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Geneva to Como

Batemans Bay, NSW...
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Geneva to Como

Hi! and thanks in advance for any comments.

My wife and I will be holidaying in France during March and April in 2013. During that time we are intending quite a long drive over about twelve days. Part of this drive will be an arc across Switzerland; and it is this part of the drive I would like any comments, tips and advice from anyone who has also done this trip.

The itinerary for the Switzerland part of the drive is:

Day 1: Arrive in Geneva (I think we have a hotel in mind but any advice is welcomed).

Day 2: Sightseeing in Geneva.

Day 3: Drive from Geneva to Tasch via Lausanne and the Autoroute du Rhone (Route 9) to Visp Eyhoiz. From here turn south to Tasch. The intention is to stay in Tasch rather than Zermatt because it will be easier with the car and luggage.

Day 4: Tasch to Zermatt and on to the Matterhorn via scenic railway.

Day 5: Tasch to Como in Italy. This loks to be a very "interesting" drive. We back-track to Visp Eyhoiz then head east on the Furkastrasse (Route 19) to Obergoms. From here it seems we take a car train through the mountains to Reap. This is one part of the trip I would really like to know more about. From Reap it seems a straight-forward drive to Como via the Gotthard Strasse Tunnel (Route 2/E35).

So that's it. We could be doing this trip as early as the 19th or 20th of March. Any thoughts please.

Regards,

Peter

Edited: 8:27 pm, December 13, 2012
Martigny...
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1. Re: Geneva to Como

Hi peter - welcome to TA!

here are my thoughts, and living here in the Suisse Romande I do drive around quite a bit!

1. Geneva - parking is very hard and very expensive so make sure your hotel has a garage. Also there are a LOT of one way streets and a fair number that are pedestrian only. Do not rely entirely on a SatNav. Get a good detailed map of Geneva. Crossing the Mt Blanc bridge is a nightmare at rush hour, so plan accordingly! And your hotel will give you a mobility card so you can use the public transport free of charge in Geneva for your stay there. Do not be tempted to use your car instead!! And if your visit coinicdes with the end of the Auto Show make sure you have a hotel booked now. Geneva is madness at that time!!

For Geneva and places to see - here is a link:

tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g188057-c127289/Gen…

2. Driving to Täsch. You don't actually go through Lausanne, you take the ring road north of Lausanne which curves around the top of the town. Be very very careful about speed on the A9. Between Geneva and Lausanne there are some 54 speed cameras and radars and you would not want to have to pay for a speeding ticket in this country. Very expensive!! The A9 has a wonderful "belvedere" over lake Léman above Montreux. An excellent place to stop for a picnic or just to see the views. You will find it just after you pass the Montreux exit and right before you enter the Glion tunnel.

The road to Zermatt turns off before Visp. Way before you get to Eyholz as well! And goes into a tunnel for quite a while - 5+km at least. It is usually easy to drive but IF there is snow in March do be sure that you have winter tyres on your car (all 4 wheels) AND chains in your boot. If you do not want to equip your car with winter tyres then do not drive up to Täsch. There is parking near the station in Visp and this costs 14frs/day on the top levels. If you keep driving down you enter a long term parking and only pay 7frs/day. You could also check the weather forecast and see if snow is expected. It won't be snowing in Visp in March but once you pass Stalden snow is possible any time until May.

Getting from Täsch to Zermatt is easy with luggage. You roll a luggage cart onto the train, attach it with purpose made bands and roll it off at the zermatt station. Your hotel will pick you up on arrival there. BUT the problem might be otherwise - you will be there near Easter which is prime skiing season and hotels might not rent a room for only a couple of nights!! you might encounter the same problem in Täsch but it is less likely.

4. You cannot reach the Matterhorn by railway. The only way up there is climbing and you can't do that in March. What I think you mean is the Gornergrat railway which is indeed very scenic, as is the Gornergrat itself. Great views on many of the 4000m+ mountains that ring Zermatt. And a view onto the African tectonic plate (the Matterhorn) and the European plate (the Monte Rosa, the highest mountain in Switzerland).

5. Your drive from Täsch to Como will indeed be lovely. Once you pass Brig you drive through the Goms and Ober Goms valley. This is a mecca for ski de fond and late March is likely the end of the season. You might well still need snow tyres though. There are some interesting villages en route. Münster is pretty and has a nice hotel where you can get a good lunch. We like to stop there. Hotel Sonne & Post. Right next to the post office in the centre of the village, on the left hand side. Münster has a lovely Baroque church as well. So does Reckingen, a little further up the road. Ulrichen, still further along, has many old wooden barns in the centre which make for great photos. These are ust a bit past the Nufenen hotel on the left.

the train leaves Oberwald about every 30 mins. you drive up, pay, and drive on to the train. You sit in your car for the 20min journey to Realp. And the train is really jsut a flatbed for cars with open sides. there is a roof and primitive lighting though! then you drive down to Andermatt. If you have not had lunch at the post in Münster try the Sonne in the middle of the town of Andermatt. Drive through the main street (narrow!) and it is on the left. Parking for it on the right.

