A 50-minute bus ride from Zurich, you will find the birthplace of the Swiss Confederation. Whether you are into hiking, biking or skiing, plenty of options suit your interests and abilities in the Schwyz region.
On a clear night in August 1291, representatives from the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden formed the Rütlischwur, a pact of mutual support to resist external dominion. This pact laid the groundwork for the Swiss Confederation.
Today, Switzerland is a confederation of 26 cantons, each with its constitution and autonomy, yet united under a single federal government.
The Schwyz region is home to the stunning vistas of Lake Lucerne and the iconic Mount Mythen, offering a playground for hikers, skiers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
The canton's capital, Schwyz, is a historic town that houses the most important documents of the early Swiss confederacy, such as the Federal Charter of 1291, in the Museum of the Swiss Charters. You can also learn more about the everyday life and culture of the medieval and early modern periods in the Forum of Swiss History Schwyz. Don't miss the impressive Ital Reding Estate, a 17th-century patrician house with a baroque garden and a folk museum2. Schwyz is also where the world-famous Swiss army knives come from, and you can visit the Swiss Knife Valley Visitor's Center in Brunnen to see how they are made and buy your souvenir.
Known as the "Queen of the Mountains", Rigi is a mountain massif that offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Alps and lakes. You can reach the summit of Rigi Kulm (1,798 m) by various mountain railways, such as the cogwheel train from Arth-Goldau or the cable car from Weggis. On the way, you can stop at different stations and enjoy hiking, biking or skiing on the well-marked trails and slopes.
You can also relax at the mineral baths and spa at Rigi Kaltbad or visit the cheese factory at Rigi Staffel.
A popular pilgrimage destination, Einsiedeln is home to the Benedictine Monastery, a stunning baroque church that attracts millions of visitors annually. You can also explore the Diorama Einsiedeln, a large-scale model of the Holy Land with over 500 figures, or the Mineral and Fossil Museum, which displays a collection of minerals, fossils and meteorites from around the world.
Einsiedeln is great for outdoor activities like cross-country skiing or ice skating and alpine skiing in the nearby area of Hoch-Ybrig. In the summer, biking, hiking and ziplining are excellent options.
A car-free mountain village and holiday resort, Stoos is a sun terrace with amazing views of Lake Lucerne and the Alps. You can reach Stoos by the steepest funicular in the world, with a maximum gradient of 110%. Stoos offers a variety of activities for families, such as hiking, biking, climbing, paragliding, tobogganing and skiing. You can also visit the Fronalpstock, a peak with a 360-degree panorama of the Swiss Plateau and the Alps.
Muotathal is famous for its largest primaeval spruce forest in Europe, the Karst Hölloch cave system and its weather prophets, who can forecast the weather by observing natural signs. You can experience the beauty and mystery of Muotathal by hiking, biking, rafting, canyoning or caving. You can also visit the Nature Park and Zoo Goldau, home to over 100 species of animals, many of which roam freely in the park.
How to Get to the Schwyz Region
You can take the train from Zurich, Lucerne, Bern or Geneva to Arth-Goldau, a major railway junction in the Schwyz region. You can connect to other regional destinations, such as Schwyz, Rigi, Brunnen or Einsiedeln, by local trains or buses.
You can take the bus from Lucerne to Schwyz, which runs every 30 minutes and takes about 50 minutes. You can also take the bus from Zurich to Einsiedeln, which runs every hour and takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
You can drive to the Schwyz region by taking the A4 motorway from Zurich or the A2 motorway from Lucerne. The driving time is about 40 minutes from either city. You can also drive from Bern or Geneva by taking the A1 motorway and then the A2 motorway. The driving time is about 2 hours from Bern or 3 hours from Geneva.