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Old 01-05-2009, 09:16 AM   #1
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European Alps - The big loop!

- still a few years ago, but the scenery and the landscape is still the same today -

European Alps
The big loop

17 days...5800km

A ride report of 4 mates travelling the Alps in 2000
by Rudi Przybylski, Honda ST 1100 ABS/TCS Pan European

Starting in Sonthofen, Bavaria, the trip led us….
  • across Switzerland (Appenzell, Lake Zurich, central Switzerland, Lake Vierwaldstätter, Bernese High-country, Lake Geneva) into France.

  • Into the French Alps and south to the Grand Canyon du Verdon and the region of Nice on the Mediterranean coast.
  • Across the Col di Tende to Italy and Col de Larche back to France.
  • The Col de l'Iseran and the Little Sankt Bernhard Pass to Switzerland.
  • The Rhone-Valley to Italy.
  • Lago Maggiore, Lake Lugano and Lake Como again to Switzerland.
  • The Engadin Valley to Italy
  • The Lake Garda area, across the Dolomites and the Staller-saddle to Austria.
  • Via East-Tirol to the Grossglockner and further to Carthania.
  • A small lap through Slovenia and back into Austria.
  • Via Klagenfurt and Bruck an der Mur (easternmost points of the journey) in the Salzkammergut.
  • Then along the Alps - adding the Ziller Valley - back to Sonthofen.


It all started with the book „Traumreisen in den Alpen“ (Dreamtravels in the Alps), the route described there just wouldn’t let me stop dreaming of riding that Alpine loop.
3 other friends started to apply “pressure” as they grew sick of talking about it and the start was set finally set for the 18 July 2000.
Bike packed and ready to go by the previous evening, the meet-up was organized for 9am the next morning. Lothar had realized the worn rear tyre on the K1100LT (owner: Dietmar) - so our first “stop” was the local Sonthofen Tyre-Dealer who luckily came good on the spot - fresh rubber for the LT and finally we’re ready to go.

The four “culprits”:

Lothar , Buell Thunderbolt

Dietmar, BMW1100LT

Werner, Honda VF 1000 F2 Bol d’Or

Rudi, Honda ST 1100 ABS/TCS Pan-European

to be continued!

Best greatings from Germany
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:22 AM   #2
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:22 AM   #3
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On a roughly south-westerly tack it’s through Margarethen, Beilenberg and Altstädten to Fischen and across the Riedbergpass (1420 m).


at the Riedbergpass


Past Hittisau, Großdorf and Schwarzenberg towards the Hochtannberg-Pass. Connesseurs turn left at Bezau to Reuthe, Bizau and Schnepfau

In Au it’s off to Damüls and across the Furkajoch (1761m) to Rankweil.


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Old 01-05-2009, 09:25 AM   #4
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Crossing into Switzerland, Meiningen isn’t far....Altstätten the next target.
All of a sudden Dietmar is missing....returning a short stretch shows that the Bimmer had made itself known with a horrible racket from the rear end...and something serious had given up the ghost. Why the hell is it always the Bimmers on our rides?
Nothing for it but to call for help, the ADAC-AutoClub points us towards a dealer in St, Gallen, 25km away.
Dietmar climbs back on and nurses the bike into now the shaft-drive seal has packed up as well, the whole rear is coated in oil.

The diagnosis is a busted rear wheel bearing and there’s no way to have that fixed on the spot. How Dietmar got the bike to St. Gallen is still baffling.
Leaving him behind, we organize the meet-up for the following night in Lungern (at Lake Lungern)...if the BM is a goer by then.

Lothar, Werner and I keep going through Teufen to Appenzell and Urnäsch.

Across the Schwägalp (1278m) (at Säntis Mountain) and on to Wattwil. The Rickenpass (794m)is a small hop, Kaltbrunn and Siebnen follow...., then the twisties across the Sattelegg (1190m).
Ending the day at Lake Sihl, we’re pitching the tent.
Setting it up in the backyard before the trip, it had looked fine to accomodate the 3 of us...hmmmm the damn thing seemed to have shrunk in the way to cover all 3 of us and all of our gear...Lothar decides to leave his stuff to the annex, praying for a dry night.


