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Vierwaldstättersee bike ride

The Vierwaldstättersee is situated in four Swiss cantons but do you know which ones?


Until yesterday’s bike ride I didn’t, but after cycling through three of the cantons and taking a boat sailing under the flag of Uri, I now know that the lake borders the cantons of Schwyz, Luzern, Uri and Nidwalden. We started the bike ride in Greppen, Schwyz and cycled along route 38 until Gersau where we hopped on a paddle-steamer to Beckenried, Nidwalden. This part of the route provides breathtaking views of the mountains in the distance but is mostly on main roads. You can’t get lost but do have to put up with traffic!


Routes 3&4 from Beckenried, on the other hand, go inland from the lake and here it’s quite easy to get lost and do a loop of the airport opposite the Pilatus factory – at least that’s what we did. It was a relief to get to Stanstad where we could cycle next to the lake again, passing through Hergiswil and the surprisingly pretty lake shore in Horw, surprising as I’d never heard of this town.


Next stop was Luzern where I took a quick photo of the old bridge before heading out of town and up a hill, a big hill. After that we went through a lovely forest before emerging high up the hill above Küssnacht where we had a fantastic panorama of all the mountains stretching from Rigi opposite us to the distinctively-shaped Pilatus.

That just left a 200m descent and a bit more cycling to get back to Greppen.


Distance: 72km in total (but should have been less) and 600meters climbing.

Date: a sunny Sunday in October

Bike routes: Route 38, Routes 3&4

Best bit: Hard to say, possibly the bit on the ferry when I had a rest.


All in all, a brilliant bike ride, just a short drive from Zürich! It is no surprise that so many tourists go to the Luzern region - the scenery is simply stunning. Maybe we should have taken the bikes on the train to Luzern and started the loop there – that way, we would have had the hills at the start of the ride rather than the end.


I'm looking for ideas of hikes now in this region, so if you know any flat ones, let me know!


Language tips


The thing that I struggled with in writing this post was deciding whether to use the German names or English names of towns. Because I live in Zürich, I'd like to use the local names but my post is in English so maybe English translations are better? Names of towns are only translated into English if the town is big or important. In English we write 'Lucerne' and 'Zurich' rather than 'Luzern' and 'Zürich' but as far as I know, there is no English name for towns such as Greppen or Horw.


Finally, I decided to go for the local names throughout the post as I think it shows more respect to use the original name.