Ferry Cancelled > Change of plan > Any advice for Switzerland? (1 Viewer)

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Feb 5, 2011
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Hi All,
We had planned a trip to Spain and Portugal leaving today but due to a storm coming in the ferry was cancelled, so rather than mope about it we've decided to change plans.
Now, We've always fancied going to Switzerland so we drew up a rough plan to see if it was doable. The plan (very rough plan as we've had no time to research) is to hot foot it from Roscoff to Lyon then cross over into Italy, spend a few days there then go through the Gotthard Road Tunnel into Switzerland, spend 4-5 days there and then meander back to Roscoff.

A few questions spring to mind:

Does this sound doable? (bear in mind, we are not yet retired, only have 2 weeks and fully understand that it will be a whistle stop tour.)
What's the weather like this time of year?
We'd love to go on a mountain lift or train to see snow, but don't fancy driving in it.
Is it safe to drive there this time of year? (please excuse my ignorance on the weather/road conditions)

Any tips or suggestions of things to see would be much appreciated.

Cheers in advance.

Martin
I would recommend winter tyres if you can get them in time. You may not need them but if you do, you will be very glad you fitted them. There could still be snow and ice around at this time of year.
Vignette essential for driving on motorways (which are signed in green, not blue like in France and UK) . You should be able to get the vignette at the border - hefty fine if you are caught without one and the police do patrol! Beautiful country with very welcoming residents.
 

Ridgeway

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Is simplon open at the moment we've a planned journey over there next week.
Cheers

It‘s open for sure as we drove over it on Friday as did the OP i believe. It was closed last week for some days for HGV‘s but cars and other vehicles were fine.
 

Ridgeway

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we did the Gotthard tunnel in July (never again) after hours waiting in mainly standing traffic the satnav suggested we turn off and use the pass. We exited right and up to the roundabout only to find the pass was closed and we were ushered back down to ther opposing carriageway. 10 miles back up the other side and then join the queue again. Italian lakes were nice. Switzerland was expensive and full. But that was July.
It‘s always a risk at the Gotthard as it‘s the main route through on the East side and for most German traffic coming through, 5hrs is our record and hence we avoid it today.
 
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Which one did you end up in? The Paragliders are always up there, they were coming down in the field at the back of the campsite last year, oh and the helicopter going up every now and then👍
Took your advice and went to Camping Breithorn, for us it is perfect.
Only five minutes from Trümmelbach Falls (which were amazing) and a lovely walk into Lauterbrunnen seeing the valley along the way.
It's nice and peaceful here at the moment with only a couple of other campers, very quaint campsite, the old lady owner was a delight😆
IMG_20240407_111528.jpg

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I would recommend winter tyres if you can get them in time. You may not need them but if you do, you will be very glad you fitted them. There could still be snow and ice around at this time of year.
Vignette essential for driving on motorways (which are signed in green, not blue like in France and UK) . You should be able to get the vignette at the border - hefty fine if you are caught without one and the police do patrol! Beautiful country with very welcoming residents.
Didn't have time for winter tyres, didn't have time for a lot, lucky the weather's been good to us as I had mainly T-Shirts and Shorts packed🤣.
Kept a keen eye on the weather before going over the alps though, today's been overcast but quite warm.
 
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Just a quick catch up, went to visit the medieval town of Gruyères, very quaint place that was well worth the visit.
IMG_20240408_165317.jpg

We could have stayed there the night but we finished up early and carried on over the border.

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Now back home, settling back into the usual work/school run routine. The holiday seems so long ago already even though it only been 4 day since we've been back.
Anyway, as promised here a list of sites we used, hopefully some people might find it useful.....

Our first stop after the ferry is one we've used before. Kindly offered by The Exotic Garden of Roscoff, you can park in their car park from 7pm until 9am for free. Only 5 mins from the ferry. No services but extremely convenient for the ferry, very quite, so probably a bad mistake posting it :LOL:.
Just a short walk down a footpath brings you out on a shingle beach where you can see the ferry port.

IMG_20240330_081827.jpg

https://park4night.com/en/place/150144


Bombing it through France we stopped half way at Sainte-Sévère-sur-Indre, again nothing special but it provided us with a safe place to park for the night whilst travelling through. Again, this one was free and did have the usual water and waste services, although we didn't use them.

