Maloja Pass

Maloja Pass, curvy winding Alpine road

Maloja Pass (Passo del Maloja, Malojapass) is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.815m (5,955ft) above the sea level, located in the Swiss Alps in the canton of Graubünden, linking the Engadin with the Val Bregaglia and Chiavenna in Italy.

The road to the summit is paved, with some steep sections (up to 11%) and tight hairpins that require concentration, especially if you met a truck coming the other way. The pass is sometimes called ‘the pass that never was’ due to its geographical peculiarity. This road is usually open all year, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. However, after a snowfall the road may be closed for a couple of hours or for an entire day. Even if open, the road might be covered with snow—winter tires or chains would help. Starting from Casaccia, the ascent is 5.13 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 357 meters. The average percentage is 7% and the maximum slope is 11%.

Road closures can be frequent, so check conditions before traveling to this area. It’s probable that the Maloja was already used in pre-Roman times; the Romans built a fully fledged road over it which crumbled in tune with the Roman Empire. The pass was never of primary importance and only gained a lot of traffic in the 19th century connecting Northern Italy to the Engadin. The road was paved in 1839. It is an experience not for the fainthearted with lots of hairpin bends. Not recommended for the easily motion sick.