Road trips – first trip was planned for my 2016, two cars like to Lotus Elise S1 and an Audi S4 Cabriolet.
The plan was to go to the Swiss Alps and finally into Italy to the famous Stelvio pass. We would travel from the UK via the Eurotunnel stop off in western France then drive through Switzerland, down to the Gottard tunnel. We would then headed up into the mountains via the national roads east and then over the border into Italy where we planned to stay fro two nights in Bormio.
Having got into France we headed south on the A26 & A5, there was a fuel strike in France so we took a couple of Jerry cans in the Audi (don’t tell Mr Eurotunnel!!) The thirsty Audi was filled up, the Lotus took a little drink as well. We then picked up the N19 and headed towards Belfort close to the Swiss border for an overnight stay at a wonderful Chateau (Chateau de la Houillere). The price was a little less than a stay at a Travelodge in the UK, for 85 Euros for B&B it was exceptional value for money and was just what we needed after a long first days drive. Christophe our host was happy for us to take some picture with the cars at the front of this wonderful building which we made the most of!
After a great evening we travelled into Switzerland driving through Basel and picking up the A3 then the A2 down to Lucerne and then on towards the Gottard Tunnel. Note – you do need to pay to drive on the Swiss motorways, you have to have a Vignette displayed in your front window (more info here) these are £32 for the year and cheaper than a fine! Also an absolute time saver is a tag for the French motorway system, placed on the front screen near your mirror and it will automatically open the barriers at the Peage (tolls) and debit your account with the toll charge – when you are in an Elise with the roof on paying a toll manually can be a challenge! Info on the French tags can be found here.
Travelling in late May the Gothard pass is closed along with other passes in the area. We therefore travel through the Gothard Valley (not the tunnel) and when we reached Andermatt we headed east along the mountain range on the national 19 road, the Oberalppass. This was our first experience of getting off the motorways and onto the first of the driving roads. The Swiss roads are absolutely superb and the scenery is just breathtaking.
From this point on it was just a joy – the roads were empty, the sun shone, the hoods were off the cars and it was just great fun. We picked up the national 3 road heading for Davos, there picking up the 28 road – The Fluela Pass was the first of the famous high Alpine passes that we drove, it had been closed the day before because of the snow but thanks to a mountain pass App on the iPhone we monitored the conditions and took a gamble. Lots of snow around, cold air but sunshine, the lids stayed off and there were very few cars on the road which made for some great, fun driving. We kept heading towards Italy and picked up the Umbrail Pass. This comes out on the Stelvio road on the west side, the road to the top of Stelvio was closed. We head down into Bormio for our apartment in the town.
When we came onto the Stelvio road on day 2 the road to the top was closed, the following day we again took at chance and headed back up only to find it was open, one day ahead of schedule so we were just two of a handful of cars on the Pass that day. The drive to the top was fantastic, see the full length video of the drive up from Bormio anbd down the others side (the famous switch backs) in the YouTube channel link below.