Length: 37,3 km
Width: 5 m, 2 lanes
Surface quality (out of 10): 8
Highest point: 2,065 m (6,775 ft)
Operating times: open only during summer
Route: from Hinterrhein to Misox
San Bernardino Pass Description
The San Bernardino Pass connects the Hinterrhein and the Mesolcina (Misox) valleys and gets travelers at an altitude of 2,065 metres (6,775 ft) above the sea level. This high mountain pass will take you along the Swiss Alps and show you some of their most amazing scenery so it’s not something you would like to miss. Moreover, it features 18 hairpin bends and a steep slope, so the drive will also be a fun and exciting one.
The name of the pass comes from San Bernardino of Siena, who has preached here in the early 15th century.
This route has been used since Roman times, but it became important in the fifteenth century, as a mule track. The road for vehicles was first opened in 1770 and improved between 1821 and 1823. Its improvement was financed by the Kingdom of Sardinia, in part. Their goal was to improve the trade route between Genoa and Piedmont. In 1967, the traffic was facilitated when the San Bernardino road tunnel was completed.
Since the San Bernardino is a real challenging road featuring hairpin bends and changing views, it has also been featured in the BBC tv show, Top Gear. So. it’s easy to say that it’s considered to be one of the best driving roads in the world. It has all the elements that make a road an exciting one to drive.
It’s a test for your vehicle and stamina since it abounds in twists and turns. It features no less than 18 hairpin bends and a maximum gradient of 9%. The road takes you to a high elevation of 2,065 m where you can admire the breathtaking views.
As you continue the ascent. The views when driving towards the pass are constantly changing from the rear of the Rheinwald valley to the peaks rising to over 3,000 m on the north side. Overall, the road is wide and offers a great amount of diversity.
The San Bernardino Pass road is asphalted, making your drive smoother and more pleasant. You will love this winding mountain that features sharp and blind curves, as well as hairpin switchbacks. When reaching the summit, you will be able to see a small lake that has deep blue water. This adds to the already beautiful landscape. Overall, combining the Alpine landscape with the winding road, you will get a road that definitely deserves a drive.
Photo sources: https://www.tomtom.com/no_no/routes/details/switzerland/san-bernardino-pass/, https://www.drivescape.de/en/2018/09/09/san-bernardino-pass-from-hinterrhein-to-the-lago-maggiore/, https://www.graubuenden.ch/en/explore-regions/san-bernardino-mesolcina-calanca/san-bernardino-2065-metres-above-sea-level, https://www.ticino.ch/en/commons/details/Passo-San-Bernardino/121764.html