one of my favorite countries to go ride close by and where I instantly feel at home. I returned multiple times already in different seasons and I plan on going back for many years to come. The majority of the passes in any mountain range were once created for the transport of foods and goods during battle. Where most of us now use the same roads for our pleasure and to feel alive on two wheels. Let me take you on a trip crossing ten of my favorite passes in the Swiss Alps or simply use this list as an inspiration to start planning your own journey.

* This trip can also be seen as a series on my YouTube channel, scroll down to start watching.
** I have tried my best to collect as much data as I could in the legend (keeping in mind that each pass runs from one valley, to the summit, to the other valley), but the shown numbers may not be 100% accurate. The included restaurants and accommodations are located around the summit.

10. SUSTENPASS – 2224 M

During summer times, this is one of the more popular passes in Switzerland. And I can completely understand why. It’s somewhat similar to the Grimsel as it offers a big variety of views. Twisties, tunnels, lakes and vivid colors no matter the season. With taking a small detour to the Steinsee, you not only come close to the immense glacier you would look at while on the Susten summit, but you’ll be left with a completely different view on the iconic pass road.

  • Winter closure Nov/May

  • GPX available: soon

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9. NUFENENPASS – 2478M

Of all the times I’ve visited the Nufenen, I was maybe lucky once to see it in all its glory. Either thick fog or heavy rains pestered me on my first visits. Although I’m not bothered by these weather conditions, I much rather see where I’m riding. Especially when the views are this good! In 2023 I finally found out what I had been missing out on, when I returned in better conditions. While both sides of the summit offer some great hairpins, Obergoms takes home the price for greatest valleys and Bedretto for its breathtaking backdrops and long stretched road. And the summit? That’s just the perfect mix of pretty much everything.

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8. GREAT SAINT BERNARD PASS – 2469M

Are you planning on visiting Italy and Switzerland and would you like to ride a winding road with incredible views while crossing the border? Look no further. This one is the third highest mountain road in Switzerland and on the summit there are many options for relaxation around the lake and some good food. Since September 2023, the Swiss side is freshly paved. If you decide to sleep on the summit, make sure to include a nice evening walk, which leads you all around the lake as you look down on the road. A special way of seeing this beautiful pass from all angles.

  • Winter closure Nov/May

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7. GRIMSELPASS – 2164M

Anyone who says ‘Grimsel’ will surely shout ‘Furka’ straight after. Those two are so intertwined in bikers’ minds. While riding either one of them on the Gletsch valley side, you can look down on the other. Personally I like the Grimsel a bit more, because if offers a more diverse landscape and views. The many (picture) perfect hairpins, the light blue lakes and their dams, the ruggedness on one side and the cleanliness on the other. My latest discovery included the tiny towns for marmots on the summit, called the “Murmeltierpark”. Easy to miss, but definitely worth a stop if you want to see these funny creatures up close. And while you’re on the Grimselpass, make sure to also include my number 1, you’ll see why!

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6. KLAUSENPASS – 1948M

Same story as the Nufenen, first time here I was not lucky with the weather. But I didn’t have to wait a year, I could just return the next day when I was welcomed by blue skies. In 1893 they started building a road over this pass, which they remarkably completed in 1899. Riding through an almost fairytale green valley and climbing towards the summit where it seems as if you’re floating above those valleys, the Klausen truly is mesmerizing. One of my absolute favorite quirky lunchspots in Switzerland is located here. On this bench you’ll look straight towards the Stäubifall. But be warned, there’s a steep drop right at your feet, so keep focus while sitting down.

  • Winter closure Nov/May

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5. ALBULAPASS – 2315M

With its position in Graubünden, the Albula is a 30-something kilometer long road showing you very different sceneries. Crater and almost moon-like landscapes, crystal blue water at the Palpuogna Lake and some great twisties to lean into. Albula offers it all and if you’re lucky you can spot some bigger wildlife. The warm color palette here really pops in autumn by the way.

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4. malojaPASS – 1815M

The greenest greens, paved twisties everywhere you look and I’ve been lucky to have the Maloja almost to myself for two times now. The highest point is “only” 1815 meters and straight after passing the summit and descending towards Silvaplana you’ll be rewarded with two of the bluest lakes you’re going to see here. The last one also happens to be one of my all-time favorites in Switzerland: Silvaplana. I’d love to go back in winter time for this pass.

  • Open all year round

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3. LAKE SILVAPLANA – 1790M

The greenest greens, paved twisties everywhere you look and I’ve been lucky to have the Maloja almost to myself for two times now. The highest point is “only” 1815 meters and straight after passing the summit and descending towards Silvaplana you’ll be rewarded with two of the bluest lakes you’re going to see here. The last one also happens to be one of my all time favorites in Switzerland: Silvaplana. I’d love to go back in winter time for this pass.

  • Open all year round

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2. TREMOLA ROAD (OLD GOTTHARD) – 2109M

The old road, the new road and an extremely long tunnel. That’s a very short way of explaining what the Gotthard is. But that wouldn’t do it justice. Where many people only pass through on the new road, I much rather prefer to ride the old one. It left me in awe repeatedly and isn’t without reason my number 2! I really cannot decide which side or spot I like best here. After every corner you are surprised by new views. Its most spectacular section is where the road climbs 300 meters around 24 bends. And did you know that each one of them has its own name? It was built between 1827 and 1832 with hundreds of thousands of granite cobblestones and reconstruction was completed in 1951. On both sides of the Gotthard you can ride this “old road”. Make sure to include both Tremola Road and Strada Vecchia for a complete experience.

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1. PANORAMASTRASSE OBERAAR – 2395M

So here it is, my favorite pass in Switzerland! It was a really close shared first place with the Tremola, because both are just simply breathtaking and in their own way thrilling to ride. The Panoramastrasse Oberaar really does its name justice. While riding this 6 kilometer long road, you simply just don’t know what to focus your eyes on. Mountains, glaciers and waterfalls as far as the eyes can see. When I am visiting Switzerland, this pass is always included in my rides. Depending on the weather (of which mostly snowfall), they can close it due to safety reasons. Normally it’s simultaneously opened with the Grimsel. Traveling is permitted in one direction at the time. Towards the Oberaarsee you can acces every xx:00 – xx:10h. Going back you can do so from xx:30 – xx:40h.

  • Winter closure Sept/Jun

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START WATCHING MY SWISS ALPS SERIES

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