Scenic drives in Switzerland

Great St Bernard Pass, photo by Tomislav Medak on Flickr

Switzerland is by no means the largest country in Europe, yet it would take quite a lot of time to wader around it on foot in order to see some of the best spots in one shot. Unless you are a really resilient hiker with lots of time on your hand, the easiest way to get a good glimpse of Switzerland’s natural beauty is to take a drive. There is no shortage of scenic drives in Switzerland, considering that there’s hardly a spot in the country that can’t be considered picturesque in some way. Green valleys, mountains covered in dense woods, blue lakes and sparkling white glaciers are some of the eyecandy that will pop up on your way. Here are some of the scenic drives you can take in Switzerland, if you need an idea as to where to start.

Martigny to San Bernardino through the Great St Bernard Pass

Great St Bernard is the highest (and also one of the most stunning) passes in Europe, connecting the Swiss canton of Valais to Italy. This road trip will take you to Italy, to the edges of the country or as far as Aosta or Milan. The drive is on route E27, joining Martigny to Aosta, but the drive is not any less scenic if you start at Basel (in case you want a longer drive). You get to see the Dranse River, the desolate Dranse d’Entremont valley, go through the Great St Bernard Tunnel and then follow the winding historic road in the pass itself.

Bernina Pass

Furka Pass, photo by Andrew and Annemarie on Flickr

The road through Bernina Pass connects the famous resort of St Moritz with Val Poschiavo in Italy, and it has been used since the Middle Ages as a supply route. The travelers of the past were in too much danger of getting frostbite in order to appreciate the scenery, but in the safety of a car you can focus on admiring one of the most dramatic landscapes in Switzerland. A three hour drive will take you from St Moritz to the Italian town of Tirano.

Gletsch to Realp through Furka Pass

Furka pass and its hairpin beds will definitely put your driving skills to the test, but whenever you can take your eyes off the road, you will be greeted by an utterly spellbinding scenery. Of course, if you’re in the passenger seat, there’s nothing to stop you from losing yourself in the beauty of the glaciers feeding the Rhine and rugged rocks. You can also stop on the way to take a look at a few ice caves. Start at the scenic hamlet of Gletsch in Valais and stop at the equally lovely hamlet of Realp.


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