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Driving In The Alps - Please Some Advice  
User currently offlineGeorgL From Estonia, joined Jun 2005, 26 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 2 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1907 times:

Hi everyone!

At the first glance A.net forum seemed like a slightly weird place for such a post but then again I thought that as there are lots of experienced and internationally educated people here, I might indeed get some useful assistance from you fellas!

The story is that I'm studying in Frankfurt right now and I also have my car here. I've been taking different trips around Germany for quite a few weekends already and it's really comfortable to do cause lots of interesting places are so close to Frankfurt in Europe. The upcoming weekend I have a real plan to get some extremely cool experiences and drive to the Alps. I can basically use Friday till Sunday for the trip and I'd like to build up a route in the Alps which goes through some of the most interesting places that one could experience. This also from the sightseeing point of view as I'm planning to take some nice photos on the way. I do not mind bad road or weather conditions, I just want to go and have some real fun (or adrenaline, whatever it takes!).

I'm aiming the Swiss or Austrian part of Alps, I might be able to touch Italy but not to the French side this time. My own idea was either to go via Innsbruck and continue to some cool locations or another possibility is to proceed via Zürich. I'd love to hear suggestions of breathtaking roads which go on the cliffs of the mountains and perhaps some town names that I could look up via Google Earth and later the GPS. An amazing clip I found was this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aRxpD1kCYo . Any similar routes possible in the Swiss or Austrian Alps?

If anyone has some advice to share, please, share with me. I will be really glad if you do.

What is the weather expected to be like those days?

Also, are there any special requirements or suggestions for taking a trip like that with a car? The vehicle is an all-time 4x4 Jeep with winter tires so it should take me through some snow rather fine if anything unusual occurs. In the car I have ofcourse the reflection triangle, wheel chocks, fire extinguisher and other necessary equipment. I've heard that you should be equipped with a safety vest and perhaps there are then some other special items which the police might look for in case of a check?

Thanks a lot for any assistance!!

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 25
Reply 1, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1875 times:



Quoting GeorgL (Thread starter):
I'd love to hear suggestions of breathtaking roads which go on the cliffs of the mountains

Many pass roads are closed for winter.
Taking into account that you study in Frankfurt, I assume you are able to use the following website to find out which passes are open or closed. They also update the road conditions.
http://www.alpen-journal.de/alpenpaesse.html
I recall having used another swiss website but cannot recall its name or URL.

All the scenic pass roads that I have used in Switzerland so far are closed for winter. From what I have seen, the access roads to the pass are closed for traffic quite early.
In 2007 I still had to drive through snow on the old (!) road across the St.Gotthard after the ZRH-Meeting early June.

Also the passes and scenic roads I have used in Kärnten are closed for winter.

Quoting GeorgL (Thread starter):
Also, are there any special requirements or suggestions for taking a trip like that with a car?

1. Take into account that you will have to purchase a temporary permit to use motorways and other major roads in both Switzerland and Austria. Some tunnels or roads levy extra fees for using them.
2. Bring along a set of snow chains. On some roads it might be made mandatory to use them - check in detail if a 4x4 with snow tires is exempt from using snow chains.
3. Be aware that Saturday is the big change-over day for weekly tourists in the Alps. Traffic can be heavy on motorways in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Especially the A8 from Munich (München) to Salzburg (and the fork-off to Kufstein) is known to be heavily used by snow tourists

Quoting GeorgL (Thread starter):
I've heard that you should be equipped with a safety vest

Mandatory in Switzerland, IIRC.
These vests can be bought for around 3 € in any good supermarket selling auto parts.
I think it is Italy, where there has to be hi-vis safety vest onboard the car for every occupant.
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24075 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1804 times:



Quoting HT (Reply 1):
Quoting GeorgL (Thread starter):
I've heard that you should be equipped with a safety vest

Mandatory in Switzerland, IIRC.

While a good idea, they're not yet mandatory in Switzerland. I know they are in Italy and a few other countries.

One reminder is that to drive on the motorways in Switzerland you need a special sticker called a "vignette" (at least in French; it no doubt has another name in German). You attach it to the inside of the windshield. It costs 40 Swiss Francs (about 25 euros) and is valid for a calendar year (actually 14 months, e.g. the 2008 sticker is valid from December 1, 2007 through January 31, 2009. You can buy it at border crossings, post offices, service stations etc. If you 're stopped by the police for some reason and don't have a valid sticker you're subject to a fine, not sure how much. Unfortunately there isn't a cheaper version for short-term visitors, just the one valid for the full year.


User currently offlineFiatstilojtd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1796 times:



Quoting HT (Reply 1):

Mandatory in Switzerland, IIRC.



