Advertising: Contribution in cooperation with the four Lucerne rural regions
Loop after loop, route “399” meanders through the branched valleys of the Nap region, living up to its name. On our second bike tour this year we followed the heart loops Napf and Seetal and cycled in three day stages over the most beautiful hills of the four Lucerne regions from the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch to Lenzburg in the Seetal. Beautiful panoramas, defiant palaces and fortresses, charming courtyard taverns and idyllic villages – the “Lucerne KulTour” has numerous highlights to offer! In this post, I’ll show you which ones you can look forward to in particular.
From Escholzmatt to Lenzburg – Discover the Lucerne rural regions by bike
Around 168 kilometers and 3’700 vertical meters – these are the key data of the “Lucerne KulTour”. Thanks to the e-bike, the panoramic route can be enjoyed despite the route guidance that only varies between “very hilly” and “super hilly”. Or better said: Without the many meters in altitude, the loopy bike tour would be poorer in terms of some beautiful views and rapid descents. We have divided the route into three stages. Starting in Escholzmatt in the middle of the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch, we followed the hills of the Entlebuch for around 30 kilometers to Romoos on the first day of the Napf Heart Loop (route no. 399).
On the second day, the “king’s stage” took us 80 kilometers over the Menzberg to the Willisau region and from there on to Lake Sempach. The remaining 60 kilometers of the third stage largely follow the Seetal heart loop (east branch, route no. 599) and offer a completely different landscape. The following map shows you the route of the «Lucerne KulTour» as well as the sights along the way in detail.
«Lucerne KulTour»: These 9 highlights await you on the way
When routing the heart loops, the focus is on scenic routes. With the “joining” of two particularly promising daily heart loop stages (Heart Loop Napf Entlebuch – Willisau and Heart Loop Seetal Ostast) and an entertaining connection piece on Heart Route 99, we have picked out a real “fillet”. The “Lucerne KulTour” follows the route signaling of the heart loop / heart route loop after loop right into the heart of the Lucerne rural regions. The following nine highlights await you at the edge of the route.
1. Goldrausch at the Grossen Fontanne
After almost 30 kilometers the Route 399 Pedaling along the ridges of the Entlebuch, the charcoal burner village of Romoos appears in front of us. In and around Romoos not only the tradition of charcoal burning is continued to this day, but also diligently gold mined. The former Postbus chauffeur Gsto Unterstährer played a key role in shaping the “gold rush” on the Napf and offers guided half-day gold panning tours. Not only are you guaranteed a sense of achievement (yes, I actually dug a fine, glittering piece of gold myself), but you also learn all sorts of other exciting things about the branching river system at the Napf. And when you trudge through the Grosse Fontanne with rubber boots and a shovel equipped with Gsto, there is also a touch of adventure spirit. “That’s why it’s called the Napfgolderlebnis”, says Gsto with a laugh when I ask him about it.
The regular tours last three hours (including a walk to the river and back), include gold panning equipment, a tour by a local guide and a guarantee of finding pure Napfgold. Cost: 50 CHF for adults, 30 CHF for children (boots can be rented for 4 CHF extra). You can find more information here: Napfgolderlebnis
2. A lovely place to spend the night on the Schwesteregg
If you split up the bike tour like we did, you can either spend the night at the Hotel Kreuz in Romoos or pedal a few more meters uphill to Schwesteregg. In addition to a pub, there are two wooden igloos for two people each and a great view over the hills of the Entlebuch on this farm above Romoos.
3. Crunchy vertical meters on the Menzberg
While the first day of the tour between Escholzmatt and Romoos / Schwesteregg already included one or the other steep incline, today’s stage over the Menzberg to Willisau features really “smooth” ascents on the program. But first of all, we take a ride from the “Holzwäge” viewpoint (a place for excursions above Romoos) down to the valley of the small Fontanne, for the serpentines up to the Menzberg. And even if we have to pedal hard, we enjoy the foresight that opens up to us up here and extends from the Säntis to the snow-capped Bernese Alps.
4. Winding journey to the herb village of Hergiswil
As is well known, the duty is followed by the freestyle, and that’s exactly how the descent into the secluded Änziwigger valley feels after the “conquest”. Like a rodeo ride, the next ascent is not long in coming and we follow a beautiful gravel path over the Grausberg up to the flanks of the Luther valley. The local area is completely “new territory” for me and accordingly the discoveries are all the more appealing. A particularly beautiful stretch of the route leads from Churzhubelegg above Luthern to the idyllic herb village of Hergiswil. A short stop at the Dorf-Chäsi is worthwhile here to buy one or the other local herbal product as food on the way. Alternatively, it is not far from here to the Städtli Willisau, where the original Willisauerringli can be tried in Café Amrein.
