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EXPLAINED: The Swiss roads to avoid during the Ascension and Pentecost holidays

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: The Swiss roads to avoid during the Ascension and Pentecost holidays
Expect heavy traffic during Ascension and Pentecost. Photo: Pixabay

Bottlenecks are expected on a number of Switzerland’s roads, as many motorists leave for long-weekend vacations. The government has issued guidelines on which routes will be most traffic-heavy.


“The risk of traffic jams will be particularly high during the long weekends of Ascension (May 18th) and Pentecost (May 27th to 29th),” Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) said in a press release.

Both are public holidays, though the latter is not celebrated in the cantons of Neuchâtel, Solothurn, Valais, and Zug.

READ ALSO: When are the Swiss public holidays in your canton in 2023?

What will complicate the flow of traffic on the Ascension weekend is the Giro d'Italia cycling race.

On May 19th, cyclists will arrive in Valais from the south via the Grand-Saint-Bernard and will leave the region the next day to reach Italy via the Simplon Pass. On these two days, there will be road closures and traffic restrictions between 10:30 am. and 3:30 pm, FEDRO said

Don’t stray off the main roads

As is the case before and after travel-heavy holidays, FEDRO is urging motorists to remain on the motorway rather than make detours onto alternative roads.

Accoding to FEDRO, this is “a major nuisance for the local population, overloads the secondary road network to the point of paralysis of traffic, and greatly increases the risk of accidents for all road users".

The agency added: "It is therefore important that travellers stay on the motorway even in the event of high traffic volumes causing traffic jams and delays on the main axes."


Expect disruptions in these cantons:

Sections of Graubünden, Nidwalden, Schwyz, Ticino and Uri will be particularly ‘difficult’ for motorists.

In Uri, the motorway entrances of Wassen and Göschenen on the A2 will be closed to traffic in the event of high traffic volumes if the Gotthard Pass is not yet open due to weather.

“If necessary, the speed will be lowered on the A2 from the northern sections of the Seelisberg tunnel, and on the A4 in order to direct traffic towards the Gotthard road tunnel by harmonising the flow of vehicles as much as possible,” FEDRO said.

Generally, slow traffic / bottlenecks are most likely on these roads:


A1, Harkingen - Wangen a.A.
A1, Aarau-East - Birrfeld
A1/A6, Bern region
A1, Geneva (Bardonnex border post)
A9, Lausanne region
A2/A3, Basel
A2, Diegten - Harkingen
A2/A14, Lucerne region (from Stans-Nord / in the direction of return)
A2, Erstfeld - Biasca (Gothard road tunnel)
A2, Lugano-Mendrisio
A2, Chiasso (border post towards Italy)
A3, Walenstadt-Reichenburg
A6, Bern - Thun
A8, Brienz - Interlaken - Spiez
A9, Vevey-Martigny
A12 Châtel-St-Denis - La Veyre / Vevey interchange
A13, Sarganserland - Thusis-South
A13, Andeer-Mesocco
A13, Bellinzona-Nord - Reichenau
A15, North Uster - East Uster; between Hinwil and the Reichenburg interchange over several sections


Main roads

Spiez - Kandersteg (in the direction of departures)
Gampel - Goppenstein (in the direction of the returns)
Raron - Brig
Various main roads in the Bernese Oberland, Graubünden and Valais side valleys, and other border crossings
H338, Hirzel - Sihbrugg
H340, Hinwil - Aathal

In the direction of departures, waiting times are to be expected between 8am and 4pm at the transhipment stations Furka in Realp, Lötschberg in Kandersteg and Vereina in Klosters-Selfranga.

In the return direction, waiting times will be possible between 11am and 6pm in Oberwald (Furka), Goppenstein (Lötschberg) and Lavin-Saglians (Vereina).

What about airports?

As many people will be flying abroad, expect longer-than-usual wait times at all of Switzerland's airports, arriving early enough to make it through check-in and security lines.

READ ALSO: Swiss airports warn of long waiting times over May public holidays



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