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Exploring Bauen: A Traveler’s Guide

Last Updated on April 22, 2024 by Darla Uhl

Bauen is a lovely car-free village by Lake Lucerne, tucked into the southern end of the Uri basin. It’s famous for its pretty views with big mountains behind and for being on the Swiss Path. You can get there by boat, hiking, or a narrow path from Isleten. It’s a peaceful spot to enjoy nature’s beauty.

Image of Bauen, Switzerland by TouringSwitzerland.com

Is Bauen Worth Visiting?

Image of Bauen, Switzerland from the Ship by TouringSwitzerland.com

Even though Bauen looks pretty, you might still wonder if it’s worth going there. Bauen is not as touristy as nearby Lucerne. It is likely not at the top of anyone’s list in visiting Switzerland. I think Bauen is worth visiting if you enjoy peaceful lakeside villages where you can stroll around and unwind. To put it simply, if you’re spending a couple of days in Lucerne or exploring the area around Lake Lucerne, it’s worth making a stop in Bauen.

Bauen is worth a visit, especially if you’re exploring the Lake Lucerne Region and love peaceful lakeside villages similar to those in Cinque Terre. I recommend combining your visit with a boat ride on Lake Lucerne for the full experience. Be ready for a workout—there are lots of stairs because of the hilly landscape.

Bauen is incredibly small; I find it similar to Iseltwald on Lake Brienz or Quinten on Lake Walen. The village itself consists of several small streets that you can easily see in thirty minutes. It’s quite charming, and when we visited, two restaurants were open: Zwyssighaus and Fischli am See. Besides the St. Idda Church, these two restaurants, and pretty houses, there wasn’t much else to do except walk around, take photographs, or go hiking. You may also choose to book a private tour for a set price with Uri Tourismus if you wish to do so.


Bauen in a Nutshell

Image of Bauen, Switzerland by TouringSwitzerland.com

Bauen, a small village nestled in the Uri basin, remains relatively unknown due to its secluded location. While it was previously accessible only by boat or a narrow walkway, the construction of an access road has made it more accessible to visitors. Despite this, it remains a tranquil haven, known mainly to locals and a handful of well-informed tourists; don’t anticipate a bustling atmosphere here.

The village itself charms with its traditional Central Swiss farmhouses and verdant gardens, while the imposing St. Idda Church commands attention against the lakeside backdrop. Adding to its allure is a picturesque waterfall nestled in the village’s surroundings. Bauen also holds significance as the birthplace of Alberik Zwyssig, the composer of the Swiss national anthem.

With parking located outside the village and the absence of buzzing electric cars, Bauen offers a serene, car-free environment.

Its Mediterranean ambiance, lakeside setting, and cobblestone pathways evoke a reminiscent feel of Italy’s Cinque Terre. Perfect for the active and fit, Bauen’s hilly terrain means stairs are a common feature throughout the village.


Hiking from Bauen

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

Bauen marks the end of the first stage of the Swiss Path, also known as Weg der Schweiz. Serving as an excellent starting point or destination for hiking, we arrived in Bauen by hiking the first stage of the Swiss Path and departed by boat.

Here are some hiking options you can explore from Bauen:

  • Bauen to Isleten – 45 minutes
  • Bauen to Flüelen – 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Bauen to Seelisberg – 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Bauen to Rütli – 3 hours 40 minutes

How to Get to Bauen

Image of the Bauen Ship Port and Ticket Counter by TouringSwitzerland.com

The best way to travel to Bauen is by ship, bike, or on foot.

You can get to Bauen by ship from Lucerne, Beckenried, or Brunnen. Just make sure to check the timetable because ship schedules vary depending on the season, and not all routes stop in Bauen. When we visited in early April, there were only two departure times from Bauen and just one arrival time, so plan your trip accordingly.

The Lake Lucerne Timetable is available here: https://www.lakelucerne.ch/en/your-cruise-experience/timetable-fares/timetable/.

You can purchase ship tickets directly on board the ship.

From Flüelen, follow the road along the lake through Dorfstrasse, Seestrasse, Harderband, and Baumgarten until you reach the parking lot in Bauen. You can’t drive into Bauen village, so you’ll need to park your car in the parking lot just outside the village.

Final Thoughts

Image of Bauen, Switzerland by TouringSwitzerland.com

Bauen is a lovely village famous for its pretty old buildings, Mediterranean atmosphere, and amazing mountain and lake views.

  • Bauen is worth visiting from Lucerne, reachable in 43 minutes by car, 90 minutes by train and boat, or 2.5 hours by boat alone. I recommend coming here by boat instead of by car.
  • Bauen is worth a visit from Brunnen, just a 24-minute boat ride away, or from Beckenried, which is about 1 hour and 8 minutes by boat.
  • Bauen is not worth visiting from places further away like Zermatt (5 hours) or Interlaken (3.5 hours). If you are in Interlaken, I highly recommend visiting Brienz or Iseltwald instead of Bauen. Zermatt will have other charming villages nearby like Spiez or Brig.
  • It’s a good idea to visit Bauen while hiking the Swiss Path, whether you’re doing stage 1, stage 2, or even all four stages.

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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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