The Swiss Path - Weg der Schweiz in German - is a hiking trail that runs along the southernmost arm of Lake Lucerne, from Seelisberg to Brunnen. The trail offers magnificent panoramic views and is mostly easy going. Furthermore, if you feel like completing the tour around the lake, you can plan your walk by combining it with the better-known "Vierwaldstätterweg," the trail that runs along the northern part of Lake Lucerne, starting from Brunnen and reaching the Rütli via Lucerne. In this article, we tell you about our route from Flüelen to Sisikon and give you some useful tips!
We love... the Swiss Path!
The Swiss Path – Weg der Schweiz, in German – is a hiking trail that runs along the southernmost arm of Lake Lucerne, from Seelisberg to Brunnen. Created in the early 1990s to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation, the scenic trail was built with the intention of celebrating and telling the story of the confederation by passing through some of the most famous and beloved historical sites in the area, such as the Grütli (or Rütli) Meadow and the legendary Tell’s Chapel. About 35 km long, the route is normally divided into four stages. Therefore it is perfectly suited for both a multi-day hike and single day stages. The trail is absolutely fascinating and for the most part easy going. It also offers magnificent views of the lake and surrounding mountains and alternates between coastal paths and stretches in the mountains or along lush meadows. For those who have more days available or for those who simply want to complete the tour of the entire lake, it is possible to continue the hike following the Vierwaldstätterweg, the trail that runs along the northern part of Lake Lucerne, starting from Brunnen and reaching the Grütli.
We have hiked part of both trails on day hikes and in this article, we tell you about our route along the Swiss Path from Flüelen to Sisikon.
Hike overview & map
The hike we propose is a linear route of just over 7.5 kilometres, which starts easily from the Flüelen train station, near the lake promenade and harbour. It is an easy route with a minimal difference in altitude, consisting largely of beaten earth or gravel paths, with the exception of a few short sections that lead into the forest. It must be said that in some places the path follows or runs close to the busy carriage road that follows the coast. In spite of this, this walk is absolutely delightful and the view of the lake that characterises practically the entire trail is certainly worth the annoyance caused by the short stretches among the noise of car traffic.
We chose to walk the trail in a northerly direction, but it is of course possible to walk it in the opposite direction, from Sisikon to Flüelen. In both cases, you will have the opportunity to visit the famous Tell’s Chapel. Along the route, you will also find several dining options in Flüelen, Sisikon and near the chapel. There are also a couple of barbecue areas, should you wish to make use of them.
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From Flüelen to the old Axenstrasse
Our hike starts at Flüelen station. Here we take a look at the marina before starting our walk. The path is well signposted and right at the start of the route a large signpost describes the Swiss Path in its entirety, with all the details of the route and the various points of interest.
From here, the first part of the route runs on a paved road that goes between the lake and the railway line for about 1.5 km, at the end of which, after a short passage on the driveway, we quickly return to the forest. Another 500 metres or so and the path returns to the road, but this time further down. From here you also have access to some fascinating views of Flüelen and the Reuss delta area.
From the old Axenstrasse to the Glockenspiel Tellsplatte
The high, steep mountains surrounding the area give an idea of how difficult it was to build the old Axenstrasse, which in 1865 finally made possible the north-south communication between Flüelen and Brunnen that had previously only been possible via the lake. This section of the trail clearly demonstrates this, as it runs entirely along the sheer rock faces of Axenflue. Some sections of the trail have been built into tunnels and give the opportunity to walk along short sections of the old Axenstrasse, from which there is also a magnificent view of the mountains on the opposite side of Lake Uri.
Once past the tunnels, a slow descent begins towards the Tell’s Chapel. But first, a stop at the ‘Glockenspiel Tellsplatte’, Switzerland’s largest carillon made by the Swiss chocolate industry, is a must. During the first ten minutes of every hour of the day, the carillon plays one of twenty melodies that you can choose from a console. Give it a try!
From the Tell's Chapel in Sisikon
From the Glockenspiel, a few steps separate us from the world-famous Tell’s Chapel. This tiny chapel on the lakeshore, built at the end of the 19th century, stands on Tellsplatte, on the spot where, according to legend, William Tell jumped out of the boat during a storm to escape his captors, which enabled him to assassinate the tyrant Gessler and lay the foundations for the Swiss Confederation. Legends aside, the chapel is truly adorable and its interior features frescoes recounting Tell’s exploits and the Rütli oath. Near the chapel you will also find a small restaurant with a terrace, the Seebeizli am Urnersee.
From the Tell’s Chapel, the path follows the lake very closely. For a short break, you will find a couple of barbecue areas and benches here.
Sisikon can be reached via a short descent into the forest, from which you will have access to some fascinating views of the lake. If you are as lucky as we are, you will also be able to take a photo of one of the steamboats passing by on their way to Flüelen. In Sisikon, the train station will allow you to return home or to reach your car at the Flüelen car park.
Arriving by public transport
Arriving by car
Little curiosity: the Swiss Path is symbolically divided into 26 sections-one for each canton-and their order is determined by the cantons’ entry into the Confederation. Even the length of the sections was not determined at random, but is based on the population of cantons in 1991: each person was symbolically assigned 5 millimeters of the route!
For the lazy ones, the Tell’s Chapel can also be reached via a scenic crossing on one of the Lake Lucerne Navigation Company (SGV) steamboats. It is also a good alternative for those who want to shorten the hike, e.g. by walking between Sisikon and Tell Chapel and then taking the ferry back home.
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