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Biking Down Gotthard Move on Previous Tremola Street

Is it known as biking if all you do is squeeze the brake and never peddle? That’s what I saved pondering to myself the whole time as I used to be biking down the Gotthard Move on previous Tremola Street in Switzerland. Granted, I nonetheless needed to flip (there was a lot of turning) and preserve the bike upright as I traversed the serpentine cobblestone highway, so it should rely as biking, I believed. No matter if I name it biking, it was an immense quantity of enjoyable. And the most effective half – anybody can bike down Tremola Street – no coaching mandatory!

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

Biking and 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 actually not the situation you need when you’re in one of the vital well-known and picturesque mountain ranges on this planet. However you possibly can’t management Mom Nature; typically you simply need to make the most effective of it.

Rigi Panoramic hike lake lucerne
Climbing within the Clouds

Is Switzerland nonetheless wonderful when you possibly can’t see the Alps? Sure – it is perhaps moody, however you possibly can 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 approach 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 approach by means of some fairly epic climbs.

Gotthard Pass Clouds
Biking Down Gotthard Move on Previous Tremola Street 105

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 due to 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 parts.

Hospice St. Gotthard (inbuilt 1237) didn’t appear to be a lot from the surface, however as soon as inside, it was gorgeous. This historical constructing had a totally trendy inside, all fabricated from wooden. And regardless that it seemed prefer it is perhaps chilly and uncomfortable from the surface – it was cozy and comfy inside. In reality the rooms kind of seemed like an enormous sauna.

Hospice St. Gotthard
Biking Down Gotthard Move on Previous Tremola Street 106

I seemed out the previous window in my room and noticed completely nothing however yet one more cloud. It actually didn’t really feel like we have been at 6,900 ft. within the Alps. My thoughts began wandering to the following morning – I didn’t know if I needed to go down this cross on a motorcycle within the rain and sleet – it felt overwhelming in the meanwhile, so I went and had a beer and dinner as a substitute.

Proper earlier than I went to mattress, I seemed out the window one final time, and that’s after I noticed a faint gentle 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 – all of a sudden, issues have been trying up for tackling the famed Tremola Street the following day!

Gotthard Move Historical past

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

The Gotthard Move is also known as the ‘King of the Mountain Passes’ because it was one of the vital arduous and necessary 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 ‘highway’ was opened in 1830 and was fabricated from cobblestones. The railway and prepare tunnel was opened in 1882. Subsequent, a freeway tunnel was inbuilt 1930. Then the newer highway tunnel opened in 1980. And eventually, the Gotthard Base tunnel for high-speed trains was accomplished in 2016.

If you wish to study extra concerning 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 highway, railroad/automobile tunnels, and area.

Tremola Street Biking Fame

The route is famous for avid cyclists to beat. It has been stated that if this highway was in France or Italy it could be one of the vital well-known climbs in biking. The Tremola Street has been one of many phases of the Tour de Suisse biking race for 38 years.

Nonetheless, it’s not only for the professionals, any bike owner can take it on. That is made attainable because of the dearth of visitors on it, which makes it protected to trip for individuals of all ranges. And if you’d like somewhat increase, you possibly can simply hire an electrical bike to deal with the cross.

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

4 Methods to Get Over or Underneath the Gotthard Move

  1. Drive your self by means of the automobile tunnel. However be ready for enormous visitors by means of this widespread route connecting north and south Switzerland.
  2. Use the extra trendy highway to drive over the cross.
  3. Go by quick prepare by means of the railroad tunnel
  4. Take the Previous Tremola Street by automobile or bike. That is completely the slowest, however essentially the most scenic. And the most effective half is that you just’ll virtually be alone – there may be little or no visitors on this route – which makes it preferrred for biking and making a lot of stops for photos!

Take the Cobblestones Much less Traveled

biking down gotthard pass
Biking Down Gotthard Move on Previous Tremola Street 107

I did this trip firstly of October, which is usually a little iffy for the climate at altitude. Nonetheless, after I wakened, I pulled the curtains again from my lodge room and there it was – my previous buddy the solar. It had been so lengthy since I had seen him that I almost didn’t acknowledge him! However – his timing was impeccable as I actually didn’t wish to trip down the cross within the rain and sleet we had the prior day. Although 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 seemed on the map of cobblestone switchbacks – it seemed like a pile of spaghetti.
I had an excellent 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 capacity to remain upright.

Prepared, Set, Brake! Biking Down Gotthard Move

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 perhaps peddled 4 occasions…after which I by no means needed to peddle once more. Gravity launched me down the highway, and the journey started.

Video of Biking Down Tremola Street on Gotthard Move

In fact, I in all probability made it 500 ft earlier than I ended to take photos! I had solely seen the highway on GoogleMaps, and now seeing the serpentine turns in particular person on a sunny day within the mountains was breathtaking.

Not solely have been the views unbelievable – however I used to be mesmerized by the peerlessly 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-about Switzerland’s longest highway monument.

There have been even sections the place they have been engaged on changing the cobblestones. It was like an enormous puzzle on the aspect of a mountain. It made me surprise what number of cobblestones have been used to assemble the highway – 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 individuals driving on this stunning cross? I solely noticed 4 automobiles the whole trip down! Because of everybody being in a rush nowadays and the development of the trendy rail and automobile tunnels, Tremola Street 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 all of a sudden all the things turned extra Italian. And the solar was out the whole time!

How You’ll be able to Cycle Down Previous Tremola Street

Biking the Tremola Street 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. Nonetheless, I believe you possibly can prepare to do this by taking a bus to the highest together with your bike after which simply biking down.

hairpin turn tremola road
Biking Down Gotthard Move on Previous Tremola Street 114

The corporate I went with, Eurotreks, affords a 9-day self-guided route that features biking down the Gotthard Move. I used to be actually proud of 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 most effective photograph of the Tremola Street

In fact, I took various photos and movies on my trip down Tremola Street; nevertheless, it’s laborious to get an excellent inclusive view of all the hairpin turns whereas on the highway. Earlier than you begin your descent from the highest, briefly comply with the principle highway 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’re searching for. It’s even marked on Google Maps.

Tremola Road Photo Point
Picture courtesy Switzerland Tourism – Nico Schaerer

Let all the others who’re in a rush take the tunnels by means of the Gotthard Move, you possibly can take your time and wind your approach down the historic cobblestones of Tremola Street. It might be the highway much less traveled, however it’s one of the best ways to expertise the Gotthard Move. Decelerate, squeeze the brakes, and take all of it in…that is the best way journey must be.


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



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