Lake Lungern, Obwalden, Switzerland
Also known as: Lake Lungerersee, Lake Lungernsee
Beautiful Lake Lungern is 2,460 feet above sea level in the highest part of the canton (state) of Obwalden, Switzerland. At the southern end of the lake is Lungern, the highest village of the Sarneraa Valley that is surrounded by steep inclinations and rocks on three sides. Only the north side is open and accessible. Lake Lungern is encircled by rocky outcrops, meadows, pastures, and stables, which make for a peaceful paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
During the mid-1830s, Lungern village undertook an ambitious project to lower the lake level by 20 feet to turn the shallowest areas of the lake into farmland. Excavators dug a tunnel through solid rock from Lake Lungern to Lake Sarnen, a larger lake about 200 feet lower in elevation. The villagers gained about 500 arable acres for agriculture, housing, and a sawmill. However, the reclaimed land was lost when a dam was constructed at the lake in the early 1900’s and then reconstructed in 1922 to produce hydroelectric power.
During hay harvesting, the basin swarms with butterflies around the thyme, thistles, and orchids making it such a well-known destination for butterfly viewing that there is a Butterfly Trail in the mountains. The 9.6 mile trail features over 100 varieties of butterflies during the peak season from June to September. It starts at the mountain station of the Turren and loops back into the valley leading to Lake Lungern. Other activities in this part of the Swiss Alps include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, watersports, swimming, sailing, snow shoeing, skiing, wildlife viewing, and camping. Expect to catch mountain trout when fishing Lake Lungern.
The village of Lungern surrounds the lake and is split up into three districts. The northern part of the lake is Kaiserstuhl/Burglen, the center of town is on the eastern shore, and the hamlet Obsee is on the southern side of Lake Lungern. The hamlet Obsee is where you can see parts of the old village with houses in their original style and architecture. Lungern, which has been around since the early thirteenth century, is now best known for agriculture and forestry. For some off-the-lake activities around Lungren, visit the Neo-Gothic old church tower (Alter Kirchturm) in Obsee hamlet, the aerial passenger tramway (Panoramawelt Lungern Schonbuel), and the underground shooting range (Brunig Indoor). The shooting range is built into the cliff and offers participants the chance to shoot rifles, pistols, bow and arrows, darts, and blowpipes.
To see some excellent views of the Swiss Alps, take the cable car from Lungern to Turren and then hop on the chair-lift to Schonbuel. There are many trailheads in this area for hiking tours and mountain biking tours, including the walk from the top station of the cable-car on Schonbuel to the Brienzer Rothorn. To strengthen your body and feed your soul, take this hike on Sunday when there is a brunch and yodeling service on Schonbuel.
Other local activities include a narrow gauge railway (Brunigbahn) line that leads from Interlaken via Brienz and the Brunig Pass on to Lucerne and Engleberg; and the late July event Hosenlupf, which is a Swiss wrestling competition that has been held in a sawmill for over 100 years. Vacation rentals are available around Lake Lungern as well as campsites, resorts, and village lodging.
The Lake Lungern area is as popular in the summer as in the winter with a variety of outdoor activities for all ages and interests. The crystal clear blue water with a backdrop of the Swiss Alps beckons anyone who visits the area.
Things to do at Lake Lungern
- Wildlife Viewing
Fish species found at Lake Lungern
Lake Lungern Photo Gallery
Lake Lungern Statistics & Helpful Links
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