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Switzerland, an adventure for all ages. Rising out from the Uri Alps, between the cantons of Obwalden and Bern, Titlis tops out at 3,238 metres above sea level, and is a mountain easily accessed from the alpine town of Engelberg. Titlis is a commanding presence in these parts, a peak that promises plenty of outdoor activity throughout the year, but one that is especially attractive in the summer for its host of sporty options. While known by many as the site of the world’s first rotating cable car — the Titlis Rotair debuted in 1992 — Titlis also receives plaudits for a trio of fantastic summertime adventures.
Zipline Trübsee Flyer at Mt. Titlis
The Trübsee Flyer at Titlis is a zipline that riders will find thrilling not only for the unbridled excitement of the ride, but also the view that greets them on the speedy journey. Here, after buckling up into the safety harness and counting down to the start, guests will take to the air to survey a uniquely Swiss panorama of jagged mountain peaks, rolling green hills, rows of towering pine trees, clear blue skies punctuated by languid clouds, and to the right, the broad expanse of lake Trübsee.
The zipline chairs, of which there are two that can travel the line at the same time (letting visitors share the fun), are secured to a steel cable, and the ride unspools over 500 metres, starting from just above the Trübsee Alpine Lodge to end 40 metres lower, next to the adventure playground by lake Trübsee.
This is a summer ride that promises a rollercoaster of emotions, from the anticipation of the adventure as you approach the platform and are strapped into the harnesses by the diligent staff, to the feelings of elation and freedom when rushing through the air, to the sense of limitless joy as you take in the singularity of the moment, the scenery, the opportunity to do something extraordinary in this region of immense natural beauty.
Life on the Lake at Mt. Titlis
At the foot of Titlis mountain, and set above the village of Engelberg, whose centre is a monastery that dates to the 12th century, Trübsee is a picture-perfect alpine lake with calm waters, encircled by mountains, a vista that words fail to do justice. This is where, at 1,800 metres above sea level, to find the Trübsee Alpine Lodge and where several picturesque hiking routes start. It’s also the site for rowboat excursions. There are six rowing boats for hire on Trübsee, and each of them has space for four people, making them perfect for a family or small group of friends.
The water is always calm (but life jackets are provided as standard), so this activity is suitable for casual adventurers, family groups, and even enthusiastic rowers that want to get their hearts pumping with some cardio exercise. The boats are free to use, though the local authority suggests donations of Swiss francs 10 (about S$14) per hour to be placed in the donation box on the jetty — these funds help toward the maintenance of the jetty.
Rowing on the lake is a supremely peaceful endeavour, quiet, refreshingly low-tech, simple, almost elemental in its enjoyment, and linked to nature with a sense of intimacy: The ability to stop, admire the landscape, take pictures, and bask in the serenity makes it an unforgettable adventure for all generations.
Experience the thrill of climbing Via Ferrata routes in Engelberg
Translating from the Italian for iron way or way of iron, a via ferrata is a climbing route that often includes iron steps bored into rock face. Travelling along one is a guarantee for excitement, a way to commune with the mountain while traversing it safely.
While via ferratas appear throughout the world, Engelberg, an insider gem for vertical sporting adventure where the altitude ranges from 1,000 metres at the valley floor to more than 3,000 metres at the top echelons, boasts a whopping six via ferratas. (It also has eight climbing gardens, many boulder spots and an array of alpine climbing routes). The six via ferrata routes range in difficulty, allowing everyone from beginners to experts to test them out.
The route over the Brunnistöckli (2,030 metres above sea level) is designed as a trial via ferrata, suitable for children with mountain experience accompanied by adults. Running 1.6 kilometres in length, and taking a little over an hour to complete, it has a short approach, and ascends almost 200 metres in altitude. Two suspension bridges guarantee a nice experience for the whole family.
Linked to this route, the Zittergrat is an easy introduction to the more difficult via ferrata routes. It is considered a supplement to Brunnistöckli but was specially set up as a short and difficult practice via ferrata, south-facing, strenuous, but excellently secured.
