The Drei Länder MTB Route (Three Countries MTB Route) is a classic Tour in the border triangle at the Reschen Pass. There are different variants that include more or fewer trails, are combined with lifts, or optimised for e-bikers. In this Collection, I present the version that I, as a mountain bike guide who has got to know the region on countless Tours over many years, would recommend to a friend.
The round Tour starts on the Three Countries Trails at the Reschen Pass and leads you along lonely high Alpine paths to the hip biking Eldorado of Livigno in Italy in five stages. Each day, you cross a border between Italy, Austria and Switzerland at least once, covering around 260 kilometres (161 miles) and 8,250 metres (27,066 feet) in altitude in total. On the way, you’ll experience overwhelming landscapes, exciting places with an eventful history and epic single trails. Merely the names of some of the highlights en route will bring tears of joy to mountain bikers’ eyes.
The right Tour for you?
In my opinion, the daily routes are a great compromise between good trails and really nice transit routes. I still belong to the category of biker who likes to climb every mountain under their own steam – I ignored the lifts and shuttle buses in my route suggestions. Of course, you can include a cable car or bus transfer occasionally to make the route a bit easier or to ride the trails several times. I’ve left a comment on the respective stage where this makes sense and is possible.
As a touring cyclist looking for great scenery and lots of single trails, you will be thrilled. These are the types of trains that mountain bike magazines deem “epic”. With the chosen route lengths, a well-trained mountain biker doesn’t have to be an early riser nor a night rider. With five to six hours a day on the bike, you have enough time to enjoy the mountains and trails, and still stop for a leisurely picnic on the mountain or at a mountain hut.
On the recommended routes you mainly follow single trails, unpaved, gravel, and side roads with very little traffic. The high alpine terrain requires appropriate riding skills but you don't have to be an enduro pro. I have put together a list of trails that are usually ridden by touring bikers on a Transalp. I recommend basic equipment with knees and elbow protection, especially if you want to ride other trails in Nauders or Livigno in addition to the route described. Some sections require you to push your bike. This is especially true for the Uina Gorge, where you push your bike for about two kilometres (1.2 miles) and 250 metres (820 feet) in altitude (that's what they say in Switzerland). If you are an e-biker, it is best to cycle the entire route in the opposite direction.
The Tour is designed to be self-supported, meaning you pack your rucksack with all the necessary equipment for a multi-day Alpine Tour. However, in Nauders and Livigno, there are several hotels and taxi companies that offer a luggage shuttle service if you don’t feel like carrying your rucksack on the round Tours. You can find more information at the tourist information office in Nauders.
For overnight stays, there are numerous accommodations in various categories available in all stage towns. If you prefer something more rustic, take note of the information about huts along the way.
When to travel
The best time to travel is in summer. Between mid-June and the end of September, the passes are usually snow-free.
Almost all of Italy is on holiday in August. If you don't want to sleep in the outdoors, I recommend booking your accommodation in advance, especially in the Italian regions (Livigno and Glurns) in August.
Getting here by public transport is easier than you think. There are trains to Landeck/Zams in Tyrol (Austria), Scuol in Engadin (Switzerland) and Mals in South Tyrol (Italy) that also transport bicycles. From the respective train stations, regular buses or post buses go to your preferred starting point, unless you cover the last kilometres by bike. The buses in the region take bikes attached to the rear or on special trailers. Reservations are not essential, except for larger groups, but experience has shown that they are advisable. You can find information on the relevant route timetables and about reservations under the following links:
tlbus.at/fahrplaene (From Landeck/Zams to Nauders)
postauto.ch/de/ausflugstipps/zernez-mals-nauders-scuol (Swiss Postbus route plans from Scuol to Nauders and from Mals to Nauders)
suedtirolmobil.info/de (From Mals to Nauders)
Of course, travelling by car allows you to be most flexible. Parking spaces are available at the valley station of the Bergkastelbahn. If you have booked accommodation, I recommend asking for a parking space where you are staying. After all, you'll be coming back and most hosts are happy to offer a space. They will also tell you about the possibility of a luggage shuttle to the next stage.
I wish you lots of fun on your Three Countries MTB Tour and look forward to your feedback. Let it rip and chain!
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: May 23, 2022
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