The past months have changed the world in many ways and as such also the ways we travel: Local travel is on the rise and alternatives to air travels are preferably chosen. More sustainable ways of getting around in particular with electric cars but also slow travel as such e.g. road trips have gained in popularity. In the past months we all got “forced” into staying home and rather explore the beauty of our surroundings.
In the first weeks of June I took the opportunity to explore my home country in a different way. We planned a road trip in a 100% electric ID.3 over 12 days. I am a total beginner and it is my very first own car. Therefore, read on to find learnings, tips and recommendations on planning the route. And probably some of your doubts will be gone towards electric mobility as much as the so-called myths around electric cars 😉
Planning the route
There is still the prevalent myths out there that electric cars don’t have enough range and takes too long to charge. But this issue has been solved. The range goes up to 550 kilometres and with my ID.3 it’s possible to reach 410km! The charging infrastructure is also improving continuously, especially along motorways. Across Switzerland, there are already more than 700 public fast-charging points (>22kW) where electric cars can be charged within few minutes (30 min for a full battery recharge). Of course, the charging network will continue to grow in the coming years. And not to mention that also many public car parks have plugs 🙂 When you plan your road trip with an overnight stay in a hotel, its most likely that you can charge your car overnight (for free) and the next morning your car is fully charged to continue.
Don’t worry about the range or long charging times. It’s no problem at all!
Since I planned the whole road trip I can share some tips for planning the route and define the right places for your overnight stays, hiking trails and food & photography spots. Usually, I use outdooractive for the hiking trails, booking or google for researching hotels/airbnbs and Instagram for the photography spots 🙂 My recommendation:
- Define the number of available days you want to travel
- Define the budget you have for food & accommodation
- Research the places you want to go or activities you want to do
- Map out the first route and see where your hubs are
- Detailed daily planning & timing
Let me take along our route and spots on the way. We planned out 12 days with a stopover at my home in Zurich to unpack and repack 😉
Below you can see the route of our Switzerland road trip and as you can see, we left out whole regions which obviously deserve another adventure by themselves! We covered a lot along central and north-east Switzerland. We departed from Zurich but and our adventure started off at Interlaken. Don’t be surprised – even if it looks a bit like winter (we had to adapt and cancel various activities due to lots of snow in the higher regions) it was JUNE. But no matter what the weather is, with good company and spontaneity there is always something exciting to do.
1st Stop – Interlaken
Our first hub was Interlaken. It’s a beautiful little town perfectly located on a so called land mark Bödeli between the two lakes Brienz and Thun. It’s the ideal starting point for the nearby mountain resorts and some of the most famous Alpine peaks such as Eiger, Mönch und Jungfrau.
From there, we did some short trips to Lauterbrunnen and also to some of the surrounding peaks like Brienzer Rothorn. If the weather is nice (and no snow is around!!! – check before) Bachalpsee is THE spot to visit here. We were too early and there was still 1+ meter of snow. So we skipped that place L
Since we were staying at the Jungfrau-Victoria Hotel & SPA it was also just nice to enjoy the SPA and relax.
On our departure day we started with a delicious breakfast and headed off to Kandersteg for a lovely round hike at Oeschinensee. (If you have still enough time you could stop also at Blausee for some amazing blue lake reflections (Keep in mind here you pay CHF 5.- of entrance) but worth it 100%!!!!
Once you stop at Kandersteg you can easily get a ticket for the cable car up at the machine or at the counter. The round ticket is worth it because the actual hike around Oeschinensee is breathtakingly beautiful. I highly suggest to take the first trail going up on the left side around the lake. It is steep in the beginning but the further you ascend the more rewarding the view will get. At the end you can even have a little dip in the lake to refresh yourself or get a nice ice cream at the restaurant.
2nd Stop – Zermatt
From Kandersteg we took the Lötschberg Autoverlad which will lead us to Valais. The train departs every 30 minutes and in just 19 minutes you’re on the other side of the mountains. The tickets are available online and you can access the train with the QR Code (digital savvy people might get excited!)
