One grim, foggy and rainy day in November I decided to visit Schwyz city which is actually the capital of canton Schwyz (yes, same name of canton and city, and that’s not an exception:) ).
This historical little Swiss town has a lot to offer for casual tourists who are crossing through Switzerland or for people who are looking for a weekend destination. Schwyz has cozy restaurants, hotels, exceptional Swiss architecture, very nice little old town, museums and, of course, hiking opportunities.
Let’s have a look at Schwyz and what can you do there.
How to get to Schwyz
Ok, so first things first. It is very easy to go to Schwyz by train or by car. Schwyz has a train station, so you can get there from Zürich, Basel or where ever you want. Please check all the latest prices and time schedules right here: Swiss trains. From Zürich to Schwyz you will need a bit more than an hour by train.
If you go by a car, you can easily park you car in the city center next to Rathaus (town hall). You will have to pay cash, so have some coins with you. One hour will cost you 1 CHF. Sundays are free. But it is time limited to 60 minutes, so for longer parking options you can go to these two places as well: Parkhaus Hofmatt AG Schwyz (address: Reichsstrasse 12, 6430 Schwyz) and Parkhaus MythenForum (address: Strehlgasse 13, 6430 Schwyz). These options are as well very close to the city center.
Top 5 things to do in Schwyz
I would like to split my suggestions into 5 parts:
- Schwyz old town tour. 20-40 minutes.
- Schwyz Ital Reding estate. Up to 1 hour if you go into the museum.
- Schwyz national museum. 1-2 hours.
- Hiking to Mythen Grosser. 2-5 hours depending on where you start your hike and how much time you will spend enjoying the views.
- Biking near Scwhyz. 2-4 hours depending on how hyped you are to explore the mountains.
First of all, if I were you, I would do an old town tour. It is always good to know where you are. It is not very big, maybe 15-20 minutes to walk around (if you rush), but it is very beautiful, many old buildings, old architecture, beautiful little yards and streets. You can start right in the city center and I would suggest to walk around (no specific order) and explore it – the little capital of little canton.
Schwyz has population just over 14 000 people, so it is very calm, I met just few people in the streets. I have wondered around I made pictures of the city, so you will get the feel how it looks and what to expect from it.
The old town is cozy and very well maintained. I love the Swiss cleanliness.
Schwyz is very close to the mountains, but they are not very big. In Switzerland that would be called small hills.
As you can see in the pictures, the old architecture is very well kept and beautiful.
Some very old wooden architecture, I love such buildings the most. I guess this building is at least 200 years old.
If you want to touch the history: this tea room in Schwyz is 130 years old. Perfect place to have some local pastry. You can find all information about this place right here: Scwhyz tea room.
The late baroque St. Martin church is probably the biggest and most treasured building in Schwyz. It is right next to the Town hall, right in the heart of Schwyz. The first base of this church was built back in the 9th century, but rebuilt as it looks back in 1774. These old stairs to the city square was built 1889, so the final looks of this beautiful church was finished in the end of 19th century.
I think this tree, in the end of November or maybe all autumn is the dominant spectacle in Schwyz. It captures all beauty of fall in its leaves. It caught my eyes right away. It is in the backyard of Town hall. If you are in Schwyz in autumn, you must visit this tree.
Schwyz St. Martin Parish Church from the other angle. If not those cars, I think you would have seen the same view back in the end of 19th century, just of course then we had hundreds of horses by the church 🙂
I did not resist to make one more picture of this beautiful tree.
Ok, so the second thing I would recommend you to do is to visit the Schwyz museum. Very close to the city square (maybe 2-4 minutes walk) is Ital Reding Estate museum. It is one of the most important buildings groups in all Schwyz canton.
There is this huge mansion house, former farm building and Bethlehem house. As well, there is an old and very well kept baroque garden. You can enter the museum as well for 5 CHF for a person.
This huge manor is the dominant building in this estate.
There’s a small garden right next to the manor.
Here you can enter to a small museum. You can find all the information about this place right here: Schwyz museum.
