Albula pass - A drive on the wild side
The well kept secret of Graubunden
The Graubunden Alps in South East Switzerland have long been one in the top Swiss destinations, not just for skiing (think Davos, St Moritz, Klosters) but also driving, with a cluster of what can only be considered some of the greatest roads on earth. Think Fluela from Davos, or the OffenPass from Engadin, both driven (though only in reference) as part of Top Gears a Greatest Driving Roads feature in 2008, en route to Stelvio of course!
However, despite some retry vocal support, there are still some hidden gems, and by gems I really mean that. Sandwiched between the Julia Pass (main route to St Moritz) and Fluela Pass (main route from Davos to Engadin) lies the Albula Pass, narrow, wild, and also the path the famous Glacier Express follows, it’s an absolute diamond. Too much talk of gems and diamonds, errr ... We’ve driven many times, most recently with a small group from Aus testing the new 488 with the Huracan, well, why wouldn’t you?
Coming back to the road, I’d advise you approach from the north, 85% of the ascent is in this direction as the valley on the other side of the Pass (Engadin) is nearly 1000M higher. The drive starts with a sweeping run along the valley floor to Filisur, where the most famous railway viaduct in Swiss is located - you can spot from the road, and even park up and take a hike, but we doubt it. You then start the main ascent, riding from around 1000M and topping out at nearly 2300M. Initially, a beautiful stretch carved into the rocks, with intimidating stone retainer walls (think Col Turini) you then head into a forest section, plenty of switchbacks, and in parts (well just a couple) narrowing to almost a single track (feels even less in a Ferrari believe me). Stretch 3 takes you above the tree line that tops out in Europe at around 1800M - the road is once again carved into the rocks, but always 2 good lanes, wow that’s an amazing stretch. You then top out at 2315M, and grab a well deserved espresso at the Albula Hosp, the best is to come...
And wow, it’s amazing, a 6km stretch of sweeping valley, high above the trees, luna like landscape, uninterrupted views ahead, we defy you not to turn around and drive it again. The final stretch to the valley floor in Engadin (at 1800M) is still a very cool drive, and the views of the valley impress. I can’t say it enough times, if you are in these parts, drive this pass!
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