Here is my guide how to organize a road trip from Switzerland to Mongolia for those who want to feel the Eastern spirit! Don’t forget to think ahead of the way of getting ypur vehicle with you or simply rent a car at 24hrs or even longer. Also check out my previous guide on the best epic road trips in the world here!
Switzerland to Mongolia
Driving by car from Bern to Ulaanbaatar is by far one of the most blatant road trip adventures ever. We start in the Swiss capital, cross the Alps and head south to Italy. Shortly after you have crossed the border, you have the opportunity to get to know Italy from its wild side on a hike through the Val Grande National Park. Before you continue to the port of Ancona, you can make a short detour to Venice – don’t miss the deserted Piazza San Marco at sunrise.
Arriving to Ancona
Once you arrive in Ancona, take the ferry to Igoumenitsa on the Greek coast. At the edge of the Pindos National Park, which will surely knock you down with its deserted mountains, you continue to Kastoria. There you can visit the Disipilio settlement and get an idea of how the ancient Greeks lived about 5,500 B.C. – it’s amazing to see this with your own eyes!
Afterwards we continue via Thessaloniki to Xanthi. Here you can satisfy your adrenaline addiction with rafting, kayaking or mountain biking on and around the river Nestos before you continue to Istanbul. In the Turkish capital you can mingle with the locals in the Galata district and experience the very special flair of this city.
Shortly before you enter Georgia, you have the opportunity to get to know Turkey from a completely different side on a hike through the mountains at the coast in Trabzon. From Sumela Monastery, which seems to stick to a steep rock face, you have a really great view over the mountains. In Georgia, the steppe awaits you with a landscape as if from another world. The cave monasteries Dawit Garedscha in the east of the country are particularly blatant. Thanks to their remote location, you will hardly meet any other travellers here, but a lot of friendly locals.
Next, you’ll travel across Azerbaijan until you reach the capital Baku on the east coast. From Baku you can take the ferry to Aktau in Kazakhstan. There, dusty roads await you, which will lead you through the dry desert to the mountains. Here in the mountains the world looks quite different: The greenery is really good for your eye after the dry expanse of the desert. If you meet local nomads by chance, stop and spend some time with this very special people – a unique experience!
On the way to Russia
On your way up to Russia, make a short stop in Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, more precisely in the Ala Archa National Park – it’s time for a little thrill when you climb one of the snow-capped peaks. Now you could either drive directly to Mongolia or make a detour over the mountains of Russia. It is clear that your destination is getting closer and closer on this road trip.
On the way to Ulaanbaatar a short detour to the north to Chöwsgöl Nuur, a lake called the Blue Pearl of Mongolia and rightly so – the landscape here is simply madness! But now it’s on a direct route to the Mongolian capital and thus to the end of your mega road trip adventure.
If you’re a North person follow my blog, because in the next post I will tell you how to explore the North with best road trips to remember!