SUSTEN – FURKA - GRIMSEL
History is replete with fascinating tales of heroism, tragedies, and challenges faced by adventurers relating to mountain passes. The Battle of Thermopylae under the Spartan King Leonidas, the historical Khyber Pass & its important strategic regional role, the tragic events of the Donner Party, and of course Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps have all been subjects of books as well as movies, and they continue to fascinate & enchant us to this day.
For those of you looking for a wonderful experience, a drive, hike, cycle, or motorcycle excursion over mountain passes in Switzerland with its majestic alps is the ideal destination. Most Swiss have their favorite mountain pass and will describe it with some pride as if they owned it. First time visitors to Switzerland will often be invited by their hosts to take a day-trip over the alps via one of its many mountain passes. The 3-Pass drive over the Susten, Furka, & Grimsel is one of the more popular ones as it offers incredibly beautiful alpine scenery.
Start your excursion over the alps at Meiringen, the birthplace of the delicious “Meringues”. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fans will undoubtedly want to visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Meiringen. The author spent his holidays in the region. The town can easily be reached from Interlaken & Brienz. From there head toward Innertkirchen where you’ll have to decide whether to start your journey via the Susten Pass or the Grimsel. You can’t go wrong. Both will take you through lovely valleys & landscapes and offer breathtaking views of the alps.
The Susten Pass road, built during WWII for defense reasons, is the first pass road specifically-built for vehicular traffic. It links the Haslital in the Canton of Bern to the Reuss Valley whose river flows in the well-known Lake of Lucerne. Today the Susten Pass is one of the most popular in Switzerland. Having crossed the Pass, at Wassen you’ll head toward Andermatt, the region Goethe declared as “of all places I know, this is the dearest and most interesting to me. On the way you might want to make a stop and visit the “Devil’s Bridge” (Teufelsbrücke) which according to legend was built with the aid of the devil.
From Andermatt head toward the Gotthard Massif, the source of the Rhône River, over the Furka Pass. It is according to many the gold standard for exhilarating & exciting mountain drives. Its switchbacks, steep grades & stunning views have made it a favorite tourist destination. The Furka Pass was featured in the James Bond “Goldfinger” car chase. The views at the top of the Furka Pass as you drive to the Grimsel Pass are breathtaking. On the way you’ll pass the once famous Hotel Belvédère where you can view the receding Rhône glacier. Heading over the Grimsel Pass and down the Hasli Valley in the Bernese Oberland on your way back to Meiringen, you’ll be treated to more magnificent views & sceneries.
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