Engelberg – at the heart of Switzerland
The village of Engelberg in the heart of the Swiss Alps is the perfect winter or summer destination by rail. Located just 45 minutes from the bustling lakeside city of Lucerne, Engelberg is a gem in the mountains. A popular Alpine resort from the mid-19th century, the town became one of Switzerland’s top destinations once the railway from Lucerne opened in 1898.
In the summer months, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding and climbing are available in abundance in the local area. In winter, skiing and snowboarding dominate the scene, as well as snowshoeing and tobogganing through the idyllic winter landscapes.
Welcoming visitors from all over the world all year round, Engelberg’s jewel in the crown is Mt Titlis, which looms over the village at a gigantic 3,238 metres (10,623 ft).
Highlights of a visit to Engelberg
The primary reason most people visit Engelberg all year round, Mt Titlis dominates the village skyline. The first part of the ascent involves a the Titlis Xpress cable car from the resort to the mountain station of Trübsee where you will find a picturesque lake, plenty of eateries and even a hotel. From here, you take the Titlis Rotair rotating cable car for the final ascent to the summit.
Once at the summit, there is an atmospheric glacier cave,
One of the most photographed features at the top of the mountain is the Titlis Cliff Walk, which opened in 2012 and offers panoramic views of the glacier and surrounding mountains. The summit of Titlis is above the snow line, guaranteeing year-round snow, with the temperature rarely creeping above zero – remember your warm clothes no matter how mild it appears at resort level.
Founded by Benedictine monks in the 12th century, the monastery known as Engelberg Abbey (or Kloster Engelberg in local parlance) sits in a prime position in the heart of the resort, with the majestic Hahnen mountain providing the backdrop.
Today, the abbey plays host to a boarding school and two public schools, along with various handicraft operations, carpentry and metal workshops, a florist/nursery, and forestry operations. Its spectacular baroque church was renovated between 2005 and 2009 and is well worth a visit during your time here.
https://www.kloster-engelberg.ch/ (in German)
Schaukäserei Kloster (Cheese Workshop)
Just across the immense quadrangle in front of the Abbey lies the delightful Schaukäserei Kloster. There are three different elements to the business – viewing the cheesemaking on a tour, purchasing cheese from the shop and settling down to a delicious cheese-based meal at the bistro. There are a range of tours we can book for you in advance, ranging from joining small groups to an intimate private tour of the cheesemaking operation. The shop contains an immense array of local specialities and the bistro is always a surefire winner for lunch – accompanied by a superb Swiss wine at the recommendation of your waiter or waitress.
Gross-Titlis-Schanze – Ski Jump
When walking around the village you won’t be able to miss the Gross-Titlis-Schanze, the famous ski jump that often plays host to the Ski Jumping World Cup. Its 123-metre runway is quite a sight on the side of the mountain and from December to April it is used by locals and professionals alike.
Getting there and away
Engelberg is linked with the outside world by a railway line and road. The railway is known as the Lucerne-Stansstad-Engelberg line, and has been bringing in tourists and essential supplies for over 100 years. The route is a lovely scenic route through the Swiss Alps before entering a long tunnel known as the Grafenort-Engelberg tunnel, where rack propulsion takes the train through to about a mile short of Engelberg station.
Trains run hourly to and from Lucerne and the journey time is 45-50 minutes. This journey is covered by your Swiss Pass if you have one for the time you’re in Switzerland.
The journey from London takes around 12 hours and involves changing in Paris, Basel and Lucerne, but this can of course be broken down with an overnight stay in any of these locations.
Where to stay in Engelberg
Hotel Bellevue Terminus (3-star superior)
Ideally situated right opposite the station in the heart of the resort, the Hotel Bellevue Terminus dates back to the Belle Epoque era when tourism really began to take off Engelberg. The modernised interiors give off a chilled, stylish vibe throughout the summer and winter.
From the German H+ hotel chain, this 4-star hotel in the resort centre has 128 Swiss-design rooms each with their own balcony and views of the mountains.
Around the corner from the railway station, this traditionally-Swiss hotel dates back to the Belle Epoque era. Its cosy bar and excellent breakfast is a particular advantage whether you’re in town for summer or winter activities.
Located slightly uphill from the centre, the Hotel Waldegg boasts spectacular views over the resort and across to Mt Titlis beyond. It has a spa area with indoor pool and south-facing views from the gourmet restaurant serving Swiss and international cuisine
Combine Engelberg with:
This is the obvious choice as it is so close, and gives you the opportunity to combine the majesty of the mountains in Engelberg with the shores of the Vierwaldstättersee (or Lake Lucerne as we commonly know it).
The largest city in Switzerland and arguably its most cosmopolitan, why not spend a couple of nights in Zurich and then experience the far more tranquil surroundings of Engelberg?
The southern Swiss canton of Ticino is the only wholly Italian-speaking canton and combines the best of Italy with the best of Switzerland. Take a train from Engelberg to Lucerne and then connect with the Gotthard Pass route to take you to Lugano.
www.engelberg.ch is the official website of Engelberg Tourism and will furnish you with everything you need to enhance your package holiday by rail.
https://www.schweizmobil.ch/en/hiking-in-switzerland/services/places/ort-0167.html provides details of hiking and excellent online mapping of the region.