Motorhome roadtrip to Switzerland

Holidays in the Corona-year. How alternative plans result in an unforgettable and highly unexpected adventure.

The summer of 2020 will be remembered by many as one that did not go according to the plan made 6 months before. The Coronavirus also interfered with our holiday plans. Our plans were made: on to the nature parks of Canada. A trip from Vancouver to Calgary, bear spotting, finding the bluest lakes in the world and more of natures’ phenomenons. But the virus ruined the plans completely. A roadtrip to S Switserland witzerland with a motorhome, the Adria Compact DL, became the alternative that made us forget all about Canada.

After the descision was taken, we started to plan our trip in detail. They way we, as true “airplane and carholiday people”, are used to. Including interesting stops and over night stays. Not quite as the experienced motorhome user would do, but still. Despite the planning we had a lot of insecurities. How many stops can we do in 2 weeks? How many km. do we want to driver per day? Where can we stay for the night? Why can’t I make a reservation at that campsite?

To let go of that planning was something to get used to. Especially as some things were not to be changed; a number of Switserland’s highlights just had to be visited. Eventhough Switserland is not known as a very friendly motorhome country, we put our bets on it and started to go to the south.

As motorhome debutants we granted ourselves some time to get used to this way of travelling and made 2 stops in Luxemburg and France. Camping does require a bit more than checking into your hotel: ask for a spot, find the spot, level the vehicle, connection the electricity. And what about emptying the toilets and making sure there is enough fresh water and not too much grey water (camping language we soon learned). At the French Vosges we got acquainted with our first motorhome site. The die-hard motorhome fans were a bit surprised when early in the afternoon an Adria Compact turned into the site carrying people below 30. We were just in time to take the last spot at this popular site in Plainfaing. 

But as said, this was not our final destination. At 8 am the next morning we set course to Switserland. With both full and empty tanks we turned the key and drove off to our first “must see” site: Lauterbrunnen. A small popular village in one of the Jungfrau valleys. This valley is known for its 72 waterfalls that fall down steap mountain walls, also in the middle of summer.

We really tried to get a spot for one night at one of the many campsites in this valley but, despite Corona, many campsites were full. Unfortunately it was not possible to stay longer than 1 night in this breathtaking valley. So we did that, fully to our satisfaction at campsite Rütti, below one of the numerous waterfalls. Enjoying our spot would have to be done in the morning and evening, first wanted to see the surroundings. As we left early we also arrived early and the motorhome was fully ready by lunchtime, absolutely ideal! After finding the right Swiss electrical adaptor we explored the area after lunch. Enough time to cross many waterfall sites from our list.

This area just begged for more exploring from our side but unfortunately Lauterbrunnen did not have any place for us in the next few days. With many alternatives available in the Jungfrau area we phoned Eigernordwand campsite in Grindelwald, a half an hour away. Making a reservation was not an option, but if we would arrive the next day on time, they believed it would be alright. And so we did. We managed to get a spot the next day at the other side of the Eigerwand with enough time to go on an other adventure. 

After 2 nights of heavy thunderstorms we decided to evaluate our trip so far. Later that week we planned a trip to THE symbol of Switserland: the Matterhorn. The hike around this giant starts at a height of 3.000 meter and that is something you prefer doing with a clear blue sky above you. And that was a critical point as the weather would remain instable for the rest of the week. Time to change plans: Friday would be the perfect day for Matterhorn. So we had to change our course. Hip hip hurray for the flexible way of travelling with a motorhomes. We decided to visit the next valley in Kandersteg. This is the place where a car-train takes many motorcycles, cars and trucks via the Lötschbergtunnel to the south of Switserland every year. After a stay at campsite Rendez-Vous and a visit to the clear blue Öschinenmeer, a trip on this car-train was also our next activity. At first, we were a bit anxious; can we, as debutants, drive this pretty wide and high vehicle safe and free from damage on and off these narrow train carriage (it’s not a regular car after all.)? Yes we can! Without a problem also. And 20 inutes later we were at the foot of Wallis, the Swiss region of our destination, the Matterhorn.

The weather forecast was right: a promised this Friday was sunny with a clear blue sky. The Gornergratbahn took us to 3.135 meters from which we started our hike back to Zermatt. Without a doubt, literally our absolute hightlight of this trip!

After a good week with round and about 60 Swiss hiking kilometers behind us it was time to relax. We diverted to Italy where we enjoyed Lago di Maggiore for 3 days. The impact of Corona was plain in sight: Camping Village Conca D’Oro treated us with a spot right at the water side at the nearly empty campsite. 

We recharged all our batteries 😊 and started thinking about our way home. We still did not do all that we had planned before we left: drive to Mont Blanc and the French Alpes for instance. Those ambitions would have to wait for a next trip. 

We followed the Swiss roads to Germany and challenged the Adria a bit. After 10 days we did not consider ourselves to be debutants anymore so it was time for some nice mountain roads. We went through Simplonpass and Grimselpass. The Fiat automatic gearbox did a terrific job. Beautiful sights as bonus features for this trip. 

After the final stop in Switserland we visited Germany’s Black Forest and chose our way back to the Netherlands. 

Back home after over 2.000 km. We did well, for first time motorhome users, if we may say so ourselves. What were our original plans for this holiday? Who said anything about Canada? This adventure was absolutely great and we are ready to visit all those places we did not get around to this year, during a next motorhome trip.