The most wonderful, yet challenging trip. The Swiss National Park is one of the most stunning places I’ve cycled in, and boy, was it a special first mountain biking experience.
Cycling is a new hobby of mine. It started with the Eurovelo 15 route from Switzerland to the Netherlands, and now I’m hooked! This blog is all about adventures and pushing myself to do things out of my comfort zone, so it seems pretty fitting that I’d choose to do a mountain bikepacking trip for my first time ever mountain biking.
Was it the smartest thing to do? Probably not. Worth it? Always.
Our 3 Day Itinerary
Day 1: St Moritz to Scuol
St Moritz is an outdoor lover’s dream. It’s a winter holiday destination, with skiing attracting thousands of tourists every season. In the summertime, it’s popular for hiking, cycling, and mountain biking.
We stayed at the St Moritz Youth Hostel and WOW – what a hostel! It is beautiful and modern and clean and I LOVED IT. You can also get dinner here (soup, salad, main, and dessert!) for CHF19.50 – very reasonable for Switzerland.
This is a great day of cycling. You start out going down before climbing roughly 1000 meters up. You go through beautiful Swiss towns and the whole ascent, you have good views! From the top of the ascent, it’s all downhill and you FLY down the last 10 kilometres or so.
It’s 70 kilometres this day and it is one of the easier days despite being long! That being said, it is not EASY, and the trip we did was rated medium-difficult.
Scuol is a cute place and I highly recommend glamping at Campingplatz Scuol. We got a mini-cabin and it was warm (heating!), cosy, and so so so sweet. Also, the showers, lounge area, and toilets are so clean and are a huge plus.
Day 2: Scuol – Müstair
This was my favourite day of cycling. It’s significantly more difficult than the day prior but it had my all-time favourite views.
You start with a pretty relentless uphill portion on a road. Luckily, it switchbacks up, so you never really know how long you have left until it flattens out.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t really flatten out. You’re still going very much uphill, but it’s less steep so it’s a change of pace.
S-Charl is a STUNNING little town and the entrance to the Swiss National Park.
From here, you’re cycling (still uphill!) on a gravel track to the Pass da Costainas. You’ll pass cows (probably in your way), and then you start really mountain biking. There are rocks in the way and the track becomes quite rough, but that’s when you know you’re close to the top!
The pass is really beautiful. We took a long break here and enjoyed every second of it.
From there, it’s pretty much downhill. There’s a short uphill section right before Lü, but from there, it’s downhill all the way to Müstair.
Stay at Camping Muglin! There’s an incredible sauna in the old barn and it is the BEST way to relax after a day like this one. It’s only 40 kilometres but it feels like more!
Day 3: Müstair – Lago Di San Giacomo
Day 3. A stunning, exhausting, challenging day.
Müstair is kinda off the route so you have to backtrack back up a bit. You can take the Swiss Postbus for about 10 francs per person to save yourself 10ish kilometres of uphill. Personally, I don’t think this is cheating.
At Plazzeraun, near Valchava, you start going uphill. This part isn’t so bad. It’s a lot of uphill, but nothing worse than the day before. It even flattens out for a little bit, and there are some lovely views.
After it VERY briefly flattens out, you’ve got a BIG climb ahead of you. This one is the smallest ascent, only about 800m, but it’s the toughest!
It’s pretty dang steep. It was exhausting and tiring and so tough to get to the top! BUT – once you get to the top, it’s so worth it. It flattens out and you enter the most beautiful landscape. It’s super open- there are amazing mountains and you’re so far away from towns. It’s incredibly peaceful and worth the trek up.
You go downhill a bit and then diverge onto a mountain biking path. This, my friends, is REAL mountain biking. I’m talking ON LEDGES with BIG DROPS and it is scary but also quite fun. I did not take any photos of this bit as I was very focused on not falling 30 feet down into a river.
As you might have guessed, the easy downhills you got used to are done. This was the most challenging ‘downhill’ part of the trip. It feels like you’re going up these tiny little steep (STEEP) inclines just as often as you’re going down. But it’s all part of the fun, and while my hands were absolutely dead from holding onto the brakes for dear life, I had a good time.
Then, it’s a flat (feels like uphill) finish to the lake. The lake is beautiful and there’s a lovely little refigio (Val Fraele) where you can get food, tea, or a beer (you deserve it) before catching the shuttle (at 5pm ish) to Bormio. It’s cash only.
If you’ve made good time and wanna go another 20ish kilometres (but about 400m uphill!), you can head onto Livigno. From Livigno, you can make a loop back up to St Moritz.
For us, Bormio was our end destination. We loved staying at Sci Sport. It was so cute, in a great part of town, and really nice to relax in.
Agriturismo Rini looked amazing and was somewhere we really wanted to have a nice dinner at, but it was closed the day we were there. It was highly recommended and it looked lovely.
We ended up eating pizzoccheri and sciatt, two local dishes from Bormio! We really enjoyed it and had a lovely time exploring the town afterwards, gelato in hand!
Our Budget Breakdown
Cycling in Switzerland can be expensive, but we managed to cut some corners and have a GREAT time on the cheap. Here’s where our money went.
This was our most expensive category. We camped two nights, which made our budget significantly lower than if we hadn’t, but we chose luxurious campsites and had a great time.
St Moritz Youth Hostel: CHF 83
Glamping Pod in Scuol: CHF 65
Camping in Müstair: CHF 24
Hotel in Bormio: €85
We spent 200 francs on 2 mountain bikes for four days. We rented them in St Moritz and this is the going rate. Unfortunately, this meant we had to take the train back to St Moritz, but we couldn’t have brought bikes with us. Trains are expensive in Switzerland, so this added a big cost.
This was shockingly cheap. We brought Clif bars and nut butter from home, which supplemented what we bought in the grocery stores. We spend roughly CHF 40 francs on food throughout the trip. Our grocery essentials were
- muesli for breakfast
- picnic eggs (hard-boiled eggs)
- rotisserie chicken
- chocolate. lots of chocolate.
When you take a bus with bikes, it ends up costing roughly 10 francs per person (plus their bike). We spent about 30 francs on bus tickets.
Overall, we spent about 530 Swiss Francs on this trip for two people, or 265 per person. Switzerland is an incredibly expensive country so we were prepared for this. Still, spending slightly under 100 francs per day is pretty good for Switzerland, and the adventure we had? Priceless.
I definitely recommend this trip if you’re an experienced cyclist (otherwise, get an ebike and save yourself!!!). It was such an incredible way to see Switzerland and I’m itchin’ to get back on a bike! What other cycling trips should go on the bucket list?
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