GRIMSEL PASS, SWITZERLAND 🇨🇭
The 38 kilometre / 24 miles long alpine pass it is also one of the highest paved roads in Europe. The remote mountain pass has typically only little traffic which makes it even more desirable if you enjoy driving.
DRIVING THE GRIMSEL PASS
The Grimsel Pass is a spectacular mountain road in Switzerland 🇨🇭and links the Hasli Valley in the Bernese Highlands with the Goms district in the Swiss Valais. It zigzags trough landscapes of towering granite walls, a few tunnels, hazy blue water reservoirs and past the Grimsel dam with a hydroelectric power plant on top.
The breathtakingly beautiful mountain road in this pristine landscapes with quaint villages and deep valleys make it an absolute drivers paradise that goes up to 2164 meters above sea level.
When we drove the Grimsel the first time, it made us feel confident about alpine pass driving. Whenever needed there is enough space to park safe on the side of the road. Perfect to get out here and there to take a few pictures.
The pass is in some sections even wide enough to overtake (or be overtaken) and has relatively long straight stretches that allows drivers to take their focus off the road for the fraction of a second to enjoy the wonderful scenery.
We recommend to stop at the Grimsel Hospice. The hotel and restaurant is located near the top of a towering peninsula inside the artificial Lake Grimselsee. After the old construction dating back to 1142 (also the first Swiss guesthouse) was flooded, the new building welcomes guests since 1932. Thanks to power plants and the artificial water reservoirs it was also the first electrically heated hotel in Europe.
Today it is a hotel historic hotel with modern rooms and good honest Swiss food at the restaurant. The right place to enjoy an authentic Swiss lunch or even stay overnight. To reach the Grimsel Hospice you will have to drive over the walls of a dam. That alone is a driving adventure and worth the stop.
ACCESS THE GRIMSEL PASS
Usually the Grimsel Pass is open from late May till early November and closed during the winter month.
With an inclination of 106 percent; Europe's steepest mountain railway will take passengers to picturesque Lake Gelm. Originally built to transport heavy goods up and down the mountains, today the Gelm funicular provide a modern time adventure to thrill seeking tourists.
HISTORY OF THE GRIMSEL PASS
Since Roman times the Grimsel was used as a trading route and mule track. Mentioned in documents in the 14th century for the first time, it was the 1800s when the Gotthard Railway opened and the alpine pass became famous.
Back then also the explorers Horace Bénédict de Saussure and Franz Josef Hugi chose the Grimsel as the centre of their alpine research. From 1894 the pass was used by carriages and upgraded to a paved road.
Todays layout has been reached in 1986 mostly because several hydro-electric power plants were constructed in the area till 1950, which produce today the annual energy consumption of a million Swiss residents. Starting in early 2019 the old dam wall will be replaced with a new construction.