An iconic road to Simplon Pass in the Swiss Alps
Simplonpass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.005m (6,578ft) above the sea level, located in Valais canton, in Switzerland. It’s one of the most famous Alpine roads of Switzerland.
Can you drive through the Simplon Pass?
Set high between the Pennine Alps and the Lepontine Alps, the road to the summit, also known as Passo del Sempione, is totally paved. It’s called Route 9 (part of the European Route 62). The pass was used as early as the Stone Age. But up to the 17th century it was used mainly by smugglers and mercenaries, because the narrow Gondo Gorge was considered by Roman Era architects to be impassable. The first pass road suitable for vehicular traffic dates back to the time of Napoleon, who wanted to travel southward with his cannons.
Is Simplon Pass difficult?
Access to the pass is typically open all year round, but winter weather may cause restrictions and closures due to dangerous weather conditions. The road is wide and the traffic is not such a nuisance as one might imagine. It is a drive built on the contour of the mountain rather than engineered for expediency. The road curves gently around the mountain's topography, giving drivers some truly wondrous views of the frozen mountain slopes on the Swiss side and the verdant tree-lined valley on the Italian side. The road is steep in parts, hitting a 10.7% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. In the warmer season, there are numerous cafés and restaurants along the way.
How long is Simplon Pass in Switzerland?
Tucked away on the southern part of the country, the pass is 42.2 km (26.22) miles long, running from Brig to the Italian border. It has been climbed several times in the Giro d’Italia race. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to capture some awe-inspiring memories with your camera, so be sure you have a full charge on your device. The Ganter Bridge, for instance, spans the Ganter Valley, 150 meters above the valley floor at its highest. You can also stop at the Simplon Hospice, a Swiss heritage site of national importance that was founded in the first year of the 19th century under the orders of Napolean Bonaparte.