Whether it’s on the historic Tremola road or the new pass road, the legendary Gotthard Pass, which connects Hospental in the Urseren valley to Airolo in the canton of Ticino, is well worth discovering. The pass rose to prominence in the 13th century when the construction of the Teufelsbrücke made it possible to cross the wild Schöllenen Gorge below Andermatt. After the mule track was extended, the pass become one of the most significant Alpine crossings. Even today the Gotthard, with its roads and railway tunnel, still constitutes arguably the most important north-south connection in both Switzerland and Europe.
The Gotthard Pass is a meeting point for different cultures and language regions. And it is not just the language that switches from German to Italian, even the villages and cuisine begin to sparkle with Italian charm.
The Gotthard Massif also forms a famous meteorological divide between north and south. Don’t worry if it’s raining as you cross the pass – sunshine is often waiting on the other side. Head out for a walk at the top of the pass and enjoy the captivating atmosphere, as you find yourself immersed in a bewitching, rocky landscape with small lakes.
At the Gotthard Hospice at the top of the pass, you can make a turn on to the historic pass road – the famous Tremola road. The journey leads over cobblestones to the south side of the Gotthard Pass. This spectacular road, with its hairpin bends snaking down to Airolo, constitutes Switzerland’s longest historical monument.
Concealed deep within the mountain – and top secret until only a few years ago – lies a Swiss Army artillery fortification. Today it forms part of the Sasso San Gottardo Museum. On the Metro del Sasso, the underground train, you can travel up into the fortifications and experience history at close quarters.
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