Wending its way through the Alps between the villages of Brig and Valais, the Simplon Pass is home to stunning mountain views and historical structures offering both public and private residences.
The original road through this high mountain pass was originally constructed at the behest of Napoleon during the first years of the 19th century during the period of occupation. Since that time, numerous improvements have been undertaken, including several avalanche shelters and an iconic sculpture of an eagle designed by the Swiss architect and sculptor Erwin Friedrich Baumann in the early 1940s. Today, the pass is one of the few high alpine routes that remain open year-round.
Notable lodgings in the area include the Simplon Hospitz (located at an elevation of 6,500 feet), which was built more than 150 years ago, and the Hotel Bellevue Simplon-Kulm just across the meadow from the Simplon.
The Simplon Railway Tunnel offers more direct and speedy transportation between Brig and the Italian frontier, but despite the convenience of this option, travelers are deprived of the romance of a distinctive Alpine driving experience. Clever travelers can split the difference and leave the driving to regular bus circuits of the area.
Ambitious international travelers bent on continuing on beyond the pass can extend their itineraries and continue out of Switzerland and into Italy.
Travelers interested in traversing the pass during calm weather should also consider stopping off for a picnic lunch at Lake Roteslee near Valais.
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