St Gotthard Pass
- Worth a visit? Without a doubt!
A stunning journey whether you are in the snow or sun. Well worth taking the extra 45 minutes or so, compared to the road tunnel journey.
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Generally speaking, when travelling through Switzerland en route to Italy, we use the A2 motorway and hence travel through the St Gotthard road tunnel which is a whopping 17 kilometres long. On approach to the St Gotthard road tunnel, there are signs for the St Gotthard Pass with indications as to whether the pass is open or closed. As a rough guide, allow 15 minutes to transit the St Gotthard road tunnel and one hour to use the St Gotthard Pass, so an increase to the journey time of 45 minutes or so.
The map above shows the route of the St Gotthard Pass.
We travelled the route from North to South and the ascent was a lot less complex than the descent. My “golden rule” for these sort of roads is to “come down in the same gear as you go up”.
The route to Italy via the St Gotthard Pass is in my opinion well worth the extra 45 minutes or so. The temperature at the top was just 6 degrees C, whilst at the bottom it was 19 degrees C. The pass reaches a height of 2108 metres above sea level. However, you have already made a good climb to get to the base – I would estimate about 1000 metres or so.
We both found another bonus too – listening to the cows strolling about, their bells clanging and playing tunes.
St Gotthard Pass – south to north
Later in the year, we were back again, this time travelling on the St Gotthard pass from the south towards the north. The weather conditions were absolutely perfect for this type of driving and sight-seeing. At the top, we noted several motorhomes that appeared to be bunked down. Whilst wild camping in Switzerland is not allowed, I suspect that in these remote areas, no one gives too much attention to passing ‘vans.
….as always, we found a spot to park up, have a brew and take in the scenery.
Following the journey over the St Gotthard pass, you may also like to read our thoughts and have a look at the pics of the Simplon Pass – click here,
In winter of 2016, we also tackled the Julier Pass in Switzerland and spent the night at Bivio, some 2000 metres above sea level – watch the dash cam footage here!
St Gotthard Pass in June!
Update – we have used the pass many times, the latest occasion being 2016, when there was still much snow about!