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Five places at Swiss altitudes

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Greetings from Switzerland! It is not for nothing that Switzerland is described as “pocket-sized Switzerland”, as a country in which practically everything good is available - especially when it comes to the beauty of nature. Within a 40-kilometer radius from Lucerne, I visit five special places at altitudes of up to over 3.000 meters, with breathtaking views of autumn-colored forests, bright blue lakes and the vast mountain scenery of central Switzerland. This opens up completely new culinary highlights for me and I convince myself of the uncomplicated, warm hospitality! The relaxing thing about it: I can reach all places by public transport such as train and boat, without any delays, but with varied, passing landscapes.

1. First entertaining train ride to Stans & climbing the Stanserhorn

From Lucerne you can easily get to the Lucerne–Engelberg Express Get on the bus, which takes you to the municipality of Stans in just under 25 minutes. From the train station you can reach the open wooden funicular, which has been running since 1893 and which takes you further to the departure point, in just a few minutes' walk CabriO cable car brings. This is an absolute highlight when it comes to Swiss architecture, innovation and futurism: 90% of the materials come from Switzerland and the 100 kilometer long Alpine chain transports several thousand people every day to the Stanserhorn, which is at an altitude of 1.898 meters, in an energy-efficient manner. 

Lucerne–Engelberg Express
Stans in Switzerland

The CabriO-Bahn can be described as a real innovation in cable car technology, as the braking energy is converted into electricity and is also very energy-efficient. It gets its energy from solar energy and renewable energies.

When I reach the top, I am not only amazed by the breathtaking 360-degree view, but also get to know one of the 16 volunteer rangers. Ernst Wyrsch explains everything about the place of power to me stanserhorn, the diversity of flora and fauna with over 200 species of flowers in summer, various species of birds and marmots (marmots), as well as the Stanserhorn revolving restaurant with its specialty: Älplermagronen. The Stanserhorn can therefore be described as a complete place of enjoyment!

CabriO cable car in Switzerland
Swiss mountain panorama
Swiss birdlife

2. Get to know the diversity of the Alpine region in the CULINARIUM ALPINUM

A leisurely walk from Stans train station leads to CULINARIUM ALPINUM, accommodation in a former Capuchin monastery. As the name suggests, guests are offered alpine cuisine here that they will not soon forget. Fruit, berries and various herbs come from our own garden with over 250 varieties, the “edible landscape”, which is available to everyone to try.  

The 14 hostel rooms were formerly the monks' bedrooms, which are now modernly renovated and stylishly and simply furnished. In addition to the hostel, guests can rent meeting rooms and a large monastery hall. In a course kitchen there is also the opportunity to take cooking courses as a group, perfect for team events. A monastery shop rounds off the offering: local products are for sale here, such as salt or my personal highlight “milk caramel”, which tastes great in coffee or on bread. From the store, guests can take a look inside Alpsbrinzkeller where numerous spicy summer cheeses from one of the oldest dairy farming areas with a unique roasted aroma are stored. 

Regionality, seasonality and sustainability

The associated restaurant of the CULINARIUM ALPINUM stands for regionality, seasonality and sustainability. The products for the individual dishes come primarily from central Switzerland and, if possible, organically grown. The “walk-in wine list”, a wine room, invites you to get to know the traditional local Swiss wines directly. In the evening, guests choose from various small, cold and warm dishes as well as desserts and experience a special evening in which they can literally taste their way through the region.

Overnight in the monastery
Monastery cheese in Switzerland
delicious food in the monastery
Nettle salad
View from the monastery window
Room in the monastery
View from the monastery

3. Engelberg, a valley end with activities as far as the eye can see

You can also take the Lucerne-Engelberg Express to the Alpine town of Engelberg. The perfect starting point and “place to be” for numerous hikes, all winter sports, via ferratas, mountain bike tours and so much more. I always notice how many large playgrounds and offers such as treasure hunts are available for children and families. 

On the Brunni: pubs and (barefoot) hikes

A free bus runs from Engelberg train station to the Brunni valley station. Once there, the mountain journey to Ristis starts and takes guests up to the top with a chairlift brunni at over 1.800 meters above sea level. The Härzlisee welcomes you at the top and invites you to swim and have a drink. The really cold cooling is a real pleasure after long hikes. A special hike is 1.3 kilometers long Barefoot path, in which different senses are stimulated and nature is perceived in a new way.     

Barefoot path in Switzerland
Brunni mountain lake

“Little Patagonia” or also known as an insider tip: the Fürenalp

You can reach the station by bus or a short walk, which takes you up to the station by cable car Furenalp at an altitude of 1.850 meters. The oasis of peace is known as “Little Patagonia” and, in addition to the impressive view of the mighty mountains, also offers various energetic places. In the Fürenalp mountain restaurant You can stop off after a hike, of course with the best view.

Fürenalp cable car
The Fürenalp in Switzerland

Fly high with the Titlis Express 

The Titlis Xpress brings guests up in two stages 3.020 meters in altitude to a breathtaking view, depending on the season, surrounded by glaciers and snow. The first stop on the journey up is a stop at Trübsee, a crystal clear Lake that sparkles beautifully blue. Stand there rowing boats to the rental and beautiful hiking trails lead around the lake. An absolute must-see when you are in Engelberg!

Von the intermediate station “Stand” takes you TITLIS Rotair, the world's first rotating aerial cable car, further up. 

