Alpine Highlights Part 1

, Italy - Alps, Europe

A must in every rider's life. The scenery and the roads are amazing. The passes are high and you are on the mountains rather than looking at them from a distance.

Starting and ending in Milan, we picked what we believe are the roads that if you were to come just once in your life time to the Alps you really would not want to miss!

In this first part, we ride from west to east, starting with the Maritime Alps and ending with the Bernese high Alps. In between lie passes such as Col de la Bonnette at 2800 meters, the beauty of the Col de Izoard, the Small and Greater St Bernard, Mont Blanc with its majestic 4807 meters above sea level and so much more. You also get a chance to ride along the shores of Lake Maggiore and witness the richness and beauty of northern Italian architecture displayed in some of the most stunning villas along the lake front.

What is included:

1) motorcycle rental of a touring prepared bike with side cases, top case, tank bag, locks and alarm, and tubeless puncture repair kit.

2) 8 nights accommodation in 3 or 4 star family run hotels with breakfast and safe parking for the bikes, especially selected for being located in the historical centre of each town

3) welcome and farewell dinners in Milan

4) Francesco (owner of CIMT) will be your motorcycle guide always on a motorcycle. He will be there as a point of reference and to facilitate things during your trip. You can ride following him or decide to seek your own way. You will always be able to reach him on his mobile phone in case of need or get advice during riding breaks. Think of him as your local source of information and a fellow traveller.

5) support van with second guide to carry your luggage (one piece per person) from hotel to hotel, provide necessary assistance during the tour with tools and spares, and carry any purchases you have made along your way. It also has two extra seats for passengers who wish to take a rest from the pillion seat.

6) an Italian GSM phone, that you can use to receive calls from home free of roaming charges or make emergency calls in any situation.

7) maps and road book of the tour.

What is NOT included:

1) fuel for your motorcycle
2) motorway tolls and ferries
3) entrance to museums or other sites
4) gratuities and tips
5) all lunches and dinners except for welcome and farewell dinner
6) beverages with your dinner
7) credit used on the CIMT GSM cell phones
8) airport transfers (we will give you all options - including a chauffer driven car if you wish)
9) flights to and from Milan


Organised by CIMT

Alpine Highlights Part 1


Day 1: after a quick highway transfer to Cuneo we tackle the first section of the Alps, the Maritime Alps over the Col de la Lombarde (Col = Pass in French) and the magnificent Col de la Bonnette to reach Barcelonnette. The Col de la Bonnette contends to the Italian Stelvio pass the highest road in Europe. The cunning French added a scenic loop road to the pass These two passes offer great riding and stunning scenery as they are part of the French National Park of Mercantour.

Day 2: we leave our luggage at the hotel and ride a loop south of Barcelonnette to the Gorges of the Verdon river, it's a really impressive canyon for size and depth. On the way there we ride the Col d'Allos and coming back, after the Gorges de Dalluis, an amazing valley cut by the river Var, we tackle the Col de la Cayolle back into Barcelonnette.

Day 3: we leave Barcelonnette and ride to Guillestre along the west bank of Lac (Lake) Serre Ponçon. Just passed Guillestre, we head for an amazing pass: the Col de l'Izoard. It offers an incredible natural spectacle. At the end of this pass the town of meridian clocks, Briançon, offers an interesting break from riding and you'll be able to enjoy a stroll though its historical centre. Our ride reaches the Col de Lautaret and then keeps climbing over the infamous (Tour de France toughest stage) Col de Gallibier to reach the small village of Lanslevillard by the Mont Cenis.

Day 4: we cross 3 borders. After we have crossed the Col de l'Iseran, the highest paved mountain pass in the Alps (13 meters more than Stelvio), and ridden through Val d'Isere, we cross the Petit St Bernard into Italy and then hop into Switzerland briefly over the Grand St Bernard. At the Grand St Bernard we visit the hostel at pass height, famous for the big rescue dogs. These generous dogs originate from here and were used in snow storms to find lost travellers. We are in sight of Mont Blanc. Once we cross the Col de la Forclaz we will see the highest mountain in Europe and spend the night at its feet in Chamonix, the extreme sports capital of the World!

Day 5: in the morning you have the opportunity to catch the gondola to the top of Mont Blanc. It's a totally breathtaking experience as you nearly reach the very top. We then cross into Switzerland view the Matterhorn from Zermatt and reach Andermatt over the Furka Pass, the first of the "big 6" Swiss Alpine passes, for our second two night stop over.

Day 6: the Swiss call it the "Paessekarusel" because you draw a big circle on the map by hopping from one pass to another . We start with the Gotthard pass, riding parts of the old "tremola" down hill. It is called "tremola" because on parts of it there are still the original cobble stones (tremare = trembling). We then go for the Neufenenpass, the Grimmsellpass and finally the Sustenpass back into Andermatt. Great views and great riding!

Day 7: It is our last day of part 1, we return to our starting point in Milan. But before this we ride the 6th of the "big 6", the Oberalppass immediately followed by the Lukmanerpass that takes us back into the Italian speaking area of Switzerland. From Bellinzona we head for Locarno and then cross the border back into Italy at the top of lake Maggiore. We ride its coastlines on our way back to Milan.

Day 8: it's "arrivederci" to those who are only doing Part1. You are free to depart, but make sure you come back for Part 2. For those of you doing part 2, it's Day 1 ... again :-)

go to Alpine Highlights (part 2)

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