IMG_20240331_101739.jpg

https://www.searchforsites.co.uk/marker.php?id=3181


The next stop got us a little excited as we saw our first glimpse of snow! Another free Aire in a car park behind a restaurant.
No electric but water and waste, although this was turned off for the winter, no doubt it will be on now as it looked to be in good order, just barrier-ed off.
A nice quite spot just before the roads start to get exciting.
3006d72e-ca3b-4f8c-84b1-536c71d8d8f4_35ae6330-f016-42ec-9d01-047df5427f79.jpg.jpg

https://www.searchforsites.co.uk/marker.php?id=6132


Through the French Alps into Italy via the most expensive tunnel I've ever travelled through (£61.32), still not over it and don't think I ever will be!
Headed for Turin and stumbled across this lovely little campsite.
IMG_20240403_113052.jpg

https://campingbellatorino.com/?lang=en

Now, it was quite pricey at what worked out to be £42 a night, but so far we hadn't paid a penny in camping so the two nights here felt justified.
Good sized pitches with little hedges separating them and views over the Alps. Facilities were spotless and very good and the best bit is they ran a shuttle bus to the local village where you could pick up the bus to take you directly into Turin. This was an extra charge but for simplicity, we felt it was very worthwhile.


Next we travelled up to the lake area of northern Italy, stopped off at a few Aires, but nothing felt "right". Finally ended up at an Aire in Cannobio.
Pushing the boat out we forked out £25 for the night, which included electric, water, waste, toilets and showers, which for an Aire is quite a lot of services. Parked up alongside a river, the place was within walking distance of Cannobio, which is a lovely little village/town on Lake Maggiore.
We liked it so much here that we stayed the night again and enjoyed takeaway pizza back at the van.
P4041016.JPG

https://www.searchforsites.co.uk/marker.php?id=12704


After a few days in Italy crossed over to Switzerland, the weather was looking good so we decided to go over the Alps rather than through them.
I must say a huge thanks here to Ridgeway who gave us some expert local knowledge of the roads, his advice certainly made our voyage over the Alps something that we will remember forever!
8ce12c5f-2b7e-40ea-9c82-86cf3d8b3d4d_b8c7dda9-c03b-44d8-a668-1d8bd00b2ab3.jpg.jpg


Next stopover was in Sion, a large gravel car-park perched upon a hill/mountain above Sion overlooking the Alps, at a cost of 10 Swiss Francs (paid online via an app), we thought it to be good value if not just for the morning view!
No electric but, water and waste was provided and so were toilets but these were closed at the time.

3ecc6ba9-820c-4c35-9687-62cc5e73f85c_1e5e2b5f-dbaa-426e-aa4c-f532fd210388.jpg.jpg

https://www.searchforsites.co.uk/marker.php?id=31897#


On to Lauterbrunnen, even though we paid the Swiss Vignette, we forgot we had the satnav set to avoid toll roads, which turned out to be a good mistake as we drove through some charming little Swiss mountain villages along the route.
We were looking at staying at Camping Jungfrau but was recommended by WESTY66 to stay at Breithorn, for us this was a good move. It's a little further up the valley from Launterbrunnen but as we were there for the scenery and not skiing or hiking the walk into Launterbrunnen was lovely.
The campsite was smaller, quieter and cheaper than Jungfrau and the old lady owner was quite a character! I think we paid around £37 per night, including electricity.

IMG_20240407_133141.jpg

https://www.searchforsites.co.uk/marker.php?id=19586

After here we drove off to the delightful medieval town of Gruyeres, we were going to stay at the carpark just outside the town as they allow overnight parking for 10 francs, but we finished looking around the town early so decided to plod on into France. I'll post up info about it though as it was convenient for the town. Day time parking is charged by the hour and there is plenty of space.

P4081319.JPG

https://www.searchforsites.co.uk/marker.php?id=40347


For the rest of the trip the pottered through France on the way back to Roscoff staying at various Aires, all very nice but nothing outstanding to write about so I won't bore you as I've rambled on enough already.

In a nutshell, Switzerland via Italy was easily doable in a fortnight, I think we got to see a good postcard version of the place and, yes, it is an expensive country but if you stock up on fuel and food before you travel and just want to enjoy it for it's natural beauty then it is no more expensive than any other place we have visited.

So, if you are still reading this, thanks to everyone who posted advise for us and I hope that some of you find the above info helpful.
 

Ridgeway

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Glad you enjoyed it ? Memories for the children, that‘s what it‘s all about 👍🏻

No1: “we went to Chessington world of adventures at Easter“

No2: “that‘s nothing we went to Alton towers“

No3: “Alton towers, bah we went to Disneyland Paris“

Next Stops children what did you do: “crossed mountains, played in the snow, ate real pizza by an Italian lake, mind you we did get ripped of for a cappuccino in some Swiss village“

Character building stuff💪 you‘ll be talking about it for years😉
 

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