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driving the Alps: Swiss, Austria, Italy and France

driving the Alps: Swiss, Austria, Italy and France

Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 12:05 PM
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driving the Alps: Swiss, Austria, Italy and France

I just started planning this trip: will fly to Zurich and rent a car for this. I have drafted a rough itinerary with legs as follows:
1) Zurich to Davos
2) Davos to Cortina d'Ampezzo (via Gerlos Pass)
3) Cortina to St. Moritz via Stelvio and Bernina passes
4) St. Moritz to Lake Como via San Bernardino pass
5) Lake Como to Stresa, Italy
6) Stresa, Italy to Chaminox, France via Simplon Pass
7) Chaminox, France to Annecy, France
8) Annecy, France to Lausanne
9) Lausanne to Interlaken (will do Susten, Furka and Grimsel passes from there)
10) Interlaken to Lucerne, then back to Zurich

I'm hoping for insights into "must see" routes and scenic stops, roads to avoid, other driving challenges and any other tips from those experienced with traveling these routes.
Any "must see" places that I've missed on my list?
Thanks,
Mi
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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 01:05 PM
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Attached is my itinerary for the French Alps. Also something about the weather in Mt Blanc.

Stu Dudley
Attached Files
File Type: doc
Alps.doc (69.0 KB, 57 views)
File Type: doc
Mt Blanc area weather.doc (31.0 KB, 30 views)
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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 04:03 PM
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thank you so much! Your route to Annecy was exactly what I've been looking at, so glad to know it's a good one. Also, thanks for the many insights on day trips, shopping, and lodging. Very helpful!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 04:09 PM
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Mi
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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 06:07 PM
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Looks like it's going to be a wonderful trip. Why don't you tell us:
When are you going?
How long do you plan to spend?
What do you like to do? (Hike, eat, boating, etc.)

It almost sounds like you plan to do a long road trip and will enjoy the driving and viewing. Is that the case?
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 01:49 AM
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Your plans for days 2,3, 6 and 9 are too ambitious.
It's feasible, of course, but you will have to bypass all the gems along your itinerary and will finally have seen nothing but roads and restaurants along the roads.

Day 1:
It's a good idea not to drive too far away after a overnight flight. But Davos isn't particularly interesting nor is ist situated along the way to Austria, country that you plan to cross on day 2.
Why not drive from ZRH directly to Austria and spend your first night at a place like Bregenz (Lake Constance), Schruns or St. Anton am Arlberg?

Day 2:
Gems to visit a long the itinerary (if you start at Davos): Fuela Pass, natural thermal spa and castle of Scuol-Tarasp, Lake Seefeld, medieval city of Innsbruck, Ambras castle, Svarovsky Kristallwelten Wattens, Lake Achensee, Gerlos Pass, Waterfalls of Krimml, Lake Zell am See, Grossglockner Pass, Franz Josef Haus and Glockner Glacier, medieval city of Lienz, Toblach and Lago di Braies, Lake Toblach, Lake Misurina, Tre Cime del Lavaredo, Tre Croci Pass.........

Day 3:
Gems to visit a long the itinerary: Cortina d'Ampezzo, WW1 fortifications and battlefields along Falzarego Pass road, Andraz castle, Pordoj Pass, Sella Pass, Ortisei, Alpe die Siusi, medieval city center of Bozen with it's world famous Oetzi musseum, resort city of Meran, Schenna castle, Tyrol castle, Val Senales with the highest situated hotel of the Alps (Grawand 11.000 feet above sea level), Glurns (smallest entirely walled city of Europe), medieval monastery of Mustair (Unesco site), Stelvio road, natural thermal spa of Bormio, resort town of Bormio, Foscagno Pass, Eira Pass, Livigno Pass, Bernina Pass, gondola to Diavolezza Glacier, rope railway to viewpoint Muottas Muragl.....

Day 4:
The direct road St. Moritz - Lake Como is much more scenic than the detour via Thusis - San Bernardino - Belllinzona. If you are interested in the 3 medieval castles of Bellinzona (Unesco site), you can visit them on day 5 as well: Menaggio (Lake Como) - Lake Lugano - Lugano - Bellinzona - Locarno - Ascona - Stresa.

Day 5 and 6:
It might be easier to skip Stresa and to stay around Lugano instead. From there you could go by motorway to Airolo amd to continue on Pass roads (Nufenen Pass - Furka Pass - Susten Pass - Grimsel Pass) to Brig and go on up to Chamonix (if you are not interested in the churches, castles, medieval towns, Roman buildings and excavations, revolving glacier restaurants, underground lakes, thermal spas, glacier railways, gorges, etc. along the itinerary)..

