Jodie Kidd reveals all about her incredible experience on the Grand Tour of Switzerland, exploring the best Swiss hotels and villages and pushing her driving skills to the limit on some of the world’s best roads.
The Grand Tour of Switzerland is a road trip like no other. The entire, epic circuit covers 1,643km and takes in the very best of this most amazing country. There are lots of different ways you can do it. You could do a small section over two days. You can do it over a week. My fiancé Joe and I spent five amazing days exploring what the Grand Tour had to offer from Zurich to Zermatt, staying in really lovely hotels, driving the beautiful mountain passes and really getting to experience Switzerland in the summertime.
We all know about the wonderful snow and skiing, but the Grand Tour is all about showing off Switzerland in summer. It is just as beautiful, if not even more, at this time of year. A lot of people might think ‘the mountains are just for the winter’. But if you get a nice car, those roads, which in the winter are either shut or have to be driven incredibly slowly with your chains on, are so much fun to drive. We had a Porsche 911 Turbo S Convertible: we had the roof down, we had music on and it was fantastic driving. Whether or not you’re a complete petrolhead like me, you will love it because it is just all so beautiful.
There’s an amazing range of temperature and scenery, going from the beautiful lush green valleys where the rivers wind, before climbing up the mountain passes as you go through the trees. Then the trees stop and you reach these barren landscapes right at the top of the mountains. It’s constantly changing with really dramatic views the whole time. It’s very experiential.
For Joe and I, the best road was undoubtedly the Furka Pass, perhaps the most iconic road in Switzerland. It’s really special. When you’re right at the top you get to see the switchbacks all the way down to the valley, then you see them climb up far in the distance. You can see the road go up another massive mountain.
It’s not just about the mountain passes, however. The drive into Andermatt was great too. The road quality was really beautiful and we got to open the Porsche up a bit, which was really fun. As was the chance to take out an OSCA Maserati 1600, which even raced at Goodwood back in the day. You definitely need to check your brakes if you’re going to take a classic out on the Grand Tour, though!
It was so lovely to drive these iconic routes and amazing roads in a beautiful, classic car. It’s what they were built for. It’s lovely when you’re in the classic because obviously it’s manual, obviously it’s much more throaty and you can really get into the switchbacks. You can just see how brilliant these old classics were, how incredible the engineering was and get a real sense of proper driving. It just brings a big smile to your face.
What’s so good about the Grand Tour is that it’s not just about the driving, as amazing as it is. The trip itself was overwhelming. The beauty of the country is just breathtaking: Everywhere you go, it’s just pure beauty. We really made sure we stopped and just took it in. We love to do driving experiences and rallies and things like that but actually doing things in your own time, making your own plan, stopping off in little villages and having a little lunch, was so special.
The hotels are just so luxurious too, especially when we stayed at the Badrutt’s Palace in St. Moritz. It’s one of the most iconic hotels in the world. The service, the rooms, the luxury – we were just completely spoiled by the wonderful Swiss hospitality. The swimming was incredible as well. We would wake up in the morning, have a little dip in the clearest of lakes and then get ready, get in the car and hit the road.
And then of course, you’ve got the food. It’s so good. Swiss wine is really the nicest wine we produce in Europe. With all of these experiences, it really is the ultimate trip. You don’t have to be a petrolhead to enjoy yourself, because there are so many different factors. We may have been covering a lot of ground, but everything just slowed down and stopped a little bit. I find there’s a great amount of peace you get in the mountains, a kind of calmness. We were doing over 100 miles a day and usually that would make me feel quite tired. But the air and the water and the views and the vistas, everything kind of really energises you. I found it quite moving and very special. Finishing at the base of the Matterhorn in Zermatt was a wonderful place to end our time on the Grand Tour.
I’m going to be at the Goodwood Revival with Switzerland Tourism, singing the praises of the amazing Grand Tour of Switzerland and all it has to offer. The Revival really is my favourite time of year, it’s the best event. I think it’s the best racing in the world. You have these millions of pounds worth of cars absolutely going flat tack to win. Everyone gets so dressed up. I find it so beautiful. It’s so historical and so much fun.
Our Revival partner, Switzerland Tourism, has put together an incredible Grand Tour which celebrates the very best this stunning country has to offer. The more than 1,000-mile route takes in four of Switzerland’s distinct linguistic regions and traverses five beautiful Alpine passes taking you to 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites and along the shores of 22 pristine lakes. You can explore the route and find out more, here.
You can win your own amazing trip to Switzerland, including three days in a Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet by entering here.
Keyword: Jodie Kidd’s guide to the ultimate Swiss Grand Tour