Los pasos del Furka y el Stelvio: dos secretos de los Alpes para el amante del asfalto

by S. Ancín / photos: DiarioMotor, Flickr 

Big mountains are always a delight for motor lovers. They are full of narrow roads, steep slopes and endless bends and surrounded by spectacular landscapes.  In the Alps there are two mountain passes that meet all those characteristics and that will not let down: the Furka and the Stelvio.

The mountain pass Furkapass , in the Swiss Alps, connects Andermatt, in the Uri canton, with Gletsch, in the Valais canton. A town called Realp is the starting point to the ascent towards the pass. After a few kilometres you reach a village called Tiefenbach and further on you cross some hanging terraces at which point the road climbs on a series of narrow bends up to its highest point at 2.431 metres. From there you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic of Saint Gotthard massif and the Urserental valley.

Three kilometres later, nearby Valais by the Belvedere Hotel, the view opens up towards the Rhone glacier. Here we must pay a visit to the Ice Cave that is carved inside the glacier every year. The road then descends towards the village of Gletsch im Ombergoms, well known for its Furka steam engine train station, which is still in use.

Goldfinger

 

This road was made famous after featuring on the James Bond saga’s film Goldfinger in 1964. In it, Bond (Sean Connery) climbs up the Furka mountain pass on board his legendary Aston Martin DB5 and one of his female co-actresses rides a convertible Ford Mustang.

A few kilometres towards the East we find the Stelvio pass, the highest running road of the eastern Alps in Italy at 2.760 meters high. This has been a regular spot at the Italian Giro for 60 years and it’s also famous because of a nearby glacier where you can ski over the summer months. This route however, only opens from June to November due to its typically  hazardous weather conditions.

The road that crosses the pass is the SS38 and its starting point is the town of Bormio, some 20 kilometres from the mountain pass. Once at the summit stopping to enjoy the views and sounds of the mountain is a must as well as to gather up strength for the pièce de résistance: the descent. The zigzagging and sinuous road down runs for 24 kilometres with an average slope of 7.5% and a total of 48 bends. Thanks to these and to its numerous slopes and cliff edges it is recognised  as a must go destination for driving lovers.

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