Drive by car in April to see mountains

Drive by car in April to see mountains

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Posts: 9. This thread is closed.
kellyc
kellyc
4 posts
new member
Aug 20, 2015 - 3:10 PM

We are driving by car from Paris to Switzerland to see Gotthard tunnel in April. Will there be any passes in the mountains we can drive to? We will spend 2 days in the area of interlachen or Lucern and we would like to see the mountains up close. Should we park the car somewhere and explore by train ?

kellyc
kellyc
4 posts
new member
Aug 20, 2015 - 3:35 PM in reply to kellyc

Also can you drive to Tasch in April ?

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 20, 2015 - 5:47 PM in reply to kellyc

Hi kellyc,

When in April do you plan to travel, and will the car have Winter tires? What do you mean by "see the Gotthard tunnel"? Do you plan to visit the construction site of the new railway tunnel?

Last modified on Aug 20, 2015 - 5:47 PM by Arno
kellyc
kellyc
4 posts
new member
Aug 20, 2015 - 9:10 PM in reply to Arno

Hi We are flying April 1 into Paris and renting a car then driving to Switzerland, Austria, Germany, flying out of Munich on April 10. I have started to look on google map for roads to use and I think driving from Paris to Interlachen is about 6 hours. Then we could see the Jungfrau by train. We would like to drive through a tunnel called gotthard, unless there is a better tunnel to see?

Should we make sure of a certain type of car? My husband and I are driving with 3 kids for a 10 day vacation.

kellyc
kellyc
4 posts
new member
Aug 20, 2015 - 9:45 PM in reply to kellyc

Hello again In April are you able to drive up to Lauterbrunnen or grindelwald and park the car to catch a train to the Jungfrau?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Aug 21, 2015 - 12:03 AM in reply to kellyc

Kelly- there is a lot of information on this site about the Jungfrau region:

www.myswissalps.com/be rneseoberland

and

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfrauregion

A lot of the subheadings are informative.

You can drive to Lauterbrunnen and park. Large garage.

Cograil up from there to Jungfraujoch.

You can also drive as far as Grindelwald- not as much parking. Cograil up from there as well.

This guide helps a lot about the region.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

If you have a few minutes space in your itinerary to spare, the area is a candidate. However, April is still ski season. Higher trails are not clear for hiking until about June 1. Would not be surprised to find some hotels closed for between season break.

Lauterbrunnen valley will be accessible, but should have snow on the ground.

As a rule, high alpine passes open in early to mid June. I have never tried to access the Gotthard tunnel in snow season, but it is surely possible. It is not my personal style to like the long tunnels. I'd rather ride a train, but the truck drivers do that tunnel all the time. You'll have company.

The train ride through the Gotthard Pass from Flüelen to Bellinzona and onward is really spectacular. I'd rather ride the train and not have to drive through a long stinky tunnel. All members of the party can move around, look out both sides, get a bite to eat, etc.

<<"We would like to drive through a tunnel called gotthard, unless there is a better tunnel to see?">>

What are your criteria for choosing a tunnel?. Switzerland has about 1 zillion of them, of varying lengths, altitudes, etc.

<<"we would like to see the mountains up close. Should we park the car somewhere and explore by train ?">>

There are a lot of spectacular ways to do that by train. Short trips, day trips, long rides. How much time have you allotted?

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 21, 2015 - 12:50 AM by Slowpoke
Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 21, 2015 - 10:07 AM in reply to kellyc

As mentioned, early April is not the best time for touring the passes by car. Many will still be closed. They will open up between late April and late June, depending on which pass and the weather. There are alternatives though: you can take the trains, or in some cases you can put your car on a train. I used the Oberalp Pass car train (Andermatt to Sedrun) a couple of years ago on April 28. The pass road opened a few days later. But most higher passes will open later.

You need a pretty large car for 5 people plus luggage. But more importantly higher roads like the one to Täsch could still be snowy. They will clear it, but some fresh snow is possible. I would recommend winter tires. But, you only have two days and plan to stay in Interlaken or Lucerne. A day trip to Täsch (Zermatt) would be really long and better be done by train. Even better: concentrate on nearby trips instead. There's a lot to explore, please see the links Slowpoke gave you. As you will see there, you can indeed park your car and do wonderful trips by train and cable car for a couple of days.

I find it hard to comment on which tunnels are better to visit. To me they are all identical and not worth it as a destination in itself. If you like tunnels it might be more interesting to visit the info centers or construction sites of the new Gotthard rail tunnel: www.alptransit.ch/en/v isit-us/visit-us/.

I hope this was useful!

kim11
kim11
322 posts
top member
Aug 21, 2015 - 3:32 PM in reply to Arno

Have you checked what the international drop off charges will be to pick up rental car in France and drop in Germany?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Aug 21, 2015 - 4:35 PM in reply to kellyc

Swiss law requires winter tires or chains during winter in most passes.

I tried to check TCS ( Traffic Club Swiss) to get more info, but my Germans is not good enough. They do French, Itallian, German. No English.

If you rent outside Switzerland, it is wise to follow up on that, so that you meet Swiss winter rules.

Also, to use the expressways in Switzerland you buy a yearly windshield sticker ( a "carnet") which is included with Swiss rental cars. You'll likely have to pay that when you cross the border....maybe 30 CHF? (guessing).

Slowpoke

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