View Full Version : 3000 km Switzerland

11-05-2007, 12:01 AM
Ride Report „ 3000 km Switzerland“ 17. – 28 July, 2001

Background and Planning:

After the Big Alps-Loop of the summer of 2000, Werner, Lothar, Dietmar und I decided to have a closer look at Switzerland the following summer.
As I tend to quite often spent time in Switzerland and know my way around, we’d already been to some of the more out-of-the-way places, the quieter backwaters which are barely known, but which nevertheless offer exceptionell scenery and challenging roads.

To me, Switzerland as a whole embodies the Best the Alps have to offer and the personal highlights are:
1. The Bernese High Country
2. The Wallis (Swiss Rhone Valley)
3. The area around Lake Viewaldstaetter

Considering those 3 key-areas, a rough plan came together easily:

· First up the area around Appenzell
· Let’s not forget Liechtenstein!
· Lake Walensee to Lake Sihlsee
· Lake Vierwaldstätter
· Bernese High Country
· Central-Switzerland ( Furka, Grimsel, Susten, Gotthard – resp. the old Tremola-Road!)
· The Rhone Valley
· Lago Maggiore and Lake Lugano
· Engadin (area around St. Moritz)

Here some impressions from this beautiful country:

Interlaken – Bernese High Country


beautiful mountains – Bernese High Country



Aletsch-glacier and Aletsch-forest



view from Säntis




Castor und Pollux




After lining up our timing, we were finally off on the 17.07.01:

Tues, 17.07.01, day1:

The days target was Willerzell at Lake Sihlsee, of course NOT via the direct route.
From Sonthofen via Altstädten and Fischen up the Riedbergpass (1420 m).



at the Riedbergpass



Then past Hittisau to Großegg and Schwarzenberg. Towards Dornbirn it’s first up the Bödele (1003 m), the downhiller shows Lake Constance in the distance. Crossing the Swiss border via Dornbirn and Lustenau, it’s Altstätten next, the gateway into the Appenzell-area.

This part of Switzerland consists of gentle hill-country, dotted with small villages....it all rather looks and feels like an outsized model-railway!

Roads are superb, gently sweeping up and down.
Via Oberegg to St. Anton, which (from the northern side) offers superb views across Lake Constance and down-valley views to Altstätten from the southern side.

St. Anton – view around




After the short stop it was across the Ruppenpass (1003 m) Appenzell and Urnäsch before the climb up to the Schwägalp (1278 m) at the foot of the Säntis Mountain.




What a great road, it’s just about built for bike-riding....and things continue via Neu St. Johann and Wildhaus towards Liechtenstein.



At the start of the downhill stretch, a small road turns right across Grabserberg to Grabs, offering more excellent views, one of those typical „back-roads“ that I rather prefer. To the easier and quicker main drags.

near Grabserberg






Liechtenstein came via Buchs and Schaan, the road then climbing from Vaduz to Malbun, a village in one of the furthest pockets of the tiny country. The sun put on a „light-show“, time for a quick photo-stop.

at Liechtenstein


Which included yours truly dropping the Pan European very gently onto it’s left side.
Some annoying scratches were the only damage, any more was prevented by crashbars and panniers. I still needed a little help to get her upright again though...
Despite being a dead-end, Malbun is well worth the trip, the downhill stretch paralleling the climb.


The map showed a tiny road from Mels via Portels to Flums, which somehow endet in a dead-end....doubling back, we finally found the right turn off towards Flums about halfway, a little gem of a road and decidedly preferrable to the main Sargans-Flums stretch.
From Flums to Lake Walensee, a very scenic lake cradled by high mountains, and up to Kerenzerberg (743 m) which offers magnificent views across a picture-book landscape.

Lake Walensee



Downhill to Näfels and towards Lake Zürich-See. In Siebnen it’s a left-turn up the Sattelegg-Pass (1190 m) a delight for any 2-wheeler. The Camping area in Willerzell on Lake Sihlsee was the final stop.



