Do you want to get to one of the highest Swiss mountain passes called Umbrail pass and reach the highest paved road in Europe? Then Umbrail Pass is your choice of the day!
Where is Umbrail Pass
Umbrail Pass is that close to Italy that you can actually walk to it. Umbrail Pass as well connects to maybe one of the most popular mountain passes in Europe – Stelvio Pass. Why Stelvio Pass is so popular? It is the highest paved road in Europe. Umbrail Pass is it’s little brother.
The last bigger town where you can get groceries, hotels and other stuff is Santa Maria Val Müstair on Switzerland side and Bormio on Italian side. But to reach Bormio, you will have to enter Stelvio Pass and cross to Italy.
Umbrail Pass is one of the furthest mountain passes in Switzerland from the biggest cities and airports: From Zürich – 227 Km, from Basel – 314 Km, from Geneva – it varies as maybe the fastest road is via Italy, so it can be up to 600 Km.
If you are going from Zürich or Basel, do not forget to visit Liechtenstein – that is one more visited country in your list.
How to reach Umbrail Pass
Now, for this mountain pass, I really recommend to reach it by car, as with public transport, especially comming from Zürich, Basel and other cities, can be a hustle.
It is possible that you may get the best connection from Italy, Tirano – so you will have to take a train to Italy, cross border and then take a bus for couple of hours to reach it. That is a pretty long trip by trains and buses. Still, if you would like to do it this way (or you happen to be much closer to it, maybe you are in Davos or Chur), check out all the trains/buses connection here: Swiss trains and buses connections.
Now, with a car, it is going to be much easier, faster and more pleasant. Take note, that while going to Umbrail Pass, you will cross Davos and one of the biggest Swiss national park. It is huuuuuge.
Shortly about Davos: you know this World Economic Forum where all the most powerful men/women gathers once a year? It happens in that small Swiss Alps town. So Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde, Xi Jinping – all of them were in that little Swiss village – isn’t that cool?
Once you go out from Davos, you are for a treat. Flüela Pass is one the way! I am not going to lie – Flüela Pass is beautiful and majestic. I really really like it, I have visited it few times, still one of my favourite places in Switzerland. There you can make those beautiful scandinavian looking pictures 🙂 Valleys are huge and they are very well exposed. But this time we want to go even further.
Once you are there, you will get into Swiss National Park. It is has as well many parking spots, you can stop, hike around if you wish, eat a gullaschsuppe in a local restaurant and continue further. Today you are going to drive through a lot of serpentines 🙂
Once you reach Santa Maria Val Müstair (which is a very nice swiss village with hotels, parking places, public toilets (next to parking), restaurants), you must take a turn to the right and you will get to the road which leads you straight to Umbrail Pass.
When I was going there with a car, I had a problem with my car: it overheated and I lost all my antifreeze liquid from the motor 🙂 That was a pretty funny/hectic experience as I had to completely stop in these huge mountains on a serpentine road. It can be quite dangerous as the roads are quite narrow and a lot of bikers and cars pass by. So, once I lost all my liquid I just went to the small mountain river (it was like 20m from me), got some water and put it into the antifreeze liquid tank – and guess what, Swiss Alps healed my car :)) I know I know, it didn’t healed it, but the water is so pure in those rivers, that it is no problem to put it into the car.
So after this little adventure we reached the Umbrail Pass in 5 minutes.
What to do in Umbrail Pass
Umbrail Pass is pretty high, it is sitting at 2501 meters altitude. This is one of the highest Swiss mountain passes. That is even higher than popular Furka pass.
Once you are there, you can visit a very small Swiss Alps restaurant where you can get hot coffee and some snacks. It even serves soup and some other meals.
One thing you must always do in such places: hike. Being that high, I still met some Swiss cows, I am always surprised how high they spend time, that milk is for sure the best in the world.
As always in Switzerland, the possibilities to hike are pretty wide, you can even choose to hike up to Stelvio Pass and cross into Italy. Be aware, that you are just 500m below 300 meters altitude, so snow is always there. The picture above was made by me in mid July. It can get pretty windy and cold up there, be sure to be very careful and follow all Swiss Alps hiking tips.
I hiked just behind the before mentioned restaurant and the roads just takes you higher and higher pretty fast.
If you come in good weather conditions and have some power, you should hike to Piz Umbrail. It is resting at 3033 meters altitude and it is always such an amazing experience to cross that 3000 meters mark. And from Umrail Pass you will have just to gain 500 meters in altitude, so that should not be hard at all.
Umbrail Pass open
As Umbrail Pass is that high, it is not open all year round. Swiss people simply close it when it get too snowed in and it gets impossible to keep it safe. You should always check out if it is open before you go there. If you are in Switzerland in summer, you can be sure it is open, but in Spring and Autumn, check it (in winter it is always closed) here: Swiss mountain passes.
Mostly such passes are open in late Spring and early/mid Autumn, as well check out if Stelvio Pass is open so you can even go up there.
Just look up for Umbrail Pass on the website and see if it is open. When it is open, the road there is very well kept, mostly dry, no obstacles are awaiting. It’s a very cool swiss alpine drive. Be aware that quite many cyclists are riding there, so be careful on the turns, do not go to fast, so you won’t run into one. Better that everyone is safe up there.
Umbrail Pass webcam
Sometimes to get the exact information about the place in the mountains is just to check the webcams and Switzerland has many of those. Switzerland has quite a few around Umbrail Pass and on the way to it, so check out these webcams here: Umbrail Pass webcams.
Umbrail Pass is in the biggest Swiss canton called Graubünden. It is a a canton full of many cool Swiss destinations like Davos, St. Moritz, Parc Ela, Swiss Nature Park, Lanzerheide and many others. I highly recommend for you to check out their official canton website for more adventures up there. You are going to love it: Graubünden information.
Umbrail Pass is one of the furthest and most isolated mountain passes in Switzerland. I highly recommend to visit it by a car to avoid big hustle using public transport and changing trains/buses quite a few times (I love Swiss public transport, but this destination is better reached by a car).
While going to Umbrail Pass I really recommend to stop and visit, just for a short time if you are in a hurry, the mentioned places: Davos, Flüela Pass, Swiss Nature park.
This destination can be a perfect one day trip in Switzerland while enjoying loads of nature around it and breathing in the Swiss Alps all the way to it.
If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.
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