Next place to visit would be National Schwyz museum. It is not that far from the estate: Zeughausstrasse 56430 Schwyz. That is 6 minutes walk.
It is a relatively new museum established in 1995 and there you will find exhibitions from middle age, to the history of Central Switzerland and Schwyz itself. Ticket will cost you 10 CHF and you can find all information about it right here: Schwyz national museum.
And the last thing I would like to suggest is of course Hiking. What can be better than hiking in Switzerland?
So in Schwyz there are two popular destinations to hike: Kleiner Mythen and Grosser Mythen (big one and small one) – these are very beautiful rocky peaks right next to Schwyz.
Out of those two, I would recommend Grosser Mythen for a simple reason: there is a restaurant on top of it, so after a long hike you can relax and enjoy the view (if it is not foggy as it was for me, it was impossible to see anything).
There are couple of options how to hike to Grosser Mythen: you can start right in Schwyz, so then hike will be around 7 kilometers: 2-3 hours depending on your speed OR you can start right in Holzegg (cable car station and you can get there by car) and the hike will be just under 2 kilometers.
Let us have a look to the hike from Holzegg to Grosser Mythen.
As you can see, the hike is pretty short, but if you do it both ways, it is going to be around 2 hours, so still very good exercising opportunity.
From the starting point the hike goes straight up: it is mostly rocky and you will gain almost 500 meters in elevation.
What would you need for such a hike? It is not long, but pretty steep and rocky: so take very good robust hiking shoes, at least 1 liter of water for each, extra clothes (goretex jacket) and hiking poles (if you like hiking with them). Keep it light. Hike is short, but steep, no need to take a backpack full of unnecessary things.
The views from the top are very beautiful: you see Schwyz and the whole Lauerzersee and Vierwaldstättersee (two big lakes).
As well, as I have stated before, you can check out the restaurant there and have your lunch. The restaurant sits at 1898 meters elevation. You can find what they offer right here: Mythen Grosser Restaurant. They accept just cash, so have some money with you 🙂
After the hike you just walk down to your car and can go back to the city.
I must mention that there’s much more hiking opportunities if you feel hungry for more, check it out all here: Schwyz hiking.
The last thing I would like to offer you is biking near the city. I want to say that I haven’t done that myself, but I checked out the pictures and they look stunning: biking in such place is an amazing experience.
You can rent a bike, go up with a cable car and just bike up there in the mountains. It is pretty stunning. I must recommend this as pictures simply captured my curiosity. Check for all the information right here: Schwyz biking.
Schwyz is a lovely Swiss town which has a lot to offer especially for history and nature lovers. It is not a place to party or go clubbing, it is a place to relax, explore and take it slowly.
I would recommend spending there the whole day if you would include hiking or biking experiences.
My perfect Schwyz day would be:
I would spend 20-40 minutes strolling around old town, having a look at old buildings, visiting the church, getting some local pastry from the old bakeries.
Then I would visit at least one museum, just to know the local culture, history, some interesting ideas. Keep in mind that the city is very old, so I guess some old good stories for sure happened there. But don’t listen to me, I am a history nerd 🙂 I love old good stories.
And after that: of course, my biggest passion – hiking. As it is close to pretty big mountains, I would just head to them. Grosser Mythen is a perfect hiking place with great views and a nice restaurant on the top. Can a person ask for more?
And so here it is, all day in Schwyz for you is planned. You can always tweak it as you wish: maybe have a dinner in the city, maybe skip the museums, maybe skip the old town, maybe do just hiking: it is all up to you.
One note: always check if museums are open on the days you plan to come. Hiking routes are open all year round, but probably hiking is the best in summer, in winter hiking paths to Grosser Mythen will be full of snow (if you are not experienced is now, better not do it as it is a steep place and snowshoes are needed).
I hope you enjoyed my article about this Swiss town and if you need anything else, please let me know, I would be happy to help you!
Are you looking for another Swiss Alps destination, why not to try Adelboden then? It is a cozy little town right in the Swiss Alps. Check it out!
Do not forget to follow me: