Brunnen is an idyllic village at the foot of Lake Lucerne and a great place to relax with its fantastic panorama of the Alps. Due to the perfect location Brunnen is a nice starting point for excursions in Switzerland.
Text and pictures by Marc Gottwald
Brunnen – the dream place on Lake Lucerne
Brunnen is a dream place in the canton of Schwyz and is located directly at Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. Thanks to its good and beautiful location, Brunnen is a great hub for excursions. Already when you arrive by car, bus or boat in Brunnen, then you realize that the village is something very special.
The tranquility of Lake Lucerne and the fantastic view of the Swiss Alps and mountains like Niederbauen Kulm and Brunnistock make the place feel you like beeing in the middle of a picture book.
Incidentally, the german word Brunnen, as with Lauterbrunnen, means “source” because there are particularly many springs here. Historically, Brunnen was a fishing village for a long time, but had gained importance as a traffic junction thanks to its good location towards the southern part of Switzerland «Ticino» and Italy.
For gourmet lovers: beautiful view, great delicacies
If you like it quiet and cozy, you can go for a casual walk along the lakeshore in Brunnen. There are constantly benches where you can enjoy the view and relax. Even the residents of the village appreciate this and can be seen regularly. Let’s be honest, with this view you can’t judge them.
If you like camping, you can reserve your place at the Urmiberg campsite. Please be aware that you should book very early especially for the summer months in high season from June till August.
Almost a must in summer is to try a delicious ice cream in the famous Gelateria Artigiana. However, there are also other places that offer ice cream.
If you’re looking for good baked goods, you shouldn’t miss a visit to Conditorei Schelbert. Especially the apple strudels have definitely conquered my heart.
Seven places to visit near Brunnen
There are countless great places to discover near Brunnen. You can use the Swiss Travel Card for practically all excursions and travel for free. Here I list some of my favorites:
Victorinox Outlet Store (Swiss Army Knife)
From Brunnen you can reach the Victorinox Outlet Store by bus in 12 minutes without changing. The store is open in summer as well as in winter and gives you a 10% discount on all knives (watches, parfumes, etc are excluded). In addition, there is a small but fine selection of greatly reduced outlet products (sometimes 40-50%).
If you come by car, you can use one of the parking spaces in front of the store. Please note that the store closes at 4pm on Saturday and takes a lunch break during the week from 12pm to 1:15pm. On Sunday the shop is as well closed like most of the stores in Switzerland.
Also very easy to reach from Brunnen in only 12 minutes by public transport (bus) is the destination Morschach. Morschach is a dreamlike place built on a terrace above Lake Lucerne.
Landscape lovers will get their money’s worth at the Axenstein viewpoint. At this insider tip you can look out over the fjord-like Lake Lucerne including the Swiss Alps, the Rütli meadow, Seelisberg, Brunnen and much more.
It is especially impressive to see Brunnen from above. Do you notice that the first building at the entrance to Brunnen looks like a ship?
There is also the possibility to hike in a beautiful panoramic hike from Brunnen to Morschach. With about 300 meters of ascent (around 1000 feet) and a length of 3 kilometers (2 miles) you can do the hike in about 1h 15 minutes. If there is no snow and ice, the hike can also be done in winter.
By the way, from Morschach you can also take a cable car to the mountain village Stoos.
If you are in Morschach, you can continue hiking from Morschach to Sisikon. This is a beautiful panoramic hike above Lake Lucerne. By the way, from Sisikon you can take the train or boat back to Brunnen.
Also Sisikon can be reached by car, where there is a large parking lot (1CHF/h). In summer the place is perfect to relax and swim and is as well a true hidden gem.
At the Rütli, the Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 to fight against the foreign occupiers. Accordingly, this is historically one of the most important places in Switzerland. The Rütli meadow can only be reached by boat or on foot. The boat goes from Brunnen to the Rütli meadow in only 22 minutes and that in all seasons, so also in winter.
Rigi Hoflue and Timpel
The Rigi is considered as the queen of the mountains. From Brunnen you have the opportunity to get to know the most unknown place on the Rigi. There is a cable car to Timpel. Please make first sure that the cable car is open. The Swiss Travel Card is not valid here, because it is a private operator. At Timpel, there is a mountain restaurant right by the cable car station. It offers a magnificent view of Lake Lucerne.
Hiking enthusiasts will not miss out on this excursion destination either. Because from here an alpine hiking trail leads to the Rigi Hohflue. Due to the alpine hiking trail, great experience, surefootedness and a head for heights are a prerequisite to do this trail
You can also take the bus or boat from Brunnen to Vitznau and then continue with the Rigibahnen. If you have the Swiss Travel Card (GA) the trip is free. These connections also run in winter, although then the main attraction is skiing and sledding. Nevertheless, a trip is worthwhile even at this time of year. In spring, summer and autumn the possibilities regarding hiking are almost limitless.
Stoos – steepest funicular in the world
Did you know that the steepest funicular in the world is located near Brunnen? With a gradient of 110%, the funicular, which was newly opened in winter 2017, has broken the world record.
The journey from Brunnen to the valley station of the Stoosbahn is very easy and fast with only 25 minutes and one change in Schwyz. The bus station is called “Schwyz, Stoosbahn”. From there the train goes to the mountain village. If you have the Swiss Travel Card or GA, the ride to Stoos is free. From there there is the possibility to go further to Fornalpstock, but this cable car is only open seasonally and not included in the Swiss Travel pass.
The mountain «Grosser Mythen»
If you want to climb the mystical mountain “Grosser Mythen”, Brunnen is also a good hub. From here you take the bus to Rickenbach SZ and take the Rotenfluebahn (with Swiss Travel Card and GA the ride is free), where your hike then starts. On the Mythen you have to reckon with about 3h to 3.5h. Especially in summer it can be very hot, so it is important to start as early as possible.
Among the Swiss the place is very famous for a sunrise hike.