The Gotthard tunnel which you will enter at Goschinen is long (16km) and there are frequent, long traffic jams. In March you have no other option but to take it if you are taking this route as the Nufenen pass and the Gotthard pass will be closed. (There is another route involving the Simplon, whiich will be open, but you would have had to turn south at Brig!!)

Once through the tunnel you run south to Bellinzona and then Lugano where you turn for Como. All very easy. Bellinzona with its 3 castles would be worth a stop. Lugano is nice but not with a car. They have done everything possible to keep cars out (like Geneva! )

Is this the sort of info you are looking for? If not, feel free to ask questions or to send me a PM (private message)!!

Batemans Bay, NSW...
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2. Re: Geneva to Como

Hambagahle,

That was fantastic advice thank you. The Gornergrat railway is the one I meant; its the rack railway that takes you up into the mountains and gives good views of the Matterhorn. Friends did it years ago and the photos looked great and its a trip I have wanted to do ever since.

Would it be a reasonable alternative to book two nights in Visp (or somewhere close by) and on the day between use public transport (train? or bus?) to travel to Zermatt, do the Gornergrat railway trip and then return to Visp in the evening?

Our main base in France is near Marseille and it is unlikely our leased Citroen C3 Picasso will have winter tires or snow chains.

Thank you for such a detailed reply. TA is certainly a great resource.

Regards,

Peter

Martigny...
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3. Re: Geneva to Como

Hi Peter

Yes - you can stay down in the valley. Much nicer in March anyway than Täsch or Randa or St Niklaus as snow might already be melting in those places and it isn't the prettiest thing!! But NOT Visp. Much better option is Brig. Visp is very industrial and though it has hotels of course, choices are limited. The centre of Brig is very nice - not breathtakingly lovely, but nice. And if you stay there do plan to visit the Stockalper Palace, built by a very important family in the 17th C. It is in the old town, which is small and somewhat unusual for the Valais in its design and construction. Lots of stone buildings.

Gornergrat has changed since your friends went I think. The Kulm hotel is now open and you can have a nice lunch there, with a stupendous view!

The car might be a problem. IF we get a mid March snow - and we could, as I said down to 1000m or so - then you will need snow tyres or chains to get to Täsch. In March you won't need them for the journey around the lake but you well might for the Ober Goms road to the Furka car train. So - be prepared to change routes if you have to. You can, for example, take the alternative route to Lugano and Como: Brig - car train to Iselle - drive down to the autostrade and then to Varese and up to Lugano. OR from Domodossola to Locarno via the Centovalli road. However I strongly advise against this latter not because of snow but because of the road itself. Narrow and windy with lots of lorries and lots and lots of Italian drivers who, on a narrow road, have a tendancy to think it belongs to them not to be shared with you. I have been on this road once and will never take it again. The scenery is lovely - the road is not!

All in all I think the idea of staying in Brig and making a day trip to Zermatt (easy to do) is excellent. The Victoria Hotel on the Bahnhofplatz - right next to the railway for Zermatt - looks nice to me, though I have not stayed there myself.

Batemans Bay, NSW...
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4. Re: Geneva to Como

Hambagahle,

Brig looks like a much better place to stay and is only 20 minutes more on the train to Zermatt.

I can't thank you enough for your really valuable help. You have made the Swiss part of our "Pan-European Drive" much easier than just using guide books and the car's sat-nav.

If you are ever intending to visit Australia, particularly New South Wales then please don't hesitate to ask for any advice. It would be really nice if I could return the favour you have shown me.

Regards,

Peter

Martigny...
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for Switzerland
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5. Re: Geneva to Como

You are so welcome, Peter!! And actually Brig is only around 8 mins from Visp so your trip to Zermatt isn't going to be all that much longer.

if you are from Sydney you are a lucky man! I have visited several times and love the city!! Have friends in Manley...

Batemans Bay, NSW...
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6. Re: Geneva to Como

I was born in Sydney (not far from Manly) but in early 20's my wife and I moved to Canberra and lived there till 2001 when I retired. Now we live in Batemans Bay (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batemans_Bay) which is about 300 km south of Sydney and 150 km east of Canberra.

Thanks once again for all your help.

Regards,

Peter

7. Re: Geneva to Como

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