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Info on Alpine Passes. Closed or open?

Passes in the Alps. Passes between France Italy Switzerland Austria Spain.

Alpine passes in France: Information on mountain pass open and closing dates in the French Alps and passes between France, Switzerland and Italy. Pyrenees passes information.

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Most passes in the Alps are closed during the winter. Some of the highest Alpine passes close as early as October and remain closed until June. Even the passes which are served by tunnels can sometimes be shut for short periods during heavy snowfall, but every effort is made to keep these major routes open.

Most Alpine passes which are not served by tunnels are shut from at least late November until late April.

The situation is similar in the Pyrenees where several tunnels mean the crossing can be made throughout the year.

Under normal circumstances the following routes are mostly open using tunnels:

Frejus tunnel (Mont Cenis pass)
Mont Blanc tunnel
Great St Bernard tunnel
St Gottard pass tunnel
Brenner Pass between Austria and Italy (external motorway)

Follow the link for more information about these tunnels, including tolls and weather conditions (for some).

Finding realtime info on Alpine pass closures is difficult. If anyone reading this knows of a website with up to date information on which passes are closed we'd very much like to hear about it. There is a useful Dutch website which gets updated at the start of the winter season which at least lets you know the dates of passes which are closed each year.

Michelin publishes National Maps of the countries where mountain passes are affected by winter closures. On their "National" series likely closure dates are shown in small blue boxes close to the pass in question. These do not appear on the "Regional" or "Local" maps. These National maps can be purchased on our website. France is map number 721, Italy 725, Austria 730. France overlaps into Spain (734) and both France and Italy overlap into Switzerland (729).

Snow chains are recommended to be carried everywhere in mountainous areas during winter, and if you do not carry and fit them when conditions demand the police can prevent you continuing your journey. Click for general information on winter tyres and snow chains.

Visibility Vests are compulsory in France, and in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU). The rules vary from country to country concerning number of vests required and whether they should be carried in the car or boot. Common sense suggests that there should be a vest for every occupant, and that the vests should be carried in the car, and put on before getting out. Do this and you will not have a problem.

Winter tyres are recommended but not compulsory (as of January 2008). Snow chains are recommended to be carried in mountainous regions, especially the Alps, during winter, and if you do not carry and fit them when conditions demand the police can prevent you continuing your journey. Click for general information on winter tyres and snow chains.

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All information on this page is provided as a service to our clients. It is intended as a guide to the more important rules for the different countries to which we offer driving holidays. It is not meant to be a comprehensive document. We try and keep the information on this page up-to-date, but we cannot be held responsible in any way for any consequences arising from any inaccuracies. If you find a mistake or would like to send us some additional information, please email us. Your co-operation is appreciated.

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