1. Day routing:


Wednesday, 18.07.01, Day2:

Well....the 2.day was planned to see us making our ways to Lake Vierwaltstätter, but the weather had other plans. Bucketing down right through the night and all morning, we decided on a stroll along the shores to Willerzell in the drizzle of the afternoon...

Thursday 19.07.01, Day3:

The rain has finally given way to a bright and sunny morning, let’s go then!
First up along the shores of Lake Sihlsees und up the Ibergeregg-Pass (1408 m).
I like it! A narrow road, but just nice to ride...sweepers up to the saddle and grand views onto Lake Vierwaldstätter, followed by more of the same along the way down to Schwyz.

Turning west, it’s past Lake Lauerzer to Lake Zuger.

Lake Lauerzer – view from the Rigi


Lake Zuger – view from the Rigi


Looping around the north it’s on to Lake Vierwaldstätter at Küssnacht. As mentioned before, it’s one of the most scenic parts of the Alps.
This time we took time-out for a stroll through Luzern. Always worth a visit, and not just for the old timber-bridge spanning the Reuss river, the whole town one big invite to stay and spent some time...











Past Horw and Stansstad and southward to Lake Sarnen. Time for another diversion, this time west up the Glaubenbergpass (1543 m).
The wide , sweeping Pass makes the climb a Waltz...and down again to Entlebuch.
From there via Schüpfheim to Sörenberg and up the last Pass of the day, the Glaubenbüelenpass (1611m).
Unlike the Glaubenbergpass, this one is rather narrow and checking for oncoming traffic is essential, despite the lower traffic volume.

Lake Sarnen


Down to Lake Sarnen, the views are exquisite. Another short stretch to our target, Lake Lungern. Dietmar proved again, that he hadn’t lost any of his Chef’s skills. Tents up, feet up....life’s good !

3. Day routing:


Friday, 20.07.01, Day4

Another day of solid rain....but laughs were still had hanging around town and camp.

Saturday, 21.07.01, Day 5. :

Finally the sun’s out again, time to move on.
A 9am start saw us moving towards Central Switzerland with its famous passes of
Susten-, Grimsel- and Furka…one can NEVER get enough of those, but this time adding Oberalp-, Lukmanier- and the St. Gotthardpass… to be exact, the old Tremola-Road!
From across the Brünigpass (1008 m) to Hasliberg. It’s a dead-end, but well worth it for the views into the Bernese High Country.


From Meiringen to the Schwarzwaldalp, from here a road leads across the Grosse Scheidegg to Grindelwald, but the road is only open for local coach traffic.
No regrets though….as now the time has come for some serious pass-scratching.


Up the Sustenpass, 2224 m, past Stein Glacier – the customary stop – and up to the top. The Sustenpass, like all other passes of Central Switherland, is a riders DREAM:
Perfect roads, incredible scenery and a million bends...it’s a never-ending smaorgasboard for the senses.

Sustenpass - stoneglacier




Down to Wassen, then climbing towards Andermatt. A short side-trip from Göschenen into the Göschenen Valley and the Göscheneralpsee. Completely removed from the tourist-routes, the brain is on overload, the panoramas stunning.

Back to Göschenen and on to Andermatt the next „2k“ pass is close:
The Oberalppass (2044 m) drops into the Upper Rhein Valley, leading from Disentis to Chur. More bends, more views, more perfect bends.... Via Disentis onto the Lukmanierpass, with 1914 m just shy of the „2k“ mark.
Despite that...the riding-dream continues towards Biasca, then direction Airolo. Here, the old Tremola-Road climbs up the St. Gotthardpass (2108 m). The old (now by-passed) pass-road still has it’s sections of cobblestone paving... despite it’s bumpiness and treacherous character when wet, it’s an absolute MUST if in the area.

Tremola (the old St. Gotthard-route)










Descending the other side into Hospental it’s a short turn west to climb the next ‚Biggie“, the Furkapass, 2431 m, the undisputed highlight of the day.

Unlike the other passes of Central Switzerland, the road is rather narrow and one has to keep a constant eye on traffic.
Magic bends and sweepers lead to the top, the descent passes close to the mouth of the Rhone Glacier, which, as most other glaciers of the Alps, is receding more and more, year by year. Still, it’s a very impressive sight.

