Driving in November thru Switzerland

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Jul 20th, 2012, 05:12 PM
  #1
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Driving in November thru Switzerland

I know you will roll your eyes, but I need someone's honest opinion. We're in our 50's, renting a car in Germany and wanting to drive to Vaduz, and then, weather permitting, drive south to Lake Como area. It will be November (only time we can take vacation), and we're not experienced winter drivers (live in hot, sunny Texas).
My question is: Is the road from Vaduz to Como winding and scary or is it comfortable, wide highway, that is cleared in case of snow?
Please help, I'm dying to see northern Italy, even if it's in November...
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Jul 21st, 2012, 03:44 AM
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All depends on the weather which is not predictable unfortunately. You can take the motorway via the San Gottardo tunnel all the way to the Ticino. If there would be heavy snowfall you could get a problem as snow and ice equipment is inforced by law in Switzerland if you drive on snow or ice. And driving like this is sometimes even difficult for used drivers (see the many accidents).
So my honest meaning is: Yes, it is possible but I would prefer to recommend not to drive in November.
pore
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Jul 21st, 2012, 07:20 AM
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pore, thank you for your input.
Snow and ice equipment? You just changed our mind. We might give up rent-a-car idea, and just use public transportation. Or, enjoy Switzerland when we can vacation in spring or summer.
Again, I appreciate you taking the time to answer. Best regards.
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Jul 21st, 2012, 10:23 AM
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If you have never driven in snow I definitely would not recommend doing so through the Alps. There are some highways - near major cities and into/through the major tunnels. But much of the driving is on roads that are one lane in each direction with unpaved shoulders and frequently near significant drop offs. This is especially true on the Italian side.

The winter gear for the car wouldn't be a problem - the rental company will provide it - but after having seen the results of a few inches of snow in Cincinnati (NOT a southern city IMHO) I always reco people drive in snow only if they are very experienced.

Separately you really don;t want to be in the Italian lakes in November. Many places (hotels and rests) are closed for the season, the countryside is brown and crunchy and the beauty just won;t be there.
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Jul 21st, 2012, 10:57 AM
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The title of this thread jerked me right back to the many scary moments I had in winter in Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Italy back in the 60's.

I lived on an army post in Germany and used to take winter trips, mainly for skiing. I remember my little VW sedan fishtailing on mountain roads on the way to Gstaad, Switzerland. I was terrified!

But the most memorable event occurred when my car did a 360 plus another 180 spin on a narrow road returning from Selva di Gardena in the Dolomites of Italy. I'm not kidding. The car made a complete circle, then a half circle and ended up sliding backwards down this road. Fortunately, the road was lined with a strong rock wall, so we did not plunge 1000 or so feet down into the valley.

I was not driving. My driver was a friend from Idaho who had driven a lot on snowy mountain roads in Idaho. She was very cool and confident about the driving, and the only damage my car suffered was a dent in one fender. My nerves were not undamaged.

You might have clear roads and good driving, but I wouldn't count on it.

My guidebook lists three train routes that go through the Alps. I'd definitely be interested in doing one or more of those. My guide lists the Glacier Express, the Engadine Express, and the Palm Express.
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Jul 21st, 2012, 01:32 PM
  #6
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Thank you everyone. I knew I will get good advice. And you're right, many hotels I checked out around Como ARE closed in November.
I did look at trains in the meantime, and it looks like a better option. Not crazy about hauling luggage, but we will have to pack light. Very light. Train routes you mention look amazing. Even if it's fraction what it looks like in the photos, it will be much prettier than our flat Texas.
Thanks again. You've made up my mind!
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Jul 28th, 2012, 05:44 AM
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While using public transport in Switzerland, you can send your baggage ahead by rail - see http://www.sbb.ch/en/station-service...s/baggage.html -. This can be a great service for the larger bags.
pore
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Nov 12th, 2015, 01:22 AM
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It's November 12.

Living in Switzerland, I just wanted to say the weather has been glorious in the alps these past two weeks. Yesterday, we took our convertible and drove over the Susten, Grimsel and Furka passes in sunshine and warm temperatures. Because it was a Wednesday, we were the only ones on the road. THIS is one of the best things to do in Switzerland (besides hiking, of course.) The views were stunning, the skies were cloudless and the mountains were beckoning.

November is becoming a tremendous month for hiking and driving through the alps but there's sadly no guarantee the weather will be like this on a yearly basis.
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Nov 12th, 2015, 08:14 AM
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Strange to comment on such an old posting but I agree with kleebatt.

Unbelievable weather in Como. I have not removed the tomato plants in the garden as the final cherry tomatoes are still ripening.
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Nov 12th, 2015, 09:22 AM
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More evidence of global warming. At least Switz won't be under water in 20 or 30 years like many coastal places will.
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Nov 12th, 2015, 09:28 AM
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nytraveler - just the jetstream
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