11/14/2010 - 17:17

Next year when we go to our house in Southern Italy we plan on driving down instead of flying. We will be approaching Italy from Switzerland and want to see as much of the Alps as possible without losing the view by going through too many tunnels. Would be interested to hear what is considered the best route to achieve this. Many thanks John & Toni



This route is an amalgam of ones I’ve tried in the past, when I had the time available [it will probably add at least 2 or 3 hours, and possibly more, to the normal journey time.]   Usually, when crossing Switzerland I do the motorway route  [Mulhouse - nip into Germany for the “Basle Bye Pass” – then Lucerne – St Gotthard Tunnel – Italy], but for a really scenic route, I would suggest the following options   Motorways as far as Lucerne, then a few km after passing Lucerne take the A8 towards Sarnen and Lungern.  Off onto a minor road to Meitingen  and then up the Grimselpass [on the 6-11 road]  to Gletsch.  At Gletsch you then have the option of either;-  Left  [my preferred option] -   [on the 19 road] to the Furka Pass and on the St Gotthard Pass [great views and a coffee shop at the top] and onto the motorway to Milan passing Lugano, or  Right  -  [again on the 19 road] to Brig [Interesting drive – but you miss the panoramic views on the other option], through the Simplon Pass and onto the motorway near Domodosola and thus on to the motorway [passing Lake Maggiore on your left] to Milan or Genova.   Hope this helps

Thanks for the suggestions. We like the sound of both routes, but we think that Alan's will be our preferred option. Having looked on google earth it looks like the extra time travelling will be well spent and the scenery will be wonderful provided we don't get a load of low cloud like you Blue and Mon. We can't wait! Many thanks again John & Toni

We drive down every year from Kent to the city of Como at the end of the western arm of Lake Como.  I totally agree with Alan H regarding routes across Germany and missing Basel by going via Loerrach and Bad Saeckingen.  We have come back over the Furka and the Grimsel Pass route, and both are spectacular although time consuming...  Part of the reason for going that way was to miss Zurich, which at the time did not have a by-pass.  Since last summer, however, this is not the case and there is a new tunnel, the Uetliberg, which makes it very easy and fast to miss Zurich.  You then sweep up via Chur towards the San Bernardinoa and then we veer off and go over a great old route, the Splugapass, which is very spectacular and which drops down to the wonderful old city of Chiavenna.  From there you can either go down the eastern arm of Lake Como to Lecco, which is dual carriageway and largely in tunnels or we go down the western arm, which is extremely scenic and takes longer.  But, it depends where you intend to stay the night.  Once we get that far, we're on the home run, of course. Having said all the above, we came back last September over the Albula Pass, which would have been very scenic were it not for the low cloud!  It has a railway line going through it, which is one of the great Swiss routes and there's some very interesting information on Wikipedia about it and the Bernina Pass, so we intend to go that way next time. Everything depends on the weather, so whichever way you plan to go, you may have to revise your route on the day.

Blue and Mon said   "...... routes across Germany and missing Basel by going via Loerrach and Bad Saeckingen. " I don't go that far East - justtake the mainly dual carriageway passing Lorrach and Rheinfelden and straight on down [South] to the Swiss motorway, then a quick 'right - left' [West - South] and you're on the motorway to Lucerne

Tunnels I'm afraid, from Rotterdam via Mulhouse and Rimini, 3 days from Rotterdam around 700km each leg. Generally desparate to get to the house and get working. ( We get the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam) However the Gottard tunnel can be a bugger on the way timing is crucial!!! PS You can buy Swiss vignettes much cheaper on

"the Gottard tunnel can be a bugger on the way timing is crucial" Totally agree - If you are in doubt about the queues for the tunnel   [from experience they can be particularly bad on Friday afternoons and Saturdays - but reasonably clear Sundays, up to about 1500hrs]  get off the autostrada at the Quinto junction [or even the one before] and take the 'old' road alongside the motorway and up and over the pass Similarly, if the queue from the Swiss side is bad - take the first available exit and [again] follow the 'old' road alongside the motorway and go up and over the pass   PS - buying/selling the vignette on ebay is of course against Swiss Law, [vignettes are not transferable] and anyway, what type of cheapskate would try to evade what is a pretty small charge to use the Swiss motorways for a year?

A cheapskate Scotsman like me who's towing a trailer and objects to being taxed (two vignettes) for  four hours use of their crappy motorway complete with roadworks and queues....don't get me started on the Nazi's bankers thread.. all hail the Gnomes of Zurich! Meine Fuhrer!!