Situated in the heart of Central Switzerland, Engelberg is a charming resort town known for epic mountain views, excellent skiing, wellness centers, and countless hiking trails. The family-friendly resort offers a plethora of activities for kids and adults, and it’s the perfect destination in Switzerland for anyone traveling with children.
Solo travelers and couples can also have the time of their lives in Engelberg. From the 12th-century Benedictine monastery that defined the town to the best long-distance hikes in the Uri Alps – here are the 15 top things to do in Engelberg, Switzerland!
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The earliest mentions of Engelberg date back to the 12th century and are related to the mentions of its Benedictine monastery. The town’s first inhabitants were monks who arrived from the Muri Abbey.
The monastery buildings were almost entirely destroyed by fire in the 18th century. Reconstruction of the abbey followed, and the building that exists in Engelberg today is the same as it had been in the late 18th century.
The Engelberg Abbey is open for public tours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Tours are done in groups of 20, and signing up on the website for a guaranteed spot is necessary. It is possible to join the tour spontaneously if it’s not fully booked, but that’s a bit of a gamble since there’s no way of knowing if there are any spots left for the tour.
With no less than seven cheese dairies in the vicinity of Engelberg, the town is truly a Mecca for cheese lovers. They’re all connected with the 47-kilometer Alpine Cheese Trail, which might just be one of the best long-distance hikes for foodies. The closest dairies to the town are Alpkäserei Untertrübsee and Alpkäserei Gerschnialp, accessible by cable car and hiking trails from the town.
The dairies make cheese from May until October, and if you’re traveling in the area during that time, you can always visit one to see what goes into the production of cheese. Every dairy has a shop, which sells delicious, locally made cheeses that are some of the best in Switzerland.
Important Note: The Engelberg Abbey used to have a cheese dairy and a cheese shop, but unfortunately they are no longer in operation. The dairy had to be closed because of outdated equipment and inadequate working conditions. The shop will be reopened at a different location sometime in the future.
The majestic Mount Titlis is one of the best natural landmarks near Engelebrg. Staying in the town and not going up the mountain would mean missing out on some of Switzerland’s most stunning landscapes, so it can’t be an option.
The summit is just half an hour from Engelberg, and the journey up to the top includes riding in the second generation of the first rotating cable car in the world. The full price of return tickets from Engelberg to Mt. Titlis is 72 CHF, and multiple discounts are available for those in possession of various travel passes. From the bottom station in the town there are just two stops:
- An optional stop at Trubsee
- A change of gondolas at Stand
Mount Titlis features incredible landscape views, countless hiking trails, and plenty of other attractions for visitors. In theory, it’s possible to discover the top sights at Titlis in some 3-4 hours, but I would plan to spend most of my day here (5-8 hours), to really explore the wonderful landscapes of Mount Titlis.
Titlis Cliff Walk
The Titlis Cliff Walk is the most famous attraction on the mountain. It’s a suspension bridge with a length of 100 meters that connects the top station of the Titlis Rotair gondola with the Ice Flyer chair lift. Whether or not you’re interested in riding the Ice Flyer, walking the bridge is a must.
It’s an exceptionally sturdy bridge and there are zero safety issues, so really there’s nothing to worry about. The views of the Uri Alps are out of this world and truly some of the best in Switzerland.
This is the highest suspension bridge in Europe, mounted 500 meters above the ground at a total elevation of more than 3,000 meters above sea level. Does that sound like something you want to miss out on?
Titlis Glacier Cave
One thing I love about Switzerland is that almost every glacier has a tunnel underneath it. The Glacier Cave is a tunnel under the Titlis Glacier and it’s immediately accessible from the top station of the gondola. Anyone who rides the cable car to the summit can explore the Glacier Cave for free.
The tunnel is 150 meters long and the temperature inside is constantly below 0°. Dressing for the occasion is important, otherwise, it’s easy for the cold to distract you from the beautiful ice sculptures carved into the tunnel walls.
Pro Tip: The floor is very slippery at the Glacier Cave. It is ice, after all, so sturdy shoes with a lot of grip and traction are necessary for an enjoyable experience. Otherwise, you’ll be slipping and sliding around instead of paying attention to the sculptures.
Engelberg is THE destination in Central Switzerland for people who enjoy climbing via ferratas. There are at least a dozen via ferratas in the immediate surroundings of the town, which range from easy and beginner-friendly to extremely challenging and suitable only for experienced Alpine climbers.
Some of the best via ferratas near Engelberg are:
- Via ferrata Fürenwand (difficult)
- Via ferrata Brunnistöckli (easy)
- Via ferrata Rigidalstock (moderate)
- Via ferrata Zittergrat (moderate)
There are several different via ferratas at Brunni, most of which are suitable even for the youngest climbers with very little experience. In general, the climbing routes at Brunni are family and beginner-friendly, while more experienced climbers who are looking for a challenge should head to Fürenalp, southeast of Engelberg.
