The geographical center of Switzerland – Älggi Alp
A fine drizzle starts to fall as we arrive on the plateau of Älggi Alp (1,650 meters elevation). The rain seems to intensify the colors of the pastureland, forests, cliffs and the whitewashed little chapel, surrounded by a handful of wooden huts. Giving the entire landscape a magical hue, it makes me think of some scenes out of the movie Lord of the Rings.
The rain increases as we hike past the Älggi Alp Mountain Restaurant/Inn, managed by Host Brian McCardell. (His brother is Mike McCardell who runs the Restaurant Rütlihaus in the Heart of Switzerland, and so the two brothers manage the two most centrally located restaurants in Switzerland).
We arrive just in time to witness the call of a Swiss Alphorn on the spot where the Geographical Center of Switzerland is marked by a triangular construction. In reality, the actual point is 500 meters to the south-east. Due to the difficult terrain access it has been moved to this scenic location. The magic of the moment wins out – five hundred metres this way or that.
How to calculate the center of Switzerland?
According to the Swiss Tourism description on their website: “On the occasion of its 150th anniversary in 1988, the Federal Office for National Topography, swisstopo, used the Swiss national boundaries that had just been digitised to calculate the centre of gravity of the country. If you stuck a map of Switzerland on a piece of card (board) and cut round the borders, this is the point where it would balance on the tip of a needle. The exact WGS84 coordinates are 46° 48′ 4″ N, 8° 13′ 36″ E”.