San Bernardino Pass: A scenic route through the Swiss Alps

The San Bernardino Pass, also known as the Passo San Bernardino, is a scenic spot in Switzerland. This route is popular among drivers, cyclists and hikers for its beauty and the opportunity to enjoy nature. You can stop here to enjoy the views and hike in good weather. The pass offers picturesque scenery of mountains and lakes that are pleasant to walk or drive through.

Where is the San Bernardino Pass in Switzerland?

The San Bernardino Pass is located between the cantons of Grisons and Ticino in Switzerland and reaches an altitude of 2,053 metres (6,736 ft). The San Bernardino Tunnel (A13) was opened in 1967 and provides year-round access to Misox and the canton of Graubünden. This means that even when the pass is closed in winter due to weather conditions, there is always the option of using the tunnel for access.

How long is the San Bernardino Pass?

The pass spans 30.6 kilometres (19.01 miles) and includes more than 40 twists and turns. It is a great place for driving enthusiasts to enjoy spectacular road conditions.

Is San Bernardino Pass open?

San Bernardino Pass is not accessible year-round due to weather conditions. In the event of a major snowfall, the road is closed due to unsafe passage.

The annual schedule for opening and closing the pass changes depending on the weather, so it is always advisable to check these dates in advance when planning a trip. Information about the current status of the pass can be found on the official website.

Interesting fact: San Bernardino Pass has been closed for the winter since World War II.

What can I see along the San Bernardino Pass route?

When travelling through the San Bernardino Pass, there are some great views to be seen. There are several stopping points along the route where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and scenic roads.

Ospicio's Restaurant

At the top of the San Bernardino Pass is the Ospizio Restaurant, where you can take a break and grab a bite to eat. This is a great place for a small lunch or snack while travelling over the pass. The menu usually features a few warm dishes such as soups and cold options such as sandwiches. Snacks and drinks are also available to enjoy on site or en route. So there is something for everyone here.

Lake Moesola

Close to the restaurant is Lake Moesola, where you can enjoy beautiful views and relax. It's a great place for family holidays or walks with the dogs. Several local hiking trails start from here.

It's worth noting that depending on the season, the lake can freeze over if the weather is cold enough.

Where are the Grand Tour of Switzerland signs?

A place to take photos of the Grand Tour of Switzerland

At a certain point on the pass, you can slow down and savour the moment at the Grand Tour of Switzerland sign. This typical red frame highlights the mountains and road in the background from the pass. Although there are not many parking spaces near the sign itself, there are plenty of other places to stop where you can park and walk up to the sign.

Winter Tip: San Bernardino Resort

San Bernardino Pass is closed to vehicular traffic during the winter, but the resort remains open for skiing, snowboarding, and winter activities. You can use the tunnel to get to the resort, and you should use the South Area to enter the resort.

Want to stay overnight in Bernardino Pass in Switzerland?

If you want to stay close to the San Bernardino Pass, there are several places below it:

  • Hotel Bellevue San Bernardino is a 4-star hotel at the base of the pass, with updated and well renovated rooms, parking and good quality food.
  • Aparthotel S-Bernardino - clean rooms and suites, good breakfast and friendly staff. A little dated but quite suitable for an overnight stay close to the pass.


A visit to the San Bernardino Pass always proves to be an impressive experience. Although at first glance it may not seem like there is much to see here because of the only road, the place actually has its own unique appeal. Each time you enjoy the views of the mountains from different angles, you will see the variety of colours and the landscape renewed each season.

It is important to keep in mind that on weekends, especially when the weather is good, the place can be crowded with tourists and cyclists. It's also a great place for a picnic, so bring your own snacks and enjoy the outdoor atmosphere.

Before travelling, it is advisable to check if the pass is open, as its closure due to snowfall or unfavourable weather conditions is not uncommon. And of course, don't forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning views.


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