On a bright, surprisingly warm mid-October Sunday we headed to the canton of Nidwalden for the first time. Since this trip was my husband´s idea, I thought, God, where are we going to go? Because although we´ve been living in Switzerland for three years now, the location of this canton has been completely unknown to me so far (I apologize to all from the canton of Nidwalden). Finally, I found out that we would drive for about an hour by car to Luzern to take a beautiful stroll along the Bürgenstock to the Hammetschwand lift – the highest exterior elevator in Europe.
The starting point is the Bürgenstock Resort. By car, you can reach it via the A1 and A2 motorways in about an hour and a half from Bern, from Zurich in an hour.
Parking: There are several covered and uncovered metered parking lots in the area. The price is 4 francs for the first hour, then for every other half hour 2 francs. Which is quite pricey, but what to expect in a five-star luxury resort. We were lucky to have driven into the covered parking lot P1 where there was no latch and ticket machine in operation, so we had our parking for free (but shhhh ….;))
From Luzern, you can also get here on a shuttle ship, which is operated by the Resort Bürgenstock. This will bring you to the valley station of the funicular that get you up (timetables, pricelist and more information here). Btw. Burgenstockbahn was by its opening in 1888 the first electric railway in Switzerland.*
Already in 1973, the “Grand Hotel” was built at the initiative of the local entrepreneur Franz Josef Bucher. A spa hotel enjoyed great attendance and for the possibility of accommodation, there was a long waiting list. In the course of its existence, the resort has undergone considerable expansion and built a reputation for people from a higher society: Audrey Hepburn, for example, had her wedding ceremony in the chapel, the hotel was often visited by Sophia Loren and other prominent guests.
Funicular and lookout terrace
Next to the exit of the cable car, there is a souvenir shop. When you walk through it, you get to the glass terrace where you can enjoy the view not only under the feet (nothing for those who are afraid of the heights) but also in the wide surroundings.
Felsenweg nature trail
You have to go through the entire resort to get to the beginning of the Felsenweg nature trail. It is wheelchair-accessible, you can walk it easily with a stroller. There is a place for roasting along the way, but I would leave it to the top of Bürgenstock because here you can enjoy wonderful views at the food. But I’ll get to it soon.
You can enjoy the kids by trying to find answers to the twelve questions that you will see on the panels on the railing along the way.
After about half an hour you will reach the valley station of the Hammetschwand Lift.
Technical rarity at 1132 above sea level. This is the Hammetschwand lift, 152 meters high. It was built in 1900, it was opened in 1905. At present, it is the highest external lift in Europe. The return ticket is 13 francs for an adult, which is quite outrageous considering that one ride takes less than a minute. But it is definitely worth it! However, it is nothing for those who are afraid of heights or ears problems. My ears “popped” at least twice.
There is a self-service restaurant at the top station of the lift, and there is also a barbecue area nearby.
While eating you can enjoy good views of the surrounding area – on the Vierwaldstättersee, Luzern, Mountains Rigi or Pilatus.
Continuing on the Felsenweg
Then we went down again and continued along the Felsenweg. The path along the rocks was tunneling several times, something for children to enjoy!
As we went round the rock, we took the path down to the Honegg Villa Hotel.
Hotel Villa Honegg
From here, we set out on a forest path (see the map below). On the way, we passed the golf course, which was built here in 1928. When we left the forest, we joined the asphalt road connecting Resort Bürgenstock and Hotel Villa Honegg. Then we had a “farewell” glance from the hotel’s terrace and headed back to the car.
- Felsenweg trail is an easy trail that even the smallest can make (I expected it to be a bit more challenging;)). Unfortunately, it is not doable with a stroller. Just from Resort Bürgenstock to the lift and back. Or from Resort to Hotel Villa Honneg and back. The middle section from Känzeli to the Hotel Villa Honneg might be doable with a stroller, but there are two overpasses over which you would have to carry the stroller.
- The lift works in the high tourist season, offseason depends on the weather.
- The official length of the Felsenweg trail is 5km. We have turned off its direction (as you can see on the map).
And what about you? Have you ever taken the Hammetschwand Lift? How was your experience? Tell me in the comment section below! And do not forget to pin this picture for later! 😉