• Switzerland Grimsel Pass Switzerland Grimsel Pass
    Switzerland Grimsel Pass
  • Italy Lake Como from Bellagio Italy Lake Como from Bellagio
    Italy Lake Como from Bellagio
  • Switzerland St Beatus caves Switzerland St Beatus caves
    Switzerland St Beatus caves
  • France Col de I'Iseran France Col de I'Iseran
    France Col de I'Iseran
  • Italy Dolomites Italy Dolomites
    Italy Dolomites

Free alpine tour - A Guided Motorcycle Tour

The Alps, Italy

Arrange your own

This is a FREE ROUTE that begins and ends in Milan Italy and tours the Alps passing through Austria, Switzerland France and Italy. Close to Linate Airport you will find both Hertz and HP Motorrad. Hertz carry a small BMW fleet and HP Motorrad offer BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, Moto Guzzi and others including some electric bikes. You can therefore fly into Milan, pick up and bike and head off on your tour.
On this guided tour you will ride some of the best motorcycle routes starting from The Alps
We have not set dates for this tour yet and there may have added a new variant, so, check our tour diary. If you are interested in this tour or something similar then please contact us and we shall set a date, alternatively, browse our upcoming tours to see what's new.

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Until 2020, when the pandemic caused me to cancel all tours, I had never cancelled a tour. Not even if there was just one person booked and I knew that delivering the tour would lose me money. This is because for me, Brian Watson, it is all about meeting new people and share my love of riding.

Looking ahead to 2021 and beyond I am hopeful that the vaccines will get the virus under control and that we can return to business as usual. Nevertheless, I am mindful that some folks will remain apprehensive about joining a group of strangers but may well want to head off to explore new territories on their own, so, I thought I’d offer some route suggestions for those who want to tour but don’t want to join a tour. 

This is therefore a tour route you are free to use and arrange your own thing. It is not presented in our usual way because it is intended to be more a set of directions than tourist highlights. I'm sure those who want to use or draw inspiration from these routes will find little difficulty finding points of interest along the way. It begins and ends in Milan so you can simply fly in and pick up a hired bike for your tour.

Look at this itinerary and discover some of the most interesting motorcycle routes in italy

Milan to Brescia

Italy Brescia Roman RuinsThis first in this series of go it alone tour suggestions begins and ends in Milan.

Close to Linate Airport you will find both Hertz and HO Motorrad. Hertz carry a small fleet of BMW’s and HP Motorrad offer BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, , Kawasaki Moto Guzzi and others including some electric bikes. You can therefore fly into Milan, pick up and bike and head off on your tour. Well depending upon when your flight arrives you might want to spend a night in Milan and then get off for an early start the following day.

The map outlines the route because at this time of year you may find the map link will alter course. This is because many of the mountain passes are not open during the winter months.

If departing Milan after 10 am you might want to omit the Belagio section of the following route and travel from Como to Lecco past lakes Alserio, Pusanioand Annone. Assuming that isn’t necessary I think you are going to love this days riding.

Head north from Milan to Como. This area will be busy so depending on the traffic it will take 45 minutes to an hour to reach Como. Lake Como is like an inverted Y and Como sits at the south western end. There is a viewing platform on the shore front where I’ve indicated your first stop, on the platform, there is a map outlining the points that can be seen. It makes a suitable stopping point and if you need a refreshment there is a café and gelateria on the opposite side of the street and several others on the adjacent Piazza Cavour. It is usually OK to temporarily park the bikes beside the flower pots blocking vehicle passage into the piazza.

Turn back to the roundabout and head north on Via Torno (SS583) to Belagio where you get great views along all three sections of Lake Como. Bellagio is also worthy of exploration and if you have not as yet taken a refreshment stop is a good stop for a break. As you leave Belagio do not follow the lake, instead head uphill on the SP41 to Magreglio and later Asso where you turn back using the SP46 to the lake re-joining the lakeside at Onno and from there head to Lecco on the SP 583.

