The final trip along the most beautiful Alpine roads takes us to two fascinating passes on the border of Italy and Switzerland. Both have become a kind of legends among drivers as well as has the smooth local asphalt. The pleasure behind the wheel here can easily be interspersed with occasional stops and walks around the route.
Rally driver Erik Cais and navigator Julia Thulin start this time at Lake Montespluga in the Italian Alps. It would be a shame to leave here straight away, because the surroundings of the lake are truly breath-taking. "This is such a beautiful place. I know you're excited to get behind the wheel, but let's go for a short walk first," Julia urges Erik. And you should do that too before you head out for a unique driving experience. The lake's surroundings offer fascinating views and you can discover a local peculiarity: there are two dams on the lake, which help to keep the water in. Both serve as a water reservoir for the hydroelectric power stations down in the valley.
The fun behind the wheel begins virtually as soon as the pair in the Škoda Octavia RS leaves the lake behind. The road winds and climbs up the Splügenpass, which, incidentally, has been described by Top Gear magazine reporters as one of the best Alpine roads ever; if only for the beautifully smooth asphalt, which is reminiscent of the Rally Catalunya stages. The serpentines are literally exemplary, hairpin after hairpin, the road offers great views and it's a joy to drive here. There aren't many cars here, but the route is also popular with cyclists, so be considerate of them.
"I like the long rear overhang of the Octavia, which helps you turn the car beautifully into corners," says Erik, praising the car. But he says he likes the front differential even more: "Even though this Octavia RS doesn't have all-wheel drive, you can really feel the power of the car when exiting the corners," he smiles. The 245 hp (180 kW) that the Octavia RS offers is more than enough here. Once the driver has enjoyed the local roads to the fullest, both the driver and the car can relax a little on our today's route. As soon as the route meets the course of Rear Rhine in the village of Splügen, we connect to the A13 road, which will provide us with a brisk transfer to the San Bernardino area.
The local pass is a legend in itself. All you have to do is exit the A13 after fewer than 15 kilometres before entering the famous San Bernardino Tunnel. This saves drivers an hour or two of time on the Alpine route, but we are here for the experience behind the wheel, so we will head for the "old" route through the pass. It is over 200 years old and in the past it was a major and vital strategic route built by the then King of Sardinia. Today, there is again minimal traffic, smooth asphalt and countless turns. Here, the driver can concentrate on the rhythm of the drive and nicely enjoy one corner after the other.
Lake Moesola, for example, which we come across shortly after the initial most twisted passage of the pass, invites you to stop here. We can then continue to our final destination in the village of Mesocco, the road descend towards here. "It's a long descent and you have to think about your car's brakes and use the engine to brake as much as possible," Erik points out. This is because overheating brakes could cause a problem.
At the same time, the brakes indicate that something is wrong with their sound, as soon as they become unnaturally noisy, it is a sign that the temperature is rising dangerously. In such a case, it is better to stop for a while, give them a breather and in the meantime enjoy the local fascinating landscape. This combination of driving and touring experiences is truly addictive. We believe you have enjoyed this third and final trip along the most beautiful Alpine roads as much as we did.