Around The Alps 1995 Japan 1996 Around Poland 1997 Madagascar 1998 Grand Canion 1999 Cuba 2001 Mexico, Belize, Guatemala 2005 Sri Lanka 2006 Crimea, Moldova, Romania 2008 Corsica and Sardinia 2009 2021 2022 2023 Sorry, your browser does not support inline SVG.
Below you will find descriptions of selected mountain passes I managed to conquer. Place names in brackets refer to locations where the climbs began and where downhill runs ended, respectively.

FURKA PASS (2431 m, Realp -> Gletch)
The climb is long and exhausting, but beautiful views are a worthy reward. From the summit you can see the road leading to the Grimsel Pass. If you are lucky, you may encounter tanks going uphill, which is really impressive. The thick layer of snow is dazzling in the sunlight. The downhill ride is excellent, especially fast in its final section.

GRIMSEL PASS (2165 m, Gletch -> Innertkirchen)
Once again – magnificent views, even if somehow spoilt by dams located below. There is a tourist attraction on the pass – a small artificial cave housing an exhibition of minerals – but not really worthwhile.

GROSSE SCHEIDEGG (1962 m, Meiringen -> Wilderswil)
An unusually beautiful pass, from which you can see the famous peaks of Eiger and Jungfrau, with a village of Grindelwald below. The climb is steep, and when cycling from Meiringen I had difficulty finding the right road. Cars are banned on the road after some point, but be careful! You may experience an eye-to-eye encounter with a post van on this narrow road.

COL DU PILLON (1546 m, Gstaad -> Aigle)
The climb is gentle and not particularly attractive in visual terms. The downhill section, in turn, is superb. The road is straight for the most part (you can let yourself go wild a bit) and the views are wonderful, especially near Aigle.

COL DE L'ISERAN (2770 m, Bourg At. Maurice -> Bessans)
The road leading to the pass is not particularly steep. Before Val d'Isere you can cycle along the shore of a nice barrier lake, but be careful in dark tunnels, because the road is full of holes. Outside of Val d'Isere there is another 16 km long uphill section, leading to this highest paved mountain pass in the Alps. On your way down, you can enjoy beautiful views and stop by deserted cowsheds with slate-covered roofs.

COL DU GALIBIER (2640 m, Valloire -> Briançon)
This pass really stuck in my memory. It offered heavenly views, yet preceded by a challenging climb. I passed many cyclists on my way. After all, professionals (Tour de France) cycled in that area just a few days before. The downhill ride was very nice – long and fast. However, in order to reach Col du Galibier, first I had to climb Col de Télégraphe (1566 m, St. Michel - Valloire).

COL D'IZOARD (2360 m, Briançon -> Guillestre)
This pass is well known primarily thanks to "Tour de France". There is a museum of this race at the summit. The climb is not as exciting as the downhill run. On your way you can admire incredible eroded rock forms. It is one of just three places in Europe where you can see such wonders of nature. Afterwards, near Guillestre, there is an interesting ravine. The only drawback of the downhill section is road surface quality: full of patches.

COL DE VARS (2109 m, Guillestre -> Jausiers)
An arduous climb and unimpressive views.

CIME DE LA BONETTE (2802 m, Jausiers -> Pont de Clans)
An extremely challenging climb (24 km), but worth the effort. On your way you can visit Fort Restefond and the nearby Col de Restefond pass (2678 m). Then you are almost there. Cime de la Bonette is right behind the peak of a lower mountain – hence it remains hidden. In fact it is not a pass but a vantage point and – reportedly – the highest paved road in Europe! Still, I have heard that there is an even higher road somewhere in the Pyrenees. The downhill ride is amazing – 70 km long.

COL DE TENDE (1871 m, St. Dalmas de Tende -> Limone Piemonte)
The most unrewarding pass I was forced to climb. I was "forced to" because bikes were not allowed in the tunnel. In effect, I walked the bike uphill on a rubble surface over a distance of almost 10 km. Luckily, the downhill section – already on the Italian side – was paved. I sincerely advise against choosing this route, unless you travel on a light mountain bike. The best idea would be to ask someone to transport the bike to the other side of the tunnel.

MALOJA PASS (1817 m, Chiavenna -> St. Moritz)
A "minor" pass, but the climb can really be a hard nut, its final section being particularly steep. As I climbed, I admired cyclists coming from the opposite direction. As I later discovered, the climb on the other side was very easy.

OFEN PASS (2149 m, Zernez -> Sta. Maria)
A fairly easy climb, with a few downhill sections. Not very impressive views, but the downhill ride is very nice.

PASSO DELLO STELVIO (2758 m, Sta. Maria -> Spondigna)
First an exhausting climb to the Umbrail Pass (2501 m), from which you can already see the Passo dello Stelvio. After crossing the Swiss-Italian border, you still face a 3 km uphill section. At the summit there are usually tourists flocking around numerous stands with souvenirs. Beautiful views and a fantastic downhill run (with 40 curves) are a worthy reward for all the climb-related efforts.

PASSO PORDOI (2239 m, Canazei -> Andraz)
After passing 28 curves during the easy climb, you can admire the characteristic vertical faces of the Dolomites.

PASSO DI FALZAREGO (2105 m, Andraz -> Cortina d'Ampezzo)
An easy climb followed by a 16 km downhill ride, during which you can enjoy the most beautiful panoramic view of the Dolomites.

HOCHTOR (2504 m, Grosskirchheim -> Brück)
The climb is tough, but rewarded with great views. Cyclists do not pay the fee for taking the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (High Alpine Road). Before the pass I recommend taking a turn towards Franz Josefs Hohe, from where you can see the Pasterze glacier.