The plateau between the lakes of Baldegg and Sempach is one of our favorite hiking destinations because it offers plenty of trails for all seasons and pleasant nature walks. In April and May the rapeseed blossoms on the farmland around the lake shores and the surrounding landscape, with the snow-capped Alps in the background, becomes even more amazing! We were here for a wonderful hike from Hochdorf to the old town of Sempach, on the lake of the same name, and in this article we give you all the information and some tips for a pleasant walk.
We love... rapeseed flowers!
In Spring there is nothing better than walking on the Swiss plateaus, to enjoy the slow awakening of nature and to get in good shape and gradually prepare for the new hiking season. The plateau located between the cantons of Lucerne and Aargau and characterized by the presence of three lakes – Lake Baldegg, Lake Hallwil and Lake Sempach – is definitely one of our favorite destinations not only because of its proximity to Lucerne – our city – but also and especially because it offers many hiking options. It also allows you to enjoy truly magnificent views of the surrounding landscape even at low altitudes. We visited this area once again in May, when the rape fields are in full bloom and the landscape becomes even more surprising and colorful. So here is our itinerary and some useful tips!
Hike overview & map
The hike we propose is a linear route that starts from the train station in Hochdorf and leads through flowering rape fields and forests to the old town of Sempach, on the shores of the lake of the same name. On the way, you will have the opportunity to visit two historic chapels and the memorial of Arnold Winkelried, the hero of the Battle of Sempach. The total route of about 16.5 km is of moderate difficulty (mainly because of its length), but runs entirely on dirt roads and paved sections. It is also a very pleasant itinerary because it offers some panoramic views of rare beauty. Along the itinerary there are several dining options. Alternatively, if you prefer to bring your own sack lunch, just before arriving in Sempach, in the Steiniberg area, there is a large picnic area with toilets.
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From Hochdorf to Römerswil
Our hike starts from the train station in Hochdorf. The day is sunny and clear and we are happy about that, because this way we will be able to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view of the plateau and the Alps from the hills of Römerswil. To reach the official trail, we leave the station and continue for about 500 meters on the main street of the town. From here, we turn left and in a few meters we are outside the city center, among flowery fields and farms. Another 500 meters and the path plunges into a dense forest that we follow for about a kilometer and a half, listening to the silence around us and enjoying the tranquility of the place. As we come out of the woods, we start a slight ascent along the hillside of Römerswil. The ascent is not particularly challenging and on arrival – almost at the top – you will be repaid by the view of magnificent flowering rapeseed fields: the hiking trail passes right along their side! We stop to take a few pictures and catch our breath, and then continue on to Römerswil. Here we decide to visit the Parish Church of St. Bartholomäus and, after the visit, we take advantage of the benches around the church and the drinking water fountain for a snack break and to fill our water bottles. We rest for about 15 minutes and are ready to walk again.
From Römerswil to the Wallfahrtskapelle Gormund
From the Parish Church of St. Bartholomäus we turn back a few meters and take the hiking trail to our right, plunging back into the cultivated fields and out of the town. From this point, the trail enters the forest again and comes out after about one kilometer. Another kilometer and a half later we reach the first of the two restaurants along the itinerary: the Landgasthof Gormund. Normally open all day on weekends, they offer typical Swiss dishes and several options for aperitifs and afternoon snacks. Not far from Landgasthof Gormund you can also visit the Wallfahrtskapelle Gormund. This charming little church, a historic pilgrimage destination, dates back to 1500 and is very well preserved. It is located on top of a small hill and you certainly won’t be able to ignore it! After your visit, you can simply resume your path towards Sempach along a road that crosses some golf courses and other accommodation facilities. After passing the golf courses, the long descent towards Sempach and the shores of the lake begins. Just one kilometer later, in fact, we reach the second restaurant of our itinerary: the Wirtschaft zur Schlacht.
Towards Sempach and back home
Open every day except Tuesday, the Wirtschaft zur Schlacht is also a good option for a Sunday lunch. It offers an outdoor terrace and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. In the area you can also make a short visit to the historic Schlachtkapelle (Battle Chapels) and the memorial to Arnold Winkelried, the hero of the Battle of Sempach, fought on July 9, 1386 between the Swiss Confederation and Duke Leopold III of Habsburg. It is said that during the battle the Confederate soldiers were crushed by the impenetrable wall of spears of the Austrian knights. It was at this point that Arnold Winkelried decided to sacrifice himself for the victory, throwing himself against the enemy, picking up the spears and opening in this way a breach in the adversary’s line-up thanks to which the confederate soldiers managed to win the battle.
The last part of our hike starts at the Schlachtkapelle and leads slowly down to Sempach, passing through a small wooded area with a romantic pond. Here you will also find a picnic and barbecue area and toilets. From here, the town of Sempach is about two kilometers away. We reach Sempach from the “Luzerner tor”, the town gate that looks towards the south and the city of Lucerne. Once you arrive here, you can decide to visit the old town center or continue to the train station. We chose the first option, slightly lengthening the itinerary to walk along the main city street and descend towards the lake shore and its park. The train station of Sempach-Neuenkirch, the point of arrival of the excursion, is located just outside the city center. The path is well marked and to reach it you just have to follow the signs or, alternatively, take bus 88 or bus 84 from the stop “Sempach Stadt, Post”.
Arriving by public transport
Arriving by car
Depending on your place of departure, you may have to take a train or bus connection that goes through Sempach before reaching Hochdorf. In this case, why not get off in Sempach and follow the route in the opposite direction?
The Wallfahrtskapelle Gormund and the Schlachtkapelle are just two of the many chapels on or near this route. So if you have the will and time, why not go on the hunt for the others?
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