Luzern, which is the capital of the similar named Canton, was my first ‘real contact’ with Switzerland – after taking the bus and train in Basel – and it wasn’t bad at all!
When you arrive at the train station, at the left-hand side – located on a green hill – there is a pretty white castle “Hotel Chateau Gütsch” from here you have a beautiful view over the city and the hinterland, which from my point of view is a good place to get familiar with the city. Coming down from the castle, at the end of the street you go to the left and cross the river “Reuss” on a rather big bridge. This is the easiest way to get to the old city walls – Museggmauer – from where you have another beautiful view over the city its old city centre and the river “Reuss”. After walking over the city wall till almost the end, in a few steps you enter the old city centre and walk in between the most beautiful decorated façades, it feels like you go back in time. This part of the city isn’t big, but you should surely take your time, for the reason that around every corner and in every little street you will find something astonishing.
When it is a hot day – like when I was there – it is great to go to the park “Ufschötti” where you can find a little artificial beach and area to swim in the lake. The view you have from there is just marvelous! Before you go there, buy some bread and spreads in the supermarket under the train station to eat this in the park, you won’t be the only one who does this. You find the park if you walk past the train station and the harbour.
It was just a day trip from Luzern, but it had a life-time impression on me. It amazed me how easy – compared to many other countries – you can go by public transport to the most beautiful hiking areas. With the train and bus we went from Luzern to Küssnacht and took the cable car to Seebodenalp where we started walking, along farms, through meadows with dozens of cows with their famous bells, through the forest, all the way to the top of Mount Rigi. What I liked the most was that, almost until the top, we walked pretty much alone and had all the beauty to ourselves. Only from the Rigi-Kulm train station it became touristy, yet it was easy to get away from this as well. On an altitude of 1.800m – the top of Mount Rigi – you can look incredible far – and from this moment I understood why Swiss people like mountains that much! – and you can see two of the three lakes which surround the mountain; Lake Luzern and Lake Zug. We walked a little further down in direction Lake Zug and sat down somewhere in the grass, with a fresh breaded bread in our hands, just enjoying the moment. The way back – which partly went along the railway – wasn’t less beauty. More meadows and even more stunning views. So if you are staying in Luzern, I would advice you to take a day-trip to this area.
Another worthwhile hiking area closeby Luzern is Wirzweli. By train I drove to Dallenwil where I could take the free shuttle from the cable car company “Wirzweli” which took me to the similar named village in the mountain. There are various walking routes of which many are also very suitable for children. I took the “Panorama Route” which should take about three hours – since I had a massive amount of time I kept adding routes, so I cannot tell if it really takes three hours. To start the route you walk southwards – to your lefthand-side in direction “Gummenalp”. In the beginning you just walk over a gravel road – which I did not like that much – but after a while you leave this road behind you and continue on a small walkway through the meadows and forest with stunning views over dozens of mountaintops, the one with even more snow than the other. A panorama view over the valley and mountains which have an altitude of more than 2.500m. The interesting thing about this route is that along the way there are various “Geo-Weg” signs which tell you about the geology of the area.
From the “Gummenalp” I continued walking in direction “Eggalp” and took the ‘left’-side of the little forest. This was from my point of view the prettiest part with even wider views. My route continued to “Ächerli” – which I never found, I took a hill too early – and then back to Wirzweli. Also because of a surplus of time, I walked back to Dallenwil. A long route and at some places quite steep, yet especially from halfway on where you cross the forest it was very pretty!
In total I walked around in this area for more than 6 hours – including enjoying lunch and some snacks at different places with magnificant views.
Canton Glarus, a small canton of only 685 km2 but full of beautiful places and for me full of good memories. For the reason that the days before I went to Schwändi – a small village in this canton – I have been walking a large amount my friend had planned a gorgeous yet very comfortable route. By car we drove to Linthal where we took the cable car which brings you in 7 minutes 604m higher up to the village Braunwald. From here you have a fascinating view over the valley of Linth. Along the typical old, but also new, houses of Braunwald we walked about two and a half hours to the lake “Oberblegisee”. A rather steady walkway along meadows and forest with on the right side almost always a great outlook on the valley. The area around the lake was surprisingly green and looked more like a fairytale landscape with the turquoise blue water and rough rocks. After having heard the story of this peculiar lake where the water is drained invisible, we moved on to Schwändi. From the lake we walked downwards most of the time again through meadows – close by the cows – and a steep part through the forest which looked so pretty.
Another beautiful place where you have to go when being in this area is the lake “Klöntalersee”. We drove here by car – along a super small road where you don’t want to run into a big car – but you can also reach the lake by bus. Sadly when I was there the weather wasn’t that great, nevertheless it was still superb! The lake looked more like a fjord with its high and green mountains which went straight into the water. Just beautiful.
One of the last highlights of my Switzerland-trip was the hike up to the top of the “Ebenalp” (1.644m) and the well-known restaurant “Gasthaus Aescher”. By car we drove to Wasserauen – you can also get here by train – and started walking upwards. Two hours just walking up, a heavy walk, but the landscape – which changed dramatically the higher we came – was so charming that it was totally worth it! We were unlucky that it was extremely foggy, yet on the other hand, it made the landscape look rather unique. After not being able to see anything but a white blanket at the top of the Ebenalp – I have seen on pictures that the view should be amazing from here! – we walked back to the restaurant “Gasthaus Aescher” and tried there delicious rösti’s. After being completely satisfied we continued walking to the lake “Seealpsee” which looks with the rough mountains in the background like a picture from a postcard, stunning!! You can rent a little boat here, but we decided to put our bikini on and go for a swim. I could have stayed at this place for hours and hours, everything looks just perfect and the surrounding is so peacefull with only a few people walking around – at least when we were there. From the lake we walked back to Wasserauen – an easy way over a paved road – to complete our loop.
All the routes I have been walking have been beautiful and special, nevertheless, in the end I believe that this route offers the broadest variety of landscapes, which makes it a very interesting and a highly recommendable hike for if you don’t have that much time in Switzerland.
-> More about Switzerland you can read in my blog Stunning Switzerland