Stelvio Pass is famous for its stunning scenery and as a dream road come true for motoring enthusiasts. It is a mountain pass located in picturesque northern Italy bordering Switzerland. One can enjoy this pass at all times of the year. At the top is one of the few locations for summer skiing with hotels nearby offering year-round accommodation.

The Alps of Europe are utterly stunning and are world-famous for a reason. The Stelvio Pass is certainly one of the most stunning drives for those seeking an unforgettable road trip through Europe. In America, there are also many superb roads one can travel by motorcycle, but if in Europe be sure to put the Stelvio Pass on the bucket list.


What Makes The Stelvio Pass Special

The pass rises to an elevation of 2,757 meters or 9,045 feet above sea level and is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps - and the second highest in the Alps (only 7 meters or 23 feet below the highest France's Col de I'Iseran at 2,764 meters or 9,068 feet).

  • Hairpin Turns: 75 (60 Depending on How One Counts) (48 Are On The Northern Side Numbered With Stones)
  • Elevation: 2.757 Meters or 9,045 Meters Above Sea Level
  • Second: Highest Road In The Alps (Only 23 Feet Below the Highest)
  • 48 Hairpins: Are On The Famous North Face Part Of the Pass
  • Length: 35 Kilometers or 21 Miles Measuring From Trafoi to Bormio

It is between Italy's South Tyrol and Bormio in the province of Sondrio and is a mere 200 meters (yards) from the Swiss border. Above the pass is where three languages meet (Italian, German, and Romansh).

The road was built in 1820-25 by the Austrian Empire to connect what was then the Austrian province of Lombardy with the rest of Austria. Before World War I, it was the border between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Italian Kingdom. After the war, it all became part of Italy.

Related: Statistically: 20 Most Dangerous Ski Resorts In The World (No Family Should Consider)

Stelvio Pass And Top Gear

In the popular British automotive show Top Gear, they named Stelvio Pass as the "greatest driving road in the world" (first episode of the 10 series "In search of driving heaven"). That was until they discovered the Transfăgărășan Highway in Romania and named that the world's best road.

  • Top Gear: Catapulted The Pass To Fame In 2008
  • Named: "Greatest Driving Road In the World" (For a While)

That was back in 2008 and it was arguably Top Gear that catapulted the pass to international fame. After that show, countless motoring enthusiasts wanted to explore the mountain pass for themselves.

In that show, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May drove a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, a Porsche 911 GT3 RS and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24 along the pass.

Stelvio Pass And Summer Skiing And Cycling

Today the Stelvio Pass is popular for sport and is open from May to November. It is popular with cyclists, motorcyclists, and recreational drivers alike. With cycling, it is the highest finish of any Grand Tour. Every year for one day in August the road becomes a cycleway being closed to motorists. About 8,000 cyclists ride to the top of the Stelvio.

  • Cyclists: The Pass Is Very Popular With Cyclists

Next to the pass road is a large summer skiing area. One can normally ski year-round at the Stelvio Pass Glacier (it is 3,450 meters or 11,320 feet).

  • Skiing: Year-round Skiing Including Summer Skiing

For the first time in 90 years, it was closed in 2017 because of a heatwave (so only closes very rarely). Around the road is the Stelvio National Park that is the largest national park in the Italian Alps. Both Switzerland and Austria have the breathtaking Alps but they both have a different flavor.

Related: The History Of Route 66, And Why You Should Be Visiting Its Museums

Accommodation On Stelvio Pass

The pass even has its own website and they state: "the glaciers of the Book of Geister and Nagler have the opportunity Skiing in security along extended runs of any difficulty, modern hotels know how to welcome travelers with elegance."

A couple of the resort hotels on the pass are:

Genziana Hotel: It is located on the Stelvio Pass at an altitude of 2,760 meters, it has been recently restored bringing all the modern comforts of home. The buildings are typical ancient mountain buildings made of stone.

One can stay here even in the summer to ski. Enjoy the local customs and polish down one's meal with a "grappa" liquor - the "Grapperia Genziana" as it is known is well provided with liquors.

  • Rooms: Twin Or Three Beds
  • Stars: Three Stars
  • Price: Varies By Season

Hotel Livrio: Another stunning Italian alpine option is Hotel Livrio, it is also a 3-star hotel and is also open in the summer.

  • Rooms: Twin Or Three Beds
  • Stars: Three Stars
  • Price: Varies By Season

Next: The Best Sunshine-Filled Road Trips To Take During The Summer Months