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Driving over Gotthard Pass

We are driving Lugano to Interlaken and trying to decide between going through the tunnel or going over the pass. I know there is a queue for the tunnel and I believe the road over would be stunning, but I know little about either route. My questions are as follows:

1) Does one take substantially longer than the other?
2) Which is the correct route over. It looks like I can exit the toll road in Airolo and proceed to route 2 over the mountain to Andermatt and then proceed on to Wassen.
3) Is the road over safe in late June and July.
4) Once in Wassen, is it quicker to take Susten Pass to Interlaken or drive up to Stans on the A2?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by
9110 posts

Would you rather cross the ocean in a diesel submarine or the SS France?

  1. Absent long lines for the tunnel or slow traffic on the southern ascent to the pass, there shouldn't be much difference. I've only been through the tunnel once (southbound, no real lines but not much traffic anyway - - or maybe I caught it just right),

  2. Route 2 is the pre-tunnel road.

  3. Yes.

  4. The Susten is at least an hour longer (wild guess, but that's the only way I've gone). The scenery is worth it, I'd think. I've never cut over to Stans.

Edit: My tunnel observation is at least twenty years old and it was a one-way deal at the time. It's been at least ten years since I've been over the pass.

Posted by
9110 posts

See my EDIT. Hopefully somebody else has more recent scoop. I only responded since the question was slipping down in the heap.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks - i had heard the queues can get pretty long. We will be driving over it on both a Saturday and a Thursday...with back end commitments on both sides so we are trying to gauge how long it will really take to get from Lugano to Interlaken, especially if we take Susten pass. I'm allocating a good four hours to be safe.

Posted by
33005 posts

What about the queue for the Gotthard Tunnel? I've been through it many times - admittedly never in the heat of summer because that would mean I was going to Italy in the summer and I never do that - in both directions and never, ever, experienced a queue for cars.

All the trucks are taken off after Luzern southbound and around Bellinzona northbound so that they can be put back on the road (after paying the truck toll and inspection) spaced sufficiently apart. This is a safety measure, and I'm happy for it. Also, quite a few trucks divert onto the truck train. It is required that trucks are no closer to each other in the tunnel than 150 metres.

But, as I said, I've never seen a queue for cars into the tunnel. I suppose it might happen if they have to close a lane.

The tunnel is very straightforward. What I do is set my cruise control to 100kph (I think its 100) and just head through. There are areas that break-downs can stop in, and well as well marked and lit sanctuary areas.

The full length of the tunnel is fully ventilated, and covered by Swiss radio, and my Garmin satnav works in the tunnel.

The tunnel really is a non-event. It just needs a bit of concentration....

  • = -

The Susten Pass is the one for the run into Interlaken if you want to miss the tunnel.

I don't know how you do with mountain driving so it is hard to say if one way or the other is faster for you. Of course, there is the Brunig Pass to negotiate after surfacing from the Gotthard Tunnel and turning left in the vicinity of Luzern.

The only time I run that pass was in mid June and there were snow banks at least 15 feet high in places, and a delightful lack of traffic in the rain.

  • = -

I wouldn't want to try to persuade you one way or the other. Different people prefer different things.

Posted by
16894 posts

I have not driven that route, but when I do, I'm sure I'll prefer to take time for the more scenic route.