The Alpine Lake Trubsee is one of the best natural attractions near Engelberg. It’s got:
- Barbecue areas
- Hiking trails
- Cable cars
- Boat rentals
… and spectacular views of the Alps. Renting boats for cruises on the lake is the best summertime activity, so be sure to do that if you’re in the mood for an epic adventure.
Hiking trails around Trubsee are easy and fun, as well as suitable for families. The entire area around the lake is very child-friendly with playgrounds, trails with stroller access, and plenty of spots suitable for family picnics.
Trubsee is the first stop on the Engelberg-Titlis cable car and a standard return ticket is 36 CHF before discounts.
Brunni is a vast recreation area north of Engelberg. It sits on the mountain’s south-facing slope, and because of that it’s locally known as the “sunny side of Engelberg”. Brunni boasts countless activities for both children and adults, and it’s a popular destination in every season.
Kids will have the time of their lives at Brunni because of Globi, the iconic Swiss cartoon character. In the summer, Globi takes kids on a treasure hunt, and in the winter he teaches them to ski.
There’s no mascot for adults, unfortunately, but there are countless fun things to do at Brunni. Winter is the perfect time for:
- Skiing & snowboarding
- Snowshoeing & winter hiking
On the other hand, summertime is the perfect period to explore the stunning landscapes of the area. Adults can enjoy:
- Climbing & via ferratas
- Mountain biking
Brunni is accessible by cable car from Engelberg (the station near Brunnihutte). The tickets are 20 CHF (full price), and the ride up the mountain is just six minutes.
The Tal Museum in Engelberg is just a couple of minutes from the Abbey, so an easy stop for anyone taking the time to explore this mountain resort. Visit this museum to learn more about the history of Engelberg, which is surprisingly rich for such a small town in the mountains.
The museum is housed in the Wappenhaus building in the center of Engelberg. The wooden house has served as the town’s museum since the late 20th century and it proudly showcases what life was like in the valley back in the 18th century.
With period furniture and extensive documentation on the importance of the monastery for the village, the exhibits of this museum offer great insight into the locals’ lives and traditions.
A new permanent exhibit explores the more recent changes in Engelberg, focusing on the town’s transformation into a world-famous ski resort and wellness destination.
Buiräbähnli Safari is a long-distance hiking trail that takes approximately three days to complete. The trail is 47 kilometers long and it can be hiked in about 22 hours, so it can be done in two days, but ideally, it takes three. There are many mountain huts and campgrounds along the way, making this a perfect activity for adventurous travelers in Engelberg.
The town is the starting and ending point of this loop trail, which takes hikers as far north as Wolfenschiessen. But, what’s the point of such a long hike?
Buiräbähnli is the local dialect for “farmer’s cable cars”, and the canton of Niedwalden has most of them. Discover all 26 cable cars while breathing in the mountain air and marveling at the spectacular Swiss landscapes. You can even have the experience of riding in one of these cable cars which operate only on request.
Skiing & Snowboarding
The Brunni-Engelberg ski resort has approximately 10 kilometers of ski slopes and routes. That includes:
- 4km of easy blue runs
- 2 km of moderate red runs
- 1 km of difficult black runs
- 3.5 km of cross-country ski routes
That’s not a lot of ski pistes, especially compared to some of the bigger ski resorts in Switzerland, but it’s more than enough for a fun weekend getaway. Many hotels and resorts are practically on the pistes for easy access, plus there are schools for children and beginners.
Anyone can have fun skiing in Engelberg, whether it’s their first or thousandth time on the skis. Additionally, because the ski area is rather small, Engelberg has some of the most affordable ski passes in Switzerland. It’s only 46 CHF for a daily pass for adults and just 22 CHF for children.
Engelberg Sporting Park
The Engelberg Sporting Park is by far the best destination for all active travelers who need to let off some steam. It’s a big sports complex with tennis courts, swimming pools, a curling rink, and more. Seasonal activities are available at the Sporting Park, and the place often introduces new things to do even if they’re available for a limited time period.
In the summer, the park gets an additional outdoor pool for loads of water fun. And in the winter, there’s a natural outdoor ice skating rink that anyone in Engelberg can enjoy. The complex is great for some light recreation in Engelberg, especially if the weather doesn’t permit hiking or skiing.
Seilpark Engelberg is southeast of the village, easily accessible by bus from the central train station in the town. It’s an adventure rope park with climbing courses of various difficulties, so both kids and adults can enjoy a visit. There’s no age limit for the children’s rope courses, just a height limit of a minimum of 100 cm.
A ropes course for young people (100-130 cm) is also available, so kids of all ages can have loads of fun here. The prices for rope park access range from 27 CHF for children to 43 CHF for adults, and that includes access to all the courses suitable for the age of the adventurer.