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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 02:07 AM
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How long have you actually got for this trip? When is it? If you only have 10 days it is too ambitious.
Do not please drive far on arrival, for you safety and that of other road users.
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 07:47 AM
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Please tell us this is a 3-4 week trip....
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 08:16 AM
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MichGuy, it is, first of all, a "driving and viewing" trip to see the scenery of the Alps. I've done similar trips in other regions of the world where there is too much abundant scenery to just visit one or two destinations. It's half way around the world for me, and, as I get older, I realize that these are probably a once-in-my-lifetime/never-to-return trips for me. I can't do long hikes any longer, but I do enjoy nature walks, and prefer small, quaint villages to large "touristy" cities.
I'm planning the trip June-July 2023 and plan to stay a few days at some of the stops, just haven't figures out where yet.
Mi
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 08:57 AM
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Wow! So many wonderful suggestions, it will take me some time to research them all and determine what changes I'll make to my itinerary. Just to clarify, the numbers were not days, they were just planned stops. I plan to stay in each stop according to how much time I feel that I'll need once I know more about what is attractive to me locally. I have done a few of these overnight flights before, and learned myself not to go far on the first day. So, "day 1" will be my "day" to visit all that the big city of Zurich has to offer within walking distance from my "old town" hotel. I'm not much on big cities, so if I'm too tired to do much, that's okay.

I added Davos as a one-night stop to get me on the road toward Austria, as I had been thinking of driving trough Liechtenstein after leaving Zurich. But that might change after I research your Austrian suggestions....
Thanks so much for the suggestion on omitting San Bernardino Pass. However, I do love Italy, but haven't spent much time in the northern provinces, so I like the idea of a couple of days in Stresa on my way to the French Alps.
And, I AM INTERESTED in the churches, castles, medieval towns, underground lakes, I love gorges, thermal spas, etc, but mostly the beauty of nature and not-so-commercial experiences. So, please continue to share your knowledge and experience with me. I so much appreciate you!
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 09:01 AM
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Instead of going to Annecy, take the rooute des Grandes Alpes to Briançon, cross the border back to Italy and then cross over to Switzerland using the Great St. Bernard Pass.

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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 09:23 AM
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"I do love Italy, but haven't spent much time in the northern provinces"
May be you don't raelize that in your legs 2 an 3 you will well drive through areas belonging to the Republic of Italy, but that these areas have almost nothing to do with Italianita. The mother tongue of almost all people between Lienz in Osttirol and Stelvio Pass is either German or Ladin (a language spoken in the Dolomites and in the Swiss Canton of Graubünden). So is the architecture. This areas belonged to Austria since the end of the Roman Empire and got "Italian" in the last Century only.
The area between Stelvio and Bernina (Valtellina) belonged until 1800 to the Swiss Canton of Graubunden and then to Austria until 1860.
The Swiss Canton of Ticino (Lugano - Bellinzona - Locarno) looks much more "Italian" (cuisine included)..
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Old Jun 25th, 2022, 02:01 PM
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neckervd, thank you for the clarification on the history of the region. I do plan to visit the Ticino region as well.
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Old Aug 31st, 2022, 01:13 PM
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From Davis to Cortina are you driving through the Vinschgau/Val Venosta? Littered with castles. Favorite is Churburg. Gerlos Pass? I’d suggest rounding Bolazano and heading through the Val D’Egga to the Sella Pass and then over the Gardena Pass (my favorite to drive, favorite scenery too) to Cortina.

paul
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Old Sep 23rd, 2022, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by pja1 View Post
From Davis to Cortina are you driving through the Vinschgau/Val Venosta? Littered with castles. Favorite is Churburg. Gerlos Pass? I’d suggest rounding Bolazano and heading through the Val D’Egga to the Sella Pass and then over the Gardena Pass (my favorite to drive, favorite scenery too) to Cortina.

paul
Thank you for your suggestions. Unfortunately, I've changed my itinerary and won't be going through Davos. My plan now is to head to Innsbruck from Zurich, then south to Gerlos Alpine Road over Gerlos Pass to Krimml Falls, then on to the Grossglockner High Alpine Road and Tre Croci Pass on my way to Cortina. When I leave Cortina, I had planned my route through Alpe di Siusi and on to Stelvio Pass then St. Moritz So, are you saying that you prefer route through Val D'Egga via Sella Pass and Gardena Pass in lieu of Alpe di Siusi?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2022, 09:22 AM
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Were you planning to drive Cortina to St. Moritz in one day??

IMO, there isn't much difference between the two routes from Cortina to St. Moritz. It's all fantastic scenery, just different scenery. You'll cross the Passo Gardena either way, and you'll be missing other great scenery either way. If you had a couple of days, you could see both Val d'Ega and Val Gardena and other passes and valleys. Do some searches on images.google.com to compare the scenery along both routes.
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