ETR // Stage 41 // Andermatt - Livigno

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  • Andermatt - Livigno
  • Radius 100 km
  • 238 km


  • Andermatt
  • The Matterhorn
  • Gotthard Pass
  • The Glacier Express
  • Schöllenen Gorge
  • Teufelsbrücke
  • Rhine Anteriur
  • St. Moritz
  • Winter Olympic Stadium
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Andermatt and The Gotthard Pass

The winding Alpine roads and switchbacks that bring you from Andermatt to Livigno lead you through Gotthard Pass. Since the Middle Ages, transit across the Gotthard played an important role in Swiss history, with the region north of the Gotthard becoming the nucleus of the Swiss Confederacy in the 13th century, after the pass became a vital trade route between Northern and Southern Europe.

The King of Mountain Passes

Buried in the heart of the Swiss Alps, the winding mountain road through Gotthard Pass into Andermatt is as breathtaking as the Alps themselves. The narrow rock bar above Göschenen had always blocked access to the Gotthard and the route to the South, proving to be extremely difficult to traverse for any kind of cart or vehicle. For reasons you will see clearly for yourself, the Gotthard Pass is sometimes referred to as "The King of Mountain Passes" because of its central and strategic location.

You might find yourself doubling back to ride Gotthard Pass a couple of times before you continue the ETR. This is quite normal. There's nothing wrong with you. In fact, ride it a few more times while you're in the area. No-one will know! But we'll know ;)

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Alps for breakfast - Alp after Alp

After you've spent the morning playing at Gotthard Pass like a kid at Christmas, it's time to get back on the road towards Livigno. After a spectacular ride along the banks of the Rhine Anteriur, and up through the foothils of Alp Prada, Alp Naul, Alp Senzer and Alp de Sevgein, you'll arrive in Chur.

Chur through The Ages

A small town with a big history, archaeological evidence of settlements at the site of Chur in the Eastern Alps, goes back as far as the Pfyn culture (3900-3500 BC) making Chur one of the oldest settlements in Switzerland. Remains and objects from the Bronze and Iron Ages have also been found in the eastern part of the current city centre. These include Bronze Age Urnfield and Laugen-Melaun settlements from 1300 to 800 BC and Iron Age settlements from the 5th to 3rd centuries BC.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Fires, invasions, takeovers and Alpriders

The Roman Empire conquered the area around Chur which became known as the Roman province of Raetia in 15 BC. Under emperor Diocletian (late 3rd century AD), the existing settlement of Curia Raetorum (later Chur) was made the capital of the newly established province of Raetia prima. In the 4th century, Chur became the seat of the first Christian bishopric north of the Alps. After the invasion of the Ostrogoths, it may have been renamed Theodoricopolis, and in the 6th century it was conquered by the Franks.

The city of Chur suffered several other invasions through the ages, by the Magyars in 925–926, when the cathedral was destroyed, and by the Saracens (940 and 954). In the 13th century, the town had around 1,300 inhabitants and was surrounded by a line of walls. In the 14th century, at least six fires damaged or destroyed the monasteries of St. Luzi and St. Nicolai, St. Martin's church and twice destroyed much of the town. On 27 April 1464, most of the town was again destroyed in a fire, from which only the bishop's estates and St. Luzi monastery survived. These days, the main invading force seems to be motorcycles, as Chur is a natural confluence point for riders enjoying their lifetime experience of The Alps.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

The healing heavenly waters of St. Moritz

Baked into the ETR like a diamond on a white platinum necklace, St. Moritz lies on the southern slopes of the Albula Alps below the Piz Nair (3,056m) overlooking the flat and wide glaciated valley of the Upper Engadine and Lake St. Moritz. Archeological finds in the area such as swords and needles from the Bronze Age found at the base of the springs in St. Moritz, indicate that the Celts had already discovered them here.

St. Moritz is first mentioned around 1137–39 as ad sanctum Mauricium, and the village was named after Saint Maurice, an early Christian saint from southern Egypt said to have been martyred here in 3rd-century Roman-Switzerland while serving as leader of the Theban Legion. Pilgrims traveled to Saint Mauritius, often to the church of the springs, where they drank from the blessed waters of the Mauritius springs in the hopes of being healed. In 1519, the Medici pope, Leo X, promised full absolution to anyone making a pilgrimage to the church of the springs. If that still stands, we can all be absolved here... Some need it more than others... In the 16th century, the first scientific treatises about the St. Moritz mineral springs were written, and in 1535, Paracelsus, the great practitioner of natural remedies, spent some time in St. Moritz to uncover its secrets.

