For members


Sunshine and traffic jams: What to expect in Switzerland over Pentecost weekend

Another long weekend is ahead, which means heavier-than-usual traffic on Swiss roads and in the air, although the wether forecast is positive. Here’s what you should know.

Sunshine and traffic jams: What to expect in Switzerland over Pentecost weekend
Road traffic will be heavy this weekend. Photo: Pixabay

As is the case before every public holiday, traffic jams are to be expected on roads leading to the mountains or to other popular tourist destinations, both in Switzerland and abroad.   

The government has issued a list of places where bottlenecks and other disruptions are most likely to happen.

Generally, slow traffic / bottlenecks are most likely on these roads:


A1, Harkingen – Wangen a.A.
A1, Aarau-East – Birrfeld
A1/A6, Bern region
A1, Geneva (Bardonnex border post)
A9, Lausanne region
A2/A3, Basel
A2, Diegten – Harkingen
A2/A14, Lucerne region (from Stans-Nord / in the direction of return)
A2, Erstfeld – Biasca (Gothard road tunnel)
A2, Lugano-Mendrisio
A2, Chiasso (border post towards Italy)
A3, Walenstadt-Reichenburg
A6, Bern – Thun
A8, Brienz – Interlaken – Spiez
A9, Vevey-Martigny
A12 Châtel-St-Denis – La Veyre / Vevey interchange
A13, Sarganserland – Thusis-South
A13, Andeer-Mesocco
A13, Bellinzona-Nord – Reichenau
A15, North Uster – East Uster; between Hinwil and the Reichenburg interchange over several sections

Main roads

Spiez – Kandersteg (in the direction of departures)
Gampel – Goppenstein (in the direction of the returns)
Raron – Brig
Various main roads in the Bernese Oberland, Graubünden and Valais side valleys, and other border crossings
H338, Hirzel – Sihbrugg
H340, Hinwil – Aathal

In the direction of departures, waiting times are to be expected between 8am and 4pm at the transhipment stations Furka in Realp, Lötschberg in Kandersteg and Vereina in Klosters-Selfranga.

In the return direction, waiting times will be possible between 11am and 6pm in Oberwald (Furka), Goppenstein (Lötschberg) and Lavin-Saglians (Vereina).

Authorities are also asking motorists, as they do prior to any public holiday travel period, not to stray off motorways but to stay the course even in traffic jams. That’s because making such detours “overloads the secondary road network to the point of paralysis of traffic, and greatly increases the risk of accidents for all road users.”

What about the airports?

All three of Switzerland’s international airports — Zurich, Geneva, and Basel — typically experience an onslaught on passengers at this time of the year..

Therefore, expect longer-than-usual wait times, arriving early enough to make it through check-in and security lines.

A bit of good news…

The weather forecast for the holiday weekend is great.

It will be mostly sunny, with temperatures in all regions reaching mid-20C.

MeteoSwiss weather service

Which cantons are not off on Monday?

Pentecost (also known as Whit Monday) is a public holiday in most Swiss cantons.

The only ones that don’t celebrate it (and where Monday is a regular work day) are Neuchâtel, Solothurn, Valais, and Zug.

READ ALSO: When are the Swiss public holidays in your canton in 2023?

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For members


Why the ‘strategic’ Geneva to Lyon train line needs drastic improvement

Commuters on trains between Geneva and Lyon (and vice versa) have had to face a number of problems over the years. But there is a new move to drastically improve the service.

Why the 'strategic' Geneva to Lyon train line needs drastic improvement

The train services circulating several times a day between Switzerland’s second-largest city and Lyon in France are used by thousands of commuters on both sides of the border.

But these trains, operated by France’s national railway company SNCF, as well as the country’s regional rail network,TER, are subpar, according to Swiss Green Party MP Delphine Klopfenstein Broggini, who has brought this issue to Switzerland’s Federal Council.

She has sounded the alarm over the fact that many of the trains circulating between these two major cities are in poor condition, and she says the rail infrastructure on the French side of the border is dilapidated and in need of urgent upgrading.

Not only are these trains uncomfortable for passengers, Klopfenstein Broggini argues, but the outdated infrastructure also means that additional trains can’t be put into circulation.

“This link is strategic for Switzerland, as it is its gateway to southwest Europe,” Klopfenstein Broggini pointed out, so improvements on this 112-km-long line “must therefore become a priority” for the government.

What exactly is she pushing for?

“My primary goal is that there should be more, but less obsolete, direct trains running on this line,” the MP said.

“Today, there are around thirty trains which connect Zurich to Stuttgart every day. But on the Geneva to Lyon line, there are only around ten. There should be twice as many, which would alleviate the [overcrowding] situation a lot.”

But that’s not all: she also wants Swiss trains to be put into service on this line for more efficiency.

“I am also asking if it would be possible for Bern to invest in rolling stock on this line, so as to ensure its maintenance, or even its operation, in collaboration with France,” she added.

The SBB operates trains from Geneva to Milan, so Swiss trains could also run to Lyon, Klopfenstein Broggini said.

“This would be in Switzerland’s interest,” she added.

And there would also be another benefit in a more efficient train connecting Geneva with Lyon, according to the MP.

If the infrastructure were in better shape and the trains more modern, the two-hour journey between the two cities could be shortened.

That would make the commute more appealing to some of the 220,000 cross-border workers who commute to their jobs in Geneva from France by car.

“The goal is to transfer some of these motorists from road to rail,” the MP said.

The next step is for the Federal Council to discuss Klopfenstein Broggini’s proposal.