Excellent - the trip isn’t cheap but I think it’s fantastic value for money. The two guides literally took care of everything from the time we arrived at the first hotel until the time we left the last hotel. All you need to do is ride your bike. Superb logistical support, great briefings every day and great camaraderie from the guides.
Switzerland is famous for its beautiful mountains, luxury chocolate, alpine cheese, warm hospitality, pristine villages, and ambitious road-building projects. Combining all these is the perfect formula for an incredible road cycling holiday!
High passes are dotted all over this breathtaking and mountainous country, but most of the iconic and famous road climbs are concentrated in a small area to the east of the Eiger. It is a mecca for road cyclists and our playground for the five days of this holiday.
We have crafted this truly superb cycling tour so that our Classic route takes in all the iconic climbs, while those wanting more of a challenge get to tick off some of them from both sides – after all, there is a constant debate in the cycling world about which side is best!
The climbs in this part of Switzerland are long with significant altitude gain, so our Classic route is a considerable challenge; the daily average is 80km with 2020m ascent. However, the rides can be made more manageable with a tactical lift in our support van at the start of each day. With a daily average of 104km with 2800m ascent, our Challenge route will satisfy your need for big rides.
This is your ride, and we are here to support you as individuals. As with all our holidays, we do not insist that everyone rides as a group; you are free to ride at the speed you like, stop when you want, and make the days your own. With our experienced support team in customised vehicles, we will provide you with all the moral, nutritional and mechanical support you require. All you have to do is eat, sleep and cycle – we do the rest!
Exploring the Italian lakes is a pleasant option if arriving a few days before the holiday (suggested for long-haul travellers).
Departure Dates & Prices
We are pleased to offer some tempting discounts off the basic trip cost (not including extras such as single rooms or bike hire):
- Book & pay your deposit more than 6 months in advance of the start of your holiday for our 5% early bookers discount
- Get a group of 10+ people together for a 7.5% group discount and, as the group organiser, receive a £150 voucher for your next holiday
- Be rewarded for your loyalty by receiving a 10% discount from your 3rd Marmot trip onwards
Please note that there is a maximum 10% discount on any holiday.
Day 0: Arrival day
Your cycling holiday starts and finishes in Biasca, the gateway to the mountains, in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.
We offer transfers from Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP), a journey of 1hr 30min. It is also possible to travel independently by train as our hotel is within easy walking distance of Biasca railway station.
Comprehensive travel advice (essential reading before booking your flights or trains) can be found in our Trip Notes.
Once hire bikes have been set up or your own bikes assembled, we will have a welcome briefing and dinner.
Day 1: Biasca to Sedrun
The Swiss National Cycling route to the Passo del Lucomagno / Lukmanierpass (1915m) is the perfect way to start your holiday. Starting from an altitude of just 300m, this 41km climb is never steep, and the scenery constantly evolves. The small towns give way to villages and alpine meadows dotted with farmsteads, which in turn give way to open mountainsides. The pass itself is adorned with a large reservoir reflecting the surrounding high peaks of this lesser-known pass.
Your reward is the descent into the German-speaking part of Switzerland and onto the village of Tujetsch where we spend the night in a charming hotel.
The climb up to the reservoir of Lai da Nalps (1967m) in the heart of the mountains is a worthwhile addition for those wanting more.
Classic route: 67km with 2060m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 85km with 2730m [ride profile]
Day 2: Sedrun to Innertkirchen
With the sun on your back, the road climb to the Oberalp Pass (2044m) is a delightful way to start the day. The natural beauty of the mountains is broken only by the occasional red Glacier Express train snaking its way to the pass.
Following a great descent to Andermatt for coffee (and chocolate), it is decision time – have you got the energy to take on the north side of the Sankt Gotthardpass / Passo del San Gottardo (2107m)? This punchy 12km climb includes 2km of cobbles, and while we get to take on the more famous south side later in the week, this is a thoroughly worthwhile addition to the day.
Back on the Classic route, we descend northwards to Wassen and turn west over the incredible Sustenpass (2224m). This climb has everything you could possibly want, and it really showcases the beauty of the Swiss mountains. The views of the Sustenhorn and its glacier are genuinely breathtaking. From the top, the only thing left to do is to freewheel 28km to our hotel in Innertkirchen, where we spend the next two nights.
Classic route: 79km with 2010m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 106km with 2750m ascent [ride profile]
Day 3: Day ride from Innertkirchen
Today’s ride is considered by many to be one of Europe’s (if not the world’s) best road cycling loops.
Surrounded by Alpine pastures and the sheer cliffs of the Eiger, the Grosse Scheidegg (1962m) pass is in a mind-blowingly beautiful setting. However, the cherry on the cake is that the upper section of the road is closed to regular traffic, making this (challenging) climb a true delight. The tranquillity is only broken by cow bells and the distinctive horn of the occasional public bus.
We enjoy the climb from the east and then descend to Interlaken for lunch. Here, we pick up a delightful road that undulates around the northern shore of Lake Brienz for 15km before heading back through the green meadows to our hotel via Meiringen.
Our Challenge route allows you to add the western side of the Grosse Scheidegg (1962m) to your Strava climb list!
Classic route: 86km with 1680m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 99km with 2410m ascent [ride profile]
Day 4: Innertkirchen to Obergoms
Hairpin bends dominate today’s ride and come in many forms – tight, stacked, sweeping, and even elevated on stilts. The Grimselpass (2164m) and Furkapass (2429m) are two of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world and a marvel of Swiss ingenuity.
The road to the Grimselpass makes for a characterful climb with ever changing gradients and scenery. The final part crosses a barren granite landscape broken only by vast opal-coloured reservoirs. From here, you can see the zig-zag road leading to the Furkapass on the other side of the valley.
The Furkapass is another fantastic bucket list climb that was immortalised by a car chase in the James Bond film Goldfinger in the 1960s. From here, we descend back down to our sport-focused hotel in Obergoms near the source of the Rhône.
Today’s Challenge route involves descending down to Realp and taking on the Furkapass (2429m) again from the east!
Classic route: 65km with 2260m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 89km with 3150m ascent [ride profile]
Day 5: Obergoms to Biasca
We’ve saved the best until last! Our route takes you over the second-highest pass and finishes with the most unique climb in the Swiss Alps.
Snow-capped peaks and rugged rock formations accompany you on the challenging climb to the Nufenenpass / Passo della Novena (2480m). From the top, the view down the valley towards Italy way off in the distance hints at the spectacular descent you have to look forward to as you head back to our starting point at Biasca (300m).
There is, however, road cycling’s most remarkable climb to be taken on first – the Tremola to Sankt Gotthardpass / Passo del San Gottardo (2107m). This incredible road was cut into the mountainside and surfaced with cobbles in the 1830’s. The Swiss have since superseded it with a new road and a tunnel which takes most of the traffic, but amazingly, they still maintain the upper 5km of cobbles! Once at the top, you jump on the new road and get to enjoy the beautiful smooth tarmac and sweeping bends back into the valley.
Those wanting a serious challenge can take on the south side of the Grimselpass (2164m) first thing in the morning.
Road cycling really does not get better than this!
Classic route: 101km with 2090m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 134km with 2930m ascent [ride profile]
Day 6: Travel home
Your road cycling holiday in the Swiss Alps may be over, but the memories will last a lifetime.
We offer transfers from Biasca to Milan Malpensa airport (MXP), a journey of 1hr 30min, at specified times in the morning.
Full travel advice can be found in our Trip Notes (essential reading before booking your flights or trains).