My route north of Bergamo near San Pellegrino Therme brings you over to Lovere but if you feel this is too long you can use the A4 between Bergamo and Brescia. This road will drop you down at the north side of Lake Iseo. I hope you have no need to reduce your ride time because the route I’ve chosen is quite superb, narrow with twists and turns all the way. Where you get breaks in the vegetation great views will open up showing the mountains and Alpine villages as you steadily climb and later descend. Last time I was along the SP26 and SP27 the road is a little rutted in parts but hopefully some repairs ill have been done since then. When you join the SP46 the road widens and you will make better progress.

The final leg of this journey takes you along the eastern shore of Lake Iseo though if you need to make better progress a succession of tunnels on the SP510 will help otherwise join the SP510 at Iseo then onwards to Brescia where I suggest you stop.

Brescia is where the Mille Miglia race starts each year and is a town steeped in history. We have used the Hotel Master often because it is well placed for getting away from the city yet many of the local sites including roman ruins are within a short walk. You will find it easier if you use the carpark at the back of the building rather than the one at the front. Access from Via Cesare Lombrosso.

I'll post other circuits from Brescia tomorrow because I'd suggest you stay in Brescia for a few nights, so unpack and make yourselves comfortable. The Hotel Master has a nice restaurant (downstairs from reception) but if you prefer that are many other places to eat nearby. You might also want to take a stroll up Via Crocifissa di Rosa where there are some nice bars, gelateria and coffee shops.

If you need contact details for bike hire or the hotel just ask and I’ll add them

View Route Guide (indicative only, actual may differ)

Brescia Lake Garda Circuit

Italy Lake Garda from Mt BaldoI have used Brescia as a base for tours because there are so many great roads and nice places to visit that are within reach therefore picking out just one circuit for this suggested tour is challenging but I'm sure the route I've picked will delight.

This is longer in miles than yesterday but will take less time to cover because the roads are not as challenging. I'm sure you will want to see Lake Garda but in and around the lake is usually busy so I prefer to take a route that embraces some of the lesser lakes. Begin by heading east from the hotel where you will find a petrol station on your left of you have not already refuelled. Continue through urban areas to join the SS45 heading north easterly which will bring you towards Salo. From this elevated position you catch a glimpse of Lake Garda below.

Turn west on the SS237 to Nozza and onwards to lake Idro. I cannot recall exactly where but somewhere along this road you will see a fighter jet on a pedestal and if you venture into the lanes behind there is a vast factory quite literally in the middle of an otherwise isolated area. When I found this, I was politely told to move on. If you happen deviate from the route and pass this place try to find out what it is because I'd love to know!

At Ca? Rossa turn right onto the SS240 which shall later pass lake Ampola and then Ledro and from there you shall descent to Riva del Garda at the northern end of Lake Garda. Riva is a good spot for your lunch break. After lunch re-join the SP45 heading towards Trento breaking off onto the SP214 to pass Lake Cavedine where you join the SP85 that will bring you past a ski resort and drop you down at Trento. Here you can if you with join the toll road heading south though I chose to avoid that and head back to Lake Garda traversing the eastern shore and the many towns dotted along the shore.

If you want to get a good picture of the lake then consider taking the cable car from Malcasine up Mount Baldo where I suggest you take your final stop for the day.

Leaving Malcesine follow the lake south then west back to Brescia. Note you can take the A4 motorway if you prefer a faster route back to the hotel.

View Route Guide (indicative only, actual may differ)

Brescia to Bolzano

Villa Almerico Capra (La Rotunda) VicenzaTime to pack and change hotel as you move onto your next base at Bolzano but first I’ve added a spot of culture for you making the first stop at the Arena Di Verona, the ancient Roman amphitheatre now used as an open air Opera House and concert venue. For simplicity I suggest you take the A4/E70 toll road.

Verona is a beautiful city and I’m sure you will want to spend time here but suggest you restrict you visit and pick up a sandwich because your next stop is at La Rotunda in Vicenza, Palladio’s most famous house. Take you sandwich and picnic in the grounds. 

