Scenic drive options in Switzerland in November?

Scenic drive options in Switzerland in November?

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maverickart
maverickart
3 posts
new member
Oct 3, 2017 - 11:09 PM

Hi, I am considering doing a Swiss road trip and thought of doing Basel to Lugano (or Bern to Geneva via Lucerne). Major considerations are whether the route would be scenic at this time of the year, and whether roads will be drivable. Can someone pls comment if either of these routes would be reasonably scenic, and also, whether I will encounter snow/slippage on the roads, as that may bother me.

I know Swiss rail system is awesome, but I prefer 4 wheels over anything. Thus, if there is any other route in Switzerland (or Austria for that matter) that is more suitable by these two dimensions (scenic beauty and drivability), pls share. Will be much appreciated.

Many thanks

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4702 posts
expert
Oct 4, 2017 - 12:59 AM in reply to maverickart

HI Maverickart-

Welcome to My Swiss Alps!

<<" Hi, I am considering doing a Swiss road trip and thought of doing Basel to Lugano (or Bern to Geneva via Lucerne). Major considerations are whether the route would be scenic at this time of the year, and whether roads will be drivable">>

When exactly?

The weather is quite changeable as one goes into Winter.

Your latter suggested route is more likely to be trouble free. Of course, the Brunig Pass gets quite heavy on weekends.

Slowpoke

maverickart
maverickart
3 posts
new member
Oct 4, 2017 - 1:59 AM

Hi Slowpoke, Thanks for the info. Am planning to do it in 2nd week of November.

Should I expect to see some jaw dropping scenery, or will it be mostly foggy?

Last modified on Oct 4, 2017 - 2:09 AM by maverickart
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4702 posts
expert
Oct 4, 2017 - 7:58 AM in reply to maverickart

Hi maverickart -

In the Alps, and indeed, in all of Switzerland, the weather is dominated by altitude.

So, the route from Bern to Geneva via Luzern would be passable essentially all year, unless you happened by bad luck to hit a snowy or cold day with rain/ice on the Brunig pass at 1000 meters or in the Simmental. I don't know anything about the roads between Spiez and Montreux; the high point at Saanenmöser is at about 1250 meters. I have always taken the train, but there are mountain views. Mostly, on that overall route from Bern you would see the Alps from a distance. Not really close up Alpine scenery.

If you wish to drive from Basel to Lugano in November, the high mountain passes will mostly be closed due to snow. Most all of them close in October:

www.myswissalps.com/ca r/trafficinfo

www.myswissalps.com/ca r/cartrains

www.alpen-paesse.ch/en/

www.alpineroads.com/ur i.php#gottard

The Gotthard might be open.

Two common routes from Basel through Switzerland to Lugano would either be to drive through the lower altitudes to Luzern, then south to and over the Gotthard Pass.

Or, the alternative is to drive to Bern, then Spiez and take the car train inside a tunnel over the Lotschberg, to Goppenstein, and down to Brig, drive followed by the Simplon Pass and a drive at lower altitudes in Italy. I don't know the details of the route after Brig. There is a car train. The drive up from Spiez to the loading station at Kandersteg is a nice mountain valley with some good views.

For the Gotthard - The best scenery over the old pass route would be risky if it is even open in early or mid November. The weather can change rapidly in the Alps and snow and ice would be a potential problem. The lower altitude tunnel with the modern highway would be open, but, the inside of that tunnel is not very scenic, so you would see mostly the approach roads set into the valleys, rather than the view from the peaks.

To predict the weather successfully in detail this far in advance is not really possible.

www.myswissalps.com/ab outswitzerland/nature

In November, you could have sunny days, but clouds and fog would be more likely. By December, Winter weather sets in, and there can be many days with fog at low levels as you note ( as there were in early December last year, or the typical Central European cloud deck above a few hundred meters. The Swiss get their sunshine by going up over 2000 meters, above the deck, but they do it by train and mountain transport in the ski regions.

I have attached a couple of pictures taken in mid-December in 2016, showing fog that persisted for weeks.

I have not done a lot of Alpine driving in Switzerland, other than in the Summer months. I'd not like to do it in the Winter, when snow ice on the roads could make the driving either treacherous or impossible. At high altitudes, November is essential a Winter month.

By the way, when you drive the high Alpine pass roads, thepassengers get all the views. The driver is busy working hard to follow the twist and turns, and has little time to look around.

I'd take the train - such as the Glacier Express:

www.myswissalps.com/ac tivities/scenictrips/t rain

Or, I'd go in September.

(By the way, there was snow at Männlichen above Wengen, altitude about 2300 meters, in August).

Slowpoke

So, your route would involve the insides of tunnels or car-trains ( over the Lötschberg Pass

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maverickart
maverickart
3 posts
new member
Oct 4, 2017 - 9:25 PM

Thank you so much for your detailed answer Slowpoke. Very helpful!

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