On a more recent note, St. Moritz hosted the 1928 Winter Olympics and the stadium still stands here today. Again in 1948, and since then, it has hosted over 20 FIBT World Championships, four FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 1934, 1974, 2003 and 2017, and over 40 Engadin Skimarathons, since 1969. If you're into snow sports, you might just have found Heaven.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Parc Naziunal Svizzer / Swiss National Park

After a good lunch, dinner or breakfast in Zernez, you're in for a treat or two, starting with a side through the Swiss National Park. A few kilometers after Ova Spin, and Ofenpass, you'll arrive at 'Passagio di confine La Drossa' and the long thin tunnel from Switzerland into Italy. Riding your motorcycle through this long birth canal is an experience in itself, especially if you know what is waiting for you on the other side!

Ride along Lago di Livigno

As you emerge from the tunnel on the other side of Munt la Schera, you are met with a magnificent view over Lago di Livigno, and it takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust to this new reality, as well as the sunlight on the other side. As you ride towards the large dam you can see Italy on the other side, and you just know you're in for a great night, tonight. You should take some time here at 'Laufkraftwerk Punt Dal Gall', ride down the winding road to the Spöl lake at the bottom of the dam for some spectacular photos and videos. After having your mind blown here, ride back up and cross the dam, crossing into the Italian province of Sondrio via the border crossing station at 'Ex Valico Ponte del Gallo'. Once you have passed this, it's time for an unforgettable lakeside tunnel ride along Via Della Val, riding the full length of Lago di Livigno. Beautiful! Before you find a hotel in Livigno, you should fill your tank with cheaper Italian petrol at one of the stations near the lake.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS


  • Dave O'Byrne

  • European Touring Route AS



  • Swiss National Park
  • Zernez
  • Ova Spin, Ofenpass
  • Munt la Schera
  • Passagio La Drossa
  • Engadiner Kraftwerke
  • Laufkraftwerk Punt Dal Gall
  • Lago di Livigno
  • Livigno Tax-free Town
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Engadiner Kraftwerke AG

Between 1965 and 1968, Swiss electric company Engadiner Kraftwerke AG, following an agreement with the Italian government, purchased land in Livigno in order to build a reservoir, the Lago di Livigno, for electricity production. Some houses and a church, "Chiesetta di Viera" lying in the valley had to be demolished where the reservoir was to be constructed.

After some spectacular riding along the shores of Lago di Livigno, it time to explore the village of Livigno, where you can usually find a room in a nice chalet for a cosy overnight stay, and some great Italian food to weigh you down with!

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Evening time in Livigno

Located near the Swiss border in the Italian Alps, in the province of Sondrio, in the Italian region of Lombardy, Livigno is considered Europe's highest inhabited parish. Livigno was once a traditional and cultural village, and the first settlers were probably shepherds during the Middle Ages. Until the 1970s Livigno was a farming village. In recent decades, however, things have changed, and nowadays Livigno enjoys a better economic situation and a higher number of inhabitants, due to increased tourism, which is reflected in the many hotels, chalets and guest houses in the village.

Livigno enjoys a special tax status as a duty-free area, where Italian VAT is not charged. Livigno's economy is based on tourism both in winter and in summer, and on its duty-free status with goods sold at bargain prices. Tax advantages for Livigno were recorded as far back as the sixteenth century, the current tax exemption was first introduced by the Austrian Empire around 1840.

The first documents called this area Vinea et Vineola. The name possibly comes from an old German word for "avalanche" which have always been frequent in the valley, the most recent avalanche to hit the village was in 1951, causing seven deaths and damage to a dozen houses. Livigno is one of the few Italian villages which do not belong to the drainage basin of the Mediterranean Sea but to the Black Sea basin.

Have a good night here in Livigno, but don't go too wild or drink too much, because you want to be sober, fresh and ready for riding over Stelvio Pass, tomorrow morning!

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