An Alpine tour every motorcyclist should embark on.
Riding the mountain passes in the Alps is easily one of the top to-do things in every motorcyclist’s bucket list. The steep climbs that open up to gorgeous vistas lures not only European motorcyclists, but almost everyone from around the world who is aware of the natural beauty the Alps have to offer. It was in the summer of 2016 when Patrick realised that one doesn’t necessarily need a big lumpy adventure tourer (as most people choose) to have a great time doing a cross-country ride in the Alpine mountains, as he chose to do a Austria-Switzerland-Italy Alpine tour aboard his fantastic looking Ducati Hypermotard SP.
In August 2016, Patrick took a week out of his schedule to tour the Alpine passes with his Ducati Hypermotard SP. While initially the “Desmotour” was planned between him and his mate, the later could not join in due to work. Nevertheless, Patrick decided to go ahead anyways with his plan, something he is very happy he didn’t hang up just because he was alone.
Here’s Patrick’s trip-log motorcycle tour along with some stunning photos from his Hypermotard SP Desmotour 2016.
Desmotour: Austria – Switzerland – Italy. August 2016
Graz – Imst: 630 km. Riding Through Austria
Graz – St. Michael – Liezen – Schladming – St. Johann im Pongau – Zell am See -Grossglockner High Alpine Road – Lienz – Felbertauernstraﬂe – Mitersill – Gerlos Pass – Zellberg – Zillertaler High Alpine Road – Wiesing – Imst
Riding through the beautiful North Styria (state of Austria with its capital Graz) to Zell am See, a very common for winter sports, its a corridor of the Kitzbuhel Alps.
Continuing riding to the beautiful Grossglockner High Alpine Road. 50km of awesome tarmac and views (you have to buy a day-ticket for riding. Riding up the highest point there – Edelweissspitze (Edelweißspitze) (2572m).
felbertauernstrasse (Felbertauern Straße) and continuing on to the Gleros Pass. Both the roads are ticketed (daily ticket), but scenery and road itself is just too beautiful to miss out on. The bonus treat is the gorgeous Krimmler Waterfalls. Next stop Zillertaler High Alpine Road that is also beautiful but little scary as the road is a single lane narrow stretch.
Imst: 450 km. Continuing through Austria
Route: Imst – Fernpass – Namlos Valley – Hanhtennjoch – Imst – St. Anton am Arlberg – Fontanella – Bludenz – Silvretta High Alpine Road – Landeck – Kaunertaler – Glacier Road – Imst
Crossing the Fernpass, a nice road with stunning views of the German Zugspitze. Heading down to the Namlos Valley, a road made for touring motorcycles. Fast left right switchbacks that will keep you on full alert.
Reaching the Hanhtennjoch one of the highlights of the trip, the top of the mountains looked like martian terrain. The closes to this view would be travelling to Leh Ladakh. Beautifully flowing mountain roads that climb up before then downhill to the next village.
Touching Silvretta High Alpine Road, another beautiful road (ticketed) in the heart of the Austrian Alps. Motorcycle riders looking to ride here should travel West to East, from Gaschurn to Galtur (Galtür) and experience the epic scenery on the 32 hairpin mountain road.
**The nearby Kaunertaler Glacier Road is also a recommended route for motorcyclists that features 29 hairpin curves that take you up to 2750m above sea level.
Imst – Ulrichen: 330km. From Austria to Switzerland
Route: Imst – Landeck – St. Anton am Arlberg – Feldkirch – Vaduz – Walensee – Klausenpass – Schattdorf – Andermatt – Furkapass – Obergoms – Ulrichen
If you are lucky, and there’s no rain, the Klausenpass offers stunning views as it climbs up to 1950m. At a small distance in Klausenpass, lies another stretch of beautiful, yet a bit scary mountain road called the Furkapass. The mountain road here is narrow but opens up to gorgeous views as you head towards Grimselpass.
Ulrichen – Livigno: 350km. Leaving Switzerland and towards Italy
Route: Ulrichen – Nufenenpass – Gotthardpass – Andermatt – Oberalppass – Tiefencastel – Davos – Flelapass – La Punt – Berninapass – Livigno
The best part of starting at Ulrichen in the morning is the nearby Nufenenpass that opens up to yet another set of beautiful views and amidst snowy landscape as the road climbs to 2480m. Ahead is the Gotthardpass which has two separate roads to approach. There’s an old road as well as a new one, but scenic in their own regard. While Patrick has done both the roads, he recommends the old road as it is much more involving for someone on a motorcycle. The list of mountain passes to explore here are endless. If travelling from Switzerland to Italy one of the most beautiful mountain roads can be experienced by heading towards the Gottardpass, then continuing to the Oberalppass and on to the Fluelapas. Each of these mountain roads have their own charm for riding motorcycles while exposing you to glorious view of the Swiss Alps.
To approach Italy, the Berninapass is one of the most beautiful mountain road that lies between the two countries. It opens up on top of Lago Bianco to a sudden change in scenery from high snow-covered mountains to a calming view of the blue lake.
Livigno – Arabba: 370km. Riding through the Italian Dolomites
Route: Livigno – Foscagnopass – Bormio – Passo Stelvio – Passo di Monte Giovo – Sterzing – Brixen – Passo delle Erbe – St. Martin Thurn – Sella Ronda – Arabba.
While Foscagnopass isn’t anything great to marvel at, the next destination is an absolute mecca of bikers and petrolheads. The Stelvio Pass or how the Italians call it “Passo Stelivo” is the second highest paved mountain road in the Alps, just 13feet below France’s Col de l’Iseran. While the views enroute to the top as well as from the top are stunning, not all is well here. Due to a certain motoring TV show, the Stelvio Pass is packed with tourists in cars and on cycles. There isn’t a perfect time to go here anymore as it is perpetually crowded throughout the year. Still worth a visit though.
The road between Passo Valparola/Falzarego/Pordoi/Gardena is too beautiful to ignore for anyone. Its just a continuous stretch of mountains coming at you one after the other. The roads conditions are beautiful and there is considerably less traffic making it one of the ideal Italian driving road that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Arabba – Graz: 500km. A farewell to the gorgeous dolomite and back home
Route: Arabba – Passo di Giau – Cortina d’Ampezzo – Tre Cime di Lavaredo – Lago di Sauris – Tolmezzo – Plockenpass – Arnoldstein – Graz
Passo di Giau offers stunning views of the Italian Dolomites as you move towards Tre Cime di Lavaredo (“three peaks of Lavaredo”), the only Italian mountain road where one needs to buy a ticket. Italy being a hotspot for tourism, this place too is usually packed with tourists, specially on weekends. Riding ahead to reach the turquoise Lago di Sauris on the way to Austria, the last mountain road to encounter is the Plockenpass. At this point you are entering Austria again.
Here are some more videos from Patrick’s Desmotour. Be sure to follow him on YouTube for more of his upcoming adventures. Also, Desmotour #5 will be out shortly.
Ducati Hypermotard SP Desmotour #1
Ducati Hypermotard SP Desmotour #2
Ducati Hypermotard SP Desmotour #3
Ducati Hypermotard SP Desmotour #4