10 epic Alpine challenges

Road Cycling Collection by
komoot

As a road cyclist, you’re always looking for the ultimate challenge. You love the torments of a seemingly endless ascent, while the anticipation of forthcoming descents drives you up even the steepest of hills. When you're done, you swear on your favorite saddle that you'll never do that again—just to start researching your next adventure barely 48 hours later. Sound familiar?

If so, we’ve got some good news: the search for your next big ride is over. In this Collection, we’ve compiled ten truly extraordinary challenges for you; challenges that are not just anywhere. No—these challenges are in the Alps; in one of Europe’s most epic mountain ranges; the place where cycling legends were born. These mountains have long served as the venue of the toughest stage races and have been a long-standing codeword for torturous climbs that you will love and hate in equal measure. And while you’re sure to wear yourself out on each of our rides, the rewards are worth the effort: The magnificent landscape of the Alps, with its breathtaking views and action-packed downhill stages, will generously compensate you for all of your hard work—and turn this epic Tour into a truly unforgettable experience.

When we talk about challenges in the Alps, we talk about passes. And here is no different: Each ride comprises at least one pass, with this Collection containing an exciting mix of real classics, some modern twists, and—of course—a ton of insider tips. Just don’t approach this lightly: Some of the rides in this Collection are so extreme that you may prefer to tackle them over several stages; something we took into account while compiling this list and for which we've made appropriate recommendations. We have also included a few shorter rides that are more suitable for beginner road cyclists, just to make sure there’s something for everybody. How will you tackle them? All at once or one by one?

Whichever ride you choose, however, just keep in mind that you will be traveling in Alpine terrain. Plan realistically and book your accommodation in advance if you want to break your ride up into stages. Check ahead of time if the passes are open, observe the weather forecast and be prepared for unexpected changes. Take enough food and drink with you, pack your emergency tool and bring plenty of spare parts, such as replacement inner tubes, brake pads and maybe even a shifter cable. Last but not least, make sure that your phone has got enough battery and your GPS device is charged, and consider taking a fully charged power bank with you if you plan on completing the whole ride. Get it right, and this one’s going to be fun: You will have an unforgettable time in the Alps.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    11:38
    109 mi
    9.3 mph
    17,825 ft
    14,275 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    Alpe d'Huez is one of the most famous Tour de France climbs. Exceptional is this driveway alone, because it has managed here to create a myth of cycling from a not really nice retort ski resort, as in 1953 for the first time the peloton of the Tour de France the 21 bends - each one after one of Stage winner named - sent up. But to be honest, there are better and harder challenges. That's why you will not just follow the mountain arrival of the Tour de France, but make a really nice tour, while climbing four hard mountains and in the end have mastered a really extraordinary challenge.It starts in Bourg d'Oisans. However, not directly up to Alpe d'Huez, but to the north, where the 22 kilometers of the Col du Glandon are waiting for you and pedaling up as warmup at 1924 meters. After a nice descent, a real classic awaits you. The Col du Galibier (2645 meters), which you climb over the Col du Télégraphe (1570 meters). You have mastered one of the most famous climbs of the Tour de France, often referred to as the "roof of the tour" and on its south side a memorial stone in honor of Tour de France founder Henri Desgrange has been installed. Once at the top, you will be amazed by the panorama that gives you a view of some four-thousand-meter peaks in the Alps.After another long descent, you drive back to Bourg d'Oisans, where you finally head up the legendary 21 bends of myth to Alpe d'Huez. After 175 kilometers and 5430 meters of altitude you will be at least as exhausted as the professionals of the Tour Peloton and have earned a visit to one of the many restaurants of Alpe d'Huez, which are also open in summer.If this tour is too hard for you in one go, you can easily split it in two or three stages. You can choose between Valloire and Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, where you can start the next climb the next morning.