1. day routing:

to be continued!
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:20 AM   #5
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a real resource ........

this is wonderful........allows folks like me to plan a trip in Europe with real information and pictures.....Bruce
A life spent inside a camera: Auto/Motorcycle factories/museums/travels/trains/planes/bikes/cars
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:19 PM   #6
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Along the shores of Lake Sihl it’s off to Oberiberg und to Ibergeregg (1406m).

at Ibergeregg – view to Lake Vierwaltstätter

A left-turn in Schwyz it’s up a little „Extra“: the road through the Muota Valley and via the Pragelpass (1550m) to Lake Klöntaler. A beautiful stretch of road, and very little known which is closed off on weekends due to being very narrow...there’s very little space for 2 cars at once.
After the Cappuccino-break it’s past Glarus and across the Klausenpass (1948m) to Altdorf.


An absolut MUST-DO while in the area is the spectacular lap of Sustenpass (2224m), Grimselpass (2165m) and Furkapass (2431m), no surprise, that this was next on the list for us.


Sustenpass - stoneglacier


Grimselpass – Furkapass - Rhoneglacier



Then Andermatt and back to Altdorf - then followed by a leisurly cruise around Lake Vierwaldstätter-See.

Impressions from Lake Vierwaltstätter


Via Brunnen, Vitznau, Weggis, Küssnacht and Meggen to Luzern. Along the way, Werner’s starter motor started to play up - a problem that was only finally fixed upon our return to Sonthofen.
Traffic in Luzern proved dense and hectic, time to move on.


Via Horw, Hergiswil and Alpnach to Sarnen on the shores of Lake Sarnen, a short hop to Lake Lungern, luckily meeting up with Dietmar again, the BM fixed and ready to rock again.
He’d already pitched the tent - and as agreed - a bit out of the way, being the Kingsize-snorer that he is J. At least he makes more than up for it by being the best chef around and even carries ample provisions on the BM.
Sausages and hams, honey, jam, garlic-sauce, coffee...hell, even herbs and spices of all sorts, this is a travelling kitchen. And it doesn’t stop there...add to that pots, pans and all sorts of utensils...really goes without saying, doesn’t it?
Just the honey had decided to go “walkabouts“, coating the floor of the pannier in sticky goo... The camp also turned out to be cheapest of the whole the place was „closed“ on Wednesday and the reception opens at 9am in the morning, we finished up staying the night for nothing.

Lake Lungern

2. day routing:

to be continued!

Best greatings from Germany


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Old 01-06-2009, 04:35 AM   #7
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Keep posting, great photos. What time of year was your trip?
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Back to the Alps in '11
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by on2wheels52
What time of year was your trip?
Hello Jim,

it was at the end of july until mid august

Some of the pics are from other trips (more actualy!).

Best greatings
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:38 AM   #9
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:32 PM   #10
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First up, the Brünigpass (1008m) to Brienz on Lake Brienz.

Lake Brienz

Passing a workshop along the way, Werner ducked in to find a possible fix for the starter motor problems, but it turned out that they only dealt with small bikes like Mofas and Mopeds.
But we follwed the recommendation of the owner to check with the Honda dealer in Hofstetten. The place was a bit hard to find but things were done very professionally and methodically. Despite all the checks, the actual problem in the alternator wasn’t found, though...Interlaken was next, for a left-turn into the heart of the Bernese Highlands and Grindelwald.
What a place...standing below the Eiger North-Face one realizes how HUGE and intimidating it really is and it’s easy to understand the „fatal“-attraction of this wall-of-rock to climbers from all around the globe.
Through town and uphill, until the road is closed off, but the Upper and Lower Grindelwald Glaciers are magnificent and shouldn’t be missed.


