The five cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Nidwalden, Obwalden and Lucerne surrounding the Vierwaldstattersee are the original birthplace of the Swiss Confederation and the origin of the legend of William Tell. The region offers a lot to the traveler: outdoor recreation, great scenery, historic old cities, and steamboat rides on the lake, just to name a few examples.
|Uri (1 Andermatt)
This mountainous canton lies along the important Gotthard route, which leads from Altdorf up to Andermatt and from there up to the pass. This was an important historical trade route and is still one of the busiest Alp crossings today, with on top of the pass road also offering a road tunnel (up to 2000 the longest road tunnel in the world) as well as two rail tunnels (the newer base tunnel is currently the longest rail tunnel worldwide at a length of 57 km (35 mi).
|Schwyz (2 Schwyz, 3 Brunnen, 4 Küssnacht, 5 Pfäffikon)
This canton with the capital of the same name, is where Switzerland (Schweiz in German) got its name from. It reaches from the shores of Lake Lucerne in the south up to Lake Zurich in the north.
|Nidwalden (6 Stans)
|Obwalden (7 Sarnen, 8 Alpnach, 9 Engelberg)
This is were mount Titlis, a popular mountain destination, is located.
|Lucerne (10 Lucerne, 11 Weggis)
Lucerne is probably the most visited and well known tourist destination in Switzerland. The city is an attraction on its own, but there are also other very popular places in this region, such as the Pilatus and Rigi mountains.
Central Switzerland is regarded as the birthplace of Switzerland. The federal charter dated 1291 documents a first alliance between the people of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden (now split up into Ob- and Nidwalden). This document is still preserved and can be seen (together with many others) in the Museum of the Swiss Charters of Confederation in Schwyz. This region is also were the events around the life of the legendary Willhelm Tell supposedly occurred. Later, in the 14th century, Lucerne joined the alliance, making up what is called the Vier Waldstätten (roughly translated as four forest cantons).
Central Switzerland is predominantly catholic, and accordingly are most of the public holidays. These are the public holidays in addition to those observed in the whole of Switzerland:
- St. Berchtold (2 January, observed in Lucerne)
- Epiphany (6 January, observed in Schwyz and Uri)
- St Joseph's Day (19 March, observed in Nidwalden, Schwyz and Uri)
- Corpus Christi (60 days after Easter)
- Assumption (15 August)
- Brother Klaus festival (25 September, observed in Obwalden)
- All Saints Day (1 November)
- Immaculate Conception (8 December)
In the canton of Uri, 26 December is not a holiday if Christmas falls on a Monday.
- 1 Mount Titlis. Mount Titlis is the only snow resort to be reached within one and a half hours from Lucerne, Zurich, Basel and Berne. The Titlis Cableways lead to the summit (3'020 m / 10'000 ft) where there are restaurants available, although they can be slightly costly and crowded sometimes.