SUSTEN PASS, SWITZERLAND 🇨🇭
When asked for the most scenic driving road in the Alps. We will always answer "the Susten" in Switzerland.
DRIVING THE SUSTEN PASS
The Susten Pass (German: Sustenpass) is a Swiss mountain pass at foot of the Gotthard mountain massive between Wassen and Innertkirchen in the Bernese Highlands. Driving the pass makes it crystal clear why the Swiss Alps are a paradise for driving enthusiast from all over the world.
The spectacular mountain pass of almost 46 kilometres / 30 miles road length offers endless photo opportunities of which 26 are bridges and tunnels hewn into the rock massif. Travelling on the pass from east to west it starts off with a stunning tunnel-bridge-tunnel combination and just gets better and better behind every curve.
One of the Susten Pass tunnels has a waterfall running over it. Might be that Porsche shot scenes of the promotion video for the 2016 model of the 911 R on the Susten Pass because of the spectacular sight.
The road reaches peak on 2260 meter / 7414 ft above sea level and serves mainly tourism. If we had to compare the Susten to any other European pass we have driven, we would give it a five star superior rating (together with the Grossglockner Pass in the Austrian Alps). And like most petrol heads and driving enthusiasts based in Switzerland we will always shout out "SUSTEN PAAASSSSS" if we're asked for our favourite driving road in the Swiss Alps.
Coming from Zurich we highly recommend not to mute your navigation unit or shut up your passenger holding the map. Instead do everything needed to make sure you don't miss the exit from the highway A2 towards the Susten.
Otherwise you might end up on the other side of the Alps. What might sound good at first also includes a drive through the 17 kilometres long Gotthard tunnel with no option to turn. Coming back will be painful and cause you a huge detour costing a lot of time. If it happens anyway you might want to check out the Gotthard Pass to come back.
Towards the end of the Susten Pass visit the Aare Gorge. 1400 metres of a river eroded pathway with incredible rock formations. Especially during hot summers the up to 200 metres deep gorge is a nice way to cool down.
ACCESS TO THE SUSTEN PASS
Because the Susten Pass is mainly used for tourism, the pass is the last to be cleared of snow. Coming here during summer around mid of June you have a pretty good chance to touch some snow. The road normally remains closed between November and beginning of June. Night closures between 6 PM and 8 AM are strictly enforced.
HISTORY OF THE SUSTEN PASS
Since the 17th century a mule-train trading route over the Susten Pass existed. Later it had some strategic importance for Napoleons troops, before 1811 the development for a proper alpine pass began.
1818 the first stretch was opened and only 100 years later the entire pass was complete.
In 1938 the Susten Pass was modernised to improve public transport, but also for reasons of national defence during WWII. Even today the Susten is listed as a road of national importance in Switzerland's official inventory of historic routes.
Only on 7th September 1946 the road was opened for private cars and the public. Since then the pass serves mainly tourism and made Switzerland one spectacular attraction richer.