Biking Down Gotthard Go on Outdated Tremola Highway


Is it known as biking if all you do is squeeze the brake and never peddle? That’s what I stored pondering to myself your complete time as I used to be biking down the Gotthard Go 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 street, so it should rely as biking, I believed. No matter if I name it biking, it was an immense quantity of enjoyable. And the perfect half – anybody can bike down Tremola Highway – no coaching essential!

Not solely was it an journey that few folks tackle, however biking down the cross was a trip by means of historical past. It was the proper instance of taking the street much less traveled, which is one thing I all the time aspire to do once I journey. I can’t think about a greater solution to expertise this historic cross that connects the North and South of Switzerland over the Alps.

Biking and Mountain climbing Switzerland’s Alps and Lakes

I spent my first 4 days in Switzerland in a cloud…like a literal cloud. 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 state of affairs you need when you find yourself in one of the vital well-known and picturesque mountain ranges on the earth. However you’ll be able to’t management Mom Nature; generally you simply must make the perfect of it.

Rigi Panoramic hike lake lucerne
Mountain climbing within the Clouds

Is Switzerland nonetheless wonderful when you’ll be able to’t see the Alps? Sure – it could be moody, however you’ll be able to 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 climbing and biking. Because of the difficult climate we needed to change a few of our climbing round Lake Lucerne, however we have been nonetheless capable of get out and huff and puff our method by means of some fairly epic climbs.

Gotthard Pass Clouds

We arrived on the prime of the Gotthard cross by van after a day of climbing within the rain. As most passes go – it was fairly barren; not a tree in sight, and because of the nasty climate – it had a lightweight 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 components.

Hospice St. Gotthard (in-built 1237) didn’t seem like a lot from the surface, however as soon as inside, it was gorgeous. This historic constructing had a very fashionable inside, all manufactured from wooden. And regardless that it regarded prefer it could be chilly and uncomfortable from the surface – it was cozy and cozy inside. The truth is 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 yet one more cloud. It definitely didn’t really feel like we have been at 6,900 ft. within the Alps. My thoughts began wandering to the subsequent morning – I didn’t know if I wished to go down this cross on a motorcycle within the rain and sleet – it felt overwhelming in the intervening time, so I went and had a beer and dinner as an alternative.

Proper earlier than I went to mattress, I regarded out the window one final time, and that’s once I noticed a faint mild 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 – out of the blue, issues have been wanting up for tackling the famed Tremola Highway the subsequent day!

Gotthard Go Historical past

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

The Gotthard Go is sometimes called the ‘King of the Mountain Passes’ because it was one of the vital arduous and vital 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 cross connects northern (German-speaking) and southern (Italian-speaking) Switzerland. The event within the space began in 1200 and has undergone many transportation adjustments by means 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 ‘street’ was opened in 1830 and was manufactured from cobblestones. The railway and prepare tunnel was opened in 1882. Subsequent, a freeway tunnel was in-built 1930. Then the newer street tunnel opened in 1980. And eventually, 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 cross, throughout from the Hospice the place we stayed, is a museum that covers the historical past of the street, 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 street 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 levels 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 potential due to the dearth of visitors on it, which makes it protected to trip for folks of all ranges. And if you’d like just a little enhance, you’ll be able to simply lease an electrical bike to deal with the cross.

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

4 Methods to Get Over or Underneath the Gotthard Go

  1. Drive your self by means of the automobile tunnel. However be ready for large visitors by means of this in style route connecting north and south Switzerland.
  2. Use the extra fashionable street to drive over the cross.
  3. Go by quick prepare by means of the railroad tunnel
  4. Take the Outdated Tremola Highway by automobile or bike. That is completely the slowest, however probably the most scenic. And the perfect half is that you simply’ll virtually be alone – there’s little or no visitors on this route – which makes it perfect for biking and making plenty of stops for footage!

Take the Cobblestones Much less Traveled

biking down gotthard pass

I did this trip firstly of October, which generally is a little iffy for the climate at altitude. Nevertheless, once I awakened, I pulled the curtains again from my lodge room and there it was – my previous pal 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 trip down the cross within the rain and sleet we had the prior day. Regardless that it was chilly on the prime, the solar was out, the skies have 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 acquired 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; nevertheless, the little cobblestones mixed with the hairpin turns stacked on prime of one another had me barely involved about my capability to remain upright.

Prepared, Set, Brake! Biking Down Gotthard Go

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!), my biking gloves, and began peddling down the bumpy cobblestones. I possibly peddled 4 instances…after which I by no means needed to peddle once more. Gravity launched me down the street, and the journey started.

Video of Biking Down Tremola Highway on Gotthard Go

In fact, I most likely made it 500 ft earlier than I finished to take footage! I had solely seen the street on GoogleMaps, and now seeing the serpentine turns in individual on a sunny day within the mountains was breathtaking.

Not solely have been the views unimaginable – however I used to be mesmerized by the superbly sq. little granite cobblestones. They have 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 street monument.

There have been even sections the place they have 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 have been used to assemble the street – one thing I used to be by no means capable of finding a solution to.

However the one thought that continued to roll by means of my head and devour me was, why aren’t extra folks driving on this stunning cross? I solely noticed 4 automobiles your complete trip down! Because of everybody being in a rush today and the development of the fashionable rail and automobile tunnels, Tremola Highway was empty – which makes it the proper cross to bike.

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

How You may Cycle Down Outdated Tremola Highway

Biking the Tremola Highway is generally 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 bike down for the day. Nevertheless, I feel you possibly can organize to try 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 Go. I used to be actually pleased with their bikes and the guides that we had so it’s an important choice if you wish to see and bike extra of Switzerland.

The place to get the perfect picture of the Tremola Highway

In fact, I took various footage and movies on my trip down Tremola Highway; nevertheless, it’s arduous to get inclusive view of the entire hairpin turns whereas on the street. Earlier than you begin your descent from the highest, briefly comply with the principle street in direction of the south descent (Freeway 2) – about half a kilometer. Park on the lot on the left and also you’ll discover the proper overview shot of the hairpins you might be searching for. It’s even marked on Google Maps.

Tremola Road Photo Point
Photograph courtesy Switzerland Tourism – Nico Schaerer

Let the entire others who’re in a rush take the tunnels by means of the Gotthard Go, you’ll be able to take your time and wind your method down the historic cobblestones of Tremola Highway. It could be the street much less traveled, however it’s one of the best ways to expertise the Gotthard Go. Decelerate, squeeze the brakes, and take all of it in…that is the best way journey needs to be.


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


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