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Gotthard Pass
spectacular climb
  • Switzerland
  • 2.091m
  • 12.7km

About the Climb

The Gotthard Pass (2.091m) is maybe one of the most spectacular climbs in cycling. A main road continues over the pass, but don’t make the mistake of following the road traffic because you will miss one of the most astonishing sections of road in Europe. At the foot of the climb via the south side, a sign diverts cyclists off to the old Tremola road. A cobbled stone road dating back to Roman times. Let’s say the Paris Roubaix of the Swiss Alps, but don’t be put off as the cobblestone are nice and smooth. You will probably have a light rumble under the wheel, but this will not have to stand in your way to reach the top.

Make sure to climb the Gotthard Pass via the old Temola road, it will be a great miss if you don’t! The full distance via the south side is 12.7 kilometer with an elevation gain of 932 meters. A hairpin paradise which almost free of traffic. Starting via Airolo the average gradient is 7.3%.

At the climb you get the feeling to ride a never-ending series of bends. The climb itself is quite steady apart from one short section three kilometers from the top, when it briefly rises above 11%. When the Tour de Suisse climbs it in June, snow from a long winter is still in evidence of the chilly air. However, uniquely for the Alps, is the 24 upper hairpin bends featured cobblestones. A valuable tip after you reach the top, make a short side trip back over the new Termola road. You will have a stunning view on the old road, just before the entrance to the tunnel. July and August are normally fine for riding in the Alps but October is a tad unpredictable.

The north side offers nothing special and follows the main road. From Hospental, the climb is 8.6 kilometers long, with 610 meters of elevation (7.1%). It’s only at some three kilometers from the summit that cyclists can leave the main road and take the old cobblestone road. It’s worth avoiding this ascend during the weekends in the summer/holiday season, as traffic can be pretty bad and the road is used as an alternative to the weekly traffic jams before the Gotthard tunnel. Interesting detail, maybe you can add this to your bucket list, as this is the fourth longest tunnel in the world.

Andermatt is an ideal starting point, with bike hotels and shops and passes “on the doorstep”. Perfect for an exciting cycling weekend.

You can opt the ride the Granfondo San Gottardo. Short in distance, but real tough. This is a cycling event not to be underestimated. You will climb the three legendary passes St Gotthard (2,106m), Furka (2,436m) and Nufenen (2,478m). With almost 40km of climbing for sure one of the most spectacular and challenging events in Europe.

Andermatt is an ideal starting point, with bike hotels and shops and passes “on the doorstep”. Gotthard, Furka and Nufenen are only a few kilometers away. Perfect for an exciting cycling weekend. For some stunning bike routes you should definitely visit MySwitzerland. All the details are on hand. Like complete descriptions about the route, accomodation suggestions or weather forecast.

Video of the climb

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