5. Cozy spots in the Rottal
After Willisau we follow the signs Route 99 Direction Sempach / Zug. The landscape here contrasts with the Chrächen and Höger des Napfs. Tree-lined, protected ponds and ponds alternate with rapeseed and corn fields. After Buttisholz, the cycle path climbs again and leads past the Fluss chapel on the Ruswilerberg towards Sempach. Beautiful rest areas are definitely not in short supply on this section of the route. Be it at the Ostergau nature reserve, at Soppisee or at one of the chapels between Ruswil and Buttisholz: Given the many beautiful places, you might well get off your bike more than once and take a short break.
If you want to make a guaranteed shady stopover on hot summer afternoons, then I recommend you plan a detour to the area of Public Golf-Rottal. To do this, turn right in Rüediswil (not signposted as a cycle route) and follow the road to the hamlet «Under Rot». In addition to a 9-hole short course (pitch & putt) on which beginners are also welcome, the indoor mini golf course in particular offers a welcome cool-down.
6. Idyll on Lake Sempach
It is worth dividing the second day of the tour so that you can spend your lunch break in Willisau, then take a leisurely curve through the Rottal valley and arrive in Sempach in the early evening. With beautiful riverside paths, an attractively located swimming pool and a house-cleaned historic center, there is still one thing or the other to discover here. If you want to end the eventful day in an atmospheric way, you can follow the bike path through the core and cycle three kilometers further along the Sempachersee to Eich. Here the Seehotel Sonne attracts with a fantastic location directly on the lake. The perfect place for a sundowner. And by the way, eating is also very good here.
7. Pit stop or Vogelwarte Sempach
You will probably fare like me on this bike tour. The second day was simply too full of sights along the way, so we whizzed past the Swiss ornithological station without stopping. Now we are doing this at the start of the third day of the tour. Since this is 60 kilometers less long than the second day, a visit to the visitor center is absolutely possible. The exhibition rooms are designed to be interesting and interactive and convey a lot of interesting information about the world of birds. I recommend planning at least an hour for the visit.
8. On beautiful side routes over the Lindenberg
Afterwards we take the last stage of our bike tour under the wheels. To do this, we first continue to follow the signs for the Herzroute in the direction of Zug until we reach the Herzschlaufe Seetal (Route No. 599) to meet. This leads us via Ballwil on another panoramic route over the ridge of the Lindenberg. A varied route that offers a beautiful interplay between wooded sections and passages along open pastureland with interspersed standard trees.
Make sure you plan a refreshment stop at the Nussbaum Beizli in Oberillau (not far from the Horben viewpoint) on this stage. A lovingly designed “Bäsebeiz” with an extensive range of self-service products. Another nice place awaits you near Schongau; the Kneipp facility including a small barefoot path on the renatured Erusbach.
9. The palaces and fortresses of the Seetal
The last 15 kilometers of the bike tour should make the hearts of fans of defiant castles beat faster. The Seetal heart loop leads past the (private) Hilfikon Castle to the Hallwyl moated castle and ends in the medieval town center of Lenzburg directly below the mighty hilltop castle. If you still have enough battery (or “shit” in your legs) at the end of the 60 kilometers, you can pedal up to Lenzburg Castle by bike and visit it from the inside. This extra loop at the end is worthwhile not only for a look inside, but also for the impressive deep view of the old town of Lenzburg. Unfortunately, luck with the weather left us at this point – but after three wonderful cycling days we don’t want to complain about this wet and happy end.
Practical tips for your bike tour through the four rural regions of Lucerne
- You can find more tips and information on this and other beautiful bike routes in the four Lucerne regions here: www.luzern.com/veloveluzern
- With the hashtag #velovelucerne the regional cycling experiences are collected and shared.
- If you don’t want to take the tour with your own bike / e-bike or if you don’t have your own e-bike, you can easily rent one from Rent a Bike. The Herzrouten bikes (which have a more powerful battery than the standard flyers in the fleet) can be rented along our route at the Rent a Bike stations in Entlebuch, Willisau, Sempach and Lenzburg.
- On the heart route and the heart loops, there are battery charging stations along the way – these are each signposted. Anyone who travels with the newer e-bikes and does not always ride in “high” mode shouldn’t have any major battery problems.
- We transported our luggage with our own saddlebags. The luggage transport organized by Eurotrek offers even more convenience.
- Velo-Challenge Lucerne Country: Collect your adventure points by the wayside and take part in the Velo-Challenge Luzern Land in July and August 2021.