The way the river twists through Verona it can be easy to lose your bearings so easiest to head back to the A4 when travelling on to Vicenza.

Now, a word of warning! La Rotunda is actually called Villa Capra and as you go down the lane to it the property is concealed behind a tall wall. This can make it easy to miss. Heading down the lane it will be in your left. Look for a set of rusty gates with pillars either side marked 45 and a small brown sign saying Villa Almerico Capra, detta La Rotunda, Palladiano or something very similar. There is a fee to enter and see the property but it is well worth the visit.

Unless you want to visit the City of Vicenza take the anti-clockwise ring road and join the SP46 and for a short while use the A31 to bypass Thiene. You will now be free of dual carriageways for the day and back on fun roads as you head north the Lake Caldonazzo where you pick up the SP71, a great fun road that shall bring to Tesero and from there the SP215 leads to the SS620 and later the SP132 offers a great way to end the day and arrive in Bolzano.

Bolzano will be your base for the next three nights. Here I recommend the Parkhotel Laurin a charming Art Nouveau building in the heart of the city. Note they have a sister hotel that is also nice, it’s called the Greif but it is on a pedestrian precinct so I find the park more accessible by bike.

View Route Guide (indicative only, actual may differ)

Bolzano East Circuit

The village of Caprile in the DolomitesLeave your panniers at the hotel because this is a day for riding! The circular route east of Bolzano that I’ve chosen heads north on the SP73 to Gudon (the village of 7 hills) then east on the SP207, SP163 and SP29 passing through many Tyrol Ski resorts before turning to the sount on the SS244. 

At La Villa you will do a loop that takes in four of the great mountain passes in that region collectively known as the Stella Ronda; Campolongo, Gardena, Pordoi and Stella. The roads are narrow but there are several safe spots where you can pull off the road to take photographs.

You will discover that is addition to the famous passes there are many other great roads in this region and the pretty mountain villages with rugged mountain backdrops make this an especially picturesque region.

Time permitting you might want to take the cable car 2000 meters up the Sella and Marmolada mountains to further enhance those views before continuing your journey. The village of Caprile sits above 1000 meters and commands superb views across the Dolomites.

As this is a ski resort region there are no shortage of hotels, restaurants and café’s but this is not their season and with possible Covid lockdown and I’m not too sure how easy it’s going to be to find a place open for lunch, so, best do some checking in advance or take a packed lunch.

On returning to La Villa you head south again on the SP37 to join the SP48 and later the Sp563 where you turn back to the west to begin the return journey to Bolzano on the SP641, SS48 and ss241

View Route Guide (indicative only, actual may differ)

Bolzano Innsbruck Circuit

Old town centre of Innsbruck AustriaToday we head north into Austria. Please note that on Austrian roads you must display a pre purchased vignette (road tax). The bikes you hire might already have one attached if a previous rider has been there. The route I’ve plotted avoids the toll reads but if you happen to make a mistake and venture across a major road you are highly likely to be stopped and fined. So, for the small (circa €10 for 10 days) price it costs against the hefty fine (I think €400), you are wise to buy one.

The route begins heading north on the SP99 out of Bolzano to Merano Meran then on the SP118 to San Leonardo. As a side note the Giova pass over to Casetia is worth riding but it doesn’t work with the planned route. You will take the SS44 to continue north crossing the border onto Austria’s B186. The ski resort at Solden of a good spot to take a break.
Continue north to Oetz and then deviate east. It doesn’t seem to have a road number on Bing but from my notes I thinks this is the L237 it will bring you through Kuhtai and onwards to Innsbruck where I’m sure you will want to stop for an extended lunch break.

On leaving Innsbruck stay on the B182 (the A13 is a toll road priced over and above the Vignette cost) on crossing the border at the Brenner Pass this will become the SS12, you can join the E45 for a short distance if you want because they run in parallel but ensure you exit on time to pick up the SS508 which will take you south through Pruno and onwards to Bolzano

View Route Guide (indicative only, actual may differ)

Bolzano to Lake Lugano

Lake LuganoWe shall take a different route from yesterday to the North West to Bolzano to Merano then turn west towards the Stelvio Pass.

