When we travelled down to Liguria  at the end

05/30/2010 - 11:03

When we travelled down to Liguria  at the end of April, there were long queues at the Gotthard tunnel, which added 2 hours to our journey. We experienced the same last August.

We decided to take an alternative route home direction Turin and through the Aosta Valley and St Bernard’s tunnel. And we made the right decision! It not only saved us time (total journey time home 12h 26 minutes) the route through the Aosta valley was just spectacular. Beautiful views of snow capped mountains, picturesque villages, castles, forts, and stunning scenery. We would love to spend some time here and explore this beautiful area. We will definitely consider this route again even though it cost us an extra €30 in tolls… €23.10 just to go through the St Bernard tunnel, which is only 5.5 km long!



I hate travelling through Switzerland – paying the vignette for two trips of very short duration twice a year and then spending 3 hours (the last time we did it) waiting to get into the Gotthard. This is what finally did it for us in 2005 on the  way down (we do Brussels/ south of Perugia), and the floods in Switzerland put paid to going back that way anyway. We have chosen to go via the Monte Bianco ever since, even if it adds over a hundred km to our journey, and I get the added advantage of NOT doing much of the Autostrada del Sole  which I also hate. We only need to do Firenze Nord to Betolle on the A1. We have never looked back since – and the motorways are always empty, including the French ones we take via Dijon etc. I know you pay for the Monte Bianco Tunnel but that is compensated for by the non-payment of the Swiss vignette; and the much easier, less busy motorways and roads, make for a much more pleasant journey. So NEVER AGAIN WILL I CHOOSE THE GOTTHARD UNLESS I HAVE NO OTHER OPTION.

In case Raggio's post puts anybody off using the great route via Basel and Gotthard, the way to avoid queues is to not travel at the weekend. If you absolutely must travel at the weekend, then Gotthard will be hell, but midweek it's a breeze. And if there's a queue for the tunnel, you can use the Pass. 

@Raggio – its about an extra 100km for us as well but we would rather travel the extra kilometres and keep moving then sit in a queue for hours at the Gotthard tunnel!  The Swiss vignette is relatively cheap in comparison to the toll costs though (€29 for the year).  If we use the Gotthard tunnel, the Italian tolls cost us €25 x 2 = €50 + €29 for Swiss vignette = €79.  If we had to travel the route we did in April it would cost us €60 x 2 = €120 + 29 = €149 surprise  We went direction Bern then Basal to cross into Germany. Thanks for the tip and link Cassini yes I’ve just checked it and it is certainly one we will take in September.  We live about 15 kilometres from the German border.  But direction Brussels is just as easy for us. We often travel that direction to Calais to take the ferry or train to the UK. Are you ‘in residence’ now?wink  If so, I hope the weather is better. It was dismal in April when we were there.

If you do go that route for even less road traffic avoid Beaune and down to Lyons. Instead, at Dijon take the A39 and A40 past Lons le Saunier and Borge en Bresse  (dir Grenoble) then follow the A42 and A432 past Lyons airport then follow signs to Grenoble. You might enjoy a stop at a service station in the Jura  called the Aire du Jura http://www.airedujura.com which has an interestingly designed button museum. No not at the moment.  The weather was grim in May, rain, rain and cold too -grass high, high high. Although it did warm up just in time for the big ash clouds again on our way back.  Expect to be around from early July for a few months though, perhaps this time we'll meet up?

This is the route through France that we take. If you want to spend a night on the way down, there is a little hotel  near Bellegarde (north of Geneva on this route) - Hotel le Fartoret http://www.communes.com/rhone-alpes/haute-savoie/eloise_01200/logis-de-france,le-fartoret.html. which is really nice and just off the motorway, about 2km. You eat well and sleep well and I recommend it highly!

Thanks for suggested route Raggio.  As Cassini said a bit too off course for us smiley @Cassini…we were there at the end of April until the 15th May.  We had the odd nice sunny day but the temperature was ideal for walking.  We averaged 20km a day and we were never rained on… good timing on our part…or luck laugh Due to work commitments, we won’t be down again until end September. We are hoping that since spring was a month late that it will still be summer temperatures in September!  Let me know if you are still there at the end of September so we can arrange to meet up yes

Travelling back towards the end of September unfortunately. September is usually good weather and quieter after the 10th. We had planned to come back for the first time via Switzerland but thinking again about that after all the comments of congestion. Not sure when we will return - might depend on airfaires for a more autumnal visit.

  We may still catch you at the end of September!  We have travelled through the Gotthard tunnel in October and it was straight through.  We just seem to have bad luck because every time we have been caught, the pass is closed as well! We would love to use the pass.