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Great St. Bernard Pass: Martigny to Aosta

Listed under Road Trips in Verbier, Switzerland.

  • Photo of Great St. Bernard Pass: Martigny to Aosta
  • Photo of Great St. Bernard Pass: Martigny to Aosta
  • Photo of Great St. Bernard Pass: Martigny to Aosta
  • Photo of Great St. Bernard Pass: Martigny to Aosta
  • Photo of Great St. Bernard Pass: Martigny to Aosta
Photo of Great St. Bernard Pass: Martigny to Aosta
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Only open from the middle of June to October, this 45-mile long, 8110ft high mountain pass is the highest and fondest in the Swiss Alps, offering mesmerising views of glaciers, deep canyons and several calm, glimmering lakes. The route has been well known for millennia – carrying the likes of Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Frederick Barbarossa and Hannibal along its back; ultimately the most notable being St. Bernard of Menthon, who established the beautiful Hospice in his name, complete with monastery, St. Bernard kennel (note that the dogs’ old role of mountain rescuer/beer server is redundant) and museum. At the summit is the ruin of a temple to Jupiter.

Written by  George Monkhouse.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

abt the tunnel

i am going now .. i know that pass is closed and tunnel is open. is it worth going via the tunnel

do i still get to see the beauty ?


Went up the Pass as far as the tunnel, the light snow that had fallen was sheet ice so the pass above was closed. The tunnel is 6kms shorter than the Pass itself but allows a lot more time to handle the bends and to stop to take in the views.

Its an absolute must if you are in the area. If you are in Chamonix ignore the Mont Blanc Tunnel and add half an hour and go via Martigny.

How Scary is it!

We have used the tunnel many times now but I am keen to drive the pass sometime but my wife does not like 'dangerous' roads with no edges! The road on the pass does not LOOK bad but are there side walls all along it or are there just open edges to the sides?

How much longer is it than the tunnel? I've heard it takes an extra 4 hours which seems unlikely! Any ideas?

Hope to try it in June next year



1 Reply

I would say it adds at least 90 minutes, maybe more with slow traffic. The roads are very windy with incredible views - no sides as such, but barriers to protect you.

When does the pass close for the winter? Will it be open to the end of October, 2009?

1 Reply

depends on snow conditions, of course, but it normally starts to be closed in November I believe. Check out their website for the latest.

Cost of using the tunnel

You give all the facts but not the cost for a car using the tunnel. How much is it?

1 Reply

The Pass (free and scenic!) is completely different to the Tunnel - which costs c. 20 EUR, but depends on size of car and direction of travel. See for info.

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