Mention the Alps and most people think of Switzerland. The country is the epicenter of the Alps. My “Totally Switzerland” tour is geared towards those riders looking for a focused tour with a lot of riding and off bike options available to visit some of the most famous sights in the entire Alps. Switzerland has more than 40 passes, some spectacular roads that lead to valleys and dams higher than many passes, great road surfaces and a plethora of things to see and do. You can’t ride it all in 9 days, which is why we ride other parts of Switzerland on other tours.
I’ve been traveling and riding in Switzerland for more than 30 years. The result is that I have explored many of its nooks and crannies and all of them are wonderful to ride. On this tour we ride roads and passes that many tours never go over. Even some Swiss riders haven’t gone over them. This tour makes for the Perfect 9-Day Escape.
|September 17 – 25
|June 23 – July 6
|TOUR LINK OPTIONS:
|Alps Select before
|9 Riding Days
|200 kms – 300 kms per day (120 miles – 180 miles) – Asphalt roads
|4 to 4.5 out 5
|2 – Visp (can ride or rest), 2 – Pontresina (can ride or rest)
|2 to 4 star hotels – family run Alpine style
|MINIMUM # OF RIDERS:
- Day 1 – Visp (S)
- Day 2 – Visp (S)
- Day 3 – Visp (S)
- Day 4 – Walenstadt (S)
- Day 5 – Pontresina (S)
- Day 6 – Pontresina (S)
- Day 7 – Pontresina (S)
- Day 8 – Ulrichen (S)
- Day 9 – Thun (S)
- Special Places – Zermatt/Matterhorn, St. Moritz, Grande Dixence Dam
- Major Passes – Umbrail (#10), Nufennen (#11) Grand St. Bernard (#12) + Abula, Fluela and more
- The iconic Stelvio Pass (#3) is just over the border – always an option
- Smaller Passes – Glaubenbuelen, Ibergeregg, Kerenzerberg + more
- More than 30 passes in total
- Several high valley roads at 2,000+ meters ending at spectacular lake dam vistas
- The steepest road used by Post bus (small steep road requires van sized Post bus)
- The highest, oldest continually inhabited village in the Alps
NOTE – Totally Switzerland Routing
Astute readers of this page will notice that some of the passes and route description are similar to the Alps Select tour. That is because we ride some of the more famous and requested passes in order to get back and forth to Italy. Any duplicate passes are ridden in the opposite directions, which all Alps riders know provides a very different feeling going over a pass one way vs the other. We delve into a lot of the nooks and crannies of Switzerland on this tour that get by-passed on the Alps Select tour. The majority of the riding and passes per tour are definitely different by design so that Tour Members who do both the Totally Switzerland and Alps Select tours get a very different ride and appreciation for Switzerland on one tour and Italy on the other.
MOTO-CHARLIE reserves the right to alter the exact route at his discretion.
The cost for this tour at the current exchange rates will be:
- Single rider in a single room
- $5,095 TOTALLY SWISS Tour (9 days)
- Passenger sharing a double room
- $3,265 TOTALLY SWISS Tour (9 days)
- Couple riding two-up sharing a double room
- $8,360 TOTALLY SWISS Tour (9 days)
Note: Switzerland is a little bit more pricey – but you get what you pay for. The costs above assume an average of $40 per night more for hotel rooms than the average $130/night used for other tour pricing
These cost numbers should cover your direct tour costs including motorcycle rental, all hotels, all meals, gas and my fee.
The focus of this tour is to take the roads less traveled and to explore smaller passes, really high valleys and several of Switzerland’s more spectacular lake dam regions. Switzerland has an extensive network of lakes created by hydroelectric dams located high up in the mountains. A few of the more impressive ones can be reached by car, motorcycle or bicycle for those willing to take the time to explore these dead-end roads that go as high as some of the major passes up into the mountains – that’s us. We will also mix it up by riding some great classic sweeping passes and we’ll ride some uniquely Swiss experiences.
Most people like to arrive at least one day ahead of time to help with jet lag, see the local sights or get acclimated to their motorcycle, the roads and Euro riding in general via the free 1/2 day ORIENTATION DAY offered to all Tour Members. I’ll be more than glad to help you plan whatever activity might be of interest to you.
- Day 1 – We have numerous routing options today. One of my favorites is to ride along the beautiful Thun and Brienz lakes, which will then let us play up and down over some of Switzerland’s most famous passes, the Susten, Furka and Grimsel passes before continuing on down the picturesque valley road to our overnight stay in Visp for the next 3 nights.
- Day 2 – Even hard-core riders always ask if the route goes by the Matterhorn. On this tour it does. Of course, it depends on the weather. It’s usually most clear in the mornings, which is why we give it a look first thing today. If there are no clouds and we know the Matterhorn is visible we can take a very short walk over to the train station, hop on the train and be up in Zermatt in less than an hour. From there we walk across the car-free street and onto the Gornergrat train, which takes us up to the base of the Matterhorn. Afterwards we can ride some of spectacular high Alpine roads or the wild technical Sanetch Pass, or maybe visit the Mattmark dam, high above Sass-fe, Zermatt’s valley cousin nearby.
