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Old 02-28-2011, 09:33 AM   #1
trippn4canada OP
Joined: Feb 2011
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5 days in the Alps from Zurich - help me plan!

Hi everyone. This is my first post and I'm very excited to travel to Europe for the first time and even more excited that I will be doing a motorcycle tour of the Alps. I just turned 40 and this trip is a gift from me to me.

First, I will need a hotel or B&B in downtown Zurich, preferrably near Holliger Honda Center on June 14th. I'm trying to make this trip as cheap as possible.

I will pick up a CBF1000 in the morning of June 15th returning it to the dealer late in the evening of June 19th. So, that's 5 full days of riding.

My tentative plans are as follows:
Day 1 - Zurich to Andermatt
Day 2 - Andermatt to Livigno, Italy via the St. Gotthard and Maloja passes.
Day 3 - Livigno to Timmelsjoch, Austria via Stelvio pass.
Day 4 - Timmelsjoch to Leichtenstein? (not sure about this yet)
Day 5 - return to Zurich

Anyone got any suggestions? Places to stay along the way? Any help would be great.


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Old 02-28-2011, 01:29 PM   #2
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you should inquire of Mr. Cooltours for all the local info.
Very helpful & knowledgeable.
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:54 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. I did a very similar route a few years back (rented in from Moto Mader in Aarau, 30 minutes by train from Zurich).

In Andermatt, I stayed in Alpenhotel Schluessel. The owner/operator at the time came up to be a fan of John Hermann (the author of "Motorcycle Journeys through the Alps" - even had a signed copy.

You asked for hints:

Remember that June 15 is still early for Alpine season. Chances are good that most of high passes are open, but no guarantees. Make back-up plans, just in case. On one of my rides, I had to take the St. Gotthard Tunnel since the pass was shut. You'd pooh-pooh that route, but actually it came out to be one of the adventurous highlights: 16km underground, in the bowels of hell - at least it seemed so, due the the noise, darkness and unbelievable heat. There is no bad riding in the Alps.

Regarding distances: I found that 300km is a long day for me in the twisties of the Alps. Make sure that your overnight points are not too far apart. You can always take a side road for more exploration if you have time in the day - but you do not want to be rushing to make the hotel before sundown. That's dangerous.

Remember that you will be crossing several climatic zones in the day. It may be well in the 80's F (high twenties Celsius) in the valleys and close to freezing in the high mountains, with snow lining the roads. Make sure to have proper gear and change during the day accordingly.

Road toll: if you are transferring on motorways (autoroutes), such as heading from Zurich to Andermatt, you must carry a highway vignette (sticker) on the bike. Theoretically, you could travel all the time on back roads, but it's not worth the hassle: make sure that the rental bike has the vignette already (it's valid aprox. calendar year). If not, you'll need to get one at a highway gas station. I had friends hassled for lack of one.

Riding habits: most American riders will fit easily - we are way too timid. My German friends complain about the slow pace and strict speed enforcement in Switzerland, but I think that this pertains to their fast riding habits. As a matter of fact you will rarely see a speed trap. Most of them are in form of traffic cameras and even if you get hit, the fines are cheap by comparison to those in the States. I know.

Just take it easy - and only watch out in built-up areas. That is being enforced more, for a good reason. Most important: never, ever, try to keep up with the locals. They do think that they are Rossis, Biaggis, etc. - and some do have impressive skills, especially those closer to the Italian border. They know how to ride and know the roads. If you try to match them, you may get "seriously killed". Keep your testoterone in check.

Just watch what other riders do. You will notice, for example, how riders filter to the front of a stopped line of cars. Unlike in North America, you are expected to be faster than cars - they let you go so that you do not block the road.

People: going by yourself? Always hang out at the cafees on major passes. First of all, the cappuccino tastes great at that moment: sweet taste of victory! Second, you will be able to talk to other riders - you will meet a lot of them. Regardless of nationality and politics, there is a tremendous camaraderie between motorcyclists there - even if there is a language barrier.

Final note: inexpensive in Switzerland? You must be kidding.
Just forget about the money and go with the flow. It's the best birthday you will have had until then. Start planning for next year, too - you'll be hooked. I know I am.
Robert in Northern NJ __ '09 R12GS, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS

-->> James Bay & North Road Solo Blitz -->> Patagonia / Tierra del Fuego Cappuccino Tour
-->> Trans-Labrador Highway Solo Blitz --->> South African Cappuccino Tour

rdwalker screwed with this post 03-01-2011 at 05:38 AM
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:35 AM   #4
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Welcome to the site.

You definitely want to talk to Cooltours as he knows a lot about that area and was very helpful in our trip planning.

Interestingly enough, we went to Zurich about 18 months ago and also rented from Holliger, probably the same CBF1000 you will get.

We stayed at the Hilton at the airport, because we had points. They have a free shuttle that runs between the airport and the hotel. When it was time to go get the bike, we took the shuttle to the airport, then took a train downtown. Holliger is less than a one mile walk from the train station.

If you are interested in our ride report, here it is:

Your best riding is going to be down around Andermatt, but if you have a chance, you might want to ride up into Germany too.

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