Super Alpine

Splügen Pass

Italy /Graubünden

The Splügen Pass connects the Swiss Hinterrhein valley and town of Splügen with the Valle San Giacomo and the Italian town of Chiavenna. Due to it narrow and diffcult passage the San Bernardino pass was built to replace it.

Splugen Pass
Tunnel on the Splugen pass

The pass from Chiavanna is something else from the start. Starting in hot Italy with a Mediterranean feel and deciduous trees crowding the roadside, the pass road is very narrow. A sign announces the 51 hairpin bends (tornante) to the summit and you know this is going to be interesting. The hairpin bends are often impossible to negotiate without using the opposite side of the road. This makes the blind corners dangerous and difficult and if you have a low or large car by the 30th 'tornante' you will have had enough. If this wasn't enough to put you off, the unlit single carriageway tunnels and avalanche covers with no passing places might. The Italian part of the Splugen is a wild drive by anyone's standards.

Splugen Pass
Sign on the Splugen pass

When you arrive at Montespluga you think you are there but this false summit just leads to the final 10 hairpins. Montespluga is made up of three roads and is cut off for 3 months of the year when the pass closes. The final turns are at least in the open and you arrive to a tiny summit with barely any parking and a few confused-looking people. You cross into Switzerland at the summit and the road is still narrow although becomes wider and less intense for a shorter run down to Splugen. At the end of it all, you can see why the San Bernardino pass was built.

Location
46°30’20.0”N, 9°19′49.0”E
SPLÜGEN > CHIAVENNA
Distance (km) 43
Altitude (m) 2113
Start Altitude (m) 1475
End Altitude (m) 333

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