    translated byView Original
  • Difficult
    07:14
    65.9 mi
    9.1 mph
    10,525 ft
    10,525 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This tour takes you straight over three legendary passes in Switzerland and is thus despite a manageable 107 kilometers in length a real challenge. You will exceed three times the magical 2000-meter mark and work out a total of 3220 vertical meters.Start is in Andermatt in the canton of Uri. From here it goes straight to the point. The eleven-kilometer Furka Pass is waiting for you. Here you will be rewarded with a great view of a number of mighty three-thousand-meter peaks, before the long descent down to Ulrichen on the top.The lower part you will enjoy especially, because here you do not roll on the main road, but on a beautiful bike path along the Rhone. France's most water-rich stream is still an idyllic mountain river that has just started to flow into the nearby Rhone glacier.In Ulrichen begins the second mountain classification. 13 kilometers up to the Nufenen, which is considered by its high slope and the most prevalent wind as one of the toughest Swiss passes. On this varied ascent you can really give it a treat and reward yourself with the view from the highest point of today's tour (2478 meters).Ciao Nufenen! Welcome to the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, which welcomes you down to Airolo with a long descent. This is followed by the highlight of the day. Although the St. Gotthard with its 2,091 meters is not quite as high as the two previously managed passes, it still has a lot to offer. Especially the paved part of its serpentines you will not forget. Even if you may not love him, you'll just need to buff this legendary cobblestones.Be prepared for it to get cold. The mild temperatures in Airolo fool you over the fact that the Gotthard leads you back into the harsh alpine climate.

    translated byView Original
  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

    or
    Sign Up With Email
  • Difficult
    03:02
    24.8 mi
    8.2 mph
    4,925 ft
    2,225 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Albula is certainly not the first name to fall when talking about challenging alpine passes. It's a pity, because he has a lot to offer, which is why we want to recommend the Albula as an extraordinarily beautiful challenge. Actually, he has everything that makes the racing cyclist's heart beat faster. It is untouched and little traveled and the landscape of the Engadin is beautiful. At 2315 meters you have a nice piece of work ahead of you.And then there is this very special highlight, which is so extraordinary that it should also interest the racing cyclist, especially since you can not help but admire it. There is talk of the Albula Railway, which has the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and crosses the Albula Pass quite a few times. Many tunnels and bridges are really spectacular and will inspire you. But the best thing about this train is that it runs parallel to the pass and can take you back to the starting point in Tiefencastel on a historic route, if you only want to drive the pass oneway.We have one last tip for you. If you want to cross the pass car-free and like to let your eyes wander left and right of the road, we recommend the "slowUp" adventure day. On a summer day, the motorized traffic pass will be closed and garnished with a varied program along the route. More information about the event can be found here: slowup.ch/albula/de/strecke.html

    translated byView Original
  • Difficult
    04:12
    41.0 mi
    9.8 mph
    6,375 ft
    6,375 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The Queen of the Pass roads, Passo dello Stelvio or Stelvio - there are many names that all describe the same thing. 1844 meters in altitude and around 25 kilometers on Italy's highest road pass, whose 48 bends among roadies are among the best-known and most popular climbs of all and thus undoubtedly represent one of the challenges par excellence for every racing cyclist. On this tour you climb not only up to 2757 meters, but enjoy in a beautiful round trip, the subsequent descent through the Münstertal.But you have to earn it first. You start in Prad, a small community in the Vinschgau, which is the ideal starting point for this tour, because from here it goes straight to the point. At around 890 meters altitude, it starts, the highest point of the tour is the Stelvio Pass. Once at the top, you have a fantastic view of the surrounding peaks and a great panorama of the covered hairpin bends. Predicate: extraordinary.By the way, at the end of August the Stelvio Bike Day will allow you to drive over the Prestige Pass car-free, as once a year the road is closed to motorized traffic for one day: vinschgau.net/en/prad-am- stilfserjoch / active holiday / rad-bike / stilfserjoch-radtag.html