The Stelvio is one of those passes that many feel they have to ride. In my opinion it’s nothing special. In fact, you will already have ridden far better roads with very little traffic on this trip but you might just feel it’s a road you want to tick off your list.

You will pass over parts of Stelvio as you approach from the east. In this section the road is a bit wider. The more challenging section heads south on the SS38 to Bormio my route exits before that onto the Umbril Pass, so, if you want to ride all of Stelvio head down towards Bormio but don’t go further than the first tunnel before turning back. The safest possible place turn is a short runoff to the left just past the last hairpin bend. 

The Umbril Pass crosses the border into Switzerland. Switzerland also requires a Vignette for all vehicles travelling on motorways national roads and class 1 and 2 roads. I think its CHF40 per annum and they give you a few months grace after it expires, so, if your hired bike already has one you might be OK.

Continue to Zernez then turn left (southerly) on the 27 to St Mortiz (my route is along the lakeside but you might prefer to deviate to town for a refreshment break). Just beyond St Mortiz the road forks, both are numbered 3, so keep left. This will bring you across the Maloja Pass and onwards to the Italian border and the north end of Lake Como.

Head south along the eastern side of Como on the SS340 to Meneggio and turn right to remain on the SS340 (signposted Piano Porlezza) and onwards to Lake Lugano to end your journey for this day.

I recommend you stay at Best Western Hotel Bellevue and you may want to take a rest day here too.

View Route Guide (indicative only, actual may differ)

Lake Lugano to Interlaken

Motto Bartola-StueiThis will be your longest day in the saddle but there are options to significantly reduce the planned journey. It should also be noted that there are many notable mountain passes between Italy and Switzerland such as Splügenpass and San Bernadino that you could have use as an alternative yesterday and could even be incorporated into today’s route but I’m beginning with a more leisurely route taking the old route 2 which runs parallel to the A2/E35 motorway to save your energy for what I’ve planned later. 

There are some rather remarkable engineering feats along this route such as the railway tunnel loop dating from the 1870’s that runs beneath Monte Pointtino that sadly you will see little evidence of from the road. If you stop and explore it’s amazing what you will discover about how the Swiss navigated through the mountains.

When you reach Airolo I have taken you onto the Motto Bartola-Stuei leading to the Tremolla Pass, an old cobbled street that takes you up the mountain. It’s a very scenic route with low traffic but if at all wet is best avoided. The alternative it a succession of tunnels along route 2. The route continues on the 19 to the Grimsel Pass and a little north of there at Innertkirchen you have a choice to make. The road to the right (11) will take you over the Susten Pass to re-join the 2 at Wassen or you can turn left to reach Interlaken by a shorter route.

If continuing per the plotted route at Seedorf you have another choice to make; take the A2 around Lake Lucerne which will necessitate a later ferry crossing or take the A2/E35 which takes you through a long tunnel. The ferry and E35 routes will both ultimately join up again at Oberdorf.

Turning south westerly the 4 will take you past Lakes Sarnen and Lungern to Brienzwilerwhere I suggest you take the 11 around the north shore of Lake Brienz to Interlaken.

Travelling with a friend who had been to Interlaken before we arrived late in the day because the road we had planned to take was closed due to heavy snow fall necessitating a significant detour. On arrival in town we couldn’t find the place my travelling companion favoured and most hotels were full. I wasn’t feeling well that day and was eager to accept anywhere when I passed Hotel Sonne and it had vacancies. The elderly couple who owned the place could not be nicer. The lady gave me some medicine and made me an omelette whilst her husband made space around the back in his car port for the bikes. The hotel is a bit ethnic though I had a superb view of the Eiger from my window.