Rolling into Gletsch the dream wasn’t over yet. One more ‚2k“ for the day... the Grimselpass (2165 m), again offering everything, that makes a rider’s dream:
Superb road, superb views...and bends, bends, bends with little traffic.

Grimselpass – view to the Rhoneglacier



Past Lake Grimsel and Lake Räterichsboden towards Meiringen. From here, a quick hop across the Brünigpass (1008 m) back to Lungern.

Lake Lungern


While the other 3 had enough after a full-day-rollercoaster, I’d discovered a tiny road leading up the hill from the campsite...climbing 1000m over 10km. The reward was a fantastic view into the Meiringen Valley and the Bernese Ice-giants in the distance, a well-worth effort crowned by another Dietmar dinner-delight.



Lake Lungern





5. Day routing:


Sunday, 22.07.01, Day 6. :

Under blue skies it was up the Brünig-Pass (1008 m) for another one of those things “not-to-be-missed”: the open-air museum at Ballenberg.
Integrated into the surrounds and crowned by mountain ranges, it’s a collection of buildings showing off the different building styles found within Switzerland, a worthwhile visit!
Count on spending around 3-4hrs…my 3 travelling mates were just as impressed as myself, even though I’d been there before.

open-air museum Ballenberg











The afternoon brought us into the Bernese High Country, which, I reckon, is the most picturesque part of the whole Alps region. STUNNING !!!!!

Along the shores of Lake Brienzer to Interlaken and Wilderswil.

Lake Brienz


Then the narrow road up to Saxeten, escaping into tranquillity above the hustle and bustle of Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. It’s a small, picturesque village with beautiful buildings and a superb pub offering lunch.




Back down into the valley and through Grindelwald to the mouth of the Grindelwald Glacier, an imposing sight, where the road meets up with the one taken from Schwarzwaldalp yesterday (the one only open for local coach traffic).

From Grindelwald via Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg. At Lauterbrunnen awaits another natural attraction: the Staubbachfall, a waterfall plunging 300m into the valley.
Towards Stechelberg are the Trümmelbachwasserfälle, a series of 10 glacier-fed waterfalls inside the mountain face, accessed by a tunnel-lift.

But there were other highlights waiting…back to Interlaken and up to Habkern.
The road looks like leading nowhere, but turning left in the last hairpin before the village, the small toll-road leads to Waldegg and Beatenberg, offering breathtaking views of the “Holy Triple” of the Bernese alps: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, the 3 ice giants.

Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau


Easy to see the attraction to climbers from all over the world.

From Beatenberg another small toll-road leads through various tunnels to Sigriswill, offering brilliant views onto Lake Thun below and most of the Bernese High Country above.
The map showed another small road from Sigriswill via Maiersmaad, Horrenbach and Eriz onto the Schallenberg Pass road, the landscape turning into the total opposite…gentle green hills, shallow valleys…roads turn from bends to sweepers.
Sort of like Scotland…and the narrow road showed little traffic.
Across the Schallenberg (1167 m) and through Escholzmatt across the
Glaubenbüelenpass (1611 m) again back to ‘base-camp” at Lake Lungern.

6. Day routing:


To be continued

Best greatings from Germany
and many thanks to Pete for helping with the translation!


13-05-2007, 07:04 PM
:roll: :roll:
Yeeha....ANOTHER great ride report !! :thumbs: :thumbs:
What a fantastic part of the world you've got there at your front door....amazing stuff. That covered bridge in Luzern is a beauty....
and so are the Bernese Highland shots.
That post just turned a 4-months wait into a real pain....I'll pay you back for that :wink: :wink: :lol:

14-05-2007, 03:28 PM
Knockout photos....

<-- knocked out

18-05-2007, 10:38 AM
FANBLOODYTASTIC photos. :chug: I had the pleasure of only only a 1 day train ride across that part of the globe,well Swiss part anyways. Amasing scenery,inspiring stuff.Oh to be rich a ski the world :cry: for a living

19-05-2007, 02:45 AM
Hi folks,

and here is the rest of the story!

