The white-knuckle drive across the Ortles mountains over the Passo dello Stelvio (Stelvio Pass) to Bormio follows a convoluted route consisting of 48 switchbacks and turns. Motorbikers love the thrills and the views while cyclists see the climb as the ultimate challenge – it’s often an important stage of the Girò d’Italia. It’s one of the last Alpine passes to open to traffic each year, sometimes staying closed until July if there’s been a late fall of snow. You can access the pass by bus from Malles, one early morning, the other mid-afternoon.
The end point of the route, Bormio, is a rather snooty resort with a sprawl of hotels in its cobblestoned core. The visitor centre at Via Roma 131/B (wbormio.eu) can advise on accommodation as well as nature trails in the southern reaches of the Stelvio national park.