Additionally, Seilpark Engelberg offers a few other activities in addition to the rope courses:
- Ski school
- Bike school
So, if you’re looking to try something new in Engelberg, don’t miss out on this place.
Engelberg has several spa and wellness centers that are calling to all travelers who enjoy being pampered into oblivion. Kempinski Palace Hotel has by far the best spa in town, possibly even wider.
The luxury hotel’s spa and wellness center offers:
- Classic spa treatments (massages, body treatments, facials)
- Day spa (pool, sauna, gym)
This is also the priciest spa in Engelberg. The cheapest entrance fee is 70 CHF, for three hours from 7 PM until 10 PM on Monday-Thursday. Daily passes for the same days are 100 CHF, while weekend passes (Friday-Sunday) are 150 CHF for a day and 100 CHF for an evening session.
One thing to note is that the entrance fee doesn’t include any special treatments. Massages, facials, and similar treatments are all extra; the entry fee includes the use of the spa sauna, pool, and gym, as well as towels, flip flops, a bathrobe, and some snacks.
A long day of exploration of Engelberg’s landscapes should be concluded with an exploration of Engelberg’s culinary offer.
Restaurants in Engelberg are countless and offer everything from classic Swiss cuisine to Thai food. Whether you want to stick with what you know or explore the traditional cuisine of the region, you will have plenty of options.
Sure, it’s possible to eat all your meals at the hotel restaurant to save money, but that won’t do justice to Engelberg’s culinary scene. I loved the fact that I could eat a classic fondue one evening, then a wok the next day, and a burger on the third day.
Also, let’s not forget about all the cheese dairies near the village, most of which have their own restaurants where you can taste the best Swiss cheese dishes.
How to Get There
Trains to Engelberg depart only from Lucerne. So, whether you’re traveling from Bern, Basel, Zurich, Interlaken, or anywhere else in Switzerland, Lucerne is the first stop on the way to Engelberg. Things to know about the train are:
- It runs once an hour
- The full price of a second-class ticket is 18.4 CHF
- Supersaver tickets are available
- Discounts with the travel passes and the Half-Fare Card
- The journey is 45 minutes
Driving to Engelberg is also an option, but honestly not worth it compared to the train. Driving is maybe 5 minutes quicker, and that’s only if you’re lucky and there’s no traffic or road works from Lucerne to Engelberg.
Where to Stay
Engelberg is a world-famous ski resort and spa center, which in Switzerland means a plethora of places to stay. From affordable mountain cabins to luxurious 5-star hotels, Engelberg has plenty of accommodation options for everyone’s budget.
The best budget hotels are (50-120 CHF):
- Youth Hostel (from 46 CHF)
- Hotel St. Josefshaus (from 75 CHF)
- Hotel Esped (from 65 CHF)
The prices listed above are for solo travelers for single rooms or beds in dormitories and it’s usually double the price for two travelers.
The best mid-range hotels in Engelberg are (120-250 CHF):
- Hotel Schweizerhof (from 120/150 CHF)
- H+ Hotel & SPA Engelberg (from 140/160 CHF)
- Bellevue Terminus (from 160/220 CHF)
The prices listed above are for the most affordable hotel rooms for one/two travelers.
And the best luxury hotels with exceptional service are (250+ CHF):
- Titlis Resort (from 250 CHF)
- Hotel Alpenclub (from 257/285 CHF)
- Kempinski Palace Engelberg (from 540/590 CHF)
Where to Eat
As a popular ski & spa resort, Engelberg is swarming with restaurants. Many of them are hotel restaurants that are available to guests staying at those hotels with a discount, and there are also plenty of options for travelers who want to explore the culinary scene of the town.
Some of the highest-rated restaurants in Engelberg are:
- Ristorante Al Monastero (Italian)
- Siam Thai Cuisine Restaurant (Thai)
- Cattani Restaurant (French)
- Hess Asia Restaurant (Pan-Asian)
- Spice Bistro (Indian)
- Fondue Stube Alpenclub (fondue)
- Flühmatt (Swiss)
And there are dozens of other options in the village and on the mountain slopes above, not to mention all the cheese dairies. As long as you’re not lactose intolerant, you’ll be excited about meal times in Engelberg.
Map of Engelberg Attractions and More
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Engelberg known for?
Engelberg is known for its medieval Abbey, skiing, and spa centers. The town offers hiking, skiing, climbing, cheese dairies, and countless cable car rides, making it one of the best destinations in Switzerland for a longer vacation full of exploration and adventure.
Is Engelberg worth visiting?
Yes, Engelberg is worth visiting. The resort town features spectacular landscapes and scenery with views of the tallest summits in the Uri Alps.
What is the best time to visit Engelberg?
The best time to visit Engelberg is summer for hiking and camping, but winter for skiing and sledding. The resort town boasts a wide variety of seasonal activities, and any time is a good time to be in Engelberg.