Maloja Pass, a scenic mountain road.

Maloja pass road trip
Maloja Pass

Maloja Pass is one the most scenic and highest roads that crosses a swiss mountain pass! You should definitely put it on your list of roads to drive while your european road trip.

General information about the Maloja Pass.

Maloja Pass (or Passo del Maloja in Italian) is a good-condition asphalted road, located in Graubünden canton in the Swiss Alps.

It is an old Roman road and it is actually classified as a Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National and Regional Significance.

The road is a mountain pass that culminates at 1815 meters above sea level (5955 ft).

The road connects the Italian region of Chiavenna and the Swiss valley of Bregaglia and then goes northern to Engadine.

The pass is also well known for its elevation. It starts way down at approximately 325 meters (1066 ft) above sea level and takes you all the way to 1815 meters (5955 ft) above the sea. You gain almost 1500 meters (4921 ft) while you climb the road.

The road has an average slope of 9%.

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Get to Maloja Pass.

We advise you to come from the south (from the Italian border) in that direction your drive will be even more amazing!

If you come from the south you have to take the SS37 road from Chiavenna in the direction of the Swiss border. From there, regional road number 3 will guide you from the border. Then, you can follow the road up to Silvaplana or even further to the famous ski town of Saint Moritz and its luxury hotels and boutiques.

If you are coming from the north, we advise you to do at least the climb. That way you will be very lucky: three passages on the Maloja snake road. Down, up, down!

Another road in Europe well known for its curves is the Transfagarasan road in Romania. You can also drive not so far the San Bernardino Pass.

Facts and history

A triple drainage divide

At Maloja you are standing at the cross of three rivers flowing in every direction :

  • The Inn goes to the Danube and then to the Black Sea.
  • The Maira via the Po to the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The Julia via the Rhine flows in the North Sea.

A road already used by the Romans

The road is a former Roman way. It used to be one of the main passages from Como and the Julier Pass for hundreds of years.

The pass gained popularity in 1776 when a road was built and even more in 1827 when a more modern suitable for vehicles, the one with 22 corners was constructed.

Earlier in the 18th century, approximately 400 horses pass through in summer and 100 in winter.

The newly built two tunnels of San Bernardino and Gotthard build in 1967 and 1980 deeply changed the goods traffic in the region: Maloja Pass then became more a touristic road than a merchandise one. 

What to do near the Maloja Pass

You can obviously go and take a walk in Saint Moritz. In the winter you’ll find all of the snow activities you can expect from a ski resort and in the summer you can also enjoy hiking or take a bath in one of the lakes near the city.

You can enjoy these lakes near the pass: at least three of them are worth the detour:

  • Lägh da Cavloc
  • Sils Lake
  • Silvaplana Lake
Sils Lake
Sils Lake

Have a preview of your itinerary

Watch this YouTube video in order to have a preview of the road drive. That will definitely make you want to drive or cycle on it! Here is a biker filming the descent from the pass in the direction of Saint Moritz to the Italian border.

Is Maloja road open in winter?

Although the road is usually open during the winter, there is a chance of occasional closures due to weather. If you plan to drive in the region during the winter, it is important to have snow tires or chains for your car. You can always verify if the pass is open here.

Another scenic pass in the region is the Stelvio Pass on the border with Italy.

Discover other roads in Switzerland: click here or see our map with roads!