While many people choose a straight line to ride through Switzerland, TET Switzerland aims to provide an alternative route using mostly minor backcountry roads, off-pavement trails and a couple of classic alpine passes as well. Since finding legal off-pavement trails in the country is not easy, we have started mapping these. All are 100% legal and can be combined to form a route through Switzerland that relates to the idea of TET – celebrating lightweight motorcycle adventure and the rich experience of exploring off the beaten track routes, hidden valleys, scenic landscapes as well as Switzerland's plurilingual cultures and borders.
It's a work in progress and thanks to everybody's help by the time we hope to add more off-pavement trails to TET Switzerland. If you know any legal trails that should be included in TET Switzerland, please contact me at: CH@transeurotrail.org
When entering the country from north you will first cross the Jura mountains – one of Switzerland's less populated areas. Situated on the French border the local language is French and you might also find that from a cultural and culinary angle this region also relates alot to its neighbouring country. As soon as you pass Lake Neuchatel and Lake Biel, the population grows and so does urbanisation. There are quite a few towns and villages along this stretch before entering the Bernese backcountry where you also enter Switzerland’s German-speaking part. Here the Gurnigel Pass welcomes you with scenic rides and stunning views.
Starting close to the city of Thun, Section 2 leads you straight into the Emmental valley – best known for its huge Emmental cheeses – check out the POIs for the opportunity to buy some of this genuine product. The next part on TET Switzerland is called Entlebuch. Being part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, it's an area with plenty of minor roads and passes – one of these leading you to the lake of Sarnen where you enter Switzerland's most central region. In fact, Switzerland's geographic centre is one of the POIs included in TET Switzerland and even though it’s mainly a paved road, the ride up there is totally worthwhile for its endless views and the Aelggialp Lodge located at the top of the trail. From here the trail leads you on a short gravel stretch to the top of the historic Brünig Pass and on to one of our classic alpine passes: Susten Pass. At its end, Section 2 reaches Andermatt, located just at the bottom of Oberalp Pass and Gotthard Pass (currently, there are a couple of construction sites around Andermatt – be patient & careful when riding).
Starting at the Tourist Office in Andermatt, Section 3 is waiting with two fantastic off-pavement trails: the Unteralp Vallley and the Tätschstrasse. Both trails require the purchase of a day-permit (please check the POIs included in the GPX file):
- Unteralptal near Andermatt: Permit (12,- CHF) can be purchased at the Tourist Office in front of the railway station in Andermatt
- Tätschstrasse above Realp at the Furkaroad: Permit (7,-) can be purchased at a vending machine standing at the trailhead (coins only!)
Due to the exposed topographical location of both trails, regular maintenance by the local rangers is required – so the fee is a fair solution to contribute to their work and is absolutely worth it for the surrounding alpine landscape and views over the Gotthard region. At the top of Unteralp Valley the Vermigels-lodge offers a nice opportunity to spend a night in the mountains. Another option is the campground in Andermatt (check POIs) or wild camping along the Tätschstrasse (be careful riding the last part of this trail since it becomes quite washed out towards its end, check POI). Once you've arrived at the top of Furkapass – another Swiss alpine classic – you take the road down to the Rhone valley and the Simplon Pass connecting TET Switzerland to TET Italy. This last bit is another stretch that is quite dense in terms of population and traffic. I'll be working on this part in order to find some alternatives that avoid staying too much on the main road in the middle of the valley.
Technically speaking and from a trail riding point of view, TET Switzerland is rather "light" trail compared to TETs in other countries. However, all sections include routes that climb to high altitudes (some over 2000m) and even if all the trails included are fairly easy to ride in dry weather conditions this might drastically change when rain or snowfall is encountered. So keep an eye on the weather forecast and check with the local tourist offices or lodges for more information.