Mountains of Lombardia Introduction

Published on:  | Last updated: 25 December 2019

View from the road to the Passo Bernina between Poschiavo and Livigno

View from the road to the Passo Bernina between Poschiavo and Livigno

The road climbs pretty gently from the Lago di Como (200m) along the Sentiero Valtellina to Tirano. It starts to climb more deeply after Tirano as the route passes through the Val Bernina in one of the Italian-speaking areas of Switzerland, before turning back into Italy via the Forcola Livigno (2315m) into the ‘Little Tibet’ of the valleys around Livigno. The tour continues to Bormio (1217m) via the Passo d’Eira (2208m) and the Passo di Foscagno (2291m). From Bormio it climbs again along the Valfurva following the Torrente Frodolfo to the Passo di Gavia (2621m) and a dramatic descent into Ponte di Legno with views over the Presanella massiccio. The final pass is the Passo di Tonale (1883m) on the border with Trentino.

Most of this area was once part of the prede­cessor to Switzerland, before Napoleon redrew the borders. It retains strong affin­ities and connec­tions with Switzerland, and the local author­ities in the region cooperate in promoting the area under the banner of the Alta Rezia.

Map and altitude profile

Powered by WP-GPX Maps

tips for using the map

Map screen grab

Run your cursor over the graph to show the elevation, and distance from the start, for any given point on the route. (Note: the altitude graph is not shown where the route is flat).

map detail

Click the little icon in the right-hand corner to see the map fullscreen


At Bormio you have the option of climbing the Passo di Stelvio (2758m) either as a day-ride, or crossing into Switzerland, or the Südtirol. 


This route is designed to connect with my Tour of the Western Lakes route and Dolomites (West-East) route - offering the possib­ility of an odyssey of almost 1,000 kilometres from Piemonte in the west, to Friuli in the east.

When to go

I went over the Passo di Gavia in early July and there was snow beside the road and it was cold. July, August and September are probably your best bets.


Maps to print out or view offline

About the maps

The maps are in two versions: A4 portrait format - for printing and maybe also for viewing on an iPad, and A5 for smaller tablets and smart­phones. (A4 and A5 are inter­na­tional paper sizes).

 sample map page.

Links open in new windows unless you ‘save as’ etc.

GPS files

  •  Mountains of Lombardia gps files
    (.zip file containing 3 gpx track files)
  • Italy Points of Interest

    About POIs

    POIs are like waypoints, but while you can usually only store a limited number of waypoints on a device, you can store thousands of POIs. These files include inform­ation about campsites and hostels, bike shops, train stations, drinking water sources as well as warnings for tunnels and roads where bikes are banned. Please check the ReadMe file for instruc­tions. Updated April 2018. The file format is only compatible with Garmin GPSes .

More information

Places to stay

There are lots of hotels along the way. There are campsites near Poschiavo, Livigno, Bormio, Temù near Ponte di Legno and Ossana at the end of the final section.

  Campsites map:  MoL-campsites-map-show map in overlay    |    MoL-campsites-map-show map in new window 

Transport and services


Tirano has rail connec­tions with both the Italian and Swiss rail systems and the first part of the route follows the rail line between Tirano and Sankt Moritz. There are train stations at Edolo near Ponte di Legno and Grumo San Michele which is within striking distance of the end of the route at Ossana.

Articles in this series

Get in touch

Please get in touch if you find any errors in the information, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.

Join the mailing list?

If you’ve found this site useful why not sign up to the mailing list for occasional updates about new routes.