The St. Gotthard Pass (Italian: Passo del San Gottardo) connects south and north Switzerland.
Other than traversing the Gotthard tunnel, you can travel the new Tremola if you want to enjoy some of the views from within your car or on your motorcycle, while not losing too much time.
However, that also has some (long) tunneled sections and the far more interesting – and better cycle-able – road is the old Tremola between Airolo in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, and Hospental in the German-speaking canton of Uri.
With a summit at 2,106 meters1, the Gotthard Pass doesn’t earn a high ranking in the European list of ‘highest passes’, but the old Via Tremola is a more than fair compensation.
The Tremola road is Switzerland’s longest memorial road construction. It snakes up the slopes of the Val Tremola as a light-coloured ribbon from Airolo and offers impressive views.
In the most spectacular section, the road climbs up 300 meters over a 4 kilometer stretch, incorporating no less than 24 hairpins, each with its own name. The Tremola road today still largely retains the appearance of the reconstruction completed in 1951.
1 Coming from Airolo, when you arrive at the Guex memorial, you’re not quite there yet. There’s a sign to be found, reading 2,091 meters, but it’s not the summit. Follow the road past the Lago della Piazza and keep left to bump into the official sign…