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Swiss Passes

Splügen Pass


The Splügen pass was originally built in the 1820s by the Austrians who ruled the Kingdom of Lombardy - Venetia in Italy. In 1840 the author Mary Shelley travelled through across pass on the way to Lake Como, describing the pass in her travel narrative, Rambles in Germany and Italy, as being a new and most marvellous road'. The Splügen pass ceased to be developed after the Gotthard and San Bernardino roads and tunnels were built.

The climb from Italy has 51 marked hairpin bends (tornante) to the summit. The hairpin bends are often impossible to negotiate without using the opposite side of the road. The road also has many unlit single-carriageway tunnels and avalanche covers with no passing places. Just before the summit is Montespluga, a small three-street village that is cut off from both Italy and Switzerland during the winter. After Montespluga, 10 more hairpins take you to the summit. The summit is small with an abandoned customs house. The short descent to Switzerland is much easier than the climb.

Summit Location 46°30’20.0”N, 9°19′49.0”E
Summit Altitude 2113 metres
Distance 43 kilometres
Start Splügen 1475 metres
End Chiavenna 333 metres
Opens June to mid-October
Splugen Pass