The area around Lake Baldegg in Canton Lucerne offers idyllic landscapes, historical buildings, and many opportunities for leisure and fun. This region is great for a pleasant spring walk, when the historic buildings are open and the fields are blooming. We decided to explore these beautiful places by following the "Kapellenweg im Seetal" (Chapel Trail) from Baldegg to Gelfingen: a route of about 13 km that passes through small towns, forests and even a castle! We were here on a wonderful day in April and this is our route!
We love... Kapellenweg im Seetal!
Spring makes us want to spend our days outdoors recharging our batteries and enjoying the first warm rays of sun. It’s again that time of the year when we prefer relaxing routes that not involve too much physical effort and that let us immerse ourselves in blooming fields and green pastures. That’s why we often choose hilly routes! No high mountains for now! After all, at this time of the year the high altitude hiking trails are still mostly covered with snow and ice and in many cases not accessible. So, we opt for a walk in the Seetal, the hilly area around Lake Baldegg (Baldeggersee) in the canton of Lucerne. This region offers many hiking and biking trails that surround the lake and climb the surrounding hills, offering – despite the low altitude – beautiful views. Among the many hiking trails in the area, we have chosen the Kapellenweg – the path of the Chapels – an itinerary of about 13 km that passes through small towns, forests and even an ancient castle! So here is our itinerary and some useful advice!
Arriving by public transport
The route we propose is easily accessible by public transport. From Lucerne station, the train “S9” leads to the station “Baldegg, Kloster”, near the south coast of the lake, in about 40 minutes. Travelers coming from major Swiss cities are therefore advised to reach Lucerne and continue on the above-mentioned route.
Tickets and travel options can be found through the SBB website or the SBB App, which we still recommend you use to check schedules and line operations.
Arriving by car
The route we propose can also be reached by car, but we strongly recommend that you choose public transportation. Around the starting point of the itinerary, the train stop “Baldegg, Kloster”, there are no parking areas available and, most likely, in order to have any chance of finding parking you will have to continue to the nearest town center and walk back to the starting point of the path. Furthermore, since this is a linear route, at the end of the route you will have to take a train from Gelfingen and return to Baldegg to pick up your car.
Hike overview & map
The hike we propose is a linear route that starts at the train stop “Baldegg, Kloster” and, following a well-marked hiking trail and gently climbing the Seetal hills, reaches the train station in Gelfingen, where it ends. This route is characterized by the presence, along the path, of several small chapels (from here the name of Kapellenweg), all of which can be visited and are open to visitors and absolutely fascinating. The itinerary is also quite easy, even if sometimes it has a slight slope, and it can be easily covered in about three and a half hours. Along the itinerary there are no restaurants or refreshment places. We suggest, therefore, that you bring your own lunch. However, an afternoon snack or a drink can be bought at the Buvette of Heidegg Castle, almost at the end of the trail.
From Baldegg to the ruins of Nünegg Castle
We reach “Baldegg, Kloster” station on a sunny, warm April day. From here, a comfortable underpass allows us to safely cross the road and begin our walk. The path is well marked starting from the train station and you will have no difficulty in following it. The first kilometer is flat among fields covered with dandelion flowers. Here it is really Spring! Immediately after, a slow but steady climb begins that will take us to the highest point of the itinerary, at about 700 m, passing through several farms and some fruit orchards. And right along one of these orchards a wooden plate reminds us that “A kind word in the morning gladdens a heart all day long”. Poetic country wisdom! Continuing our ascent, we arrive at the first chapel of the route, Maria zum Schnee (Mary of snow). The little church is really in an idyllic location, at the edge of the woods and with a small pond next to it. So we decide to go in for a few minutes to have a look and to resume our path immediately after. The path to follow develops for a few meters at the edge of the forest and then dives back into cultivated fields. After just one and a half kilometers, we meet the Ruins of Nünegg Castle. This building, home of the Lords of Lieli, dates back to the second half of the 13th century. To be honest, not much remains today, but the ruins, which were fully renovated between 2014 and 2015, are now open to visitors and provide a perfect viewpoint over the Seetal and Lake Baldegg. Here you’ll find also a small picnic area and barbecue grill.
From Nünegg Castle to Gelfingen: the Heidegg Castle
The Ruins of Nünegg Castle in Lieli are the highest point of the route, at just over 700 meters. From here begins a slow but steady descent of about 7 km. Shortly after the ruins, we meet the second pilgrimage chapel, the one dedicated to St. Wendelin and dating back to 1500. A curiosity: the clock now placed on the western facade of the chapel is not the original from the 17th century, which is instead now on display at the “Zytturm” civic tower in Lucerne. We browse around inside the chapel a bit more and then continue on our way. About one kilometer later the path enters a forest and after about one and a half kilometers comes out at Heidegg Castle. This building is certainly one of the most beautiful summer residences of Lucerne’s nobility: an ancient building in an elevated position on the lake, surrounded by vineyards and a sunny park. Absolutely fascinating! You can choose to stop for a visit to the Castle and its rooms, discover its rose garden (better if during the summer, when the roses are blooming!) or simply take a walk in the park and go on. If you are hungry or thirsty, you can eat or drink something at the small summer bar or, alternatively, buy a fresh fruit in the small self-service stall just before the entrance! The Castle Museum is open from April 1 to October 31, Tuesday to Friday from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm and on weekends from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. You can find all the information at this link. And of course inside the castle walls you will find the third Chapel of the route! From the castle we briefly descend the slopes of the hill through a dense forest to continue for a little over a kilometer towards the town, Hitzkirch. Here we meet two more religious buildings: the parish church of San Pancrazio, really impressive, and the small Marienkapelle.
From here, the last part of our hike begins, crossing the city and reaching first the Chapel of St. Laurentius in Richensee and then the shore of Lake Baldegg. The train station in Gelfingen for the return home is just two kilometers away.
From Hitzkirch, the official “Kapellenweg im Seetal” trail continues for approximately 4 kilometers to Hamikon, Altwis and Ermensee before reaching Richensee. In all of these towns, of course, you will find other small pilgrimage chapels to discover! If you want to find out the complete route, you can visit this link (in German).
The Seetal, which lies partly within the Canton of Lucerne and partly within the Canton of Aargau, is a very wide region indeed! So, if you’re in the mood for a multi-day hike, why not extend this route by continuing north in the direction of Lake Hallwil? We talked about this place in this article.