6 Graubünden Route
6 Graubünden Route

Cycling in Switzerland

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Graubünden Route

Stage 6, Splügen–S. Bernardino

Route report
90 photos

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Graubünden Route

Your ears ring with the roar of transit traffic while your eyes feast on sun-burnished Walser houses along the cycle route. You'll be amazed by the tranquillity as you wind your way up to the San Bernardino Pass. Glacial striations, sheepback rocks and tiny mountain lakes are the dominant features of these mystical highlands.
Splügen, capital of Rheinwald district, was dominated by muleteer traffic across the Alps for centuries. The architecture features sun-burnished Walser homes, Italianate stone houses and stately 19th-century villas. Splügen is known as one of the best-preserved and best-maintained villages in Graubünden. Renovations are carefully carried out in the traditional building style. Roofs are clad with heavy gneiss tiles as in days gone by. Heavy, too, are the loads on the trucks that roar through the Rheinwald valley on the nearby motorway. But they will hardly disturb you as you pedal through the magnificent scenery. After crossing the river at Gadastatt hamlet, the route is exceptionally pretty, with attractive stretches through the forest. The old Walser settlements of Nufenen and Hinterrhein also invite you to linger awhile. Why not try to spot an ibex (the Graubünden mascot) on the slopes through your binoculars, or sample some spicy mountain cheese?

At the Hinterrhein parking area by the North Portal, you can see every detail of the San Bernardino hairpins. But then the vehicles on the A13 vanish again into the 6.6-km San Bernardino Tunnel that links the German- and Italian-speaking parts of Graubünden. The San Bernardino ranks as Switzerland's second most important Alpine crossing after the Gotthard tunnel. So important, in fact, that a few migratory birds have also heard about it. Why else would they use the tunnel as a transit corridor? Traffic even has to be halted at times so that all the birds can continue their journey.

Instead of a disrupted passage through the tunnel, you cycle above it across one of the loveliest Swiss Alpine passes. Many bends take you up to a mountain landscape of rich topographical diversity. Glacial striations (rocks polished smooth by glacier ice), sheepback rocks with hundreds of lakelets and unique stretches of moorland are typical features of the impressive landscape in the region where the Hinterrhein rises. Hundreds of stone towers (Steinmandli) await you atop the pass (2,065 m.a.s.l.) – an army of stone towers, in fact, erected and piled up to create a real work of art! With your spirits refreshed and appetite sated, you descend to Mesolcina/Misox valley and the holiday resort of San Bernardino, with mineral water that was already popular in Roman times.
Your ears ring with the roar of transit traffic while your eyes feast on sun-burnished Walser houses along the cycle route. You'll be amazed by the tranquillity as you wind your way up to the San Bernardino Pass. Glacial striations, sheepback rocks and tiny mountain lakes are the dominant features of these mystical highlands.
Splügen, capital of Rheinwald district, was dominated by muleteer traffic across the Alps for centuries. The architecture features sun-burnished Walser homes, Italianate stone houses and stately 19th-century villas. Splügen is known as one of the best-preserved and best-maintained villages in Graubünden. Renovations are carefully carried out in the traditional building style. Roofs are clad with heavy gneiss tiles as in days gone by. Heavy, too, are the loads on the trucks that roar through the Rheinwald valley on the nearby motorway. But they will hardly disturb you as you pedal through the magnificent scenery. After crossing the river at Gadastatt hamlet, the route is exceptionally pretty, with attractive stretches through the forest. The old Walser settlements of Nufenen and Hinterrhein also invite you to linger awhile. Why not try to spot an ibex (the Graubünden mascot) on the slopes through your binoculars, or sample some spicy mountain cheese?

At the Hinterrhein parking area by the North Portal, you can see every detail of the San Bernardino hairpins. But then the vehicles on the A13 vanish again into the 6.6-km San Bernardino Tunnel that links the German- and Italian-speaking parts of Graubünden. The San Bernardino ranks as Switzerland's second most important Alpine crossing after the Gotthard tunnel. So important, in fact, that a few migratory birds have also heard about it. Why else would they use the tunnel as a transit corridor? Traffic even has to be halted at times so that all the birds can continue their journey.

Instead of a disrupted passage through the tunnel, you cycle above it across one of the loveliest Swiss Alpine passes. Many bends take you up to a mountain landscape of rich topographical diversity. Glacial striations (rocks polished smooth by glacier ice), sheepback rocks with hundreds of lakelets and unique stretches of moorland are typical features of the impressive landscape in the region where the Hinterrhein rises. Hundreds of stone towers (Steinmandli) await you atop the pass (2,065 m.a.s.l.) – an army of stone towers, in fact, erected and piled up to create a real work of art! With your spirits refreshed and appetite sated, you descend to Mesolcina/Misox valley and the holiday resort of San Bernardino, with mineral water that was already popular in Roman times.
28 km
Asphalted: 25 km
Natural surface: 3 km
740 m | 580 m
medium

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Splügen, Post
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

Season

Season
Please note: pass open from approx. May to October. Info Tel 163.

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Transport San Bernardino Tunnel
54
Transport San Bernardino Tunnel
Rail, bus, boat recommendation
Hinterrhein, Dorf–San Bernardino, Posta
or
San Bernardino, Posta–Hinterrhein, Dorf
Reason: metres in height saved Hinterrhein–San Bernardino 470m, San Bernardino–Hinterrhein 460m.
Cycle transport: cycle transport available on normal schedules, limited space on fast services.
SBB Timetable

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel S. Bernardino, Posta
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

Services

Accommodation

Herberge zum Tobel
Herberge zum Tobel
Sufers
Ferienhaus Isla
Ferienhaus Isla
Nufenen
Camping + Ferienlager Splügen
Camping + Ferienlager Splügen
Splügen
Ferien im Schloss
Ferien im Schloss
Nufenen
Hotel Piz Tambo
Hotel Piz Tambo
Splügen
Hotel Bellevue
Hotel Bellevue
S. Bernardino
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Bookable offers

6 Graubünden-Route West
6 Graubünden-Route West
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Places

Hinterrhein
Hinterrhein
Splügen
Splügen
San Bernardino Pass
San Bernardino Pass
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Places of interest

Splügen Pass trade route
Splügen Pass trade route
On the San Bernardino Pass
On the San Bernardino Pass
Parco Avventura (Rope Park)
Parco Avventura (Rope Park)
San Bernardino Pass – once a mule trail
San Bernardino Pass – once a mule trail
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