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Old 01.11.2010, 13:05
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Driving UK to Wengen

Hi All.

I will be driving from the UK to Wengen at the end of January.

In the past when driving to Switzerland, we have usually entered at Basel. However, I wish to pass through the border at about 9 or 10am on a Saturday morning this year, and I have been warned that there is likely to be lengthy queues at the crossing.

Can anyone from this forum please advise if this may be correct.

Also, google maps suggests an alternate route via Le Creux (near Vallorbe Link Here), but I cannot find any information about wether this crossing is open 24/365. Before I contact the Embassy here in London, could someone here possibly inform me about the validity of using this route in January.

Any advice will be warmly welcomed.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01.11.2010, 13:27
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

hello tony, yes the border could be busy. I doubt more than 30 minutes though. There is an alternate route to skip the Basel border and go over a smaller crossing, would take maybe 10 minutes and puts you back on the motorway on the Swiss side.
It is, basically, come off the last junction before Basel, after the airport, turn left at the end of the sliproad, 3rd exit at the first roundabout, follow the road along and turn left at a big crossing to follow the signs back to the autobahn. Very easy.
Normally, all borders are open all the time, whether they are manned or not.
The alternate route you poined out looks a little bitty on the France side, and depending on the condtions on the day may not be as practical as coming via Basel.
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Old 01.11.2010, 22:34
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

Many thanks 17clarence.

If we are only looking at a 30 minute delay, I think the Basel route will be best, and then if the SatNavs give delay warnings, we can take your suggested bypass.

I guess it would be a good idea for me to pre purchase the Vignette as well.
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Old 01.11.2010, 23:09
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

17clarence's alternative is only a short detour and is very close to the border. I have seen queues at that time on a Saturday morning stretching back beyond that junction.
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&...,0.044632&z=14
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Old 02.11.2010, 06:56
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

You do know that you can't drive to Wengen, don't you? You'll have to park your car at Lauterbrunnen train station.
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Old 02.11.2010, 09:43
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

Morning Glendyn, thanks for the info. Should I just sit it out if there is heavy traffic, or can you suggest any other alternate routes I can use?

Hi simplon, yes I was aware that you have to go up by train, but thank you for pointing it out in case. You have actually reminded me that I need to get the parking spaces pre-booked.
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Old 02.11.2010, 09:56
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

Hi tony, you can actually come off at the airport junction one before, drive into the airport and straight across the front of the terminal on the 'car park' road and into Switzerland that way. There are no checks and this also brings you just to the other side of the motorway border, and in fact is probably quicker than the earlier alternative I posted.
Make sure you buy the vignette at the first services you get to, just the other side of Basel.
The parking at Lauterbrunnen is always full so book well in advance.
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Old 02.11.2010, 19:39
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

OK, I have just reserved two places in the Lauterbrunnen car park, and I have "google street viewed" the suggested route through Basel airport. Looks simple enough.

Many thanks to everyone for their responses, all I have to do now is wait another 87 days and keep my fingers crossed for decent snow
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Old 02.11.2010, 20:42
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

Hi Tony, welcome to the forum.

The problem with driving anywhere near Basel in January on a Saturday is not just at the border crossing, there is also very heavy north south holiday traffic and many tunnels, the smallest of accidents causes all the traffic to slow down and rubber neck, delays are inevitable! Most skiing holidays have Saturday as a changeover day, and this route is full with German and Dutch holidaymakers, as it is the shortest route for them.
You would also be taking in the very busy Zurich to Bern autobahn!

But you are coming from the west and going near Bern, which is quite a bit west of Basel, so I would reccommend your alternative suggestion via Le Creux (Vallorbe) or via La Chaux de Fonds in the Swiss Jura. On paper it is 36 Km shorter and takes 40 minutes longer, but no delays, and a much prettier drive!

Calais via Mulhouse (near Basel) to Wengen,
920 Km, time 09h02, cost €156.91

Calais via la Chaux de Fonds (Swiss Jura) to Wengen
884 Km, time 09h42, cost € 158.61

All the borders are open from 6 am to around 10 pm, every day.

I find "via Michelin" is a good route planner, http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/

You might want to stop over night in France just before the border, maybe in Pontarlier? It is quite a long drive from Calais.

You should also be careful in Switzerland, many villages have the same name but are miles apart, so when using the car navigator check you have the right village!
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Old 02.11.2010, 21:05
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

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Hi All.
In the past when driving to Switzerland, we have usually entered at Basel.
I usually bypass Basel completely and come through Germany. Cross the Rhein at Mulhouse, down the E35/54 past Lorrach and enter CH at Rheinfelden. Always worked well for us!
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Old 03.11.2010, 20:56
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

Thanks again for the extra comments.

I have to be honest and say, I don't particularly like the drive down past Mulhouse etc. to Basel, but that may have been due to the roadworks that were running a few years ago.

