We have a few videos on our youtube channel (which I recommend you check out if you’re thinking about a tour!) and one of my favourites is the ‘Swiss passes’ which shows us riding through Furka, Grimsel and Neufenen. I know I probably sound like a broken record, always saying that each place is my favourite- but it’s true! I think because we carefully plan the tours so that we only ride the very best roads, with the most fantastic scenery. These passes are only open during the summer months, as during the winter they are covered with feet of snow, but the temperature is pretty perfect for a trip in June/July.
When you traverse these passes, the first pass you ride over is Susten, which has been used since the middle ages to cross the Alps, however the road you ride today is relatively new and was built in the 1930s as part of a defence strategy to protect Switzerland from invasion. This pass has several unlit tunnels, which mak e you really glad of your headlights! There are always dozens of bikes, usually more than cars or coaches… so you’re always in good company! The pass goes over a beautiful 4km wide glacier called the Stein, or ‘Steinglescher’. There’s also a brilliant restaurant right at the top of this pass, at 2,400m above sea level.
Then you come to Furka, which is really steep and the highest of these Alpine passes. You will probably recognise it if you’re a James Bond fan, as it’s featured in Goldfinger, with Sean Connery driving over the pass in an Aston Martin DB5. Thankfully, the road is fully tarmacked unlike during filming in 1964, so the ride is pretty smooth. James Bond isn’t the only famous ‘alumnus’ of the Furka pass, with Queen Victoria having stayed in one of the hotels atop the pass in 1868.
The next pass you ride is Grimsel, which you come to after the beautiful little hamlet of Grimsel. This pass is the watershed between the north sea and the Mediterranean and has also been used since roman times. The modern pass which you will ride was built in 1894. This pass has six slightly treacherous hairpins and goes past the Grimsel Hydroelectric reservoir, which is one of Switzerland’s main eco-friendly electricity sources.
The final point of this loop of Alpine passes is Neufenen, where on the tour we usually stop for a break. It is the second highest mountain pass with a paved road in the whole of Switzerland, peaking at 2,475m. It boasts an amazing view of the Bernese Alps and is a beautiful place to stop and take in the scenery after an amazing ride.
Now, if any of this seems like your sort of thing, why not check out our escorted tour of Austria and the Alps https://magellanmotorcycletours.co.uk/escorted-motorcycle-tours/austrian-tyrol-and-swiss-alps or if you prefer to go solo, maybe the self-guided tour is for you?https://magellanmotorcycletours.co.uk/motorcycle-holidays/self-guided-tours/austrian-tyrol-and-swiss-alps-tour-11-days/