Lake Sempach in the canton of Lucerne is a beautiful lake and invites you to swim, hike and enjoy. Numerous restaurants around the Swiss lake will enchant you with a culinary highlight.
Text and pictures Marc Gottwald
Whether swimming in Lake Sempach, taking a great lake hike or enjoying food in a great restaurant. This region has something to offer for everyone. So let’s take a closer look at everything.
Lake Sempach History
Lake Sempach is up to 87 meters deep. Like Lake Hallwil and most other Swiss lakes, it was also created at the time when the glaciers retreated. This was the case about 12,000 years ago, when the impressive Reuss glacier retreated at the end of the Würm ice age, leaving behind various moraines.
Over time, people settled around the lake, became sedentary and built pile dwellings. As with all natural lakes, the lake shore was flooded again and again. In the early 19th century, the lake was lowered by almost 2 meters, partly to gain land and reduce the risk of flooding. This was also done with practically all Swiss lakes and rivers to gain land and minimize flooding. And that’s one often he reasons why the preserved nature reserves are so important.
What is exciting is that you could park your ship where the city walls used to be. This is to show approximately how much these just under 2 meters are.
In the 20th century, a power plant project was planned for Lake Sempach, but it never came to fruition. Furthermore, the Swiss lake made headlines in the 1980s and 1990s, especially together with Lake Hallwil and Lake Baldegg, because the lakes were practically dead. This has to do with the fact that there are many pig farms in the region, with manure often running into the lake. Stronger regulations and artificial aeration of the lake, costing millions, counteracted the problem.
Sempach is a Swiss town. With a little more than 4200 inhabitants, it is small but very charming. Nevertheless, the town has grown from 700 inhabitants to 4200 inhabitants within 220 years (as of 2020). The surrounding area with Lake Sempachersee also makes the Swiss town a place to come back to again and again.
Sempach has an important history behind it. The name was first mentioned in the 12th century and means reed stream. But the area around the city and the lake was inhabited much earlier. Because findings of pile dwellings prove a settlement as early as the Bronze Age.
Furthermore, the city is best known for the „Battle of Sempach“. This is because the Swiss city was long held by the Habsburgs (Austria). The Confederates forced the Habsburgs to surrender. They became so enraged that they took revenge at the battle. Today there are still monuments and even a restaurant.
The beautiful town is the ideal starting point for walks and hikes. You can also visit the Swiss Ornithological Institute. If you want a great view over the lake, you should take a little drive to the heights above Lake Sempachersee. For example Eich is a beautiful place with some great restaurants.
Lake Sempach Hikes
There are numerous hikes at Lake Sempach with brilliant views over the lake and the Swiss Alps. You can also come across various sights.
Round hike Sempachersee
The Lake Sempach circular path is the king’s stage, because with almost 24 kilometers and a duration of 6 hours, this is the longest hike on Lake Sempach. On one side you hike close to the lake, although unfortunately you can’t always be completely at the lake. Many properties lie directly on the lake and are private. Lake Hallwil is definitely better for a circular hike. In addition, unlike Lake Hallwil, swimming is only allowed in the public baths.
Nevertheless, there is something magical about Lake Sempach, because the views are simply incredible. The other half of the lake is also worthwhile, where you can often hike with a view over the lake.
Hike Sempach to Nottwil
By far the most beautiful hike on Lake Sempachersee takes you from Sempach to Nottwil. Here you can mostly hike along the Swiss lake and enjoy a wonderful panorama. You will also pass the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach (Vogelwarte Sempach), where you can theoretically pay a visit and learn a lot about bird life.
Lidos at Lake Sempach
It is also possible to take a break during the hike from Sempach to Nottwil and swim and relax at the Sempach or the Nottwil lakeside bath. The Nottwil lakeside bath is free, while the admission to Sempach is 5CHF for adults and 3CHF for children.
There are a total of three other swimming pools on Lake Sempach. On the one hand, there is the Eich lido , the Schenkon lido and the Sursee lido .
The bathing season usually starts in May when it gets warmer and ends in September.
Practically everywhere you can let yourself be pampered in the Badi restaurant or even grill something by yourself.
Lake Sempach restaurants
Pizzeria Schweizerheim Sursee
If you love Italian cuisine, the Pizzeria Schweizerheim in Sursee is the place to be. Not only does it serve one of the best pizzas in the region, you will also be enchanted by other Italian dishes.
Seehotel Sonne Eich
According to Tripadvisor and Google reviews, the Seehotel Sonne is the best restaurant around Lake Sempachersee. Not only do the guests like the great view verthe lake, but also the gourmet cuisine in the 13-point Gault Millau restaurant.
Vogelsang Eich restaurant
Another excellent restaurant is the Vogelsang restaurant in Eich. Here you will be spoiled with traditional Swiss cuisine such as cordon bleus. The dishes are always hearty.
Lake Sempach is a region to visit. Whether on a hike or in one of the Sempachersee restaurants. Everyone can enjoy the time here. An excursion to the region is worthwhile. It is a great day trip from Lake Hallwil, Lucerne or Zurich.