> SlowTrav > Stories > Pauline's Pages > 2002, Switzerland, Italy

Engelberg Notes

Engelberg, Switzerland. 08/02

The main part of Engelberg is on the flat valley floor, but the residential area is built into the south facing hill (so it gets good sun). The shops and hotels are on the valley floor, with a couple of hotels on the hillside. The town is small with two main shopping streets. There are several restaurants - but none seem that exceptional. We usually eat dinner at "home" in Switzerland and have lunch out in the mountain restaurants that we come to while hiking. Just outside of the main part of town is an old monastery, originally from the 1100s, but rebuilt many times. Still looks pretty old.

For groceries there is a medium sized Coop store with a somewhat smaller Migros across the road. The Coop has some organic products and a good vegetable selection.

The train station is in town. You take a smaller mountain train from here down the valley to Stans, where you get onto the regular train line with trains to Lucerne. We did not take the train while we were there.

Engelberg Mountain Ride Pass

We bought a summer pass for a week of riding the lifts. Gondolas and chair lifts can be pretty expensive here and a pass for the week will usually save you money. This pass cost 76 CHF (51 euro) for 6 consecutive days of use - perfect for a one week stay. Our first day of rides to Engstlensee and back would have cost 47 CHF - so you can see where having the pass works well if you plan to do six days of hiking. You can also get a pass that includes the railways as well - there are places where you can hike to another town and take a train back - be we didn't get that (more expensive and we have the car).

Be sure to check the dates on your pass. They are valid from the date on the pass. We got ours in the late afternoon, intending to use it starting the next day. But the 6 consecutive days started, by mistake, from the day we purchased it. On our last day we had to pay for our mountain rides because the pass had expired. We went back to the tourist office and complained and they happily reimbursed us the money we paid for the rides because it has been their error issuing the pass from the Saturday instead of the next day, the Sunday. To avoid this type of confusion, check the starting date on your pass. I had assumed it started when you first used it. Wrong!

Engelberg Hotel Review

Engelberg: Hotel Spannort, 3 stars
www.spannort.ch

Modern low rise hotel on the main pedestrian street of town - quiet location. 18 rooms. Run by family Amstutz-Buresch (Rudi and his wife). We did not stay here, but we rented our vacation rental from the family. The vacation rental was lovely and the hotel looks very nice too. Rudi, the owner, speaks English and is very nice. Prices range from 55CHF (shared bath) to 80CHF (private bath).

Engelberg Vacation Rental Review

Engelberg: Hotel Spannort - Apartment, 4 stars
www.spannort.ch

The people who own the apartment we rented also run a hotel in town (Hotel Spannort). It is right on the main street, is in a modern low rise building and looks nice. There are some other good looking older hotels in town - the Hotel Europe looks nice, an old building and all the rooms have small balconies - but forget the Ramada, an out of place 9 story building.

Our apartment is fabulous. It is on the top floor of their house. The house is built into the hill, so from behind it is on the American second floor, but from the front, the American fourth. A balcony off the living room looks down to Engelberg and across to the Titlis and other mountains. You can see glaciers! This photo shows the view from the balcony.

A nice living room with slanted ceiling (we are under the pitched roof line), big windows to the view, a modern good sized kitchen, a small bedroom with the typical two singles together (a really ugly bed frame and headboard - made of fuzzy material - but all other furniture is really nice looking), and a big bathroom with a tub and a separate shower stall (large). A garage to park our Mercedes in. We probably won't use the car that much this week.

A note about the stove. When they checked us into the apartment, they showed us the kitchen and asked if we knew how to use this kind of electric stove (the kind that has a flat plastic top and the elements are under it). I said, yes we had used that kind before. But we should have had them do a demonstration. We just could not figure out how to turn on the burners. There were a few obvious buttons, but they were not really buttons, just marked places on the plastic cover where you put your finger to activate it. We pulled out the manuals and tried to figure it out in German but gave up and called them. Rudi came up and showed us. We were looking at the right buttons, but you had to lay your finger just exactly right for the button to be pressed! You also had to turn on the stove with one button first, then turn on the element. My conclusion is that you should always get the owner to turn on the stove in front of  you, even if you think you know how it works.

Photos of Hotel Spannort Apartment

Engelberg Restaurant Reviews

Altdorf: Hotel Reiser Altdorf (restaurant), beim Tell-Denkmal (on the main road at beside the main square with the William Tell statue)
www.reiser.ch
Recommended. A very nice restaurant in an old hotel on the edge of the pedestrian area of Altdorf. We had lunch here twice in August/September 2002. They have the usual meat dishes but also fish dishes and a few vegetarian selections. It is a nice "old world" feeling restaurant with good service and good food. Steve had very good fresh fish and I had a vegetarian dish (veggie cutlets). 66CHF ($40) for two; soup, entree, coffee. We liked it so much that we stopped here for lunch a couple of weeks later when driving to the Gottard tunnel.

Engstelnalp: Hotel Engstelnalp, between Engelberg and Meiringen
Recommended. A very nice mountain restaurant in a great hiking area. Stop here for lunch when out hiking. This restaurant is in a beautiful valley that is reached by mountain rides from Engelberg or a drive from Meiringen (up a long mountain road). This is a hotel with a restaurant. In the summer, the restaurant is full of people out hiking or just enjoying the scenery of this valley. There is a large outdoor seating area. Service is casual and the menu is the typical mountain restaurant menu. The food is good. In August 2002 we had rosti with eggs, beer and coffee - 47CHF for two. Another time Steve had fresh fish - 29.50CHF for the fish.

Engelberg: BrunniHut Restaurant, Mountain restaurant (can be reached hiking or by gondola)
Recommended. A very nice, casual mountain restaurant. Cafeteria style with picnic table seating. A group of young people were running this restaurant - good food and a few vegetarian selections. A fun place to break for lunch when hiking. In August 2002 we had soup, rosti with onion gravy and green beans - 33.50CHF for two.

Engelberg: Stafeli, Mountain restaurant (can be reached hiking or by car via a private road)
Recommended. A nice mountain restaurant with lots of outdoor seating and a beautiful view of the mountains. We sat outside with several other groups of hikers and looked out at the Spannort mountains. I had a small bottle of white wine (Fendant from the Valais region - smaller than a half bottle, it was 3 dl). Steve had beer and we had, once again, Rosti with eggs. Again it was excellent.

Engelberg: Bergrestaurant Untertrubsee, Mountain restaurant (can be reached hiking or by car)
Recommended. It was a cold day, so we sat inside, but there was an outdoor terrace also with lovely views. Food was very good. Two beer, rosti with eggs, melted cheese sandwich, 33.50CHF. Two coffees and one meringue dessert (klein) 13.30CHF.

Engelberg Resources

www.engelberg.ch: Engelberg Tourist Office

www.slowtrav.com: Hiking in Engelberg

Photos of Engelberg part of the trip

Photos of Hotel Spannort Apartment

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