Gotthard Pass / Via Tremola




Start:  Airolo

Finish:  Andermatt

Country:  Switzerland

Route:  Point to Point

CLIMB:  Gotthard (2106m)

One of Central Switzerland's most classic passes also happens to be on cobblestones

While the Tour de Suisse is part of the UCI WorldTour, it does not have the same profile as the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France. As a result, the Swiss Alps are not on every rider’s radar. But they should be, as this world class climb proves.

The south side of the Gotthard Pass, or Via Tremola in Italian, is one of the most unique passes in the Alps thanks to its top 5km of original road surface, in the form of cobblestones. But not only is the pass cobbled, and steep, but thanks to the Gotthard tunnel, it is not used by many cars. Besides a few motorbikes and curious tourists, cyclists will have the bumpy experience to themselves. Bumpy, but fun: this is not Paris-Roubaix. The road is well maintained and the cobbles are nice, square and mostly smooth. It’s never too steep, so riding on the cobbles is not hard either...it’s just a little bit slower, and nothing but pure fun. The Tremola also features some incredible sets of switchbacks.

The Pass can be ridden from a number of different routes, but the best experience comes from Airolo, which is arrived at in descent after climbing the Nufenen Pass, the second highest paved pass in Switzerland (2,478m), from Andermatt. Airolo is located in Ticino, the Italian speaking part of Switzerland.

The Central Alps, around Andermatt and Meiringen, include numerous monster passes such as the Susten, the Furka, the Grimsel and the Oberalp) which can be linked in all different forms.


Stats and design by myCols

Average grade    7.6 %
Length                    11.8 km
Altitude start      1210 m
Altitude top         2105 m
Ascent                    895 m
Maximum             9 %


Remember to visit one of the many cheese and sausage trucks on the Gotthard Pass. Make a purchase, sit in the sun, and do some people watching.


Some of the most spectacular switchbacks you'll find in the Alps


Swiss style cobblestones


Starting the cobbled section, about 5km from the top

Interested in a guided trip?

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Comments 2

  1. Just moved to Saint-Prex Switzerland and wanting to ride some of the classic routes this summer. I am 50 years old from California and ride 2 – 3 times a week (average ride 25 – 45 miles and 1500 to 4000 vertical). I would consider myself an average rider that rides entirely for pleasure not competition. Wanting to connect with some other riders and have some fun.

    1. Post

      Welcome to Switzerland John! As long as you like climbing, you’ll love to ride here. Here are a few online groups where you can connect with local cyclists:
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/520339991432220/ (Froidevaux bike shop in Morges – their Tuesday ride is a great way to meet local riders)
      https://www.strava.com/clubs/suisseromande (an incentive to learn French)
      https://www.strava.com/clubs/coldelacroix (the Alpes vaudoises are close to St Prex)

      If you’re looking for a local challenge, have a look at the UCI Gran Fondo Suisse: http://www.ucigranfondosuisse.ch

      I live in Gryon and my wife is from California. Let’s try and meet for a ride in the spring!


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