Trübsee in Switzerland
turquoise mountain lake in Switzerland
Engelberg in Switzerland

4. Flight of the highest class in the VILLA HUNDERT

Anyone looking for an experience for the palate and heart will find it in the VILLA HUNDRED more than found! The two hosts Christian Brangenfeld and John Jezewski, who come from Sweden, are not only absolute experts and artists in their field, but truly special hosts. Her energy, good mood and passion for her work are immediately infectious. In every move you can see the attention to detail and the motivation to live regionality holistically. In 2018, as luck would have it, the two landed in Engelberg and not only fell in love with the alpine landscape with numerous sports activities, but also with the idea of ​​running their own hotel with a special cuisine. 

Christian Brangenfeld and John Jezewski of Villa Hundert
Villa Hundert in Switzerland
Cecile at Villa Hundred
Rooms in the hundred

The boutique Mountainscape in a sunny, south-facing hillside location has been open since December 2022 and offers nine rooms in Nordic design, using lots of wood and natural materials. Guests can stay there from Wednesday to Sunday and enjoy a four-course plus menu from Thursday to Saturday evening. Local and self-collected products from our own “101 Garden” or the surrounding forests are used. In the basement are the sacred halls: the storage facility for fermented goods, which both operate together, and a room with well-selected wines from Christian. 

The kitchen is about the skilful interplay of flavors that creates a harmony that guests will remember. The individual courses are artfully arranged and in each one you can see that there is a multitude of thoughts behind them. I was able to taste the autumnal menu, which always changes depending on the food available, but initially focuses on a hearty, smoky taste - here, among other things, specially fermented foods such as strawberries and blueberries are used, as well as seasonal ones such as root vegetables. Every evening, Christian puts together a selection of wines to match the menu, which predominantly consists of mountain wines from Switzerland or the surrounding countries. A special highlight: A sake that is made in Switzerland.

I have the feeling that each of the six-course gourmet dishes was created just for me, true to the motto “from heart to heart”, at least that is how it is presented to me and the individual ingredients are introduced. Each time John mentions the location or supplier from which they purchase the products. Milk and whey products come from the twelve neighboring cows, which you can watch from the garden during the day grazing on the alpine meadow. John travels to all partner businesses once a week and buys only the best for his guests. 

The evening was not only a pleasure for me, but I was also able to experience a creative gourmet menu that I had never seen before. We recommend! 

Six-course gourmet meals
regional gourmet dishes
Creative cooking
Cows in Engelberg
Villa Hundred Gourmet Menus

When Swedes meet in Engelberg, there is good coffee

Either way, Christian and John came up with it Roastery Engelberg, which was founded in 2015 by Oscar and his sister Sophia, also from Sweden. The spacious roastery is located in the heart of Engelberg. The team of six creatives works to ensure that each team member can best contribute their talents: the coffee range was expanded to include stationery in 2019 and an old printing press is still in operation. The coffee beans come from Brazil, Guatemala and Peru and come directly to Engelberg without any middlemen. The green coffee beans are roasted and ground there and not only bring joy to the locals and tourists strolling by, but also several restaurants in the region use the good coffee - including Villa Hundert.

5. By boat and the Rigi cable cars to the Kräuterhotel Edelweiss

Back in Lucerne city center, I board a boat and travel for a comfortable hour with sunshine, an espresso and good conversation with locals to the Rigi (stop Vitznau). The Rigi train starts from the location, to which I change and the beautiful view over Lake Lucerne makes the 20 minutes fly by, taking me to my last stop: Dem Herb Hotel Edelweiss

After I was able to arrive in peace and move into my room, I was shown by host Gregor Vörös through his pride and joy, his herb garden with 450 different varieties. He planted it ten years ago and has continually expanded it ever since. Every year he is happy when new herbs or plants grow and he can taste them for the first time. One of his favorite herbs is the oyster leaf, which has a fishy note, or the more than 20 species of thyme. The strong UV rays at 1.550 meters ensure that the various and unusual herbs thrive. What particularly surprised me is: cucumber herb, which really smells like cucumbers, a pineapple-cherry that looks like a bright physalis and has a very good taste. But also crazier things like cheeseweed, which smells and tastes like blue cheese, or puffed radishes, which are not only interesting to look at but also taste delicious.

In the evening, guests are served in their own restaurant Regina Montium treated to a five or nine course meal. The herbs and fresh harvest from the garden are used here. If you like, you can take part in a round table where hotel guests and gourmet lovers spend an enjoyable evening together at a long table and are served nine courses. The evening was a special experience for me, as I was not only able to meet new people and spend 4,5 hours with them, but was also able to taste the kitchen team's unusual creations, which also included air-dried radishes and other treasures from our own herb garden find goods.

Wolfgangsee Ferries
By boat to the Kräuterhotel Edelweiss
Garden of the Kräuterhotel Edelweiss
Herb Hotel Edelweiss
Restaurant Regina Montium
Restaurant Regina Montium in Switzerland

It was a pleasure to get my own impression of Swisstainable to make sustainable Switzerland. The special hosts, their attention to detail and the passion that goes into their products and services really stand out. I recommend everyone to get to know Switzerland's uniqueness between multilingualism, love of cheese and nature with its varied activity options, which not only delight the locals, but also guests who love the cozy life close to nature so much that they even stay.


© Photos: Cecile Meier

Cécile is a freelance author and sustainability strategist. She enjoys traveling to the fullest: getting to know different cultures, listening to other languages ​​and discovering new things either by the sea or in a (big) city always fascinates her. The stories and intentions of the Good Travel hosts are particularly important to her.