Urban charm, alpine trails and Mediterranean flair: the Swiss canton of Graubünden is incredibly versatile and a great place for wonderful mountain bike routes. In this Collection, I present an exciting bikepacking adventure which is so compact that it can be done on a long weekend. It is also suitable for bikers who are not used to hours of alpine climbs.
You do not even need your own car to reach the starting point. Your journey begins at Chur station which is easily accessible by train, whilst you can travel to the individual stages with a Swiss speciality: the post bus. These yellow busses are a typical feature on the mountain roads. They can carry your bike and help out on the particularly long climbs.
Your adventure begins in Chur and takes you on three stages along great trails from north to south through the canton of Graubünden. Although it's a real alpine crossing, you'll always have a plan B just in case. If necessary, you can take a post bus or the Rhaetian Railway to make one of the ascents easier. I have noted in the individual stages where this is possible. This Collection includes overnight stays in Savognin and Pontresina where you will find plenty of places to stay. From idyllic campsites to fancy hotels, you are sure to find something suitable for you.
Despite the help of the post buses, these routes are not a walk in the park, they are still an alpine adventure. You should have a certain level of riding technique and also come well-prepared for mountain conditions. Pack suitable clothing, a change of clothes, spare parts and a first aid kit, as well as sufficient food. With a little preparation, you will have an unforgettable time in a beautiful area with great trails.
Post bus info:
Taking a bicycle on the Postbuses is free of charge if you have purchased a ticket for yourself. Logically, space for bicycles is limited, so it may make sense to reserve a seat in advance. You should reserve in advance if you are traveling with a group.
You can check the exact departure times of the Postbuses for this Collection or create your own Postbus route (note: not all Postbuses take bikes, look for the corresponding symbol in the timetable), you can find the necessary information here: postauto.ch/de/fahrplan.
You can find information about the Bernina Express here: rhb.ch/de/panoramazuege/bernina-express. Of course, normal regional trains also run on this route. They are not quite as romantic, but a bit cheaper. You can find timetables here: rhb.ch/de/home.
It starts at the train station in Chur and you have the choice: Crank yourself or let the Postbus do the first climb? A little decision-making aid from me: If you take the post bus, you will miss a distance of around ten kilometers and about 800 meters in altitude. Then your tour would start at the bus stop in Tschiertschen - and don't worry: there is still enough climbing up to the Ochsenalp. Once at the top you have the opportunity to fortify yourself with the finest views.Then it goes a little more relaxed and you have enough air at around 2,000 meters to enjoy the really great view to the fullest. Then it gets steeper again: On the way to the Hörnlihütte you deserve the next rest with a panoramic view and the long descent down to Lenzerheide, which is a real classic here. At the middle station of the Rothorn Bahn you can reach the beautiful bike park Lenzerheide and choose from different runs of the bike park. Once at the bottom, the Heidsee invites you to take a break with a postcard backdrop.You now flow on relaxed trails towards Tiefencastel, where the question has to be answered again: calf power or post bus? The Postbus takes around 15 minutes. If you want to drive yourself, this will certainly take a little more time for around 13 kilometers and 500 meters in altitude. In the end there is another promising descent, which runs on gravel and quiet asphalt roads and therefore offers hardly any driving demands. When you arrive in Savognin, you can jump into the beautiful lake when the weather is good and the route spits you out. On site you are guaranteed to find the right accommodation from the campsite to the hotel and there are enough places to stop for refreshments and shop.
One thing in advance: Don't panic if you look at the kilometers and vertical meters of the second stage - after all, there is the Postbus! Of course, you can do everything on your own if you like, but even for hard-boiled bikers, the final climb to the Maloja Pass on a mountain bike should be a little too much of a good thing. But one after anonther…You start at the picturesque Lai Barnagn bathing lake in Savognin and take a relaxed, warm ride along the river Gelgia. When the body has revved up, the route slowly picks up. It will be noticeably steeper, but also more beautiful. Completely without traffic, you slowly crank up through a shady forest area to the Marmorera lake and on to the cozy town of Bivio. If you are not so keen on climbing today, you can also travel the entire route from Savognin to Bivio by postbus. Only then is there no escape, your calf muscles are up to the Septimer Pass. But honestly: The trail over the old Roman mule track is so beautiful that the effort is completely hidden, even if you have to push a bit.Once at the top, a wonderful descent awaits you, which takes you through the narrow Bergell valley over beautiful single trails and historic mule trails to the idyllic village of Promontogno. You deserve a break here at the latest! Maybe even after work? If you want, you can take the Postbus to St. Moritz from here. The last piece of the stage goal Pontresina has to be mastered again on your own. However, the last around six kilometers are almost flat and are ideal as a cool-down program. If you are still motivated in Promontogno, you can continue cycling and only get on the Postbus in Casaccia.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
The third stage of the PostBus tour begins with the uphill from Pontresina to the Bernina Pass. It runs mostly on the “Bernina Express” route, which bears its name because it is always within reach of the railway line of the same name. The “Bernina Express” is legendary and not for nothing a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the best thing is that after this tour you can still enjoy it on the train ride back to Chur. But more on that later ...Now you pedal to the Bernina Pass in peace and enjoy the wonderful views of the Morteratsch Glacier and the numerous mountain peaks all around. Occasionally you may have to push your bike briefly, but overall the driveway is rather relaxed. Your reward is already waiting on Alp Grüm: the train station is worth seeing and you can fortify yourself in the restaurant.The following descent down to Poschiavo is a real classic and again a real highlight of this post bus tour. The goal is the picturesque market square of Poschiavo, where you can ring in the evening or prepare yourself for an onward journey with an espresso. Right, you have the choice: The "Bernina Express", as well as the normal RHB regional trains stop at the Poschiavo train station, so that you can drive back to Chur from here. If you still have power, you simply drive on to Tirano instead. Then a really crisp climb with around 900 meters of altitude awaits you (and without a Postbus option), the view above in San Romerio is absolutely breathtaking and a break in the cozy inn of the idyllic village is priceless.The long descent down to Tirano is the icing on the cake of an unforgettable tour. On the train ride back to Chur you can have a look at it in peace and you will surely recognize the one or the other place that you have explored by bike in the last few days. Small insider tip: Before you start the return journey, you should treat yourself to a little refreshment. There are many very good restaurants and great pizzerias in Tirano compared to Switzerland.