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The southern shore is quiet, characterized by country towns such as Stans, and leg-stretching clifftop hikes above the glittering lake. The excursion south to the once-grand resort of Engelberg, base station for the trip up to the summit of the Titlis, is a journey to match the Bernese Oberland’s more famous rides up the Jungfrau and the Schilthorn. The northern shore of the lake is studded by the lofty presence of the Rigi, with the old town of Zug behind, while its easternmost finger, oriented due north–south, is dubbed the Urnersee, or Lake Uri. One of the country’s most historically resonant areas, its wild and rocky shores were the setting both for the legend of William Tell, and for an ancient pact of mutual defence signed on a lakeside meadow – the Rütli – which laid the foundations for the Swiss Confederation as it survives today.
The Tellpass is the regional pass for Zentralschweiz – but you’ll need to cover plenty of ground to make it pay. The core region covers all boats on the lake, all routes to the Rigi and Pilatus, the train from Luzern to Engelberg, and cable-cars from Engelberg up to Trübsee and the Jochpass. With a seven-day Tellpass (Fr.131), you get two days’ free travel in the core region, with half-price travel on all other lines, including trains to Zug, Einsiedeln, Brienz, Meiringen and Andermatt; a fifteen-day Tellpass (Fr.179) buys five days’ free travel in the core region, with the remaining ten days at half-price. You can buy the pass from tourist offices throughout the region.
The co-ordinating Zentralschweiz Tourist Office is at Postfach, CH-6002 Luzern (041/418 40 84, fax 418 40 81, www.centralswitzerland.ch).
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