Motorcycle Tour Through the Swiss Alps
The Alps cover almost half of the national territory of Switzerland, and you could say that they reach their peak in Switzerland: nowhere has more of the (main) peaks of over 4,000 metres (48); Switzerland is also home to the second highest peak of the Alps, Monte Rosa or Dufourspitze (4634 metres). For the touring motorcyclist many of the passes are an absolute joy to ride and are also ideal for linking together to form tours.
From Appenzell to St. Moritz
The transition from the Swiss Plateau to the high mountains is a gradual one: as you ride from the hilly Lake Constance region to Appenzell, you will notice that the peaks get gradually higher and higher. Appenzell is a truly picturesque town, then beyond Appenzell you soon come to the Säntis, which rises to above 2500 metres. And this is where the first highpoint on the stage awaits you, a detour leading to the Schwägalp. Here you will meet motorcyclists from all over this region, from Germany and Austria. The section traversing the pass of the same name is extremely popular and is often busy with traffic at weekends. Look out for speed checks! After the Schwägalp Pass the road continues over the Wildhaus Pass towards Liechtenstein. A curious fact: Just before the border lies Werdenberg, a settlement of fewer than a hundred inhabitants. Despite its tiny size, it was conferred the status of a city centuries ago and counts as one of the smallest cities of Europe. In stark comparison, Vaduz, capital city of the Principality of Liechtenstein, seems like a metropolis – and indeed is one in terms of its importance as a financial centre. Motorcyclists will perhaps not find Werdenberg especially exciting, so let's head out southwards into the really high mountains. The best way is to turn out of the Rhine Valley in Landquart and take the road leading towards Klosters, then continue over the Wolfgang Pass to Davos. At this point, if not before, Switzerland really does live up to its billing as a paradise of mountain passes.
Off we go on the Flüela Pass from Davos into the Engadine Valley; with its summit at just under 2400 metres, the Flüela is one of the highest passes in Switzerland. Our destination on this stage, St. Moritz (6), is more than just a playground for the seriously wealthy. It also serves as a starting point for fabulous circular routes through the network of mountain passes in the Canton of Graubünden.
Would you like an example? Try riding via Zernez over the Ofen Pass into Val Müstair, then cross the Umbrail Pass (which has recently been fully asphalted) to the Stelvio Pass in Italy; from here, ride downhill to Bormio then straight up again to Foscagno, through the duty-free area of Livigno, finally returning to Switzerland via Forcola di Livigno and across the Bernina Pass back into the Upper Engadine Valley.
From St. Moritz (6) it is also not much further before you come to the southernmost section of the Grand Tour of Switzerland, which takes you through Ticino.
- Top image: Fuorn Pass: Breathtaking landscape and virtually untouched nature. © Foto/Jan Latussek
- Image 2: Flüela Pass: Dramatic high mountain scenery, relatively easy to "experience“. © swiss-image.ch/Nico Schaerer
1 Maps note
To ensure you are able to try out our touring suggestions for yourself, the gpx downloads provided here offer a large number of intermediate destinations. This means they have a high data volume and cannot be directly represented on every sat nav system. To modify this, you can import these gpx files into the routing program suitable for your sat nav, and then divide them into portions digestible for the device. The final file size is then dependent upon the sat nav model and the accompanying software version. If you do not have routing software, this file can also be edited in the standard online routing systems. They offer the appropriate conversion tools for virtually all devices on the market.