Maloja Pass

Maloja Pass, a curvy 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 canton of Graubünden, in Switzerland.

Nestled in the Swiss Alps, the road to the summit is totally paved but very curvy. It’s called Route 3. The pass is 23.8 km (14.78 miles) long, running north-south from Silvaplana, a municipality in the Maloja Region in the canton of Graubünden towards Bregaglia, a municipality in the Maloja Region in the canton of Grisons. The road offers stunning views of Lake Sils (Silsersee) and Lake Silvaplana (Silvaplanersee).

The road features a few 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. 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%.

The pass is usually open all year long, 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. 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.


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