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7 Best Things to Do in Seelisberg, Switzerland

Seelisberg sits high at 801 meters above Lake Lucerne, offering breathtaking scenery and a deep-rooted history. Positioned on the lake’s eastern side, it’s recognized as the birthplace of Switzerland, hosting crucial events in the nation’s story. With its stunning views and historical significance, Seelisberg is a haven for nature lovers and history enthusiasts. This article highlights the 7 best things to do in Seelisberg, Switzerland.

Image of Lake Lucerne from Seelisberg by TouringSwitzerland.com

Overview of Seelisberg

Seelisberg sits about 400 meters above Lake Lucerne, offering stunning views of the lake and mountains across central Switzerland. It’s in Canton Uri, near the border with Nidwalden. The locals speak a Swiss-German dialect.

Usually, visitors come to Treib and then take the funicular up to Seelisberg village. Nearby are other small areas like Volligen, Schattenhalb, Beroldingen, Wyssig, and Geissweg, but the most famous part of Seelisberg is a meadow called Rütli.

Image of the Schillerstein Monument by Wikimedia

Nearby is also the 30-meter-high Schillerstein Monument, a rock with an inscription dedicated to Friedrich Schiller, the author of Wilhelm Tell. The natural rock was inscribed in 1859, a hundred years after his birthday

Despite its historical importance, Seelisberg is quiet and not overly touristy. When we visited, there were quite a few people, but mostly locals; it wasn’t as busy as places like Rigi and Stoos.

Image of the Rütli Meadow by TouringSwitzerland.com

Seelisberg also holds great importance in Switzerland’s history, with notable events such as the Rütli Oath, which took place in 1291, being signed here on the Rütli Meadow.

To reach the Rütli Meadow from Seelisberg, just take a 350-meter walk downhill through the forest. Another choice is to ride the funicular from Seelisberg to Treib. Once in Treib, you can either walk or take a boat to Rütli.

Image of Lake Lucerne from Marienhöhe, Seelisberg by TouringSwitzerland.com

Seelisberg offers plenty of stunning panoramic views, much like those you’d find in places like Rigi and Stoos. However, one exceptional spot is the panoramic viewpoint – Marienhöhe. From this viewpoint, you can see Rütli in Uri and the Mythen mountains in Schwyz.

What makes this spot unique is that the view from above is the exact image that artist Charles Giron painted for the National Council Chamber (see NATIONALRATSSAAL). The painting, which measures 11.5 meters, is displayed in Bern and showcases the birthplace of the Swiss Confederation. This painting has been hanging in the hall since March 1902.

The Treib-Seelisberg Funicular by TouringSwitzerland.com

To reach Seelisberg comfortably, the best way is to take the funicular. This old, red funicular runs from Treib near the ship port all the way up to the panoramic terrace of Seelisberg in just eight minutes. It operates throughout the year, and during maintenance days, a small bus is available to take you up.

The funicular can also carry children’s strollers, so if you have small kids, you can bring them along. Just keep in mind that there’s limited space in the funicular, so you might need to leave the stroller in the baggage section.

Image of Lake Seelisberg Seeli by TouringSwitzerland.com

Lake Seelisberg Seeli is a beautiful spot with a sandy beach perfect for kids. It can reach a cozy 24°C in summer and sits below the stunning Niederbauen formation at 738 meters above sea level.

While you can visit the lake all year, facilities for swimming (toilets, showers) are only available from mid-May to mid-September.

It’s a great spot for families with young ones, thanks to its sandy beach, warmer temperatures compared to other alpine lakes, and a playground nearby.

There’s a camping area nearby where you can set up tents (no caravans allowed), and even a comfy yurt by the lake for a cozy stay. Fishing is allowed with permits from the canton, and you can also rent pedalos and rowboats for some fun on the water.

Image of the Swiss Path Portal in Bauen by TouringSwitzerland.com

There are lots of hiking trails to and from Seelisberg, but the most well-known one is the Swiss Path or Swiss Way (Weg der Schweiz in German). We personally hiked the Swiss Path all the way to Bauen, but there are plenty of other destinations and options too.

You can also go hiking in Seelisberg during winter using the snowshoe trail and other winter hiking paths.

Here are some of the other hiking trails from Seelisberg:

Hiking TrailEstimated Hiking Time
Swiss Path (Seelisberg to Bauen)2 hours (from Seelisberg) to 3 hours (from Treib)
Seelisberg to Emmetten2 hours 20 minutes
Seelisberg – Weid – Niederbauen Chulm (Difficult Hike)3 hours 30 minutes (ascent)
History Trail Seelisberg – Rütli2 hours

Hiking Time Calculator

Plan your hikes with ease using our Hiking Time Calculator. Calculate estimated hiking times based on distance, altitude, terrain, and average speed.

Image of the Seelisberg – Weid Cable Car by TouringSwitzerland.com

You can take the cable car from Seelisberg up to Alp Weid for a scenic adventure if it is running (typically in May/June). If you’re hiking, it’ll take you around 1.5 to 2 hours to get from Schloss Beroldingen up to Alp Weid. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit the alp during our trip because it was closed at that time.

The mountain restaurant is open on specific weekends in May and serves a seasonal menu of food and drinks.

Image of Seelisberg from the Ship by TouringSwitzerland.com

Due to Seelisberg’s mountainous terrain, it has mountain bike routes instead of the easier bike routes found in flatter parts of Switzerland. Here are two mountain bike routes around Seelisberg:

  • Goldi-Route (24 km, easy) – The Goldi Route is a 24-kilometer trail that begins at the top station of Klewenalp and finishes in Treib. It’s marked in one direction, guiding you through Tannibüel and Twäregg, and then you take the train to Stockhütte. From there, you keep going to Emmetten, Sagendorf, through the Brennwald forest, until you arrive at Seelisdorf.
  • Höch Flue (17 km, medium) – This tour, starting and ending in Emmetten, involves a 660-meter change in altitude. While it begins gently, it becomes more challenging with rocks and roots along the way. You’ll pass by the Kreuzkapelle, the Brennwald forest, the Maria Sonnenberg Chapel, and the Seelisberg Lake.

Final Thoughts: Is it Worth Visiting Seelisberg, Switzerland?

Seelisberg is a small village with a view of Lake Lucerne and Central Switzerland Alps. The village itself is quiet, with a few old houses, an Ayurveda center, some restaurants and hotels, a forest, and a small alpine lake.

People visit Seelisberg to relax and unwind, rather than for shopping or visiting museums. If you like exploring Switzerland’s hidden historic spots, hiking or biking, or just being outdoors, then Seelisberg could be the ideal place for you to visit.

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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