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 2):

While a good idea, they're not yet mandatory in Switzerland.

But mandatory in Austria  Smile

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 2):
it no doubt has another name in German)

Nope, we call it Vignette as well  Wink


User currently offlineAnalog From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1790 times:



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 2):
One reminder is that to drive on the motorways in Switzerland you need a special sticker called a "vignette" (

Same in Austria, right? Except Austria has short-term ones. At least I think so; it's been a while.


User currently offlineFiatstilojtd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 1768 times:



Quoting HT (Reply 1):
Take into account that you will have to purchase a temporary permit to use motorways and other major roads in both Switzerland and Austria.



Quoting Analog (Reply 4):
Same in Austria, right? Except Austria has short-term ones.

Exactly, correct. We have short-term Vignetten ("Maut-Pickerl") as well.


User currently offlineL410Turbolet From Czech Republic, joined May 2004, 5599 posts, RR: 19
Reply 6, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1752 times:



Quoting GeorgL (Thread starter):
safety vest

IMHO, you should have the safety vest in your car regardless whether the law requires it or not. As far as Austria... you have to have it IN the cabin of the car, not in the trunk/boot. Especially if your car has license plate from Estonia(?) expect to be frequently stopped and thoroughly serarched by Austrian cops - apparently they still can't get over the fact that Iron Curtain is no more and Schengen is in place so they will at lesat try to make your life miserable as much as possible.


User currently offlineFiatstilojtd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1746 times:



Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 6):
IMHO, you should have the safety vest in your car regardless whether the law requires it or not. As far as Austria... you have to have it IN the cabin of the car, not in the trunk/boot.

That is correct, yes....but

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 6):

Especially if your car has license plate from Estonia(?) expect to be frequently stopped and thoroughly serarched by Austrian cops - apparently they still can't get over the fact that Iron Curtain is no more and Schengen is in place so they will at lesat try to make your life miserable as much as possible.

that is



User currently offlineAnalog From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1721 times:



Quoting Fiatstilojtd (Reply 7):
Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 6):

Especially if your car has license plate from Estonia(?) expect to be frequently stopped and thoroughly serarched by Austrian cops - apparently they still can't get over the fact that Iron Curtain is no more and Schengen is in place so they will at lesat try to make your life miserable as much as possible.

that is
(bullshit)

Really? Austrian cops actually look past the country of registration and won't pull you over to check to see if you're registered in EST to save money (whether or not that's possible) or to see if you're up to no good?

They're actually professional like that, unlike American cops, like the cops in TX that pull you over for speeding doing 66mph in a 65mph zone and ask where you're going in such a hurry? Wow.


User currently offlineJamesbaldwyn From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1721 times:

Advice? Bring a camera!

User currently offlineGeorgL From Estonia, joined Jun 2005, 26 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1660 times:

Thanks for the replies, guys! Sorry for not responding back in a timely manner, I wish A.net forums had an e-mail notification feature when someone replies to your topic...

I had the trip postponed a bit and will make it this weekend. Firstly, I really appreciate that you let me know of that sticker necessary for driving there! I would have never thought of it myself. I always keep one high-vis vest in my car so that won't be a problem.

The website with information about the passes is interesting and although I don't really know German very well (I'm studying in the ATC academy where everything goes in English) I can still at least read out which passes are open or closed.

Trip plan: Via Zürich to Andermatt, then perhaps drive around where possible, stay in Chur one night and leave back to Frankfurt via Liechtenstein. About the last one, are there any additional requirements when driving in Liechtenstein?

If there are tunnels or roads which require extra fees, shall I pay them at the location or should we have a ticket bought from somewhere in advance?

I will do my best regarding finding out about snowchains but I just read from my Jeep manual that with the wide 245 tires I have, the manufacturer does not permit to use snowchains as they might get too big for the wheel well... I hope that in case the police find me without the snowchains, they don't expect me to buy new tires for coming to Switzerland  Smile


User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 25
Reply 11, posted (6 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 1649 times:



Quoting GeorgL (Reply 10):
About the last one, are there any additional requirements when driving in Liechtenstein?

No extra requirements.

Quoting GeorgL (Reply 10):
If there are tunnels or roads which require extra fees, shall I pay them at the location or should we have a ticket bought from somewhere in advance?

Pay on the spot. But there should be no such toll roads or passes in the area of Switzerland you are intending to travel to.
Unless you intend to use the railway over the Oberalp pass from Andermatt/Göschenen to Sedrun on your way to Chur.
If unable to use to road over Oberalp Pass (enquire for details at your hotel in Andermatt), use St. Gotthard tunnel south and then after many kilometers the San Bernadino tunnel. On these route you should not require snow chains.
All the interesting passes around all are closed.
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
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