Would you like to visit a beautiful mountain Pass which would lead you to Italy or maybe you would like to do an ultimate Swiss mountain passes trip which includes Furka Pass, Grimsel Pass, Oberalp Pass and Gotthard Pass? Yes? Let’s jump in.
Where is Gotthard Pass?
Gotthard Pass is very close to a fantastic Swiss Alps village/ski resort: Andermatt. Gotthard Pass is just few kilometers into Ticino Canton and very close to Uri Canton. Some useful distances from big cities:
From Zürich it is 121 kilometers.
From Basel it is 182 kilometers.
From Geneva it is 286 kilometers.
Gotthar Pass is right in the middle of Swiss Alps and offers a great opportunity to enjoy the mountains, hike, eat fondue and just relax among majestic peaks.
Gotthard Pass opening times
You must be aware that Gotthard Pass is not open all year round. Most of the mountain passes are closed during winter and almost during all Spring (late autumn as well). Once it starts to heavily snow and it is impossible to clean it all, they close it and it’s not reachable by car at all. You may do it with snowshoes or skis, but that is another story.
Now, to be safe and to have no disappointments, better check if it is open before you go on this adventure, all mountain passes conditions are here: Swiss mountain passes, just look for Gotthard Pass. If it is open and no extra comments are written – you are safe to go.
How to get to Gotthard Pass
If you are in Switzerland without a car, you can easily reach Gotthard Pass by train/bus mix.
First of all, by train you are going to get Andermatt (it is very well connected Swiss village). After that, from Andermatt train station you have to take the bus to Gotthard Passhöhe (that is german for mountain pass). Now, for all the information, so you miss nothing, get the exact price for that day and other details, please visit this website and look for connections: Swiss trains/buses connections.
In the first window put the city you are in: for example Zürich, in the other put Gotthard Passhöhe, and in seconds you will get all the connections. If you are comming from further away, you may need to change trains couple of times, but don’t worry, Swiss trains are like Swiss clocks – they work perfectly.
Be aware that buses don’t go that often from Andermatt and not that often back from Gotthard Pass. Know the schedule or check it, so you don’t miss it and don’t have to hitchhike or spend the night there.
Gotthard pass by car
If you have a car (which I highly recommend renting in an airport, as more isolated and beautiful Swiss Alps places are best reached by car), to reach Gotthard Pass will be very easy: hit the highway and you will have it till Andermatt (just the last few kilometers is a serpentine road).
Now, be aware, that to go to Gotthard Pass, you will get very close to Gotthard Tunnel. That is maybe the most painful location on Swiss roads. It can be very slow down there and traffic jams are sometimes 10 kilometers or longer. On your way to Gotthard Tunnel you are going to see how long is the traffic as it is written on traffic posters. There’s one possibility to go faster: you have to go off the highway next to Silenen and then drive on a windy road through some villages and get to Andermatt that way. I highly recommend using Google Maps (or any other GPS app you use) and see the traffic down there, as you can spend hours there. Google Maps may offer you to take a detour – do it. Once I spent 2 hours till I got to Gotthard Tunnel, not fun at all.
Once you get to Andermatt, you will have to take the direction to the right and drive till next small settlement called Hospental. Once you are there, you get an opportunity as well to drive to Furka Pass on the right, but you must take a more left direction.
Gotthard Pass road conditions are mostly very good (once it is opened, not closed), no worries at all. It is mostly in perfect condition and dry. Gotthard Pass trafic is usually pretty slow, not very fast, always be aware not to over speed in the mountains. In summer time, especially on weekends you may see a lot of motorcycles, but that shouldn’t cause you any problems. From Hospental to Gotthard Pass it is just 9 kilometers and you will have some spots to stop and take pictures if you wish. It is a very scenic road.
What to do in Gotthard Pass
As many other mountain passes in Switzerland, this one, as well, is very well maintained and offers: hotels, restaurants, museum and plenty of hiking opportunities.
In the restaurants prices should be like this: Soup – 9-10CHF, full dinner – 20-30 CHF, cup of coffee – 5-7 CHF. It is pricey, but remember there you are 🙂 You are high in the Swiss Alps, it’s a special place to enjoy your dinner.
I highly recommend visiting Museo Nazionale del San Gottardo as it is one of the bigger mountain pass museums I have ever seen: it’s quite big and has a lot of interesting information about what happened right there. If you are a history nerd – that’s a place to go. I am 🙂
There are as well couple of Gotthard Pass hotels, there you can spend a night in the middle of Swiss Alps, what can actually be better? The price can vary from 50 CHF to couple of hundreds, depending on your level of comfortability you can accept. All information about these hotels you can find here: Gotthard Pass hotels.
Now, as Gotthard Pass sits at 2106 meters and has higher mountains all around, it’s a perfect place to do some hiking.
Hiking in Gotthard Pass
Gotthard Pass has plenty of opportunities to hike around. Just be aware: if you choose Airolo or Andermatt as your hiking destinations, it will always go down to those villages, so after you finish, you must turn back and hike up to your car. But if you came by bus, you can definitely hike down and enjoy the mountains in most pleasant way (no sweating while hiking up).
One hike you must check out is called Five lakes hike. It is a very beautiful and not that hard hike next to Gotthard Pass, just be sure to follow all the Swiss Alps hiking rules as you never know how weather changes or any unexpected stuff happens: Swiss Alps Hiking. This hike is quite long, over 4 hours, but there’s no need to do it all if your time is limited, but I am pretty sure, you won’t regret doing it.
Being on Gotthard Pass, you can always check out the hiking directions which are 1 – 2 hours from you and do it, so this way you won’t spend too much time and will safely come back. I would never suggest go off-road in Swiss Alps as it can get dangerous for you. Better always to follow the yellow arrows and other hike route signs.
Gotthard Pass weather
Being at 2106 meters elevation it is very important to have a good weather conditions and weather conditions can change pretty fast that high up.
One thing I really recommend to check: is it foggy over there? If it is, you probably won’t be able to see anything, no valleys, lakes or mountains, you won’t even see a car next to you. The best way to check out the conditions is via webcams: Gotthard Pass webcams. That always gives you a pretty good indication what is happening there at particular time.
As well, always check weather on Google and check if it is going to be cloudy or rainy at the time you will be there. If it’s too fogy, better to postpone. You will still get the thrill of going up in the mountains, but you won’t be able to see a lot.
Gotthard Pass is best visited in summer time as then you can have the best views to the mountains, hike around, enjoy a dinner in the restaurant and just breath in the Swiss Alps air.
It is very easily reachable by car and you shouldn’t have any problems to reach it by public transport. Just check out the weather conditions before you go there and have a great time!
If you have any more questions regarding Gotthard Pass, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.