Is it known as biking if all you do is squeeze the brake and never pedal? That’s what I saved considering to myself your entire time as I used to be biking down the Gotthard Move on previous Tremola Highway in Switzerland. Granted, I nonetheless needed to flip (there was plenty of turning) and preserve the bike upright as I traversed the serpentine cobblestone highway, so it should rely as biking, I believed. No matter if I name it biking, it was an immense quantity of enjoyable. And the very best half – anybody can bike down Tremola Highway – no coaching crucial!

Not solely was it an journey that few folks tackle, however biking down the go was a experience by way of historical past. It was the right instance of taking the highway much less traveled, which is one thing I at all times aspire to do after I journey. I can’t think about a greater technique to expertise this historic go that connects the North and South of Switzerland over the Alps.

Biking and Mountaineering Switzerland’s Alps and Lakes

I spent my first 4 days in Switzerland in a cloud…like a literal cloud. The Swiss Alps? I don’t assume there are any mountains right here – I couldn’t see something however thick clouds and rain for 4 days. That is definitely not the situation you need if you find yourself in one of the vital well-known and picturesque mountain ranges on the planet. However you possibly can’t management Mom Nature; typically you simply need to make the very best of it.

Rigi Panoramic hike lake lucerne
Mountaineering within the Clouds

Is Switzerland nonetheless wonderful when you possibly can’t see the Alps? Sure – it may be moody, however you possibly can nonetheless get out and benefit from the trails, the tradition, the cows, and the transportation nonetheless rocks! I used to be with a small group of writers traversing our method from Zurich to Lugano (north to south) by mountain climbing and biking. Because of the difficult climate we needed to change a few of our mountain climbing round Lake Lucerne, however we had been nonetheless capable of get out and huff and puff our method by way of some fairly epic climbs.

Gotthard Pass Clouds

We arrived on the prime of the Gotthard Move by van after a day of mountain climbing within the rain. As most passes go – it was fairly barren; with not a tree in sight, and because of the nasty climate – it had a light-weight dusting of snow and was fairly chilly. I used to be simply excited to get into our heat, cozy lodge room and get cleaned up after a tough day open air within the parts.

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Hospice St. Gotthard (inbuilt 1237) didn’t appear to be a lot from the surface, however as soon as inside, it was gorgeous. This historical constructing had a very fashionable inside, all product of wooden. And though it regarded prefer it may be chilly and uncomfortable from the surface – it was cozy and comfy inside. In truth, the rooms type of regarded like a large sauna.

Hospice St. Gotthard

I regarded out the previous window in my room and noticed completely nothing however one more cloud. It definitely didn’t really feel like we had been at 6,900 ft. within the Alps. My thoughts began wandering towards the subsequent morning – I didn’t know if I needed to go down this go on a motorcycle within the rain and sleet – it felt overwhelming for the time being, so I went and had a beer and dinner as a substitute.

Proper earlier than I went to mattress, I regarded out the window one final time, and that’s after I noticed a faint gentle within the sky. What’s that? I put my glasses on and realized it was a star. Yippee! The clouds had dissipated and left us a transparent sky – abruptly, issues had been trying up for tackling the famed Tremola Highway the subsequent day!

Gotthard Move Historical past

Tremola Road Gotthard Pass
Picture courtesy of Switzerland Tourism – Ivo Scholz

The Gotthard Move is also known as the ‘King of the Mountain Passes’ because it was one of the vital arduous and essential passes in Europe. It’s named for a chapel constructed on the prime in 1300 in honor of Saint Gotthard, a German bishop of Hildesheim. The go connects northern (German-speaking) and southern (Italian-speaking) Switzerland. The event within the space began in 1200 and has undergone many transportation modifications by way of the centuries.

Tremolina Road by the numbers

The primitive path was first utilized by merchants transferring items from north to south of Europe. The primary ‘highway’ was opened in 1830 and was product of cobblestones. The railway and prepare tunnel was opened in 1882. Subsequent, a freeway tunnel was inbuilt 1930. Then the newer highway tunnel opened in 1980. And at last, the Gotthard Base tunnel for high-speed trains was accomplished in 2016.

If you wish to be taught extra in regards to the transportation historical past, on the prime of the go, throughout from the Hospice the place we stayed, is a museum that covers the historical past of the highway, railroad/automobile tunnels, and area.

Tremola Highway Biking Fame

The route is famous for avid cyclists to overcome. It has been mentioned that if this highway was in France or Italy it will be one of the vital well-known climbs in biking. The Tremola Highway has been one of many phases of the Tour de Suisse biking race for 38 years.

Nevertheless, it’s not only for the professionals, any bike owner can take it on. That is made attainable because of the shortage of site visitors on it, which makes it protected to experience for folks of all ranges. And if you would like slightly enhance, you possibly can simply lease an electrical bike to deal with the go.

