The first half of Days 9-12 of the Amsterdam to Rome Bike Tour is all about crossing the Swiss Alps. Up until Day 9 of the route, the roads are very flat, but all good things must come to an end. Perhaps the conquering of Gotthard Pass ought to be considered a nice change of pace and the Lake Como reward on the other end surely makes it a worthwhile endeavor.
After a rejuvenating night in Como (and perhaps a rest day), the route passes through northern Italy’s culture capital of Milan and on to another first for the route: coastal riding in Genoa.
Day 9: Lucerne to Andermatt – 88k
The ride from Lucerne to Andermatt begins by skirting Lake Lucerne, with the option to shorten the route by heading southeast to Beckenried and taking a ferry to Fleulen. The climbing portion of the day begins in earnest approaching the town of Amsteg and continues for almost 15 miles to Andermatt. Reports suggest the road can be narrow in this last stretch and caution should be taken.
Day 10: Andermatt to Como – 145k
This day is very long in distance covered, but features a long descent so the mileage is not quite as bad as it seems. Also, if planning to take a “rest day” in Como, one could alter the days ride to finish at mile 75 in Lugano, making Como a very short ride away the next day.
From Andermatt, the route climbs 2,000ft in approximately 8 miles to the top of Goddhard Pass, at which point the 30-mile descent begins. There is an option to take the low-traffic, cobbled switchbacks for part of this descent, although loaded for touring that route may prove too bumpy.
As a 007 fan, it can’t go unmentioned that the famous climactic chase scene from the movie Goldfinger was filmed in Andermatt and the nearby mountain road. Even if you don’t want to watch the whole movie, as a $3 rental on Amazon there’s little excuse to miss out on this chase scene if you want a sense of what the area is like. Click on the image for the link to a bigger one at Amazon.com:
Once on the flat again the course leads lakeside, first through Lugano and then to Como in Italy.
Day 11: Como to Pavia via Milano – 86.3k
The first full day of cycling on Italian roads affords the opportunity to pass through Milan, capital of the northern part of the country, and a design and fashion hotbed. As per usual, navigating through cities as large as Milan requires some preparation and will be a big adjustment from the lake and countryside riding of Switzerland. Once past Milan, one can follow the Milano-Pavia bicycle route along the canal or “naviglio.”
Day 12: Pavia to Genoa – 113k
After nearly two weeks of riding since leaving the Atlantic Seaboard in Amsterdam, the route returns to the coastline, this time to the Mediterranean Sea in the storied port town of Genoa, Italy.