Monday, 23.07.01, Day7:

A bit of a transit day today to get us into the Rhone Valley meant breaking camp and, as usual by now, across the Brünig-Pass (1008 m).

Lake Brienz overview


Along lake Brienz to Interlaken, swapping across to the southern shores of Lake Thun
to Spiez.
From here we’d planned to stick our noses into various dead-end valleys, exploring the quiet ‘neighbourhood” a little…
First to Kandersteg, northern end of the Goppenstein-Tunnel, the quick way via railway-flatbed into the Rhone Valley…not for us, though.
It’s a quaint little town on the valley floor, surrounded by high mountains, many typical timber buildings garnished by loads of flower-boxes.







Next stop was Adelboden, another dead-end with a picturesque village at the end.
Like Kandersteg, well worth the ride.

Simmen Valley



Back towards Spiez, then west into the Simmen Valley, with another side-trip into the Diemtig Valley, which proved, once more, similar to the previous “explorations”.

Following the Simmen Valley we reached the turn-off to the Jaunpass (1509 m).
This was new to me, as I’ve always somehow bypassed the area during previous trips through Switzerland.
Down towards Lac de la Gruyere and once more is was stunning to see the sudden change (within a stretch of only a few km) from one language-zone to the next. Here it was from German (oops…make that Swiss-German) into French.
The changes are abrupt, everything…even the street signs…change language.
No idea how those guys settle “neighbourhood-disputes” ???
Looping north around the lake to Bulle and Chateau-d’Oex next. Just short of town it’s up the Col des Mosses (1445 m), leading to Aigle on the main Rhone Valley road.

From Martigny is was finally to Grugnay, the quiet, little place above the hustle and bustle of the main valley, a place we’d previously pitched tents while on the Great Alps Tour the year before.

7. Day routing:


Tuesday, 24.07.01, Day8:

More often than not, the lower Rhone Valley (Brig to Martigny) is used as a transit-stretch, while one misses all its hidden beauties, which can be found along the terraces high above the valley floor.




Various roads lead above 2000m…our first via Vetroz to the Col du Sanetsch (2251 m) and on to Lake Sanetsch. The narrow road leads through some dark tunnels (which also sprout some rough road-surface), but all of it is more than made up for by the fantastic views into the valleys crowned by the glaciered peaks. The peaks of the Matterhorn, Grand Combin and many others right across to Mont Blanc are stunning.
There’s also regular bus service to Lake Sanetsch, as usual in Switzerland, the public transport system is exceptional.
A closed-off road continues to Gsteig, the village can be seen from above.
Halfway back into the valley, a small road seemingly leads via Anzère towards Crans Montana, which proved a dead-end though…so we had to take the main road to Crans Montana, one of the well-known “exclusives” for the rich and famous and quite busy with it.
Down towards Sierre, crossing the valley floor before the climb to Zinal, a good road continuing to Grimentz, which showed to be one of those typical, old villages of the region, historic timber-buildings everywhere. Via St. Jean and Mayous onto another narrow road along the upper galleries of the Rhone Valley to Pinsec, Vercorin, Dailley to Nax, which is the start of the Val d’Herens.
Following the valley, the road climb to above 2000m at Arolla.

at Val d’Heremence



Returning, it was past the earth pyramids of Euseigne to the Lake Lac de Dix, at 2365m one of the highest lakes….the 285m high dam wall is the world’s highest !!
IMPRESSIVE…to say the least.

dam wall of Lac de Dix


Slowly the day came to an end, the way via Hérémence towards Haute Nendaz, through Riddes and Montagnon got us back to our camp at Grugnay.
What a GREAT day !!

8. Day routing:


Wednesday, 25.07.01, Day 9:

Camp broken and all clear for the 9am start, the day’s target is the Tessin area or rather: Lago Maggiore!
Along the valley to Sierre, then north of the Rhone river via Salgesch and Varen to Leuk. And once again we’d crossed the invisible, sudden language-border, this time from French to Swiss-German, Dietmar’s language skills had helped us through, but now we all could understand “the world around us” again.







