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driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

New Richmond...
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driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

8 days end of June * We will be driving a car from Interlaken direct to Chur or Bellinzona / Lugano area, then Chur. What is the best route to take? If we do Lugano,is it worth driving into Italy toward Menaggio, then to Chur?

We have driven in the mtns before so no big deal. We want to experience villages away from big cities, so any recomendation for stops or routes would be appreciated.

From Chur we hope to drive thru Liechenstein, into Austria a bit, then stopping at Ebenalp and Appenzell. After this our trip takes us into Germany - hoping to drive thru Constanz,and toward Frieburg, then into the Black Forest on our way back to Zurich.

Thoughts? Too much to add Lugano thru Italy area? Stick to Interlaken to Chur?

Thanks, Ranger

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Martigny...
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1. Re: driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

At the end of June the high mountain passes should be open. So from Interlaken you can take either the Susten pass and then take the A2 autoroute south to Lugano OR the Grimsel pass into the Valais and the Furka pass or car train to the A2. The Susten route will be quicker. Be careful as to when you plan this as there are frequent traffic jams on the A2 at the Gotthard tunnel. To avoid this you can also drive up to Andermatt and then over the Gotthard pass. Look at Google maps for itineraries.

The road from Lugano to the Grisons, where Chur is, is very pretty - at least for the passengers! First you follow lake Lugano north and then cut over to Como (and yes, you can go via Menaggio but it is slightly out of the way...) Then follow lake Como and drive to chiavenna before heading up the Maloja pass into the upper Engadine valley. From there, over the Julier and on to Chur.

To go direct from Interlaken to Chur is far shorter and easier. Either go over the Brünig pass to Sarnen and on to the A2, or the Susten if you like. Then north on the A2, past Luzern and up to Zürich. Then head down to Chur.

New Richmond...
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2. Re: driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

Thank you. We were interested in seeing the 3 castles in Bellinzona, so thought about heading that direction before heading to Chur. PLus read the scenice drive is wonderful from Bellizona to Chur. Is this worth the stop or should we just take our drive and head straight to Chur from Interlaken?

What kind of time driving are we talking about? I found 2.5 hours Interlaken to Chur. How far from Bellizona to chur?

We do want to spend some time driving into Austria ( but not sure where yet), then North into Germany for a day or two.

Are there car rental regulations driving into Italy? or is it best to forgo that option and stick to Switzerland routes for now?

Martigny...
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3. Re: driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

Fronm bellinzona, over the San Bernardino, it should take you less than 2 hrs to get to Chur. BUT this is a pass and you will need to check to make sure it is open. Normally it should be OK.

If you rent a car in Switzerland you should not have a problem in taking it into Italy. But it would not hurt to ask your rental car company... I know that with Hertz there is no problem at all but obviously cannot speak for others...

bern
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4. Re: driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

www.viamichelin.com is a good routing website

The most direct route from Interlaken to Chur is via low Brünig mountain pass. The route would be scenic, but is mostly motorways.

Any drive via the high mountain passes takes much longer, but can be seen as destination itself.

If you choose to go to Bellinzona:

The route Grimsel - Nufenen is in my opinion the most scenic. The road of the Nufenen is a bit narrow and very windy. An alternative is to do the route Grimsel-Furka-Gotthard. Grimsel has some very scenic mountain lakes, Nufenen a Glacier cave (at the hotel Belvedere, I'm not sure if it's already open in June).

Shortest is Susten (as well very senic) and Gotthard (narrow and long tunnel, or the scenic much longer ride via the mountain pass).

Bellinzona to Chur, if you like a scenic ride go via the San Bernardino Pass, otherwise there is a tunnel.

All mountain passes should be open end of June. Tunnels are open (otherwise it's in the headlines of Swiss newspapers)

New Richmond...
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5. Re: driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

Thank you very much for the advice. I believe we will travel to Bellizona, visit the castles and then head to Chur of a scenic route. The website for routing is also great. It's what I have been looking for and will be of great help in planning our routes further.

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6. Re: driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

Thanks for your help in planning our trip to Lugano and routing talong Lake come in Italy. Our next dilema is trying to find the best way to visit Salzburg, Austria. Do we drive into Austria right away toward Innsbruck? or head north toward Chur, then over to Salzbrug? I was wondering if there is a place to park a car for 2 days, take the train from Chur to Salzburg? This is done in the USA, but I don't see listings about this sort of thing in Switzerland. Their train use is much higher too.

Also you mentioned using the train car. What might that cost and is it quicker to do than driving the pass?

We will definitely drive some passes ove rthe mtn, but we sre routing over several and this may be a better option.

Thanks again, Ranger

Martigny...
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7. Re: driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

Which pass? Mube mentioned several... and you can put your car on a train from:

Oberwald to Realp (Furka line) and vv

and Goppenstein to Kandersteg (Lotschberg line) and vv

and then there is the Vereina tunnel in the Grisons...

But from Chur to Salzburg - I don't think so. Plus you would not want to have to come back to Chur to get your car. Better to leave it in Buchs. To me, Salzburg is a long way to go for just two days...

New Richmond...
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8. Re: driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

We have decided to skip Salzburg as the distance and time is too far for this trip.

From Lugano, we are going to head toward St. Moritz, spend time there, then head to Neuschwastein Castle in Germany. We want to stop in Ebenalp and Appenzell either on the way to the castle or way back toward Zurich) after visiting the castle. Which might be the best route for this? Should we head North thru Chur, then do our stops in Ebenelp, then on to Germany or go via Austria? Suggestions?

Do we cross into Austria to do the route to the Neuschwanstein Castle? We do want to drive into Austria, so this may be the best time to do this. Looking for the most direct route...

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9. Re: driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

I would certainly not bother with Appenzell. Rolling hills and "bucolic" - yes. But so is most of Switzerland. Appenzell itself is rather disappointing. Especially the Landsgemeindeplatz. Which is a parking lot, zone blue!

I am not an expert on Germany. But I would think from Chur it would be best to go via Lindau to get to Neuschwanstein which is near Füssen. Drive north fromChur and cross into Austria at Bregenz. Be careful to avoid Austrian autobahns and therefore tolls and head for Lindau (well worth a visit in itself...) Then from there north to the road through the Allgau which will take you to Füssen. (If you take even a few metres of Austrian autobahns you must have a toll sticker -admittedly better than ours since you can buy one for 10 days! But why do this when you can pass viaLlindau and see Lindau, which is lovely, into the bargain!!) The road, as you go around the eastern end of the Bodensee, is quite beautful...

Edited: 3:59 pm, March 17, 2013
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10. Re: driving from Interlaken to Bellinzona - best route?

Off topic given that this is the Switzerland forum... but Neuschwansteain is a truly horrible tourist trap. The castle may be impressive seen from a distance but is ugly close up, and you are herded in in groups of about 40 people at specific times like clockwork, one group every ten minutes.

Once inside, the tour is interesting but only covers a small part of the castle, after which you have to walk through not one but *two* souvenir shops before you reach the exit. And it's covered in scaffolding.

The surroundings are lovely though.

Edited: 5:36 pm, March 17, 2013