Stelvio Pass – Most Spectacular Zigzag Path in The World
The Stelvio Pass is located in the Ortler Alps in Italy between Stilfs in South Tyrol and Bormio in the province of Sondrio. This is about 75 km from Bolzano and nearly 200 meters from the Swiss border. It is named for its proximity to the town of Stelvio, situated at 2757 meters above sea level, and is one of those most amazing and spectacular places on Earth. The Stelvio Pass was actually built in 1820-1825 by the Austrians and has since changed very little.
Due to its prime location between the Austrian, Swiss, and Italian borders, the passage was of great strategic position for years and was the scene of armed combat during the First World War. It’s one of the most wonderful roads passes in Europe. Although some accidents have already taken place on this high-altitude road, especially among people who underrate the difficulty involved in traversing its zigzag path.
Thus, one after another, the 48 hairpin turns, extend over 24 kilometers away, with an average gradient of 7.5%. It is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps and the second highest in the Alps, just 13 meters below the Col de l’Iseran, France. Therefore, it is an almost unreal scenario, the way to Davos, through Bormio, is remarkable and attractive without traffic.
Hence, careful exercise is required for extreme caution when passing oncoming traffic, over-taking, and around corners. The Stelvio Pass is open from June to Sep, however, can be closed anytime, if high snowfalls. The Stelvio Pass retains importance for sports lovers, it becomes a cyclist track, when the Grand Tour of Giro d’Italia often crosses the Stelvio Pass, Every year, the pass is closed to motor vehicles on one day in late August when about 8,000 cyclists ride on the Stelvio.
Moreover, the Stelvio Pass was also selected by the British automotive show Top Gear as its choice for the “greatest driving road in the world”, though their search was concentrated only in Europe. The road over the pass, known as Stilfser Joch in German, the toughest and most spectacular climbing is from the Prato side; Bormio side approach is tamer. Local drivers have been described as ‘homicidal’. It’s possibly the most historic of all climbs ever used in pro cycling, a giant in every sense. Indeed, this road is very exhilarating and sometimes very exposed and unsecured driveway in innumerable twists and turns.
The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities here. Don’t forget your camera! Stelvio’s height can mean that it’s a wildly erratic and somewhat volatile mountain where the weather can turn in an instant, so be prepared. There’s little wonder why the Stelvio is one of the most snapped roads in the world. No less than 48 hairpins bend on its eastern face making it an icon like no other. Hence, be careful that this is one of the last Alpine passes to open to traffic each year, and it’s not unidentified for the road to stay closed until July if there’s been a late fall of snow.