This is where the legend of the St Bernard dog was born, at 2473m on the Great St Bernard pass between Switzerland and Italy. So perilous was this transalpine crossing that monks had already established a hospice on the pass in the 11th century to provide spiritual succour and to rescue travellers lost in the snow. The dogs uncovered and rescued lost souls until the 1950s when helicopters were introduced.
Nowadays, few visitors make it as far as this spectacular alpine pass, which is well worth a visit if you love walking with big dogs (you can go for a stroll with a St Bernard in summer!), remote border crossings, rugged mountains, hiking and the outdoors. Most whizz over the Swiss–Italian border far below in the 5.8km-long Tunnel du Grand St Bernard, which opened in 1964 and took virtually all the cross-border traffic away.