Uphill to Leukerbad, then dropping via Dorbu and the Dala-Gorge back to Leuk.
Susten, Steg and visp next…tacking south into the Saas and Matter valleys.
Saas Fee proved to be as pretty in summer as what it is in winter, well worth parking the bikes to go for a stroll.
Back down to Stalden, then up the Matter valley to Täsch, skipping the trip to Zermatt, but climbing from Stalden to Törbel and up to the Moosalm, the PERFECT lunch stop 2000m high.
Another small road leads via Zerneggen back to Visp…not far to the Simplonpass (2005 m), using the old pass road via Ried in the lower parts.
The Gondo gorge led us to Domodossola, tacking east via S. Maria Maggiore into the Centovalli (100 valleys) and further into the Tessin-area, starting our search for a camp-spot.
The place was PACKED and we had to continue through the afternoon heat to Locarno !
A long search finally yielded sweet fruits: the camp at Riarena in Cugnasco proved a lucky shot. …HIGHLY recommendable!! Lush grass under shady trees, swimmingpool, not expensive…and German is spoken, despite the “Italian-zoning” of the general area.

9. Day routing:


Thursday, 26.07.01, Day 10:

Lake Lugano!
What it lacks in size compared to Lago Maggiore and Lake Como it certainly makes up for in scenery.
The maps showed some small roads around the Lake, promising great views.

Across the Passo Monte Ceneri (554 m) towards Lugano then, turning off for a short “sightseer” into the back-country.
Via Tesserete into the Val Colla (Colla Valley), an out-of-the-way area, but with a charm all of it’s own. Via Bidogno and Colla to Pregassona, then the main road to Porlezza.
Getting off the main road right at the end of the lake, small roads lead to Laino and Lanzo d’Intelvi, opening fantastic views onto Lake Lugano…. dream-scenery.

Lake Lugano








A very scenic, steeply dropping passroad got us back to the shore, then via Melide to Morcote.

Next to Ascona at Lago Maggiore (which was on the cards for the next day), Morcote is simply one of the prettiest towns I’ve ever seen.






The whole atmosphere, the narrow laneways…it just begs to spent some time around the place.
After a longer break it was up the hills again to Vico Morcote and Carona, followed by Agno and Morte of the back-country.
A brilliant bike road leads from here via Iseo, Breno, Miglieglia and Novaggio to Biogno, not far from the main road to Lago Maggiore.

Hitting the shores at Luino, it’s up the road to Maccagno….and once more up those mountains to the Alpe di Neggia (1395 m). Past the town, the road sweeps uphill in delicious sweepers, garnished once more with superb views. Once up in the high valley, there are even better views of the other side. Once past the top, he road drops steeply with more than 20 hairpins back to Lago Maggiore. It wasn’t far to our camp now…and time to call it a day.
Get some dinner going…..then mentally ride the whole loop once more.

10. Day routing:


Friday, 27.07.01, Day 11:

Out of the blocks and into the Val Verzasca. After the first part of the climb, Lago di Vogomo shows on the left…the dam wall was featured in the james bond movie „Golden Eye“.
The Bunjyjump through the starting sequence of the flick was done here.
And, of course, the views are impressive !!
Further up the valley towards Sonogno, along the way is the Ponte di Salti to the left, the 2 arcs of the beautiful old stone-bridge spanning the Verzasca.

Val Verzasca






Returning back into the valley we joined the commuter traffic to Locarno and Ascona.







As mentioned above, Ascona is a true gem, the prettiest town in Switzerland.
The old, narrow lanes, the promenade along the shore, the Mediterranean flair, the backdrop, the small restaurants and boutiques…. it’s just drop-dead gorgeous.
Certainly a good spot for an extended break and a cappuccino at one of the cafes along the promenade.
Back on the road, the tack south along the western shore to Cannobio, then up a narrow, but sweet, stretch along the Val Cannobina to Malesco. It’s narrow and tight with 100 bends a minute…pure genius!! What a cracker…
Into the Centovalli, turning into the Valle Maggia just short of Locarno, the road rising from barely 200m to 2400m past the Lago del Naret .

