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Motorcycle tours in the Canton of Ticino: A carousel of passes
Imposing mountain scenery, legendary alpin pass roads, unforgettable experiences
- Top image: Gotthardpass: The Tremola road in Ticino, the longest historical road monument in Switzerland. © Jörg Künstle
A carousel of passes
Awaiting you in the northern region of Ticino is one of the most splendid carousels of passes to be found anywhere in the Alps. Three of these passes lie within the Ticino Region, the Gotthard, Lukmanier and Nufenen passes. Reaching a height of 2480 metres, the Nufenen is the highest pass in Switzerland and, on the Valais side, leads to Goms, a high valley through which the young Rhone flows. Care is the order of the day here in late spring when the marmots are emerging from their winter hibernation. These creatures are usually extremely shy but they have evidently become used to traffic and think nothing of running straight out under the front wheel of a motorcycle. The Gotthard is probably the most famous pass in the Swiss Alps. This is not only due to the old Tremola road leading from Airolo to the height of the pass, whose cobbles transport riders back to the era of stagecoaches. The Gotthard Massif was long the core of Switzerland's military strategy. Sasso San Gottardo fort, situated above and behind the hospice, has now been turned into a museum and is open to visitors. Nowadays, fortunately, the majority of traffic takes the tunnel beneath the Gotthard, thus leaving more space for us motorcyclists. The Lukmanier is the 'smallest' of these three passes – at least in terms of its height (1915 m). In terms of scenery, however, it can easily hold its own alongside its big brothers.
No matter which of these three routes you choose to take you out of Ticino on a day trip, you will be able to return via a different route. From the Nufenen Pass the obvious way back is via the Furka Pass – enjoying the view of the Rhone Glacier it affords – to the Grimsel Pass. From the northern end of the Gotthard Pass you can take the Oberalp Pass and then on to the Lukmanier Pass. And let's not forget the Grimsel and Susten passes, two more stunning passes that are easy enough to include in a high-level circular route. As is generally the case with the roads in Switzerland, these great passes too are kept in excellent condition. There are plenty of options for combining the passes, and the circuits starting from southern Ticino can easily be ridden in a day.
Ticino for when you park your bike up
Information on all aspects of travelling in Ticino.
Motorcycle trips in the Canton of Ticino
The ideal roundtrip for motorcycle fans willing to discover the Ticino on two wheels. The castles of Bellinzona and the mountain Monte San Giorgio (both UNESCO world heritage sites), the lake promenade in Ascona and the panoramic peak of mountain Monte Brè are just some highlights of this tour through the Italian part of Switzerland.
1 Maps note
To ensure you are able to try out our touring suggestions for yourself, the gpx downloads provided here offer a large number of intermediate destinations. This means they have a high data volume and cannot be directly represented on every sat nav system. To modify this, you can import these gpx files into the routing program suitable for your sat nav, and then divide them into portions digestible for the device. The final file size is then dependent upon the sat nav model and the accompanying software version. If you do not have routing software, this file can also be edited in the standard online routing systems. They offer the appropriate conversion tools for virtually all devices on the market.