Super Alpine

 

MTN/PASS 46°57’24”N 8°40’60”E

Furka Pass

Bond's favourite alpine route, but don't expect a car chase in todays Switzerland

The Furka pass is one of the world's most iconic roads and was immortalised in the 1964 film 'Goldfinger'. Much has changed since those days and it's unlikely the Swiss would take too kindly to Mr Bond and Ms Mastersons antics these days. Goldfinger would probably still get a pass though.

The pass links Obergoms in Valais with Andermatt in canton Uri and was built in 1867. Today it's very popular with tourists but the ice grotto and hotel are now closed. Climate change has put pay to the Rhone glacier and it has receded away from the hotel taking the business with it.

Bond: Why were you shooting at me?
Masterson: I wasn't. I was shooting at Goldfinger.
Bond: Then you're an awful shot.

If you find a quiet day it's a great drive to the top from Valais. On the way down to Andermatt it's tighter and twisting with slightly less awesome views, so you can concentrate more on the road. On a busy day, it's to be avoided. Traffic can be hellish, thanks to the post bus, coaches, cyclists and all manner of slow, badly driven vehicles.

The high point, in both senses, is of course the top. The Belvédère Hotel is just below the summit and endless opportunities for photographs exist here. Short hikes away from the road reveal fine views and what remains of the glacier. Further up to the summit there are plenty of stops and you can even play find the rock Jill Masterson tries to shoot Auric Goldfinger from. Hint, it requires a short, steep hike.

The Furka pass is not the iconic place and drive that Sean Connery allegedly loved back in the 60's but its still worth a trip out of season. The Furka closes over the winter so timing your visit is crucial.

The Furka makes up a trio of classic Swiss passes including the Susten and Grimsel that can all be driven in a loop in one day. And what a day.

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Belvédère Hotel on the Furka pass
Belvédère Hotel on the Furka pass - Photo Nigel Tadyanehondo
The road ahead
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