Glarus is a city and a canton in Eastern Switzerland.
Glarus is one of the smallest cantons when it comes to population (around 40000). Being located in a mountainous area, it's also one of the cantons with the lowest population density.
Glarus is also one of only two cantons in Switzerland, where an old form of direct democracy is still lived through the Landsgemeinde. Every year the citizens of the canton assemble on a square in the capital of Glarus and vote and discuss on state business. While this sounds like a rather archaic and slow form of government, it has lead to some rather surprising results in the last decades, such as the introduction of voting age 16 as the first canton in Switzerland.
By public transport
The most important train hub in the canton is Ziegelbrücke and all trains travelling to Glarus will stop there. Trains from Zurich will also stop here on their way to Graubünden. If you are travelling to the town of Glarus, there are two hourly connections:
- S25 from Zurich (1 hour) and Pfäffikon (35 min). The train travels along the main valley to Linthal
- S6 from Rapperswil (45 min). The train also continues on, but only to Schwanden.
Another, more unusual, route is to take the bus over the Klausen pass. The bus runs from Flüelen and Altdorf over the pass to Linthal in slightly more than two hours, however there are only a handful of connections a day during the summer months.
The A3 highway runs through the canton on the northern edge and will be the most likely point of access for most people. It comes from Zurich in the west and continues on to Graubünden in the east. The most convenient exit for most of the canton is Niederurnen.
On top of the rail line and the bus over the Klausen pass mentioned above, there are a number of bus lines around the canton. To access Elm, the bus leaves from the railway station in Schwanden roughly every hour. The funicular to Braunwald is accessible via the Linthal station.
See and do
City of Glarus
- 1 Kunsthaus Glarus, Im Volksgarten, Glarus, ☏ . Tu-F 14:00-18:00, Sa-Su 11:00-17:00. An art museum specialising in Swiss and international contemporary art. Fr. 8/5.
- 1 Landsgemeinde, Zaunplatz, Glarus. First Sunday in May. The Landsgmeinde is direct democracy in one of its most simple states. As a visitor, you will of course not be able to participate, but there are stands for visitors to watch.
There are two major ski areas in the canton of Glarus. As both are at a rather low altitude, they will open quite late in years with little snowfall.
- 2 Braunwald ski area (30 km, 8 lifts) (Braunwald, where the ski station lies, is accessed via a funicular from Linthal.), ☏ . Day pass Fr. 48/24.
- 3 Elm ski area (40 km, 6 lifts) (To get to Elm, take a train to Schwanden and the bus from there.), ☏ . Day pass Fr. 48/24.
There are some smaller lifts in other villages, so if you are a beginner or don't need too many runs, you could consider going to one of those instead.
Tectonic Arena Sardona
The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona is a UNESCO natural world heritage site. It is a wide ranging area covering not only parts of the canton of Glarus, but also ranges into the neighbouring cantons of Sankt Gallen and Graubünden. It lauded as a very clear and visible example of mountain building through tectonic trust, as different layers of rock originating from different geological epochs are visible.
Discovering the site is best done by hiking, however there are two visitor centres with some information:
- 2 Naturzentrum Glarus, Bahnhofsgebäude, Glarus (inside the railway station building in Glarus), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com/. Tu-F 14:00-17:30, Sa 10:12.
- Besucherzentrum Elm, Altes Schulhaus, Elm (opposite the church). Daily 10:00-20:00.
The Glarner Tüechli are kerchiefs with often intricate patterns traditionally produced in Glarus. They make a good souvenir from Glarus, as they are very versatile. Nowadays the traditional patterns also come printed on other souvenir articles.
- 1 [dead link] Bergli, Bergli 50, Glarus, ☏ . W-Sa 10:00-23:00, Su 10:00-21:30. Located a bit outside of the city of Glarus, with a view on the town centre. Mains Fr. 25-40, daily set menu Fr. 17.50.
- 1 Hotel Glarnerhof, Bahnhofstrasse 2, Glarus, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe a bit old, but very conveniently located right next to the railway station. Also has a good restaurant attached. Fr. 145 for single room.
- During the summer months, take the bus over the Klausen pass towards Altdorf, an ideal starting point to discover Central Switzerland.
- Take a train from Ziegelbrücke eastwards towards Chur and the mountain canton of Graubünden.