All you need to know about travelling in Switzerland this Christmas

All you need to know about travelling in Switzerland this Christmas

Looking to drive home for Christmas? You may be in for a long journey if you leave it until the last minute, according to the latest Traffic Forecast from the Federal Roads Office (Astra) in Switzerland. Alongside planes and trains, here is what the travel situation looks like across Swiss cities and cantons during the holidays this year:

Traffic jams expected in Switzerland this Christmas

In the report, Astra warned that long traffic jams should be expected across Switzerland during the Christmas holidays and New Year’s weekend. The most severe traffic jams will be concentrated around Swiss cities and on the roads leading up to ski resorts in the mountains.

Where are the heaviest traffic jams in Switzerland?

During the Christmas holiday and New Year, major traffic jams are expected on the following sections of roads and motorways:

  • A1 in and around Zurich 
  • A1 between Härkingen and Wangen am Albis
  • A1 and A6 in Bern
  • A1 in and around Lausanne
  • A2 near Basel
  • A2 and A14 between Lucerne and Stans-Nord
  • A3 between Walenstadt and Reichenburg
  • A8 between Spiez and Interlaken
  • A8 between Sarnen and the Lopper junction
  • A13 between Sarganserland and Rothenbrunnen
  • A28 between Landquart and Klosters

Major delays are also expected on the Gotthard Road Tunnel, San Bernadino Pass, the passes between Canton Bern and Valais and other major axes through the mountains. Traffic on mountain passes will be heaviest going south around Christmas and north between January 1 and 7 as families return for the end of the school holidays.

Do not try to avoid traffic jams, advises Swiss government

To help contain the disruption, the government has called on all drivers to refrain from trying to avoid traffic jams on the motorways by diverting onto smaller roads through towns and villages. They argued that this leads to a higher risk of road accidents, hurts local economies and impedes public transport

“It is therefore important that travellers stay on the motorway even when there is a traffic jam and do not leave it, not least out of consideration for the local population,” Astra wrote.

Strike action threatens Geneva Airport

For airports, a spanner has been thrown in the works for travellers looking to fly into and out of Geneva, with workers at Dnata expected to walk out at a yet-to-be-defined time on the week of December 18. When it happens, the action is expected to severely disrupt flight operations for more than eight different airlines.

If you are one of the 720.000 people expected to use Geneva Airport in the two weeks around Christmas, be sure to check for regular updates from the airport and your airline. Zurich Airport is expected to be busy, but will not be affected by industrial action.

Public transport in Switzerland expected to be busy

When it comes to public transport, Intercity and Interregional services between Swiss cities and abroad are set to be very busy during the Christmas period. It is advisable to travel during off-peak times during the early mornings and late evenings.

However you choose to get home or abroad this Christmas, we wish you safe travels!

Thumb image credit: Oscity /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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