No wonder that the charming village of Engelberg in Central Switzerland, just one hour-derive from Lucerne, is a magnet for tourists all year round. Despite its small size, it has it all: ski slopes, walking trails, cosy spas, and a stunning ancient monastery.
The Benedictine Monastery of Engelberg is the heart of the village. Founded in the early 12th century it has always played an important part in local life. As the legend has it, the Benedictines were the ones who called the settlement “Mountain of Angels” (“engel” in German means “angel”) because they heard divine voices around. Today there are 30 monks still living and working in the monastery.
Skiing resorts in Engelberg attract many experienced winter sports enthusiasts who enjoy the excellent seven-miles long descent, the longest in the Alps, 19 miles of cross-country tracks, snowboarding tracks and winter hiking trails. In summer, a glacier chairlift takes the curious up to the Mountain Titlis glacial crevices, ice grottos and Europe’s highest suspension bridge for a refreshing thrilling walk.
There are many cableways (“Buurebähnli”) in the area with some smaller and more traditional ones operated by local farmers. They are open all year around and will take you to various peaks for stunning view of the Alps, walks and skiing.
After vigorous outdoor activities, many head to pamper themselves at local spas with hot saunas, herbal baths and relaxing massages. During summer months, some spas offer fragrant open-air hay baths with views over the Alps.
Engelberg hosts many interesting events throughout the year. The world's best ski jumpers gather here in December for the Ski Jumping World Cup, one of the biggest winter sports even in Switzerland. In March, the town wills up with sounds of music as the ProSieben Mountain Jam Music Festival takes place in Engelberg.
Photos via Flickr by: Joe Dyndale, Timo Kaipiainen, Patrick Nouhailler.