Ittigen, I also use Via Michelin and find it very good for route planning through Europe. Overnight stopping is not really an option for us. There will be six of us travelling in two Nissan Navarras (4 door pick-ups), which makes it tricky to secure all your luggage, skis etc. on an overnight stop. Also, all six of us drive, so it is easy to swap round on a regular basis.

We have been driving for our Ski Hols for the past 12 years, including France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. So we are quite prepared for doing the route in one go. Our only issue this year, is that we wish to get to Lauterbrunnen quite early for the parking, so need to make the journey earlier than we would usually do.

I will take all your comments on board and discuss it with the other drivers. The answers from everyone here have been a great help. Thank you all again.
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Old 03.11.2010, 21:01
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

Hi Tony
off the point but if you have kids or not check out the Downhill Only Club in Wengen - does ski touring and separate lessons for kids and drinks nights..its in the old Eiger hotel - we love it..

and Wengen - we will be there over christmas

YAYAAY
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Old 04.11.2010, 10:29
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

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WeOur only issue this year, is that we wish to get to Lauterbrunnen quite early for the parking, so need to make the journey earlier than we would usually do.
You can reserve a parking space online in English in the multistory car park, which gets quite full at peak times...

http://www.jungfrau.ch/en/tourism/tr...orey-car-park/
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Old 04.11.2010, 10:56
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

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Hi tony, you can actually come off at the airport junction one before, drive into the airport and straight across the front of the terminal on the 'car park' road and into Switzerland that way. There are no checks and this also brings you just to the other side of the motorway border, and in fact is probably quicker than the earlier alternative I posted.
That's an excellent tip. I wondered about it but always assumed it would be blocked off in the airport to keep the Swiss and French sides separate.
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Old 05.11.2010, 12:56
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

OK, I had a chat with the others last night, and we have decided to leave it to the day

If the weather is bad or there has been a lot of snow prior to our departure we will go via Basel and stay on the autoroutes. If the weather is good, we may take the more scenic route via La Creux. It will depend on how the traffic looks when we get past Reims.

All the SatNavs are updated and programmed with the alternate options at Basel, so if needed we can do a detour.

The car park is reserved.

I will certainly check out the Downhill Only Club thank you rackiec. I am particularily looking forward to the Lauberhorn

Thanks again everyone, you have all been most helpful.
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  #16  
Old 05.11.2010, 13:11
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

I thought the point of buying masculine 4x4 trucks was to drive up and down mountains in the snow?

http://de.nissan.ch/CH/de/vehicles/4...les/4x4/navara

Come on you softies, take a straight line, Top Gear would sponsor you!
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Old 05.11.2010, 13:25
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

LOL, the issue is not us driving up the mountains in heavy snow, it is the problem caused by everyone else stopping to either put on chains or dig themselves out when they get stuck.

We have gone up mountain roads prior to snowploughs without any issues. But if the road is still generally passable, then usually you will find it gets blocked up when people get to the point their cars can go no further without chains, unless the Gendarmes are awaiting at the bottom and forcing people to put them on but this will cause a jam as well.

We had a two hour wait coming down the mountains in Andorra last year, all due to people trying to go uphill without chains, past people who were stopped to put on chains, and then getting stuck themselves blocking the entire road. Absolute idiots.
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Old 05.12.2010, 16:42
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

I don't know too much about this but I read the other day that Germany has very recently, in the last few days, made winter tyres compulsory for all vehicles if conditions mean they would benefit safety. There will be fines for not complying with this.

As I said I am not sure exactly what the rules are but I read this on a different forum and thought it may be helpful.
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Old 05.12.2010, 17:04
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

The Le Creux/Vallorbe border crossing is always opened- but only wo/manned daytime hours. You will be fine until Besancon, but then it climbs rapidly to Pontarlier at 950m and the roads can be pretty bad. To try and do it in one go is just NOT a good idea- as you 'hit' the difficult roads just when you are getting really tired. Count 8 hours from Calais to le Creux, with 2 x 30 mins stops. I'd actually stop in Besancon so you are 'fresh' for the road up to Pontarlier. From Le Creux, it is a dual carriage way down to Yverdon where you get the motorway to Bern. What sort of car have you got? I suppose you do not have snow tyres- so you'll need to have chains just in case. So many people underestimate the need for snowtyres to cross the Jura, and to get up to their destination resort.

Do not use the Les Verrières border crossing, as the descent to Fleurier then Neuchatel is just not suitable unless properly equipped. (I know- I live in the area) and whatever you do, do NOT be tempted to take the 'short cut' via St Croix (hair pin bends all the way down).

Last edited by Odile; 05.12.2010 at 17:24. Reason: +info
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Old 05.12.2010, 17:19
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Re: Driving UK to Wengen

btw its snowing like hell in Basel .....catch the train its snow much nicer

boom boom
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