Time is short. A vacation is required. Sitting on the beach won’t cut it. Here is the answer - a week in the Alps on a motorcycle!
Five countries in 7 days
Scenery beyond description, good food, excellent hotels and sinuous pavement - that is the Alpine Dash! On this adventure there is no dawdling getting to the mountains. After an orientation with the bikes and GPS units it is time to head south to the mountains. As the Alps loom closer and closer there is no doubt that the next week will be one of great rides!
There is no dawdling getting to the mountains. After a brief orientation with the bikes, and GPS units, it is time to head south to the mountains. As the Alps loom closer and closer, until they dominate the skyline, there is no doubt that the next week will be one of great rides!
Grand castles, challenging passes
Riding doesn’t have to be your only focus. King Ludwig II, of Bavaria, built a few interesting castles. A drive-by and photo stop, or even a complete tour of castles Neuschwanstein or Linderhof is possible.
Regardless of what you choose to do in the morning, the latter half of the first day is spent in the thick of the Austrian Alps. Our destination, Imst, is a delightful town with a special flair, sitting as it does on a road that has been in use for 2000 years.
Mountains in every direction
Switzerland is the next “pin in the map” and getting there is all the fun! The narrow and wild Hantennjoch road climbs to one of Austria’s high valleys, where traditional farming is still practiced. This road is a favorite of German and Austrian enthusiasts. Nipping through a corner of Lichtenstein, you can say that you traveled in the only country to lie entirely within the Alps, and add another pin to your map.
Of course that isn’t the only possible route for the day. A ride through the Romansh-speaking area of Switzerland offers a glimpse of a unique culture. The homes and buildings in the Canton of Graubünden are beautiful - each building has graceful curves, special arches, ornate windows or other special touches. Here it is a treat to slow down for the villages!
History - 5900 years of it
Chur, the capital of the canton, is a choice spot for a double overnight stop. There is plenty of history to be found, as Chur was first settled in 4000 BC! Perfectly situated at the center of major pass roads, it is an ideal base for motorists to begin a variety of day-trips.
Too many choices to list
Easily accessible to the north, south and west, Switzerland’s most famous passes are all nearby. In fact, the list of possible passes from Chur is so long it is laughable. You may spend your day going up, down, and up again, on fun roads. Picture-perfect scenes await around every corner. Some of the Alp’s deepest valleys are nearby, and the vistas from the pass roads will never be forgotten. This is why you came to the Alps!
A list of possible passes on the Alpine Dash may be viewed by clicking here
St. Moritz is nearby, for those who wish to see how the jet-set live, and William Tell’s hometown is also “just around the corner.”
A big day, in terms of both distance and altitude, moves the tour from Switzerland to Italy. Along the way are WWI forts, mountain passes, and another subtle, yet obvious, change in culture. Along the way you may cross the Stelvio and Gavia, the 2nd and 3rd highest passes in the Alps.
The family-owned hotel chosen for our next double overnight is wonderfully secluded, with a private lake mirroring the surrounding mountains in the daytime, and the stars and moon in the night.
Nearby is the historic, delightful city of Trento. For three centuries Trento was the center of European power and its wealth and importance are evident to this day. The shopping possibilities are as extensive as the people-watching possibilities! For all of that, it is a place that is “just big enough” to be completely accessible on foot.
Those not inclined to cities will find no shortage of routes, great views, and interesting lunch stops. In every direction amusing roads climb up, and over, the mountains.
The famous Italian Dolomites begin right here and a variety of loops will take you through these magnificent mountains. Notable for soaring vertical faces and a variety of colors, the Dolomites are pierced by roads built in places one cannot imagine.
Lake Garda, one of Italy’s largest lakes, is stunning from lake level. It is even more impressive from the heights. The lake is seemingly sliced out of 2,000 foot mountains and is over 1100 feet deep. Ride to an unbelievable road ending in a secret spot - for a special lunch and a view that is truly breathtaking.
Across the Alps
Choices are always a nagging point on Beach tours. With stops in interesting locations, and so many options from point A to B, each day requires a choice to be made. “This pass, or that pass?” “That town, or this town?” Our transit through Austria on the return to Munich is no different. Choose the gentle Sarentino valley to the wild Timmelsjoch, the old Brenner road, winding along under an incredible engineering feat - the Brenner Autobahn, or tackle a few of the passes missed on the very first day on the road.
Along the way stop in Innsbruck, site of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. Dubbed the “Capital of the Alps,” Innsbruck has something for everyone. Shop for that special souvenir, take a walk through the old section of the city, or pause for cake and coffee in an outdoor café. All capital ideas!
A last blast on the German Autobahn allows experiments with the throttle and with sheer speed for those so inclined. Imagine a road with no speed limit and little traffic. Here it is, a chance to find out what that machine can actually do.
If sheer speed isn’t interesting the secondary roads back to Munich surely will be. Ambling through the countryside, the Alps in your rearview mirror, this last day will certainly be one of reflection on what you have seen and experienced over the past week. Upon arriving back where it all started one will be left wondering how so much riding, so many turns, so much scenery, so many unforgettable experiences and memories could be packed into a week. That is the Alpine Dash.