Nufenen Pass (Passo della Novena, Nufenenpass) in the Swiss Alps is a road many miss out on, because instead of driving over Nufenen Pass they will drive on two other roads in this area - Grimsel Pass and Furka Pass. The likelihood that you would drive all three in the same day is not that big - if you do it, you would be driving an approx. 140 km loop that includes four mountain passes (Innertkirchen - Grímsel Pass - Furka Pass - Gotthard Pass - Nufenen Pass and back to Grimsel Pass, for example).
Driving the Nufenen Pass
Despite not being the most popular choice for many road trippers we think Nufenen Pass is definitely worth a visit. It is one of the top locations in the area to watch the sunset in the summer - we know, because we have seen it and we did not want to leave. Rising 2478 m above sea level Nufenen Pass is the second highest paved mountain pass road in Switzerland after Umbrailpass. The road is between two cantons, Ticino and Valais, and connects Ulrichen and Airolo. We think the best hairpin turns are on the west side if you start the climb up on Nufenen Pass from Furkastrasse. After reaching the top of Nufenen Pass there is a mix of long straights and nice switchbacks for the rest of the drive, which is about 37 kilometres in total.
The view are spectacular to say the least, with two small lakes at the top. You can see Finsteraarhorn rising up 4,274 m above sea level to the north, which is the highest mountain in the Bernese Alps, and the ninth highest in the whole Switzerland. A view over Gries Glacier can be seen to the south and Ticino River is located east. Nufenen Pass is open usually from June / July to September / October, depending on weather conditions. If Nufenen Pass is closed Furka Pass might be open, and vice versa, so there are alternative routes on offer. However in the winter when all passes will be closed you have to use the highway if you are arriving from the direction of Lugano and want to reach for example Meiringen.
There is also a hotel and restaurant at the top of Nufenen Pass - Restaurant Nufenenpass.