Switzerland is famous the world over; known for it’s timepieces, penknives, chocolate and cheese. Landlocked and multi-lingual, epic peaks loom large in it’s legend. From the lush forests and glassy lakes of the Jura to the snow peaked tops of the Alps, each of the 26 cantons has it’s own unique charm. But in our minds what really stands Switzerland apart are the superb roads and distinctly charismatic cycling.
Our new Trans-Swiss Challenge is part fairy tale, part Alpine adventure – back on the Thomson Trip Calendar by popular demand. Our 8 day trip takes in pass after pass of stunning Alpine beauty. From the incredible St Gotthard Pass – one of the few cobbled passes in Europe to Grosse Scheidegg, with it’s views of the famous Eiger. Add in the Furkapass, Albulapass, Nufenenpass, Ofenpass, Umbrailpass, Grimselpass, and even the Passo Stelvio! No other trip has such an impressive list of legendary climbs!
Easing Into Swiss Life
After landing in Geneva you won’t have long to wait until you’re riding. With so many great climbs to tackle we don’t want to waste time. After lunch and building our bikes we’ll descend from our Alpine resort hotel to the start of our 15km climb back up to the hotel. This should be enough to get the legs turning before we take on four categorised climbs on day two.
What will strike you most are the incredible views; from the glacier in Diablerets to the quintessential Swiss town of Gstaad, from the mountain ridge we take to Guggisberg to the descent down to Thunersee lake – the trip is epic in every way.
The mid-point of the trip will see us take on the Hors Categorie Grosse Scheidegg and Grimselpass. The Grosse Scheidegg is the epitome of Switzerland; a tiny road, closed at the top to traffic with breathtaking views of the North Face of the Eiger. At just under 11km in length at an average of 8.5%, the climb is certainly a challenge but not without rich rewards. Whilst the first half of the climb rarely dips below 9%, the glimpses of glaciers and rocky peaks will help take your mind off what the legs are feeling. As the final switchbacks are ticked off one by one, that stunning view comes into sight.
Take a look at this video to see just what we have in store, words cannot do it justice!
St Gotthard Pass
As you talk over dinner about the seemingly unbeatable riding you’ve experienced you can look forward to another spectacular route. An amazing loop over three more Hors-Categorie climbs, the highlight of which is without a doubt the cobbled Saint Gotthard Pass. With other, more sane roads to the summit for car traffic to take, we will have the the road to ourselves. Only the Swiss could maintain such perfect cobbles, painstakingly repairing the road every spring.
Albulapass & Umbrailpass
The H.C. beasts don’t stop, even on the last day. We begin the grand finale with the climb to the Albulapass which tops out at 2300m. The Albula is a fantastic climb on a small road with the usual stunning Swiss scenery on the lower slopes becoming wild and remote towards the summit, a really spectacular climb! The short descent takes us down to the valley just north of St Moritz. We’ll ride along the valley for 20km to Zernez where we enter the Schweizer National Park and the climb to the Ofenpass. The descent from the Ofenpass takes us through the Val Mustair, a Unesco biosphere reserve with it’s immaculate green meadows and pretty villages.
In the village of Mustair we start our final climb of the trip, the stunning Umbrailpass which leads up to the border with Italy. If the legs are feeling good, the famous Passo Stelvio lies just 3km up the road! From here it’s all downhill to our final hotel in Bormio and the end of a magnificent week discovering the mountains of Switzerland.
Join us on a magnificent journey through some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in Europe. Nowhere are the Alps more stunning than in Switzerland, and our Trans-Swiss Challenge captures the very best of the Swiss Alps. You certainly won’t leave with any neutral feelings towards the country, every time we come we fall in love with it a little more.
Our 8 day trip is available to book now with a 10% discount for frequent rider repeat guests. Don’t miss out on this popular trip and put the Swiss Alps in your diary for June 2020. Read our full itinerary and book now.