From ‘Little Switzerland’ to the real deal. Although the whole country will spoil you with fairytale-like surroundings and roads, we’ve narrowed our target to Parc Ela, the largest nature park in Switzerland, situated in the east of the country.
It lies in a variegated landscape around the historically significant alpine passes Albula, Julier and Septimer, which are drenched in unspoiled nature, unscathed villages and a buoyant culture.
There are also over 50 minor passes where winding paths lead over rugged ranges into other valleys. Each pass connects and supports cultural exchange - be it Roman cart tracks and pillars, medieval castles, baroque churches, hotels from stagecoach times or historical villages, they all testify to the rich pass history.
The extraordinary cultural richness of the Parc Ela lies in the wide variety of nature. The scenery transforms unceasingly from its lowest point in Schinschlucht (745m) to the peak of Piz Kesch (3418m): shrubbery country, floral grasslands, jagged canyons, unaffected forests, arid landscapes with glaciers and mountain lakes, views of high summits and an unusual variety of plants and animals. Truly magnificent.
We had originally planned a trip around the three major passes, but the Septimer is not asphalted - and not even rideable on an offroad bike. Luckily, the region is saturated with mountain roads, so you won’t be left with anything to be desired: we’ve handpicked the Passo San Bernardino, the Splügen Pass, the Bernina Pass, and the Maloja Pass. For your pleasure only.
Discover our two days trip in Switzerland and download the GPX tracks.
Missed our first episode? Check the Five destinations to ride over a (long) weekend: 1st Edition