Lauterbrunnen valley

Back down the valley to Lauterbrunnen and the famous Staubbach-Waterfalls – then to the end of the valley to Stechelberg, the start of the Schilthorn Cablecar.
No way we’d miss the ‚Rotating Restaurant“ up top, the focal place of the James Bond 007-thriller „ In Her Majesty’s Secret Service !

a foto from the Schilthorn – a few years ago

nearby are the Trümmelbach waterfalls

Back to Interlaken and up the small road towards Beatenberg. Turning off along the way to Habkern, the road seemingly ends....BUT....for the one oin the know, there’s a little toll-road to Beatenberg, followed by yet another tiny toll-road to Sigriswil , just above Lake Thun, a highly-recommendable backroad-alternative.
To top it off, the views onto the lake and into the glacier-topped Bernese peaks are magnificent: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau nearly close enough to touch.

Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau

Lake Thun

near Lake Thun

From Thun via Spiez into the Simmen Valley....Erlenbach, Zweisimmen, Saanenmöser (1279m) to Saanen. Turning left, the small road leads through Gstaad and Gsteig to the Col du Pillon (1546m). Across the top is Les Diableres the well-known winter resort. Another left turn across the Col de la Croix (1778m) leads to Villar-sur-Ollon.

Letting the bikes roll downhill we turned onto the small camp area, our target for the day. Brilliant roads, brilliant scenery and brilliant weather to boot...

3. day routing:

to be continued!

Best greatings
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Old 01-07-2009, 02:27 AM   #11
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view to Lake Geneve

First into the Rhône-Valley to Bex and Monthey. At Pas de Morgins (1369m) we crossed into France...then via Châtel and Abondance across the Col du Corbier (1235m) to Morzine.
One knows when the French border is crossed...signage becomes problematic to non-exist and it’s wise to ghet used to the French road-numbering system.
Instead of crossing the Col de Joux Plane we finished up at the Lac de Mines d’Or.

Lac de Mines d’Or

Despite it being a very pretty setting, the road ends here and it was back to Morzine. ViaTaninges („Route de Grand Alpes“) and Samoëns to the Cirque du Fer à Cheval, a 4km long and up to 700m high cliff face dotted with waterfalls.

Cirque du Fer à Cheval

at Col de la Colombiére

Werner and Lothar


After lunch it’s past Cluses to the Col de la Colombiére (1613m) and on towards Annecy. 8 km after Thônes it’s a left turn to Lac d’Annecy.
4 km later, at the top of Col de Bluffy (630m) it’s another left to get to the picturesque lake at Talloires.

Lac d’Annecy

Looping the lake to the south it’s through Duingt to Sevrier, start of the Col de Leschaùx (897m).
Further southward is Le Pont and the Col de Plainpalais (1173m), turning right onto the northern loop of Mont Revard,which provides fantastic vistasinto the valleys.

view from Mont Revard

Next the Col de la Cluse (1184m) to Aix-le-Bains. In Chambery the bad signage caught us out again...the way to the Col du Granier (1134m) was only found by asking for direction at a service station...and thanks to Dietmar’s proficiency in French.
Despite all that, luck was still needed...

Blick vom Mont Revard, 21.07.00

Just short of St. Pierre-d’Entremont the day ends at a small camp area along the road side....and Dietmar’ s near heart-attack when the kingsize air-bed seems to leak.
In the end it turns out that it’s only a loose plug.

4. day routing:

to be continued!

Best greatings
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Old 01-07-2009, 04:36 AM   #12
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better late than never...

are you going to post the rest in 2027?

great report!
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by schismatic
great report!
Tank you!

Originally Posted by schismatic
are you going to post the rest in 2027?
Not really!

Here is the next part:


Today starts with a challenge...Grenoble is a scouts nightmare. Tacking south , it’s first across the Col du Cucheron (1139m)and the Col de Porte (1326m).
The right-turn toSarcenas presents a great view across the city of Grenoble.


A right turn in town got us across the Isère River and onto N 532 on the other side of the valley.
Easy to find the way towards Villard-de-Lans from here... Past Villard-de-Lans are the Gorges de la Bournes, a very impressive gorge.

Gorges de la Bournes

Via Pont-en-Royans to Auberivēs-en-Royans, and left up the Col Gaudissart (840m) to the Combe Laval.
This stretch belongs decidedly into the „jewels-of-the-trip“ category...the views from Combe Laval, the sheer vertical’s breathtaking !!