Since Zermatt village is not accessible by car but only but train, you’ll have to park your car at Täsch Car Terminal. If you have an electric car you should make sure to plug your vehicle in the dedicated charging stations (it’s included in the parking ticket without extra charge! Amazing!)
Once you arrive in Zermatt (if for the first time or as a frequent visitor) you will most likely be astonished by the mighty presence of the Matterhorn. Depending on how many days you are planning to stay in the village, you can explore various areas, trails and activities.
In my latest post from Zermatt I’ll tell you in more details about the Gornergrat Bahn, Klein Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, 5 lakes hike and the Charles Kuonen Bridge from Randa. For this visit I did a new little discovery walk to Zmutt – a particularly traditional Swiss village with lots of sheep and flowers around.
3rd Stop – Vitznau
From Zermatt/ Täsch we continued our road trip by car towards Vitznau. We had a lot of traffic and still snow issues – therefore no Furkapass or Schöllenen Gorge stop. But these are great places to have a stop, enjoy the view and then continue the 3:50hrs drive.
Once you are at Vierwaldstättersee you have many beautiful and famous mountains to see or activities to do in and around Lucerne. Pilatus, Rigi Kulm are very beautiful. We weren’t able to do any of these hikes but the more we enjoyed the luxurious Parkhotel Vitznau. It’s SPA & Wellness area is the most amazing place I’ve ever visited so far.
4rd Stop – Stoos
Our next stop was a sleepover at Berghotel Fronalpstock. We were the only & first guests since it just opened for summer season. Really cool and I highly recommend doing the ridge hike Fronalpstock to Klingenstock or reverse. I wrote about it here.
5th Stop – Wasserauen
This was our longest drive from central Switzerland to the East and I wasn’t sure if the battery would last for this. But anyway, we tried it and drove in eco mode. It’s been a long time that I wanted to do sleep in the Schäfler mountain hut and finally we had the chance. However, it was a VERY adventurous ascent since there was a thunderstorm danger and the Ebenalp cable car interrupted it’s service for 1.5 hours. Eventually in the very short break in between the two fronts of thunderstorm cells we made it through snowfields, heavy rain & hail to the refuge. Berghaus Schäfler is an authentic Swiss place and with generous hospitality. For the next day we planned the hike down to Äscher and Seealpsee which is a bit demanding for the knees but so worth the panorama 😉 Here you find details about my favorite hikes!
6th Stop – Brunni Engelberg
From Wasserauen we continued to Engelberg but obviously depending on your plan you could stop at various waterfalls in Appenzell or at Walensee.
However, going straight to Engelberg was the best decision for us since we did the lovely barefoot trail which is a lot of fun for young and old. Härzlisee is very lovely for sunset (check out my reels here). We slept at Ristis Berglodge which offers delicious food and cosy beds. On our last day, we did the Brunnistöckli Ferrata that is perfectly for beginners and a lot of fun!
Summing up this Switzerland road trip. It was so much fun, a lot of adventure and after all, so easy to get around with an electric car. And after all knowing that an ID.3 is being handed over to the driver as CO2 neutral car makes it even better. In addition, there are often regional purchase incentives for the electric car and the required charging infrastructure. Moreover, the running costs of the electric car are lower. This is because electricity costs less than petrol or diesel, the taxes due are low and the costs for service and maintenance are only about one third compared to conventionally powered vehicles. Further, it is very comfortable driving and also staying in hotels and having the chance to charge overnight.
Hope to have inspired you taking a road trip in Switzerland too and possibly try the new Volkswagen e-vehicles (ID.3 was the one I have and I love it so much!). Remember that many places are easily accessible with public transport but if you want to be more efficient, flexible and also reach places out of the service times – an electric car is a good investment 😉 Still believe in the myths? Check out this article here!
*This article was written as part of the ambassador programme with VW Switzerland. All opinions are my own and not influenced by external parties.*