The mountain ranges are imposing, the passes are legendary and life is sweet. Enjoy the South Tyrol’s breathtaking landscapes and challenging routes in a Porsche 911 Turbo S
Like the Alps? You’ll love South Tyrol
The Alps stretch 1200km (around 750 miles), west to east, across eight countries in Europe – a natural wonder that has been enjoyed since humankind existed. To many, the Alps means the classic peaks of Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy that we visit on ski holidays or are climbed by riders on the Tour de France each summer. But it’s the stretch farthest east – the Italian Dolomites in the South Tyrol – that provide some of the most breathtaking stretches of all. Here the mountains are even more rugged and the steep passes even more challenging compared to the rest of the Alpine region – possibly even more so than in any other mountainous region in the world. Fun on the Porsche Travel Experience Alpine Performance starts directly at the Italian border. The Strada Statale 44 del Passo di Giovo motorway follows the Jaufen Pass and has exhilarating views with 23 hairpin bends over 24 miles. It acts as an excellent primer for what we will later experience.
A roadside cafe – well, we are in Italy here – soon invites us to enjoy la dolce vita courtesy of a quick break to take in the views before we heard onto the next sequence of hairpins. Nowhere else in the Alps quite matches these majestic contrasts we discover, as we venture further and further into the Dolomites in our Porsche. The anticipation builds as we drive these narrow, circuitous Alpine roads, enveloped by picture-perfect scenery. Fertile, dark green meadows and shimmering blue mountain lakes, framed by colossal rock formations, appear kilometre after kilometre. They are linked by these demanding South Tyrolean roads, which causes our pulses to peak like the mountains themselves.
New day, new summits on the Porsche Travel Experience Alpine Performance Tour
Not far away from here is one of the most demanding stretches of hairpins anywhere on earth – the legendary Stelvio Pass. With its 48 hairpins across 31 miles of wonderful mountain driving, it’s one of the highlights of the Porsche Travel Experience Alpine Performance – and a particular thrill to be doing it behind the wheel of a Porsche. At this point, we can finally unleash the power of our car. An incredible landscape stretches out before us – not that we can entirely take it all in. Full concentration on the driving task ahead is needed here. Further down, the stunning Vinschgau valley, with its sapphire blue mountain lakes, awaits us.
Before this, however, we make a brief detour to the Gardena Pass, which rises to over 2,000m (6,500 feet) and rewards us with a view of the angular Pizes de Cir range. It forms the northern part of the Sella massif, and is one of the most spectacular passes in all of the Alps. Here, the Sellaronda ski circuit emerges from green valleys like a verdant island thrusting from a sea. Three further passes crown this mighty Dolomites mountain ridge: the Campolongo Pass in the east, the Pordoi Pass in the south and, in the west, the Sella Pass. Since 2009, parts of this fascinating region have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Three of the best
We are heading ever closer to one of the geographical highlights of the Dolomites, nearly 3000m (9,842 feet) above sea level. Three striking, rugged rock faces that can be seen from afar and top out at an elevation of 568m (1,864 feet) towards the heavens. It’s no surprise that the daunting, thrusting Tre Cime di Lavaredo – or Three Peaks Of Lavaredo – are celebrated as a symbol of this entire range. The view here is incomparable. In post-drive discussions later, it’s voted by many of the drivers as the most visually stunning section of our journey through the Southern Limestone Alps. Close by is Cortina d’Ampezzo. The famous ski resort and a location for the alpine skiing events at the Winter Olympics in 1956 – an honour it will revive for the 2026 games – is a rewarding spot for another stop to down a cappuccino.
Luckily, we still haven’t had our fill of corners – because there are plenty more to be enjoyed in our Porsche. Positively recharged by our caffeine boost, this intense and unforgettable journey continues on our return trip. It’s one that finds us traversing the passes of Falzarego and Pordoi as we power on towards the Timmelsjoch, which connects the valleys of the Passeier valley here in Italy and the Ötztal in neighbouring Austria.
This story is part of the 25 Years of Porsche Travel Experience anniversary series. We take you on a virtual world tour around the globe – with a new, fascinating episode each week. Click here to read all stories.