We can find no better place to start the Rallye than Switzerland. The red-and-white beating heart of Europe has about 30% of its territory in the Alps, which have been part of the nation’s history and development since the beginning. It is no secret among car enthusiasts that the greatest mountain passes are located either in Switzerland or close to its borders. In that spirit, the 2018 edition of the Rallye des Alpes will begin from the heart of the country, on the shores of Lake Lucerne.
A favorite among tourists from around the globe, Lake Lucerne can be described as the world’s largest and most beautiful amusement park, putting nature at the very center of the action. This deep-blue lake is surrounded by green fields and grey mountains, whose names are instantly recognizable. The Rigi, the Pilatus and the Bürgenstock have welcomed illustrious personalities for more than a century. From great writers and artists (Mark Twain and JMW Turner) to heads of state (Queen Victoria, Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter), the road to the top has always been the same: by using one of Lake Lucerne’s classic steamers before boarding a funicular all the way to the summits in order to enjoy amazing panoramas and crisp, fresh air.
Day 1 will skirt along the Axenstrasse to Altdorf, home of the legendary Swiss hero William Tell. Our Rallye will then proceed to the Gothard Pass before entering the Engadin region and ending the day in the luxury resort of Davos, a prime destination both for winter sports and world politics.
In this leg we will drive on the world-famous Stelvio and the Umbrail. And that is only the start of the day, as the Rallye will then rediscover the Bernina, the Julier and the Maloja. From the white peaks and high-altitude passes of the Engadin to the palm trees and Italian dolce vita on Lakes Como and Lugano, this day will cover several climates and cultures.
After leaving Ticino and the sunny Southern side of the Alps, we will return to the center of Switzerland via the Grimsel Pass, the Bernese Oberland and the beautiful city of Thun before ending the day on the bank of Lake Brienz in Giessbach, where its famous Grandhotel was used as a filming location on several occasions, including HBO’s award-winning series Band of Brothers, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.
This leg will be dedicated to the Oberland, Bernese and Fribourg Alps. From Giessbach we will proceed through Interlaken, climb up to Gstaad and enter French-speaking Western Switzerland via Gruyere. Our Rallye will then descend on the shores of Lake Geneva for a drive in the Lavaux region and its terraced vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. Drunk with jaw-dropping sites, we will continue along the Lake and pass cities such as musical Montreux, elegant Lausanne and roman Nyon, founded by Julius Caesar. Finally the day will end near Lausanne
The final leg of the 2018 Rallye des Alpes will focus on the French-speaking part of Switzerland, with a drive around Lake Geneva. Leaving the Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rallye will venture throughout some easy passes in the Jura mountains and reach the legendary Vallée de Joux, home of many luxury watch manufacturers, who perpetuate one of Switzerland’s best-known traditions. Prestigious names such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain or Breguet share the region with independent watchmakers. All are united by the passion of their trade and the desire to preserve their savoir-faire. Following the Vallée the Joux, we will return to our hotel via the beautiful French Haute-Savoie and the southern shores of Lake Geneva, in time to bring the Rallye des Alpes to a close with a farewell dinner and prize-giving ceremony.