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Driving through alps

Auckland
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Driving through alps

Hi We are hoping to drive from Lake Como area in Italy into Switzerland and are looking for some interesting and scenic roads through the alps and then maybe looping somewhere back into Italy before we leave the rental car somewhere in Italy close to the french border and head to France by train. Wondering what you can suggest.

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Martigny...
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1. Re: Driving through alps

You might think about driving into Switzerland at Chiasso and heading up towards the San Gotthard pass. You don't say when you will be here, and that affects whether or not you can actually drive over the pass. It should be open sometime in June and will close again in late October. For information on the passes use this link:

www.tcs.ch

If you drive over the pass you will have fabulous views, and will be on a very historic route. Once on the other side, turn towards the Furka pass - Realp is the name of the village to look for - and continue on over the Furka into the Valais. If you want to stop for the night, there are decent hotels in Oberwald and a really nice one (St Hubertus) in the next village, Obergesteln. This part of the Valais is called Ober Goms, or in French, la vallée des Conches and is full of very small villages which are worth walking around.

Ulrichen has an area full of barns that were built of wood several hundred years ago. The wood is blackened by the sun, and great to photograph. Munster and Reckingen both have wonderful little churches to visit. As you continue down the valley you will be following the young Rhone river.

Drive down to Visp and if you want to spend a couple of days in Zermatt head up the Mattertal from here. You will have to leave your car in Täsch and take the train in to Zermatt, which is car-free.

If you prefer a less "touristy" spot, stop in Mörrel and take the cable car up to Riederalp which sits on the Aletsch glacier, the longest in Europe.

At Sierre you can either take the autoroute (40frs for an autoroute sticker here which lasts 14 months and is required to be on your car in order for you to drive on an autoroute) or you can continue on the route Cantonale and not both with the autoroute. They parallel each other anyway!

If you continue on down the Rhone valley and you are interested in wonderful wines, stop in Vetroz or Chamoson for wine tasteing and a walk in the vineyards.

Sion is a nice town to visit with an unusual fortified church on top of a peak right in the middle of the town! Further down, stop in Martigy, a Roman town with impressive Roman ruins and a world-class art Museum, the Fondation Gianadda. There is also a very good museum dedicated to the St Bernard dog.

From Martigny follow signs to the Gt St Bernard pass and Italy. In summer you can drive over the pass and visit the Hospice where the monks have looked after travellers since about the 4th century! You can also see St Bernard dogs at the pass.

From there you drive down into the Aosta valley. Do not ignore the town of Aosta. It looks industrial and off-putting on the outskirts but the centre of town is, like Martigny, full of Roman ruins and there is an enormous amount to see.

From Aosta, if you continue down towards Ivrea, then head towards Alessandria, and eventually Genoa you will be on the coast. Turn towards Savona and continue on to menton where you will cross into France near Monte Carlo. The journey Martigny-Monte Carlo will take 5 hours of driving, but with stops at the pass and in Aosta, the better part of a day.

I hope you find this interesting - I would be glad to provide more information if you have questions!

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Oberwald
Oberwald
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Obergesteln
Obergesteln
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Rhone
Rhone
Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France
Visp
Visp
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Chamoson
Chamoson
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland
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2. Re: Driving through alps

You don't say how much time you will have for the Swiss part of your trip.

Hambagahle's suggestion is great. However if you have time enough you could extend it and see some other interesting mountain areas of our country: From Como drive along the lake and then on maloja pass (very winding!) to St. Moritz area with its gorgeous lakes, pine forests and glaciers. Then continue via Julier pass to Reichenau and from there along the Rhine valley until Oberalppass to Andermatt. From there follow Hambagahle's route.

Germany
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3. Re: Driving through alps

I agree with oller - drive across Maloja pass (don't miss Soglio). I personally prefer the Albula pass over teh Julier pass, it has less traffic (no trucks) and is IMO more scenic. Also, you can see the spiral tunnels, viaducts etc. of the Albula (Glacier Express) rail route.

London
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4. Re: Driving through alps

Just to add to the good advice, in case this interests you, here are some of my photos of the Grand St. Bernard pass:

tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g188096-d3147…

Also, photos of Aosta in Italy:

tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g187863-Aosta…

Have fun.

Auckland
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5. Re: Driving through alps

MAny thanks for the great advice, we only have a couple of days in Late June this year

Martigny...
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6. Re: Driving through alps

Late June - all the passes will be open. In fact the snow is melting so fast right now there is a very very high avalanche danger!

If you have, say, two nights -

Como to Vallée de Conches - Obergesteln would be great - is easy in one day. Overnight there. Meander down through the villages as I described, and spend your second night in Martigny. Hotel du Forum has a very, very good - and reasonable - brasserie called "l'Olivier". Then Gd St Bernard pass into Italy, stop in Aosta, and on to the coast and so to France...

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Obergesteln
Obergesteln
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
UK
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7. Re: Driving through alps

Hello Hambagahle,

I am picking up on your obvious knowledge of the Goms region. Me and my teenage boys are travelling to Valais from Scuol in August and I thought that Goms/ Brig area would be a good stopover for few nights. boys want to do swimming and golf. I have seen your comment about Hubertus hotel in Obergesteln. I thought it would be good choice as it has pool and tennis and seems nice.There is golf and Brigerbad seems reachable.Or is that crazy to think that we can pop down to Brig every day? I am slightly paranoid traveller ( ok quite a lot paranoid) and as I cannot find any Bewertungen or reviews for this hotel I am bit uneasy about booking it.Many thanks

Bigfatlady

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Obergesteln
Obergesteln
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Martigny...
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8. Re: Driving through alps

It doesn't make too much sense to stay in Ober Goms and then go to Brig every day! The road is narrow-ish and slow. It will take more than an hour each way. If you want to do things around Brig then I suggest you stay much lower down in Goms - Lax for example OR stay in Brig itself. Brig is OK but really not terribly "charming" and neither is Visp.

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Visp
Visp
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
UK
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9. Re: Driving through alps

Thank you very much, I will look closer to Brig for somewhere to stay.

We were supposed to be walking in the area but my husband has smashed his leg skiing last Christmas and his recovery is not going according to plan. So I am hoping that few visits to Brigerbad will be useful for him and fun for the kids.

One more thing if I could ask: is there any access to the Aletch glacier that is less than an hour walk? Perhaps we could see it from top of Eggishorn?

Many thanks

Bigfatlady

Schwyz, Switzerland
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10. Re: Driving through alps

www.golf-source-du-rhone.ch/indexflash.html This is a golfcourse at Obergesteln

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Obergesteln
Obergesteln
Canton of Valais, Switzerland