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I am planning to travel by a rented car from Milan to Reckingen-Gluringen, Switzerland on 8 December. What should I expect, and is it a good idea?

closed as primarily opinion-based by choster, user79658, David Richerby, Ali Awan, gmauch Nov 18 '18 at 16:55

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    do you plan to use the autobahn? what is the elevation of your destination? – Aganju Nov 15 '18 at 23:20
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    Welcome to TSE. Your question is worded very broadly; what do you mean by "expect" and what would you consider a "good idea"? I strongly encourage you to take the site tour and review the help center, and to edit the question to include more detail about what specific things you are worried about and are having trouble researching on your own. – choster Nov 16 '18 at 0:09
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    @choster, could you have missed something? the sentence fragment "What should I expect" obviously means "What road conditions should I expect" - see the question title. It couldn't be more specific. Nobody hates bad questions more than me :) – Fattie Nov 16 '18 at 3:56
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    @Fattie It obviously includes "What road conditions should I expect?" but, as written, it could refer to everything that might happen on the journey, the process of renting the car, entering Switzerland, and who knows what else. – David Richerby Nov 16 '18 at 10:31
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    Can you imagine if people didn't drive in Switzerland in December? The entire economy would collapse. – Strawberry Nov 16 '18 at 12:23
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If you really want to go 'only' by car, you will have to approach from the south. Coming from the north, you would either have to cross the Grimsel Pass on route 6 or the Furka Pass on route 19. Both are already permanently closed for the winter. As an alternative to crossing the Furka Pass, you can however use the train shuttle service between Realp and Oberwald, bring your car onto the train and go through the train tunnel instead of over the mountain road pass. You will still reach an altitude of 1550m in Realp. Chances are high, that you will meet snow there. The weather forecast for the coming days predicts snow and temperatures between -5°C and -10°C in Realp.

Coming from the south (Brig), the road between Brig and Reckingen-Gluringen should be pretty straight forward. You will reach your highest altitude of about 1350m in Reckingen-Gluringen. To get from Milan to Brig, the only reasonable road is however via Domodossola and over the Simplon Pass, wich will bring you over 2000m. The pass is in theory open all year, but may be closed on short notice if weather is bad. You must expect snow lying there and depending on the current weather (which we can't predict), the road may be ploughed and dry, or covered in snow. Also here, there is a train shuttle service from Iselle to Brig with which you can bring your car without actually going over the mountain pass. Departures (every 90 minutes) are less frequent than with the other service between Realp and Oberwald (every 30 minutes).

If it is a good idea is a matter of opinion. I would not hesitate doing the trip and perhaps opt for the northern route with the train shuttle. If you however have no experience driving in snowy conditions, and I expect you don't, since you otherwise wouldn't have asked the question, practicing on steep, slippery serpentines in the Swiss mountains is perhaps not the best way to start?

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    Please ensure that your rental car has winter tires. Otherwise you will be stuck either through snow or by the police. – Daan van Hoek Nov 16 '18 at 11:36
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    @DaanvanHoek As long as OP is renting from a regular rental company they can safely assume a car rented on Dec. 8th to be equipped with winter tyres. What may be more problematic is that OP may also need to equip snow chains (is that an English word?), which the car may not have or the OP may not know how to operate. – xLeitix Nov 16 '18 at 11:45
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    @xLeitix You absolutely cannot make that assumption. The OP will be renting in Milan (which never gets very cold in winter). I have flown into Basel airport in the winter, and if you plan to drive into Germany or Switzerland, you have to make sure you rent from the Swiss side (where the cars will all be fitted with winter tyres), and not from the cheaper French side (where they won't). – Martin Bonner Nov 16 '18 at 11:47
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    @xLeitix - Yes, "snow chains" is an English phrase. – Martin Bonner Nov 16 '18 at 11:57
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    @xLeitix Sixt has replied. Winter tyres or snow chains are required by Italian law. Sixt will provide snow chains. Winter tyres are an additional-cost extra. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to pay for them. Snow chains are fine on thick snow, but they are very unpleasant to drive on otherwise. Winter tyres (that aren't bald - that has happened to a relative) are just fine. – Martin Bonner Nov 16 '18 at 12:09

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