More challenging, the 5.2 kilometre, three-hour via ferrata to the Graustock (2,661 metres) allows a direct ascent of the mountain over an exposed ridge with breathtaking expansive views of its north face and the Engelberg valley. From the summit, the panorama takes in the peaks Titlis, Spannort, Rigi, Mittelland and Pilatus and the Bernese peaks Wetterhörner, Schreckhorn and Finsteraarhorn.
The most challenging route is the Fürenwand, a steep and high wall that used to be an extremely demanding technical climb, suited only to the accomplished climbers. With the introduction of the via ferrata, the route has become more accessible, and the entire trip of 6.8 kilometres takes 4.5 hours to complete. This trip is hard work for sure but, as with everything on and around Titlis, it’s unquestionably worth the effort.
Titlis Cliff Walk, a daring expedition for thrill-seekers
Looking for an adrenaline rush? Titlis Cliff Walk, an extraordinary feat of engineering, is the perfect destination for thrill-seekers. With a suspension bridge that is the highest in Europe, this 100metre catwalk is not for the faint-hearted. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s an unforgettable experience.
Soar 3,041 metres above sea level and walk 500 metres off the ground on this steel pathway. With stunning views of the Swiss Alps, it’s an exhilarating experience not to be missed. But be warned – it takes nerves of steel to cross the 1 metre wide, 100 metres long Titlis Cliff Walk! There is no feeling quite like that of taking the 150 heart-pounding steps of the Titlis Cliff Walk. For those who can conquer their fear and step out onto the narrow bridge, the view is truly breathtaking.
From the viewing platform, 44 peaks are clearly visible, ranging in altitude from 2900m to 4545m. The Uri Alps surround the glacier below, and the picturesque views are simply breathtaking. On a clear day, it is said that you can see all the way to Italy.
The 30-minute ascent from Engelberg to Titlis Cliff Walk covering two cablecar rides is just as exciting as the destination. The first cablecar starts from Engelberg at the base of the mountain, crossing a pine forest and continues along a huge rocky cliff face to the midway station Trübsee at an altitude of 1800m. From the midway station the ride continues up to 2428m high station Stand. From there the final ascent to Mt. Titlis is aboard Titlis Rotair, the world’s first rotating cable car that gives 360° views across the central Swiss Alps. Whether you’re an experienced thrill-seeker or someone who prefers to keep their feet on solid ground, the Titlis Cliff Walk is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Titlis Glacier Park, snow fun in the summer
In Switzerland, snow fun is not just for wintertime – at Titlis Glacier Park, you can enjoy flaky, fresh snow all year round. Located at more than 3,000m above sea level, the park offers a unique snow experience in the heart of the Alps. With its stunning views and wide range of snow-based activities, Titlis Glacier Park is the perfect place to enjoy a summer snow day.
What’s more fun than sliding down a snowy mountainside on your own two feet? With snow tubing, of course! You can enjoy this summertime favourite at any time with nothing but sunshine to keep you company. The sleek design and liberating feel of the track make it an excellent activity for all ages. And with no need for previous experience, it’s the perfect way to get your snow fix without any hassle.
Whether you’re a novice or pro, there are plenty of ways to have fun at the mountaintop. The Glacier Park’s summer activities include snow play equipment like Sit-Skis, Snake Gliss or Minibobs that will transport riders quickly down the novel track while the ‘magic carpet’ conveyor belt effortlessly takes you back to the top.
Summertime in the Swiss Alps is all about outdoor adventure and enjoying the natural beauty of this pristine part of the world. At Mt Titlis, you can enjoy a range of activities, from ziplining to snow tubing, with plenty of majestic mountains and sparkling lakes in between. So soak up the fresh air and stunning scenery while getting your heart rate up this summer – just be sure to leave time for a leisurely stroll through charming Engelberg as well. ◼
© This article was first published online in July 2022 – World Travel Magazine.