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Simplon Pass (Passo del Sempione)

One of the most scenic drives in the Alps, featured in Giro d'Italia

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Simplon Pass (also spelled Simplonpass, Passo del Sempione, or Col du Simplon) is a mountain pass with an elevation of 2,005 m (6,578 ft) between the Pennine and Lepontine Alps in Switzerland. An international Europen Route E62 traverses the pass and links the town of Brig, canton of Valais, Switzerland, with Domodossola, Piedmont, Italy some two hours away from Milan. The asphalted road is generally open all year round, although occasional closures are possible in case of harsh weather conditions or road maintenance.

Simplon Pass has been used by people since the Stone Age. The road dates back to Napoleon times when it was built for military purposes. If you drive to the summit from Domodossola, the ascent is 40 km long with 1,733 m (5686 ft) of elevation gain. From Varzo, you climb for 28 km with an elevation gain of 1,477 m (4846 ft). The road to the pass is asphalted with hairpin bends, sheer drops, switchbacks, and enough blind spots to make any driver nervous. Serpentine twists and turns can be an issue for those with car sickness. However, this drive also provides stunning views of the mountain slopes and verdant tree valleys. Between Simplon Pass and Brig, visitors cross the Ganter Bridge, 150 m above the Ganter Valley.

At the summit of Simplon Pass visitors can see the Hospiz of the Bernardine monks founded in the 19th century. Magnificent views on top include a panorama of the Bernese Alps with the Bietschhorn and snow-covered peaks of Fletschhorn and Weissmies. Stop by Simplon Village to see its traditional Alpine architecture.

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