Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

With roads that unspool down steep mountainsides, glacial lakes glinting far below and the summits of the Alps towering in every direction, Switzerland is unquestionably one of the best places in the world for a drive like no other. The roads themselves are in perfect condition, meaning all you need to do is choose the right car – classic or modern – and take your pick from one of these sensational routes. Whichever one you go for, you’re bound to be wowed by the scenery and left exhilarated by every twist and turn of the journey.

Furka Pass

If the dizzying hairpins of the Furka Pass seem familiar, that’s because this is the scene of James Bond’s most famous car chase. Sean Connery was behind the wheel of his Aston Martin DB5 for that centrepiece of Goldfinger, but you don’t need to have one of the greatest cars of all time to enjoy the majesty of this route. Running from Gletsch to Realp, it’s replete with viewpoints for those who want more than just a passing view of Alpine meadows and the Rhone Glacier in their rear-view mirror. The Ice Grotto near the Hotel Bellevue, tunnelled into the glacier, is well worth pulling over for. Reaching 2,429 metres, this is a pass built for drivers who love the challenge of tight turns linked by long straights.

Great St Bernard Pass

The Great St Bernard Pass serves up truly epic views of the Valais Alps, not to mention the chance to put your driving skills to the test. This Swiss classic is found near the Italian border and just east of Mont Blanc, soaring to 2,469 metres. The route is steeped in history, with Celtic tribes believed to have used the pass before it became a road for trading during the Roman Empire. Napoleon’s army also passed this way in 1800. Today the road is best travelled from Martigny to Aosta in Italy, with the best section the series of hairpins that lead to the top of the pass. Be sure to stop at the Great St Bernard Hospice, dating back to 1049 and still providing travellers with a handy rest stop before tackling the descent into Italy.


San Bernardino Pass

Not to be confused with the Great St Bernard Pass in the west of the country, the San Bernardino Pass connects German and Italian speaking Switzerland. And while a six-kilometre tunnel, open since 1967, means you can drive between Hinterhein and San Bernardino all year round, between May and November it’s all about the old road which snakes across the Alps, an old mule route that dates back over 500 years. Long a favourite among classic car owners, this pass is wild, rugged and beautiful. Drive high into the Alps on a smooth and winding road with glaciers sliding down the steep slopes above. The pine trees and ancient bogs give it an ethereal atmosphere that’s best enjoyed with the top down on a warm summer’s day. Stop for a breath of fresh mountain air at Laghetto Moesola, where the pass tops out at 2,066 metres.

Susten Pass

The road from Innertkirchen to Wassen can be covered in just under an hour. But in those sixty minutes you’ll cross the stunning Susten Pass, with the chance to glide along open valley roads and tackle tight hairpins as you close in on the summit at 2,224 metres, before passing through verdant forests. Bridges and tunnels abound, as do views of the Alps in every direction. The variety is what makes this one of the best driving roads in Switzerland and while it can be easy to put your foot down and enjoy the drive, don’t miss the chance to stop and clamber up the Stein Glacier. The road is open throughout summer, from June until October, when the encroaching snow makes it impassable.


Julier Pass

The long, sweeping curves of the Julier Pass are the stuff of legend among classic car fans. Found in the canton of Graubünden, there’s been a road here since 1820, but the route itself was used by the Romans too, with the ruins of a former sanctuary here to prove it. It was paved in the late 1930s, the first Alpine pass to benefit from the joys of asphalt. For the full experience, it’s best to drive this glorious road south from Chur to St Moritz. The rewards are plentiful, with awe-inspiring views emerging around each and every corner. Steep and winding, the Julier Pass is heaven from behind the wheel, regardless of what you are driving.

Simplon Pass

A historic route through the mountains, the Simplon Pass, running from Brig to Domodossola in northern Italy, became the road it is today after Napoleon demanded a new route for artillery through the Alps in the early 1800s. While its days on the forefront of European conflict are long gone, the resulting route is one of Switzerland’s most joyous rides. Rather than being cut into the mountains, it follows the contours of the peaks, making things a bit more smooth and less challenging, ideal for first timers looking for a taste of Alpine driving. Make a stop at the Simplon Hospice at the summit and be sure to stop for a picture of the Ganter Bridge too.

Our Revival partner, Switzerland Tourism, has put together an incredible Grand Tour which celebrates the very best this stunning country has to offer. The more than 1,000-mile route takes in four of Switzerland’s distinct linguistic regions and traverses five beautiful Alpine passes taking you to 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites and along the shores of 22 pristine lakes. You can explore the route and find out more, here.

You can win your own amazing trip to Switzerland, including three days in a Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet by entering here.


By Lala