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When the days get shorter and the forests become more colorful from day to day, it becomes quieter on the Swiss lakes and rivers. Some shipping companies completely shut down operations in winter, others reduce to those liner routes that take on the function of a basic development and are accordingly in operation all year round. Still others have special trips on offer in autumn and winter. For all those who do not want to miss the change of perspective even in the cooler season, I have researched two seasonal excursion ideas; off to the Walensee and Hallwilersee.
An autumn day at the Walensee
The area around Lake Walen is one of my favorite regions for someone from Zurich easily and quickly accessible autumn excursion. We already have one or the other beautiful (and fog-free) Autumn hike presented in this region. And this excursion tip also starts with an entertaining walk suitable for pushchairs. After all, we want to have earned the relaxation on the Walensee properly.
For this we take the S-Bahn from Zurich to Näfels-Mollis in Linthal. This is where the Themed hiking trail “the Linthwerk”, which leads along the Linth Escherkanal to Camping Gäsi and from there on along the shore of Lake Walen to Weesen. Numerous information boards along the way convey the history of the almost 200-year-old Linth Canal and the associated structures and their significance for industrialization in a clearly understandable way. With the renovation completed in 2013, sections of the canal were renatured. With a bit of luck, you might even spot beavers from the hiking trail.
Why is this tour particularly worthwhile in autumn? Because the splendor of colors of the protected mixed deciduous forest Gäsi-Rieterwald offers the perfect “Indian Summer” photo motifs. The only disadvantage: Those who start the tour early in the morning will not be rewarded with warming sun rays on this side of the valley.
Key data of the short hike from Näfel-Mollis to Lake Walen
|starting point||Bahnhof Näfels-Soft (440 m ü. m.)|
|reachability||accessible by public transport|
|Altitude difference||↗ 25 m ↘ 40 m|
|Destination||Weesen, See (420 m ü. M.)|
Allow a good two hours for the 8.5-kilometer hiking route from Näfels-Mollis along the Escherkanal and Linthpromenade to the ship landing stage in Weesen. These can best be compared with the timetable of the Schiffsbetriebe Walensee vote. These are on the road between Weesen and Walenstadt from the beginning of April until the end of the Zurich autumn holidays (second half of October). The section from Weesen via Betlis and Mühlehorn to Quinten is particularly popular. The mighty ones can be reached in a short walk from the Betlis pier Seerenbach cases and the car-free Weindorfchen Quinten is of course always worth a detour.
However, it can be worthwhile to take the trip across Lake Walen “just like that”. Those who, like us, neither disembark in Betlis nor in Quinten, but simply admire the wonderful fjord-like panorama from the ship with a glass of local Quintum Federweisser, will have the outside deck for the remaining section to Walenstadt almost exclusively to themselves
With the ship across the Walensee – practical tips
From April to the end of October (usually up to the penultimate weekend of October) the ships of the Walensee ship operation are on the way on the Weesen to Walenstadt route (see Timetable). Note that depending on the season, operation is limited to certain days of the week (Thursday to Sunday). The tickets are available on the ship. GA and Half-Fare travelcards are not valid. The route from Weesen to Walenstadt costs CHF 18.40 (one way) for adults. Day tickets are available for 29 CHF. There is a bistro on the scheduled ship, where you can buy coffee, regional drinks and snacks to go with them.
The Murg – Au – Quinten – Murg connection is in operation all year round. The detour to the pretty wine village of Quinten (also in combination with a hike along the Walensee) can therefore also be undertaken on a beautiful late autumn day after the end of the season.
Fondue fun on Lake Hallwil
Not only my detour to the Walensee, but also the one to the Hallwilersee starts with a short hike. Of course, you can skip this part without any problems and start straight away with the comfortable part. At most, you will miss the wonderful sunset atmosphere on the shores of Lake Hallwil. A real spectacle of colors awaited us on our excursion. But more on that later.
In autumn, winter and spring the Shipping company Hallwilersee AG from pasta boat to fondue chinoise various culinary themed trips on offer. The tours start and end at the Seerose pier in Meisterschwanden. This can be reached by public transport from the Meisterschwanden Oberdorf bus stop in a 25-minute walk (or, of course, by private car). Or you can take the opportunity for a long walk along the Hallwilersee lakeside path.
And that’s exactly what we did. From the Boniswil train station we follow the signs to the impressive Wasserschloss Hallwyl and from there on to Meisterschwanden. The route Boniswil – Hallwyl Castle – Meisterschwanden Seerose is 7.6 kilometers (about 2 hours walking time). An entertaining, mostly flat path that scores with wonderful views over Lake Hallwil to the Central Swiss Alps.
Key data for the Boniswil – Hallwyl – Meisterschwanden hike
|starting point||Bahnhof Boniswil (480 m ü. M.)|
|reachability||accessible by public transport|
|Altitude difference||↗ 65 m ↘ 95 m|
|Destination||Meisterschwanden, Seerose (450 m ü. M.)|
It is worthwhile to allow enough time and to arrive in Meisterschwanden a little early. Our ship is already ready. While the tables are still busily being prepared inside, we let ourselves be enchanted by the sunset. What a setting!
Then we go on board the modern MS Delphin, where one also has a great view of the slowly darkening landscape through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
We have decided to take part in the raclette fun themed ride, which takes place four times (once a month) on a Saturday evening between November and February. The menu includes a crunchy menu salad to start with.
This is followed by the actual raclette chat with cheese, potatoes, gherkins and pickled onions – all you can eat! And the whole thing is rounded off with a fresh fruit salad. We really enjoyed the evening. Especially because at home we never have melted cheese on the table due to the lack of a raclette rechaud.
The culinary themed trips on Lake Hallwil are also ideal for a trip with friends – whether with or without a walk along the lakeside path is of course up to you.
Practical tips for your boat trip on Lake Hallwil
On the Website of the shipping company Hallwilersee AG you will find an overview of when which themed cruises take place. The raclette evening tour leaves at 6:45 p.m. at the Seerose in Meisterschwanden. You can also get on in Beinwil am See (at 7.15 p.m.). The tour takes around three hours. The menu costs 37 CHF for adults and 18.50 CHF for children (excluding drinks). Note that you have to reserve the seats / table by 11:00 a.m. the day before at the latest.
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Shipping on Lake Walen and Lake Hallwil – great excursions on Swiss lakes