I'm considering 4 or 5 days road riding in the Swiss Alps. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good base for the good routes (e.g. Gotthard, Santesch, Albula etc.) ?

I get the impression the area's not as well suited to a choice of routes riding from your hotel as some places in the French Alps- anyone have any experience of this? Is car hire a good idea?


EDIT: Forgot to say this would probably be late August - anyone know how busy the roads get around then?




Daveyraveygravey [702 posts] 3 months ago

Haven't done it yet, but might be organising something similar next year.

Weather can be an issue, I had planned to ride the Stelvio from Prato in 2017 at the end of August.  They always close the road up (and from Bormio) one Saturday, either the last in August or first in September.  In 2017, the summer was fantastic, I was staying in central Italy on the beach with over 30 degrees.  A friend said "Have you seen the forecast for the Stelvio region at the end of the month?"  Somewhat disbelivingly I checked, and it was predicting rain and about 4 degrees.  I had booked accomadation so had to go, and the forecast actually got worse. We arrived the night before, and it was grey and rainy and about 6 degrees.  I got up early anyway, still raining, and temps at the top were zero and it was snowing.  They closed the road at Trafoi to all traffic.

Last year I planned the Gotthard pass, but crashed off the bike and broke my shoulder.  Again, it was all booked, so had to go that way anyway.  Switzerland is beautiful but it isn't cheap; pizzas were 19-20 Swiss Francs, and in Abruzzo similar or better were €6.  Accomodation is also more.

The Col Collective did a route involving Gotthard Nufenen and one other, I think there is also Susten Furka Grimsel.  There are plenty of routes, but you may need two bases or do a bit of driving.

Here's a suggestion for some climbs - 


The driving isn't bad in Switzerland.  They have more speed cameras than we do, and they aren't always clearly signposted.  When you get near road tunnels on the motorway, they expect you to drop from 130 to 100 kph.  If the locals seem to slow down randomly, best follow suit.

NickJP [11 posts] 3 months ago

There's a useful CD published on cycling Swiss passes. I've had my copy about 20 years, but it still seems to be available: https://www.velo-direct.ch/Marken/Artikeldetail/BEX-100.500/. The CD interface is in four languages, including English.

We've done several tours in Switzerland, but always place-to-place rather than staying in one spot and going out each day. However, there are several locations where you could stay and climb multiple cols from the one spot. The ones I'm familiar with (though I haven't climbed all the surrounding passes:

Martigny: Col de la Forclaz, Col de la Croix, Col Des Planches, Col du Sanetsch, Grand St Bernard, and quite a few smaller climbs.

Ullrichen: Furkapass, Grimselpass, Nufenenpass. There are also a couple of pretty challenging loops that start and finish in Ullrichen. The first is 100km with 3000m of climbing over the Nufenen, St Gotthard, and Furka, the second 135km with 3500m of climbing over the Furka, Susten, and Grimsel passes.

Schwyz: Pragelpass, Mostelegg, Mt Rigi, Haggenegg (all with gradients in some places of 20% or more), Ibergeregg, plus several smaller climbs. There are also some loop rides from Schwyz: Klausenpass and Pragelpass, 130km with 2800m climbing - if you organise this ride for a Sunday, the Pragelpass is closed to motorised traffic above Richisau, and you'll see nothing but a few other cyclists and walkers. Another loop is Ibergeregg, Sattelegg, and Raten, about 100km with 2200m climbing.


Daveyraveygravey [702 posts] 3 months ago

Nick JP, great info, thanks!


More info here - https://www.cycling-challenge.com/the-best-road-bike-climbs-in-central-s...