Location: Sondrio Province, Italy, Europe

Length: 21.5 km from Bormio, 16 km from Santa Maria

Built: 1820–25

Wide: 5 m standard, 2 lanes

Surface: asphalt

Surface quality (out of 5): 5. According to many reviews, it’s a perfectly paved road

Highest point: 2757 m

Operating times: June – September

Strada Statale 38 del Passo Stelvio SS 38

Route: Bormio – Passo dello Stelvio, Santa Maria – Passo dello Stelvio, Trafoi – Prato allo Stelvio

Stelvio - near top


Do you want to drive on one of the most dangerous roads in Europe and perhaps, the world? Then choose the Stelvio Pass. Whether you’re a car enthusiast, motorcyclist or enjoy riding a bike, this is the road for you! It has miles of stunning views through twisty hairpin corners, high elevations and steep grades. Over time, countless drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists struggled to get to the highest point.

The Stelvio Pass (Italian: Passo dello Stelvio, German: Stilfser Joch) is the highest paved mountain pass in Italy and the second highest in the Alps, just 45 m below France’s Col de la Bonette (2802 m). It was built between 1820-1825 and, except for regular rehabilitation works, the road has changed very little since then. It connects the provinces of Sondrio and Bozen and can be accessed from three sides, two in Italy and one in Switzerland.

From Bormio village in the province of Sondrio, Italy at the altitude of 1225 m, the Passo dello Stelvio ascent is 21.5 km long and over this distance you will climb 1533 meters until you reach it’s highest point. This is the recommended route to take as it’s considered to be the easiest one. 

The landscape surrounding the Stelvio Pass, especially in the last stretch, is gorgeous and the absence of vegetation allows for great visibility. As a result of being one of the most famous roads in the world, it can also be very busy sometimes. 

valley road flowers

The route from Prato allo Stelvio (German: Prad am Stilfserjoch) at 915 m and going beyond Trafoi is 25.4 km long, has 48 hairpin turns, a vertical drop of 1500 m and an average gradient of 7.2%. It’s considered the toughest and most spectacular route.

The third route to Passo dello Stelvio is in the Swiss area for the most part of the road. The starting point is in Santa Maria, Switzerland at 1375 m altitude, is about 16 km long and has a vertical drop of 1136 m.

In conclusion, no matter what route you decide to take, once you reach Passo dello Stelvio you have a large variety of hotels to choose from, in case the ride was tiresome and you feel the need to rest after the adrenaline rush you just experienced: Hotel Passo Stelvio, Hotel Thoni 3000 and Hotel Quarto Pirovano.


Photo: Hotel Quarto Pirovano

Most noteworthy, Stelvio Pass was picked by the British show Top Gear as their first choice for the “Greatest driving road in the world”, although they later decided that the Transfăgărășan in Romania could in fact be a superior road.


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Photos: blacktomato.com, thecolcollective.com, res.cloudinary.com, visit-valtellina.com, pinterest.com, shadowgirl.pl, tours.t-mts.com




Rating: 5

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