Along the steep climb are Cavergno and Fusio. But boy…it’s worth the effort! Past Lago Sambucco, the narrow track keeps climbing steeply to the Lago del Naret, where the road tapers out into walking tracks. As the crow flies, it’d be barely 10km to Airolo at the foot of the St. Gotthard Pass.

Lago del Naret


Returning into the valley, a herd of cows blocked the way, forcing us to yet another welcome break.


Along the way to Locarno, we dropped into one of the numerous, beautiful mountain villages of the Tessin area

at Valle Maggia





…before hitting some rain on our way to Locarno.
Was it enough to climb into the rain gear ? Dietmar took the plunge and suited up, the rest of us just kept going…the drizzle stopped as we entered the small city, it was getting warm again and Dietmar was still wearing his rain gear, slowly melting away in the plastic skin.
Some dark clouds were still threatening, but NO, not a drop. With each set of lights, Dietmar peeled of bits and pieces, but it only finally came off completely at the campsite.
Yet another brilliant day!!

11. Day routing:


Saturday, 28.07.01, Day 12 …and last:

Back home!
After breaking camp and stowing everything on the bikes it’s off to Bellinzona and up the
Valle Mesolcina to cross the San Bernadino Pass (2065 m) – yet another plum-ride for any biker. Sweeping bends, magnificent views…even on the downhill stretch following the Upper Rhein Valley into Splügen, and up the same-named pass. The Splügenpass (2113 m) had already been a staging point on the previous trip, no-way we’d skip that one!



A smorgasbord of bends leads across the border into Italy at the top, then more of the same downhill into Chiavenna.
A Winnebago displayed some problems, partially mastering the bends with 3-point turns…
Up the Bergell valley and the Maloja-Pass (1815 m)…which really is a one-way pass, as it doesn’t drop down again, but the top of the pass becoming the valley-floor of the Upper Engadin-Valley.
Past those sparkling lakes of the Engadin: Lake Sils , Lake Silvaplana, Lake Champfer and finally Lake St Moritz.

Lake Sils






Lake St. Moritz


Engadin overview


Through St. Moritz, Samedan, Zernez and Susch/Süs. At Giarsum a road leads uphill to Guarda, a typical Engadine-style village, the buildings are gorgeous.
The road keeps going via Bos-cha and Ardez up to Ftan, before returning to the main road just short of Scuol.
To finish off our big Swiss loop, it was through Pfunds and Prutz – with the customary side-trip across the Pillerhöhe (1558 m) - into the Pitz-Valley.





Via Imst, the Hahntennjoch (1903 m), the Lech Valley and the [B]Gaichtpass (1093 m)






into the Tannheimer-Valley, finishing with the Oberjochpass (1178 m) back into Sonthofen.

Last Day routing:



What a grand loop !!!
It came to nearly 3000km in total, the team of 4 proved a brilliant group once again.
Some parts/ roads were new to me…but to wrap it all into one loop was a hoot!!
And apart from those 2 days of rain at the start, even the weather played the part.
A really recommendable route, that shows off

[b]…Switzerland at it’s Best!!

…Scenery at a GRANDE scale!!

…Roads? The dream never stops!!

Best Greatings from Germany

21-05-2007, 04:26 PM
:shock: :shock: :shock:
Christ !!! What a place !!! Love those old swiss houses with their huge eaves and flowers.
The Lac de Dix will have to find a place in the itinerary as well 8) 8)

And this one
was taken from Muottas Muragl?
That town on the right should be Samedan then (I think I can make out the hospital, know that place well :shock: :D) ...and St. Moritz draped around the lake?

21-05-2007, 04:37 PM
And this one
was taken from Muottas Muragl?
That town on the right should be Samedan then (I think I can make out the hospital, know that place well :shock: :D) ...and St. Moritz draped around the lake?


it's still a beautiful view!


30-05-2007, 07:51 AM
Rudi - an absolutely AMAZING report again!!!! You are right, this is Switzerland at it's best!
Due to a lot of personal commitments I only got to read your report now in its full length and I'm blown away. I loved every bit of it. Keep it up!