    translated byView Original
  • Difficult
    13:47
    147 mi
    10.6 mph
    18,250 ft
    18,275 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    238 kilometers and 5500 meters in altitude are an announcement, regardless of whether you are going for the round as a professional at race pace or simply want to do it the way "being there is everything". For over 30 years there is the Ötztaler. He is one of the oldest cycling marathons in the Alps and has cult status. Now you have the choice.You can make the Ötztaler your own private Alps Challenge by just following the official route, because there is only one track. With the exception of a very small exception, this tour matches the route of the notorious cycling marathon and includes exactly the four alpine passes you must overcome during the event.Start and finish is in Sölden, from where you first drive over the Kühtai to Innsbruck. Next up is Brenner on your pass menu, followed by Jaufenpass and the final Timmelsjoch.This tour has the potential to be a real challenge in two (or more) stages. If the Ötztaler is too hard for you to do a wash, you can just make stopovers. Again and again you pass beautiful villages that are well prepared for (cycling) tourists. Steinach am Brenner is the destination for a two-day tour.Speaking of Brenner: if you've done that, the only deviation from the official track is waiting for you. Instead of following the main road, we'll take you over a several-kilometer-long railroad bike path that is so much fun that you should not miss it.Of course, you can also sign up for the Ötztaler as part of the annual cycling marathon event on your to-do list. And then the registration for the Challenge will be, because the 4500 starting positions are very popular and will be awarded by draw. Registration for this draw will start in early February. Information can be found here: oetztaler-radmarathon.com/registrierung-verlosung

    translated byView Original
  • Difficult
    05:42
    51.6 mi
    9.1 mph
    9,000 ft
    8,150 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    It is Austria's highest mountain and even if you will not climb its summit at 3798 meters, there are some delicacies waiting for you on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. While the first few kilometers from the starting point in Bruck still go by as a casual rolling, the track sets with some delicious ten-percent tests soon really going on. And thats just the beginning.To the highest point of the road, the high gate, you have to prove perseverance. Twelve percent slope is not uncommon and with the racing gear on your bike you should not arrive here better. Speaking of racing: even for professional athletes, the High Alpine Road is an official challenge, which is why it is often installed in stages of the Giro d'Italia or in the Tour of Austria.We did not design this challenge as a round trip because it would be extremely long in the Hohe Tauern National Park due to the lack of roads. That's why we recommend that you set up the base camp in Bruck and simply pick the Großglockner from both sides. The view at the top is certainly breathtaking for the second time.This challenge is very popular. Unfortunately also for motorized road users, which is why it is advisable not to drive off at peak times. Otherwise you can enjoy various highlights for cyclists. There are changing places along the pass road and even showers for cyclists. If you want to push the challenge to the extreme, you can win a ticket in Ferleiten for two euros and travel the route to the Fuscher Törl on time, including the certificate and online ranking.

    translated byView Original
  • Difficult
    07:10
    70.6 mi
    9.9 mph
    10,125 ft
    10,125 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This tour can be described as an insider tip. Bovec is a small pearl in the Alps. Located on the Soča Valley, this friendly region in the heart of the Triglav National Park is a paradise for outdoor sports enthusiasts, especially road cyclists. This is ensured by the temperate climate, the good infrastructure and, above all, the breathtaking alpine landscape, which will, one day or another, make your jaw drop.But finally to the tour. While the length is manageable, the two passes to be overcome will demand a lot from you. 3090 vertical meters will be at the end of the day on your GPS device. It starts with the Mangart Pass, which is the highest point of the tour with 2030 meters. Its peculiar, wild mountain landscape will amaze you and the descent back is the first reward of the day.Behind Kranjska Gora (where you should have a snack break) the Vršič Pass is already waiting for you. The adventurous route and above all the breathtaking landscape of the legal Alps with their impressive rock walls will inspire you completely. This will make you overlook the occasional cobblestones in the serpentines that are simply part of it. And the reward for this is not long in coming.The final highlight of this tour is undoubtedly the long descent through the Trenta Valley along the Soča, which leads you back to the starting point. You should not miss a break at one of the numerous wooden bridges over the Soča. Here you can just enjoy the great scenery or shoot a small souvenir photo - that much time must be.

    translated byView Original
  • Difficult
    07:18
    79.7 mi
    10.9 mph
    9,375 ft
    9,350 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    The Mont Ventoux can be climbed in three ways. We have worked out all three parts for you. Start and finish is always in Bédoin, so you can make this challenge as a three-day stage ride.If you're a bit of a bitch, you have the opportunity to live this passion on the Ventoux: Just drive all three Ventoux climbs in a row and become a member of the "Club de Cingles", the club of the crappy. No joke. There really is, including a club regulation and a highly official ranking maintained since 1988: clubcinglesventoux.orgPart 1
    The east ramp of Sault is the easiest option. The actual ascent that begins in Sault is about 26 kilometers long and has 1180 vertical meters. At the dealer at the summit you can pick up a reminder and then make your way back.
    You can memorize the last descent of this tour, because if you plan to take the other Ventoux roads in the direction of the summit, you will still drive up in the opposite direction.The Mont Ventoux is also called the giant of Provence. The mistral whistles round him, and legends surround him. The myth of Mont Ventoux is mainly influenced by the Tour de France - it is probably one of the most famous climbs of the tour. And one of the most striking. The always present wind, the common closing ramp, the summer heat and last but not least the interesting lunar landscape with its characteristic rubble desert make this mountain a truly extraordinary challenge, not only for professional cyclists.Here are part 2 and 3 of the Ventoux trilogy:
    komoot.de/tour/25337006
    komoot.de/tour/25337111

