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Eastern Alps: the Big Hitters

The best mountain roads in one tour

I was going to call this the Alpine Stars Tour... then I thought that might not go down too well with a certain Italian clothing manufacturer. But that's what it is – a greatest-hits collection of big-name passes in the Swiss, Italian and Austrian Alps. You can tick-off the famous roads you always wanted to ride with this one week-long tour.

This is a comprehensively tried-and-tested tour. It's actually the latest, most highly evolved version of the very first tour I planned for a customer. The original was put together for a big birthday trip and it definitely delivered… and carefully honed variations have been a staple of my bespoke-touring business ever since.

There are two versions of the trip: the core nine-day version works with a single-week off work; but there's also a 10-day version with a bit more time in the Dolomites.

In fact, if you have two weeks for your riding holiday, this tour has been designed to be easily expandable. Simply stay an extra night in the key locations and loop out on a daytrip to see even more of the roads in those areas. It's hugely flexible to give you the tour you really want.

What’s included on the route? Each day’s route has recommended places to stop for coffee in the morning and afternoon, a suggested lunch stop and planned fuel stops (based on being able to do 130 miles between top-ups). Hotel suggestions are included too.

How long is each day’s ride? This is a trip that's all about packing in amazing roads so they are full days in the saddle – but not crazy-long tests of posterior fortitude. It is still a holiday and that means getting to each destination fresh enough to enjoy it. If you're on the road at nine each morning, you should be at the next hotel before 6pm. That's allowing for lunch, coffee and photo stops along the way. Saddle-time rating: seven out of 10.

What are the highlights? So many... It's essentially all highlights. Once you're clear of Calais, the route takes you through the Ardennes to the Vosges mountains, before dropping into Switzerland. From there you head into Italy, over Stelvio, through the Dolomites to Großglockner, before heading for home along the Deutsche Alpen Straße and into the Black Forest. It's great road after great road.

Why nine days? The trip is timed to fit in with one week off work, getting a morning crossing to Calais on Saturday and then returning to the UK the following Sunday afternoon. The Tour Pack includes an alternate route in the middle, packing in more time in the beautiful Dolomites, so you can decide which version you want to ride.

How is it supplied? The tour is supplied as an eBook of daily notes backed up by GPX files of the routes. Garmin or BMW Navigator users should download the complete file; TomTom users (or riders using a GPX compatible phone app like Calimoto, Scenic or MyRouteApp Navigator) should download the individual files. However, I strongly recommend getting the tour pack which includes a marked-up map and tankbag notes. NB: If you're on a TomTom of phone app but want the Tour Pack, just order that and drop me an email: I'll make sure you get the right files for your device.

Download the tour

Garmin/BMW users should download the complete-route file. Individual day files should be downloaded for TomTom or GPX-compatible phone apps. 

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