The Hammetschwand Lift is Europe’s highest elevator and whisks you up 152.8 metres in less than one minute. The Lift is one of the best ways to appreciate Lake Lucerne, which is one of the most picturesque areas of Switzerland. It first opened in 1905 and at that time took a sluggish three minutes to reach the top. The first 14 metres of the lift are encased in the rock of the cliff side.
There are a number of hiking routes to reach the lift and the trails are well sign posted (check out this handy map). The traditional route follows the Felsenweg path to the lift. Arriving at the Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock docks from Lucerne, follow the sign posts for 25 minutes along a rugged, rocky path until you come to the lift. The path isn’t too difficult but will require a moderate degree of fitness.
Alternatively, you can take a lake steamer to Stannstad (timetable available here) and then onwards to Bürgenstock by bus. As of September 2017, the funicular train (the Burgenstock Bahn) will be re-opening and will take travellers from Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock to the new Bürgenstock resort. From there it is possible to reach the Hammetschwand Lift by foot.
The best thing to do is to take in the views. From the lift’s glorious vantage point, you’ll be looking out over Lake Lucerne and be able to see the mountain peaks of Mount Titlis and Mount Rigi in all their splendour, while in the background the Bernese Alps are visible on the clearest days.
Aside from snapping pictures, you can also enjoy a lunch at the newly opened and much anticipated Bürgenstock Resort or continue hiking around the rocky peninsula. There are numerous places to stop off for a snack or drink before continuing back down to the docks, such as the Taverne 1879, a quaint and rustic haunt that serves traditional Swiss dishes.
The lift and restaurant open in early summer in May and close for the winter towards the end of October.
Open hours are: 09:30 a.m. – 11.30 a.m and 12:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
For up to date prices see buergenstock.ch.