Five lakes ride

In central Switzerland, there’s a train line that runs between Interlaken and Luzern, that carries panoramically-windowed trains around various lakes and over alpine passes. It’s a spectacular trip, and last weekend Tanya and I forewent the train and rode the best bit by bike. We took the train as far as Brienz, and cycled the rest of the way, which amounted to a ride of 80 km.

The train map – before we hopped off and rode the rest of the way.
Start of the first climb.
After the first climb — rolling country.

The route passed by five lakes. We started at the Brienzersee (Canton Bern), rode up the valley to Meiringen, then over the Brünigpass (into Canton Obwalden). The second lake was the Lungerersee, which was quickly followed by the Sarnersee, where we stopped for lunch (I ate a sarnie). At the Alpnachersee we crossed into Canton Nidwalden, and then reached the fifth lake, the Vierwaldstättersee, which is huge and multi-fingered. Vierwaldstättersee is the lake that Luzern sits on. Its name in German means “four forest-state lake” and indeed there are four cantons around it (the French-speakers went totally literal but forgot the forests, and called it Le Lac des Quatre-Cantons). We crossed into the canton of Luzern as we got towards the city and finished our ride. From Luzern we took a boat across the lake to Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock, where we stayed the night.

Lake two, the Lungerersee.
Tanya on the Vierwaldstättersee.
Vierwaldstättersee brilliance.
Arriving at Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock.

At the lake that night we decided it was one of those times where a swim was required. Lake Lucerne is supposed to be a particularly mild temperature, but when we jumped in we found it was still absolutely freezing and I could barely stand it. It was refreshing to say the least! The next day we went riding again; this time we cycled up to Engelberg, which was a good climb into fantastic alpine scenery.

Pilatus (2118 m).
First kilometres around the lake.
Arriving in Engelberg.
The view from Engelberg.
My trusty steed.
Engelberg scenery.

Just as with ski-touring, cycling up a hill really leads you to enjoy the descent. We zipped down back to Lake Lucerne, to Beckenried, where we notched up 60 km for the day. We took the boat again to return to Luzern.

A slick of yellow pollen on the lake.
The fantastic face on the bow of the boat.

To finish off our weekend, we got takeaway pizza and beer to enjoy next to the lake; Tanya strapped the pizza to the back of her bike and we got to the lake while it was still piping hot. It was an amazing couple of days of incredible scenery, lots of good exercise, and pizza to finish it off. Que du bonheur!

Tanya’s pizza service.
May 21, 2018


  1. Millie Rooney on

    The scenery is just outrageous!!

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