    translated byView Original
  • Difficult
    11:29
    97.1 mi
    8.5 mph
    11,575 ft
    11,550 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Mont Ventoux can be climbed in three ways. We have worked out all three parts for you. Start and finish is always in Bédoin, so you can make this challenge as a three-day stage ride.If you're a bit of a bitch, you have the opportunity to live this passion on the Ventoux: Just drive all three Ventoux climbs in a row and become a member of the "Club de Cingles", the club of the crappy. No joke. There really is, including a club regulation and a highly official ranking maintained since 1988: clubcinglesventoux.orgPart 2
    The second variant takes you on a nice round to the western ramp of Malaucène, which spreads 1530 meters of altitude over 21 kilometers and whose last four kilometers have it with a ten percent slope particularly in itself. Enjoy the great view above. In good visibility you can see the Mediterranean and the high Alps before going down to Bédoin.
    The Mont Ventoux is also called the giant of Provence. The mistral whistles round him, and legends surround him. The myth of Mont Ventoux is mainly influenced by the Tour de France - it is probably one of the most famous climbs of the tour. And one of the most striking: the ever-present wind, the common final ramp, the summer heat and last but not least the striking landscape with its characteristic scree desert make this mountain a truly extraordinary challenge, not only for professional cyclists.Here are part 1 and 3 of the Ventoux trilogy:
    komoot.de/tour/25321908
    komoot.de/tour/25337111

    translated byView Original
  • Difficult
    03:04
    27.1 mi
    8.8 mph
    5,150 ft
    5,150 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    The Mont Ventoux can be climbed in three ways. We have worked out all three parts for you. Start and finish is always in Bédoin, so you can make this challenge as a three-day stage ride.If you're a bit of a bitch, you have the opportunity to live this passion on the Ventoux: Just drive all three Ventoux climbs in a row and become a member of the "Club de Cingles", the club of the crappy. No joke. There really is, including a club regulation and a highly official ranking maintained since 1988: clubcinglesventoux.orgpart 3
    The south ramp of Bédoin is the most direct option. 1599 vertical meters to 21.2 kilometers are the facts of this challenge. The third part of our Ventoux trilogy is a little easier for you, as you do not make a lap, but simply drive back the south ramp. This will give you the opportunity to once again give this historic place a real taste of you and stop in a very special place, before you plunge into the final descent.
    Every cycling fan someday - in doubt now - stumbled upon the sad story of Tom Simpson, who officially heralded the equally sad story of doping in cycling: Simpson collapsed during the 1967 Tour de France due to heart failure. Later it was determined that he was pumped full of amphetamines and alcohol. At the place where he collapsed, there is a memorial stone, where many cyclists stop and leave something behind, for example a water bottle.The Mont Ventoux is also called the giant of Provence. The mistral whistles round him, and legends surround him. The myth of Mont Ventoux is mainly influenced by the Tour de France - it is probably one of the most famous climbs of the tour. And one of the most striking: the ever-present wind, the common final ramp, the summer heat and last but not least the striking landscape with its characteristic scree desert make this mountain a truly extraordinary challenge, not only for professional cyclists.Here are part 1 and 2 of the Ventoux trilogy:
    komoot.de/tour/25321908
    komoot.de/tour/25337006

    translated byView Original

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    10
  • Distance
    713 mi
  • Duration
    74:36 h
  • Elevation
    103,150 ft

You Might Also Like

Race biking in South Tyrol
Road Cycling Collection by
Südtirol
Following the Race Across the Alps
Road Cycling Collection by
komoot
Ring of Kerry — a magical Irish weekend
Road Cycling Collection by
komoot