Three classic passes
This loop featuring three major mountain passes starts in Meiringen, the village made famous by the Reichenbach Falls, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional hero Sherlock Holmes dies – or does he?
The first pass is the Grimsel (alt. 2165m), an irregular ascent 26km in length that leads from the Hasli valley to a rock-strewn landscape nestled between lakes and waterfalls. Following a short, hairpinned descent you arrive in Gletsch, where a left-hand turn launches you up and towards the Furka (alt. 2431m). This 10km ascent offers great views of the glaciers hereabouts, one of which is the Rhone glacier. The descent from the Furka to Andermatt is highly enjoyable. Look out for the sign commemorating the famous car chase in the 1964 James Bond: Goldfinger.
Wassen is where you turn left to embark on the formidable Susten pass (alt. 2264m), which climbs 1308m over a distance of 17km up the Meien valley. This leg marks the final ascent of the Alpenbrevet, one of Switzerland’s best-known road cycling challenges. Once at the summit, it is downhill all the way to Innertkirchen: the road’s numerous bends and excellent surface make this one of the Alps’ best descents.