The Raetica Classica is a circular route that brings together the best of both. Linking Switzerland’s St Moritz in the Engadin valley with Valchiavenna and Valtellina in Northern Italy, expect glaciers and mountain lakes to give way to palm trees, vineyards and beautiful traffic-free bike paths as you follow the route from Val Bregaglia (Switzerland) – home to Europe’s largest sweet chestnut forest – through Valchiavenna and into Valtellina before crossing back into Switzerland, climbing into the canton of Graubünden, and descending the Maloja to round it off.
Given their geography, these distinct areas – one border, two countries, three languages – have a lot of shared history, which you can now rediscover and reunite in the most peaceful way possible – by bike, bus, train or even all three. Top tip: a ride on the jaw-dropping UNESCO-listed Bernina Express is a must-do. For the Italian stretch, the two predominantly flat, smooth tarmacked bike paths – the Ciclabile Valchiavenna and the Sentiero Valtellina – whisk you along for over 100 km, letting you admire the unique landscape from the saddle with the Rhaetian Alps on one side and the Orobic Alps on the other. There are some unmissable local delicacies on the way.
Being a circular route with no fixed departure point, the Raetica Classica offers riders the flexibility to pick and choose. If not riding the whole thing (either in one go or multiple stages), hop on the Swiss post bus down the Passo Maloja to the charming medieval town of Chiavenna, where you can a rent a bike and cruise down the Ciclabile Valchiavenna for 42 km to Colico on the shores of Lake Como.
From here, follow the Sentiero Valtellina for 75 km all the way to Tirano, passing Morbegno and Sondrio, the province’s capital. Tracing the Mera and Adda rivers, enjoy awe-inspiring views over the steep terraced vineyards where the valley’s esteemed wine is produced.
BIKE RENTAL POINTS Bike rental points are located along the bike path, including Chiavenna, Colico, Morbegno, Albosaggia and Tirano.