Switzerland is true bliss for those who love a good ole’ road trip. In that field, it has no reason to envy countries like Scotland, New Zealand or even the US. It’s easy to drive around, the distances are relatively small, there are no tolls and the landscape is not only scenic, but varies unbelievably from one place to the next. And, to top it all off, there’s something for everyone: from driving through picture perfect green rolling hills to alpine passes made for those with a little more experience, from coastal roads around one of our 1’500 lakes to driving through chocolate box villages and little towns, you’ll never find a reason to ask “Are we there yet”?
No matter the experience you’re looking for or what part of the country you’re planning to visit, there’s something for you here. This was a tricky exercise, but we managed to cut down our list to only five of our favorite scenic routes around the country!
1. The Lavaux
There is no “specific road” per se, but just letting the top down and cruising around the UNESCO-protected Lavaux region with the vineyards on one side of you and the lake with the French Alps as a backdrop on the other side is absolutely unique. Taste the flavor of Swiss wine at a local winery, drive through the charming little villages, stop at one of the many delicious local eateries or just sit on a bench and take in the moment. We’ve been coming here time after time for years just to admire the splendor and realize how lucky we are to live in such a breath-taking part of the world.
2. Col de la Croix
The “Col de la Croix” doesn’t have any world-famous attractions or acclaimed landmarks to put it on the tourist map. But maybe, that’s what makes it so special – it just displays raw, untouched nature at its finest. This pretty quick drive, which takes no more than 45 minutes, will take you in the summer through lush green fields, majestic mountain peaks and the Swiss “Mom and Pop” restaurants where you’ll pretty much only find locals.
3. The Simmental & Les Pays d’En Haut
Driving through the alpine roads that lead you from Lake Geneva up to Gstaad and through the Simmental can sometimes feel like something out of Swiss fairytale. It’s everything you ever imagined Switzerland to be: the traditional chalets with the painted facades, the cute villages, the cows (on the road), the green grass, the flowers, the impressive mountain peaks and the Swiss flag… it’s all there. It just doesn’t get much more perfect than that.
4. Grimsel Pass
So let’s turn up the notch to a true, one of a kind, alpine pass. The Grimsel Pass, which connects the Haslital to Goms in the Valais, is not to be missed by road trip enthusiasts, those with a good sports car, or those who are just looking experience one of the world’s most scenic alpine passes. Here, you’ll experience everything from tunnels, to dams, without forgetting the steep rocks, crystal caves, power stations, the iconic Grimsel Hospiz hotel and of course, the incredible panorama at the top at 2’165m in altitude.
5. The Albula Pass (& pretty much every other mountain pass in the Grisons)
No real Swiss road trip is complete without cruising through one of the Grisons’ famed alpine passes. While they all are special in their own way, the Albula Pass is the one that struck us the most. When we drove through this pass last summer, we were instantly transported back to our road trip through the wild, untouched Scottish highlands. The similarities were so notable as we drove through the rocky peaks and the vast landscapes… and just like in Scotland, we felt so small compared to the nature all around us. While you’re here, don’t forget to stop for a taste of the local “Capuns” at the Albula Hospiz, and then digest your meal in “the most beautiful spot in Switzerland”, the Lai da Palpuogna (Palpuogna Lake) idyllically set in the forest overlooking the mountain panorama.