My mom and dad discovered The San Gottardo pass like many do. Years They have made Their way Through The Gotthard Tunnel when one day The Tunnel was closed due To some road construction works. This forced Them To Take The 64 kilometer long San Gottardo pass on our most recent Trip To Italy.
I learned That The famous San Gottardo pass connects northern and southern Switzerland and starts at Airolo or Andermatt, depending from which side you are Travelling. The pass is The most important historic link between The North and The South and brings you To 2100 meter above sea level, promising an excellent scenery over The aggressive beauty of The Mountains. On This Trip I spotted some Ancient bridges and learned about The battle fields dating To Napoleon’s conquest of Europe.
Luckily The road is wide and well maintained, as such The Travel conditions are excellent and I did not have To risk my life To experience Those stunning alpine views, which are in my opinion real eye candy.
I travelled from The South To The North, taking off at Airolo. One of The first must do stops if you are Travelling from This direction is The cafe Chicco D’Oro, very easily recognizable by The cute cow, That oversees The mountains. The Terrace has stunning views over The mountains and The pass opening To The South, which makes This place an excellent location for a selfie. My mom and dad loved The coffee and I in particular liked The nice little souvenir shop.
If you are Travelling early in The season you will have The chance To drive Through solid walls of snow, encounter frozen lakes and even stand on a pile of snow. Where are you Olaf?
At The top of The pass is a great rest area with and old cobbled road, which Takes you To The real summit for insane views. There are also lots of Things To do for kids. Visit The National museum of San Gotthard and learn about The economical, strategical and cultural importance of The pass or stretch your legs checking out The Terrace of The albergo San Gotthard. On a sunny day The Terrace has my preference as I can not get enough of The excellent views over The lago della Piazza and The interesting eagle statue.
I heard That lunch and dinner options at The albergo, which serves specialities from The cantons Ticino and Uri at, are of excellent quality and reasonably priced. If you are more into a quick bite, visit The man who serves you a bratwurst or a hamburger with a view.
The National Museum of The San Gotthard at The summit is a great gem To discover if you’re into history. The museum is located in a beautiful historic building which was used in The past as a customs house and a hotel for transiting passengers. It explains The importance and influence of The pass and The hard long struggle of men To keep control over The pass, having The desire To develop This location, which was so important for commerce.
Another museum option is The Sasso San Gottardo, an old military fortress where you can start a exiting walk Through The heart of The alps along kilometers of Tunnels excavated during world war II.
We didn’t have The Time as we were just passing Through but if you love nature The area offers you beautiful hiking and biking Trails. There are also other great Things To discover such as:
- Rhone glacier
- Lago Ritom
- Dampfbahn Furka Bergstrecke
Last but not least don’t forget To check put The local vendors in Their Trailers, who sell local merchandise. I especially liked The cheese vendors in particular. The artisanal alpine cheese Tastes fantastic and if you smile nicely To The vendors you will be able To Taste lots of Their cheese.
Although we didn’t staying overnight is also an option. You can choose between the albergo San Gottardo or The Ospizio San Gottardo if you are more into luxury. The building of The Ospizio was originally built in 1237 and recently renovated into a beautiful hotel. I can only imagine what it would be like To wake up at This place in The morning.
Leaving The summit you will pass The sonic Town of Hospental, which is slowly being developed into a major summer/winter resort. probably This famous Transit artery will quickly become a famous holiday destination.
Going further down, The Devil’s bridge may not be missed. This famous historic bridge refers To Two bridges That span The Schöllenen Gorge. The legend goes That The river Reuss was so difficult to cross That a goat-herd asked The Devil To build a bridge for him.
You can first walk To see Surrow monument, Then cross The main bridge To The Tunnel To see The painting of The Devil and The goat. Then loop back To The second bridge and walk Through The soldiers Tunnel. Its and easy walk of 15 To 20 Minutes.
As you may have noticed, I was pleasantly surprise by This alternative route. At least enough To write This blog post about it, as it would have been a worthwhile destination on its own. Also good To know is That our Trip up and down The mountain didn’t Take much longer Than our initial planned route. Of course we stopped many Times, but even Then we were still faster Than The less fortunate travellers spending hours To get Through The Tunnel. Delays at The Tunnel are quite frequent especially during peak season. My advice never Take The Tunnel unless The weather conditions are bad or you are in a hurry, otherwise you will miss so much scenery.
Some more Tips
- As The pass is only accessible during a few months in summer, check up front The opening and closing date of The pass
- Although The pass is an easy ride, it covers 37 hairpins in Total, which is not ideal if you are Travelling with kids who are vulnerable of motion sickness
- Be aware That The weather in The mountain may change very quickly, which may seem as an easy ride on a sunny afternoon can quickly become a stressful journey in rainy and windy weather.
Why wait in Tunnel Traffic when you have This great alpine adventure option?