Need extra adventurous, curvy roads – I drove the well-known Trollstigen highway in Norway – and it is also a wild experience!

4 Methods to Get Over or Underneath the Gotthard Move

  1. Drive your self by way of the automobile tunnel. However be ready for large site visitors by way of this common route connecting north and south Switzerland.
  2. Use the extra fashionable highway to drive over the go.
  3. Go by quick prepare by way of the railroad tunnel
  4. Take the Previous Tremola Highway by automobile or bike. That is completely the slowest, however essentially the most scenic. And the very best half is that you simply’ll virtually be alone – there may be little or no site visitors on this route – which makes it splendid for biking and making plenty of stops for photos!

Take the Cobblestones Much less Traveled

biking down gotthard pass

I did this experience initially of October, which is usually a little iffy for the climate at altitude. Nevertheless, after I awakened, I pulled the curtains again from my lodge room, and there it was – my previous good friend the solar. It had been so lengthy since I had seen him that I practically didn’t acknowledge him! However – his timing was impeccable as I actually didn’t need to experience down the go within the rain and sleet we had the prior day. Though it was chilly on the prime, the solar was out, the skies had been blue, and we had an ideal day for this biking journey!

We bundled up because it was nonetheless chilly at altitude, and as we obtained nearer to beginning, the extra nervous I turned. I regarded on the map of cobblestone switchbacks – it regarded like a pile of spaghetti. I had bike with good brakes; nonetheless, the little cobblestones mixed with the hairpin turns stacked on prime of one another had me barely involved about my capacity to remain upright.

Prepared, Set, Brake! Biking Down Gotthard Move

I placed on my sun shades (one thing I believed I used to be by no means going to make use of on this journey!), and my biking gloves, and began pedaling down the bumpy cobblestones. I perhaps pedaled 4 occasions…after which I by no means needed to pedal once more. Gravity launched me down the highway, and the journey started.

Video of Biking Down Tremola Highway on Gotthard Move

In fact, I in all probability made it 500 ft earlier than I ended to take photos! I had solely seen the highway on Google Maps, and now seeing the serpentine turns in particular person on a sunny day within the mountains was breathtaking.

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Not solely had been the views unbelievable – however I used to be mesmerized by the superbly sq. little granite cobblestones. They had been laid in little arcs like a murals. The granite dates again to the early 1800s; I had by no means ridden over something so previous. With 4+ miles of cobblestones, it’s thought of Switzerland’s longest highway monument.

There have been even sections the place they had been engaged on changing the cobblestones. It was like a large puzzle on the aspect of a mountain. It made me marvel what number of cobblestones had been used to assemble the highway – one thing I used to be by no means capable of finding a solution to.

However the one thought that continued to roll by way of my head and eat me was, why aren’t extra folks driving on this stunning go? I solely noticed 4 automobiles your entire experience down! Because of everybody being in a rush lately and the development of the fashionable rail and automobile tunnels, Tremola Highway was empty – which makes it the right go to bike.

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After we made it down the hairpin turns we continued all the way in which to Bellinzona the place we biked by way of stunning farms and villages all the way in which to the prepare station. We had a full day of biking 43 miles (most of it downhill) into the Ticino canton the place abruptly the whole lot turned extra Italian. And the solar was out your entire time!

How You’ll be able to Cycle Down Previous Tremola Highway

Biking the Tremola Highway is often a part of an extended biking tour throughout Switzerland. I wasn’t capable of finding an organization that simply took you to the highest together with your bike and allow you to experience down for the day. Nevertheless, I feel you would prepare to do this by taking a bus to the highest together with your bike after which simply biking down.

hairpin turn tremola road

The corporate I went with, Eurotreks, affords a 9-day self-guided route that features biking down the Gotthard Move. I used to be actually pleased with their bikes and the guides that we had so it’s a terrific possibility if you wish to see and bike extra of Switzerland.

The place to get the very best picture of the Tremola Highway

In fact, I took numerous photos and movies on my experience down Tremola Highway; nonetheless, it’s laborious to get inclusive view of the entire hairpin turns whereas on the highway. Earlier than you begin your descent from the highest, briefly observe the primary highway in the direction of the south descent (Freeway 2) – about half a kilometer. Park on the lot on the left and also you’ll discover the right overview shot of the hairpins you’re on the lookout for. It’s even marked on Google Maps.

Tremola Road Photo Point
Picture courtesy Switzerland Tourism – Nico Schaerer

Let the entire others who’re in a rush take the tunnels by way of the Gotthard Move, you possibly can take your time and wind your method down the historic cobblestones of Tremola Highway. It could be the highway much less traveled, however it’s the easiest way to expertise the Gotthard Move. Decelerate, squeeze the brakes, and take all of it in…that is the way in which journey needs to be.


I used to be a visitor of Switzerland Tourism for this tour, nonetheless all opinions expressed listed here are my very own.