You may prefer a nicer place but you probably won’t find kinder people. I’m sorry I cannot recall their names but you will find Hotel Sonne at: 
Hauptstrasse 34, 
3800 Matten bei Interlaken, 

View Route Guide (indicative only, actual may differ)

Interlaken to Chamonix

Route des Mosses near La LecheretteWith route 7 being a long day I’m made this one shorter. If the weather is clear begin the day with a trip up the mountain the alpine resort of Grindelwald which is nestled between the Eiger and Mittelhorn. Note that you needent ride because you can take a train here from Interlaken. It costs about CHF10 for the return ticket. No point in going if wet or misty because you are going up there for the views and if the weather closes in there is little to see!

After your Grindelwald visit take a trip around Lake Thun. St. Beatus-Hohlen Caves make an interesting stop as does the 12th Century Thun Castle, the home of the Dukes of Zahrigen. There is an entrance fee but I think it’s only CHF10.
To avoid a bit of congestion, take the single track Burgholzstrasse running between railway and river because it is generally traffic free and joins the 11 at Diemtigen.

Around La Lecherette there is an old Milirary Road that takes you past Loc de I'Hongrin and ends at Aigle that you might want to consider, otherwise the route will continue through the Parc naturel regional Gruyere Pays-d'Enhaut. On the descent you will catch a glimpse of Lake Geneva. At Aigle you shall join the 9 turning left (south) to Lavey and at Martigny turn right to reach the French Border a little further on you will end the day at Chamonix with Mont Blanc in the backdrop.

I haven’t stayed in a hotel here before though I have hired a chalet. I have visited the Best Western Excelsior Hotel which is a little north of Chamonix and it’s OK. The Heliopic in the centre of town gets a good reputation but is double the price of the Excelsior. As there are no shortage of hotels in and around Chamonix, I suggest you use a booking site to whittle down the selection.

View Route Guide (indicative only, actual may differ)

Chamonix to Briancon

France Col du Mont CenisLeaving Chamonix, take a tunnel through Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain, stop to consider that at times you have 4,809 meters of mountain above your head as you ride back into Italy! Along todays route you will pass from France into Italy and back into France to end the day at Briancon.

After the tunnel you will join the SS26 and take the St Barnardo Pass to Lake de Vernay where you re-enter France taking the D1090, D84 and D902 all heading in a southerly direction to Lake du Chevril. The journey continues south through the Vanoise National Park the Col du Mont Cenis. This pass, whose name means “mountain of ashes” is crowned by the lake Cenis and offers an incredible panorama over the valleys of the “Susa” (Italy) and “de l'Arc” (France). At this point we cross back into Italy.

The SS24 will take you south westerly back to the French border to enter Les Ecrins National park taking the N94 to end the day in the fortified old town of Briancon. The Fortresses Vauban de Briancon makes an interesting visit and the old bridge Le Pont d'Asfeld is quite photographic.

I suggest the Parc Hotel, a large modern hotel in the heart of town, though there are many others you may prefer.

View Route Guide (indicative only, actual may differ)

Briancon to Milan

Italy the SS24I do find the likes of Bing and Google maps frustrating at times because there are two roads that I know exist that I would have liked to take you on today but neither will plot the route. Now to be fair the roads are little more than tracks that head high into the mountain but they are properly surfaced. Anyway, you want to leave Brancon on the D2 to join the N94 heading east towards Turin crossing into Italy at Claviere where you join the SS24 and SS25 until you reach the SP198 at Almese and the SP197 to Viu then SP32 to Germagnano. These roads will take you into the mountains north of Turin and make an interesting detour of the city. Take the SP 22, 23 and 21 to Colli then the SP 35 and SS565 to join the A4 at St Bernardo. An alternative stopping place along this route is The Temples of Humankind, the sacred heart of Damanhur. A federation of spiritual communities that claims to inspire the lives of thousands of people committed to leaving a positive mark on the world. It’s very decorative with lots of murals and mosaics.

Leave on the SP65 and Join the A4 for Milan. This does mean your last 90 miles in Italy will be on motorway but the alternatives could make you late back for returning your hired bike.

View Route Guide (indicative only, actual may differ)

Route Variation

Please note that maps are indicative because it is not always possible to enter all the waypoints and on the day of departure as we need to review our routes based upon the latest traffic and weather information available making changes as and when necessary.

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Further details

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