Sunday Engines: With Stephan Boegner across the Swiss Alps
In this latest episode of “Sunday Drives”, we experience the annual excursion of the chief photographer and Porsche enthusiast, Stephan Boegner.
Right: Five famous trails in the Swiss Alps
Length: 230 km
Peculiarities: Ride at high altitudes, tunnels, waterfalls, great views, and lots of turns
Few members of the Porsche community are more qualified to talk about fantastic road trips than Stefan Boegner is. Renowned photographer and founder of Curves magazine has captured the world’s best roads over the past decade, often from the driver’s seat of an air-cooled 911.
Among all his road trips, there is still one that is his favorite. “The trip I want to take at least once a year takes me to five of the most beautiful travel lanes in Switzerland. It’s great if you drive there.”
Bogner lives in Munich, southern Germany, and leaves his air-cooled 911 at home as early as 04:00 in the morning to avoid congestion. Via Lucerne leads quickly to the first pass, Sustenpass. “Most of these lanes are designed for military transportation and can be very narrow, but the Susten Pass has been created for sightseeing. It is a beautiful, wide and winding road towards the Stein Glacier,” says Bogner.
This card is familiar to Bogner, as he has served as the backdrop to many of his photos of Porsche over the years. “I recommend driving this corridor from east to west and west to east if you have time, because both directions are beautiful. However, the highlight of this corridor is the many tunnels!”
The 2.2 km high Susten Pass can be covered in about 45 minutes, or in an hour if you take it easy. Once descended, the Grimsel Pass, the second of the five, begins almost immediately. “This road takes you beyond a 200-year-old hotel, and it’s an absolute must to stay,” says Bogner. “You are driving over a small dam to an island on a lake, and the hotel is on the edge of that dam. The view is really breathtaking.”
The Grimsel Pass continues at 2,164 meters and offers stunning views from the top of the third stage of Bogner’s epic alpine adventure, the famous Furka Pass. Before you get there, there are many sharp bows of hairpins to take, which will get you down the Grimsel Pass.
The third lane, Furka Pass, paved the way for the unforgettable James Bond race duel at The Golden Fingers and is a popular destination for movie and car enthusiasts alike. “The road is very narrow from the top,” says Boegner. “It’s crazy because you drive 30 km along the mountain, turn left and right constantly, and you always have snow there, even in July and August.”
The small village of Andermatt lies below the Furka Pass. From this village, you can turn right onto Gotthard Pass, according to Bogner “one of the best roads in the world”. The original Gotthard Pass, a vital trade route through Saint-Gotthard Massif, connecting northern and southern Switzerland, originated in the 13th century. In 1980, a 17 km tunnel opened under a centuries-old road. “This corridor therefore allows you to choose two completely different routes,” says Boegner. “One of them is the old hand paved road that dates back to the year 1600. You can still drive over it and it’s an adventure not to be missed. By the way, you can also take amazing photos!”
The fifth and final stage of a Bugner’s favorite road trip is the Nufenen Pass, the highest paved road in Switzerland at 2,478 meters. “Here, too, you do a nice climb,” says Bogner. “The steep incline then takes you back to the Soesten Pass, so if you like, you can come back again!”
Boegner has driven some of the most recognizable Porsche cars in recent years, such as the original 911 R, 906 Carrera and 918 Spyder, but his own car was and remains a favorite. “For these trips, I always choose my 1970 911 S / T which has been rebuilt just like the original, with a wider body, 2.5-liter double-spark magnesium engine and a completely barebones interior racing cabin. It’s always great to do these kinds of trips with this vehicle.”
Sums up, “Each pass has its own unique character.” “And that’s exactly what makes this road trip so exciting. I don’t think you will find such an area anywhere else in the world with so many stunning landscapes and great riding routes.
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