Combe Laval

Another obligatory stop was at the Col de la Machine (1015m) „4 bikes (in German: “Maschinen”) at the Col de la Machine!“

Col de la Machine

Still tacking south, the Col de Lachau (1337m)followed by the Col de St. Alexis (1222m) and across the spectacular Col de Rousset (1254m)

Col de Rousset

to Die and Châtillon. In Menée (start of the Col de Menée) it was left to the Cirque d’Archiane, a 14 km long rock-bowl with 1000m high cliffs...the setting reminds of old Western-movies....expecting a bunch of Indians behind every bush.

Cirque d’Archiane

Across the Col de Menée (1457m) and Col du Prayet (1197m) the road drops into the valley at Clelles. Just out of Mens, Dietmar realized that he was short on fuel (carrying all that extra-weight of the camp-kitchen) ...the consequent search for a petrol station also got the shopping done in one hit.

The last pass of the day was the Col Accarias (892m) and everyone baulked at the thought of another stop, even though the bungee-jump off a bridge near La Mure might’ve been worth it...a few more kilometers to Valbonnais got us to the very generous camp site at a small lake.
Despite Dietmars language skills and the initially assigned camp spot, the owner lateron decided to move us to another place as a bigger group was expected...
As compensation for the trouble we got some showers tokens.
It seems to be a popular place, (especially with Dutch travellers)... however, it’s certainly recommendable due to it’s location at the lake and pretty surrounds.
The lake also offered a welcome dip after a long day in the saddle...

5. day routing:

to be continued!

Best greatings
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:48 AM   #14
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and here is the next part:


The travel continues...following the valley, the Col d’Ornon (1371m) to le Bourg-d’Oisans is first.... then via la Grave and the Col du Lautaret (2058m) to Briancon.

at Col du Lautaret

Then the Col d’Izoard (2360m), despite Werner’s effort to miss the turn-off, hehe...
running straight into some drizzle...time for the wet-gear.
But not for long... things started to get steamy at the top as the sun came out. Pity those guys coming up the other side on their push-bikes.
Guillestre is the next target, then Embrun and to Lac de Serre-Poncon, circling the lake to the west across the Col Lebraut (1110m).

Lac de Serre-Poncon

The Col d’Allos (2247m) starts at Barcelonette and is one of those passes that should be closed for any other traffic bar motorcycles...what a dream-road. Enough space to overtake with a bike, but fairly narrow for 2 cars to get past eachother. Letting the others go ahead to take some photos just short of the saddle, I was nearly cleaned up by a car on my way down, coming straight at me through one of the narrow sections. A short „Pardon“ through the wound-down window didn’t quite make up for the scare.

Col d’Allos

Without signs, the left-turn in Colmars to the Col de Champs (2045m) is a bit hard to find, another one of those roads that’s thoroughly recommendable, despite quite a bumpy least the descent is a bit smoother.
Past St. Martin-d’Entraunes and Guillaumes, it’s into the wonderworld of the Gorges de Dalius, rated by guides as the next-most spectacular gorge to the Grand Canyon du Verdon – and that would have to be spot-on, what a place...

Gorges de Dalius

The rock changes colour from red-brown to purple, the road flows through rock-tunnels and natural arches high above the river, this is pure magic...designed by Nature.
Following the N 202 it’s across the Col de Toutes Aures (1120m) to a camp ground at the Lac de Castillon. The rain comes back, Werner and Lothar decide to pitch their own tent, which turned out to be a wise move.
Bucketting down all through the night, I woke around 5, stunned by a „floating“ feeling...
The floor of the tent was like a big bathtub, not letting the water out and I was gently floating atop on my air-bed. Time to re-arrange a few things, tipping out the water....and going back to sleep.

6. day routing:

to be continued

Best greatings
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:25 AM   #15
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Rudi ...fascinating report...Love the Alps...I skied in Gstaad Switzerland back in 1989.It was very warm...Love your Pan European ST1100 I have an ST1100 we call them Pan American here...Look forward to more ride report from you!

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