- Day 3 – Today we’ll get to ride a little bit of everything from brief highways sprints to pass-high dams to some of the most spectacular high valley we ride, where you feel you’re flying in an airplane as you enjoy unbelievable valley vistas below. The star of today’s ride will be the Grande Dixence dam, the highest in Europe. From the parking lot we take a small cable car up to the top of the dam itself, where the views of the lake and the valley below are unforgettable. The high Moosalps road back to Visp will take your breath away.
- Day 4 – Today we work our way up north. Our route will take us over some of Switzerland’s best known free flowing passes including the Nufennen, Gotthard and Grimsel as well as along the high alps road over the Kerenzberg pass above the Walensee lake on the way to our overnight hotel in Walenstadt at the end of the lake.
- Day 5 – Our route today will continue the theme of famous Swiss passes. We start by passing through Klosters, ski home of the British Royal Family as well as Davos, known for its skiing and for the annual World Economic Forum, where the world’s rich and powerful gather to discuss social and economic issues. From there it’s on to more of Switzerland’s best motorcycle passes including the Fluela. We then enjoy a unique ride through the one-way at a time, 2-mile-long Munt La Schera tunnel carved through solid rock. The tunnel brings us into the duty-free town of Lavigno Italy near the Swiss border. From there we go over the Livigno Pass back into Switzerland and then over the Bernina Pass, one of Switzerland’s most famous passes, kept open all year round to connect Switzerland and Italy and to access the major skiing on the pass road. It is a short high-speed run from the top of the pass down to Pontresina, our base for the next 3 nights.
- Day 6 – We’re in luck today because our hotel includes a free travel card that lets us go up two of the highest cable cars in the Swiss Alps, or take a free train over to St. Moritz and other valuable perks. Weather permitting, we will ride up the Corvatsch 3303 cable car, with stunning views that look down onto St. Mortiz below. From there we enjoy famous passes like the Julier, Abula and more. All told a great day of riding.
- Day 7 – Most of route today will be nice 2-lane, fast flowing classic Alpine pass roads. Two of them in particular have lots of wide switchbacks and flowing sweepers, which allow for more liberated throttle hands than some of the tighter 2-lane and single lane passes. Our route will include the Umbrail Pass (Switzerland’s highest) and bring us within sight of the Stelvio Pass, the most famous riding pass in the Alps just across into Italy. We cheat a little bit, cross the border into Italy and take a sneak peek at Stelvio. Afterwards a quick blast down a valley road brings us back into Switzerland, up and over one of the quickest flowing passes of the tour and back to our night stay in Pontresina.
- Day 8 – Today we start working our way back west back towards Thun. We will ride the Julier Pass and ride high Alpine roads that many Tour Members comment as some of their favorite roads of the tour. Along the way we will ride past the riverhead where the Rhine River begins. Our route will include some of Andermatt’s famous passes like the Oberalp and Tremalo Road (the original cobblestone Gotthard Pass) before we end our day at Ulrichen in a great biker friendly hotel at the foot of the Nufennen Pass.
- Day 9 – Today we make our final run back to Thun. The ride will be a mix on high passes, beautiful smaller 1-lane passes, lakeside riding all with some unforgettable views. We go back to the hotel, unload our gear and head to the rental shop to turn in our bikes. We wrap up a great tour with a group dinner at a lively old-town riverside restaurant and say our farewells, until the next tour 🙂 to our newfound friends
- Next Day – Many possibilities – Rest Day before next tour, continue on with other Euro travel plans, fly home
- If you would like to come sooner, or stay longer, hotel and motorcycle arrangements can readily be made to suit your schedule.
- When to book your reservation obviously depends on your schedule. As a rule I suggest at least 3 months in advance to ensure that you get the motorcycle that you want and to secure a place on the tour. There is a limit of 7 motorcycles or 10 people, whichever comes first, per tour.
- The final cut-off date is technically 30 days before the tour starts. If someone contacts me to sign up with less than 30 days to go every effort will be made to accommodate you. The issue will usually be the motorcycle availability.
5 riders or 7 Tour Members
Please “Contact Me” by telephone or e-mail to book your spot on this tour. I am not a paperwork intensive person. So, the process of making a reservation and getting what I need for my records is pretty simple.
Feel free to contact me to ask any questions about my tours in particular, or the Alps in general. If I can be of help in any way I’ll be glad to do so.
Final Thought – “TOTALLY SWISS Tour” – The tour to pick if time is short, you want a lot of riding and you have a keen desire to explore Switzerland. The country is every bit as pretty as the pictures make it look. The mountains are filled with all kinds of riding delights and cool places to see. I really like Switzerland. You could easily spend double or triple the time of this tour finding all its more remote secrets. Fortunately for you I have already done that and I have brought together a great variety of roads, passes, lake dams and other unique riding experiences to make sure you get the most out of your Perfect Escape.