Does the sight of an open road make your heart leap? You’ll be in heaven even before you reach the Engadin. The surrounding alpine passes lend themselves perfectly to tours and excursions – by motorbike, electric car, sports car or road bike.
Many mountain passes lead into the Engadin. And each pass road has its own special character. All boast magnificent landscapes, glorious views, variety and plenty of twists and turns. Motorists can link several passes into longer journeys: the Grand Tour of Switzerland, for example, leads through the whole country via its most scenic locations.
On the Engadin side, the Bernina Pass (2,328 m) repeatedly reveals spectacular views of the glaciers and summits of the Bernina massif. After the pass summit, the curves become tighter and the landscape greener and lusher.
The Julier Pass (2,284 m) is a beautiful road with wide, sweeping curves, while the landscape it passes through is wild and bare. This scenery inspired the Origen cultural festival, whose organisers built a dramatic red theatre tower at the summit of the pass. In winter, the region around the Julier Pass is popular with ski touring enthusiasts.
The Maloja pass (1,815 m) is unusual: all the hairpin bends are on one side of the pass. There are 12 in all, famous and infamous in equal measure, leading down into the Val Bregaglia. Don’t miss the enchanting views from the summit of the pass.
The Albula Pass (2,312 m) is narrow, so that encounters with oncoming vehicles can be a tight squeeze. The route is especially popular with motorbike riders and cyclists; motorists are asked to drive with care. The bare cliffs and steep, scree-covered slopes radiate a wild and sombre beauty. In winter, the pass road is closed, and the stretch between Preda and Bergün becomes a toboggan run.
The Flüela Pass (2,383 m) feels broader, more open and greener than the Julier Pass or Albula Pass, for example. As a result, it offers a wonderfully fluid and pleasurable drive – or ride. At the pass summit, the road leads between the distinctive peaks of the Weisshorn and Schwarzhorn. In winter, the pass is closed.
The Ofen Pass (2,049 m) leads straight through the Swiss National Park. The steady ascent includes several long straights that pass through thick forest: you feel you could be driving along a highway in the Canadian Rockies. The pass summit reveals views into the Val Müstair and the Vinschgau valley.