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Engelberg, Switzerland

Mt. Titlis - Glacier Friday, September 23, 2005
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Friday Morning in Engelberg

After a busy previous day, and getting in late to the Waldegg, we were looking forward to a more relaxing day visiting Mount Titlis. The Waldegg is one of the better options in Engelberg, and has a very good breakfast buffet that has a compliment of scrambled eggs, cheeses and the regular staples of cheese and bakery goods.

Plan for the Day

Village of Engelberg

The village of Engelberg is nestled between some of the beautiful lower alps in a valley. The village was literally cut off from civilization during the August 2005 floods, since the only road and rail into and out of town was destroyed. While they did not have their rail back in order, the road had been fixed and we got in without any problem. I didn't see Engelberg mentioned in any of the guidebooks - but it's a wonderful little village surrounded by lots of summer and winter alpine activities. This is a must-see if you're looking for a more relaxed locating with all the amenities. After our breakfast, we packed our daypacks and hiked down from the Waldegg to the lift station.

(click to enlarge)
Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Cable Car Start

Aerial Cablecar

Lift Station

To get up to the peak of Titlis, you have to take a multisegment cablecar ride up.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Cable Car Down - View of Cows


First Segment

I presented our Mt. Titlis tickets purchased in advance from RailEurope and got passes for all the lifts up.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Chair Lift - Mid

First and Second Segments Up

Aerial Cablecar

The first lift is only to about 800 meters and a short ride. The second cablecar ride is very long - across a long green meadow where you'll see cows grazing below as you hear the clanking of their bells.

(click to enlarge)
Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Mid Station

Second segment of the cablecar ride over a meadow - plateau.

Looking down on the steep angle that the cablecar ascends.

Third segment up. Note the beautiful high alpine lake which is actually two plateau's above Engelberg.

Gletscherstation - 2,450 meters.

Final Ascent On the Rotair

Looking Up to Titlis

The final ascent to Titlis is via the Rotair - a cablecar that has a floor that rotates 360 degrees. It's pretty cool, but the novelty wears off after just one ride. The car holds about 15 people and the operator sits in the middle which does not rotate. The lift is pretty dramatic from rock and tundra to glacial flows.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Rotair Departing Top

Once at the top, there is a complex of bars, restaurants and viewing areas. We started our adventure with a tour of the inside of the glacier, some 145 feet below the snow and ice. This is right at the top of Titlis.

Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Titlis - Glacier Tunnel

There are tunnels carved through the ice with a light and sound show as you walk through. There are also viewing windows in the tunnels.

Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Titlis Mood Room - In Glacier

On the top of the complex there is a wonderful viewing platform with a snack stand, bar, picnic tables, sunbathing chairs and access to the summit of Mt. Titlis.

Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Titlis - Top Pan

The view to the north is Engelberg, far below in the valley. On the opposite side is a view of the glacier and mountain ranges.

Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Titlis - Rotair Cablecar Midway

View of the Swiss alpine mountain ranges. A distant view to the west is the Berner Oberland and Jungfraujoch.

The Titlis Rotair cablecar.

View of the top observation deck.

Above the observation deck is the peak.

Mount Titlis

Titlis Rotair Cablecar

The day we went up it was clear with some clouds randomly forming. The view was spectacular. The wind was low and the temperature was around 0 degrees C, or 32 degrees F. In the Sun however, it was comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt with a vest.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Titlis - Top Pan


Wind Turbine Generator

The beautiful roaming glaciers wind throughout the alpine ranges and eventually supply enough water to produce 60 percent of Switzerland's power and up to 45 percent of the water which makes up the Rhine River.

(click to enlarge)
Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Titlis - Back View


Rotair close-up.

Mt. Titlis at 10,000 feet in altitude.

Beautiful photo of cablecar with Swiss flag.

After a walk in the glacier snow and a snack, we took the cablecar down to the mid-stop where we got off to walk around.

This is a very popular ski area, and lifts were everywhere. This was the second plateau far above Engelberg.

Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Chair Lift - Mid Travel to Titlis

After a short hike from the lift station, you can get a good view of the plateau with the mirror-like lake.

Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Alpine Lake Mirror

On the other side of the lake is a self-serve restaurant and another lift up a short slope. We used our guest card for a discount and took a brief roundtrip chair-lift up and down since they were closing soon.

Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Alpine Lake

The chair-lift provides a great vista in the summer season. For about 10 CHF per person you can go up and down this lift, which holds up 2-3 people.

We saw a mountain biker ride down the gravel access road, then take the lift back up. This is a photo of the lateral chair lift across the mirror lake.

Another view of the beautiful alpine lake. There are a number of hiking trails in this area for various levels of alpine walking.

Keep in mind that the lifts stop around 4:45 p.m. for the shorter lifts, and about 5:45 p.m. for the main lifts.

Lifts down

Going Down to Engelberg

On the last segment down, you can rent a trotti bike (scooter) if you'd like to coast down the paved access road. We didn't rent them, but wish we had. Cost about 8 CHF for the last segment down.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 09 - Swiss Army on Trotti Bikes

Wellness Area - Spa

After getting down from the cablecar, we took a 30 minute hike back to the Waldegg. Donning robes and slippers, we headed off to the lower level wellness area. The Waldegg was also a spa - so we were eager to try out the facilities and compare them to the Riffelalp.


Basically, the wellness area is a pool (with commanding floor to ceiling windows for a fantastic view of the mountains), spa, sauna, steam room, footbath, shower and massage area. There is also a small juice bar. This is a great alternative to the Riffelalp - and for a lot less money (albeit without the posh service, perks and view). However, the price is about 1/3 to 1/2 of the Riffelalp.

Dining in Engelberg

We opted to dine out down in the village, at the Alpine Club. This is a traditional Swiss-German style restaurant/bar with fantastic food. We had the fondue chinoise (hot oil fondue). Taxi is around $10 CHF to the Waldegg (which is on a steep slope - so walking is a chore at night). After dinner, we enjoyed some hot chocolate by the crackling fire. Oddly enough - the fireplace had not been used all season and when I mentioned how nice it would be to have a fire to take the chill off the evening, the desk person was nice enough to have it going when we returned from dinner. Now that's service. Overall, Engelberg is a lovely village that is completely overlooked by tourists who want the grand specter of the Matterhorn and other touristy places. It's not even mentioned in the Rick Steve's guidebook. The Waldegg was the second nicest hotel we stayed at, next to the Riffelalp.

Guestcard which entitles you to discounts on lifts and other activities.

Map in .pdf format.

Color map of Engelberg and surrounding alps.

Mt. Titlis lift info in .pdf format.

Rotair lift ticket.

Rotair lift ticket.

Trotti bike info and map.

Trotti bike info and map.

Additional Photographs: Mt. Titlis - Glacier

(click on photos to enlarge)
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