Geographical center of Switzerland – Älggi Alp

August 6, 2017 — No comments

We deliberate whether to take the 45 minute trek by car from Sachseln village to Älggi Alp, the Geographical Centre of Switzerland in the beautiful Canton of Obwalden.

While the sun is shining in the valley, it looks as though a storm is brewing further east. We decide ‘it is now or never’ and start on the narrow, windy mountain road through fields, woods and past waterfalls. As the path leads higher, I feel myself moving closer to Eva in the driver’s seat and away from the steeply falling terrain on the car’s (and my) right!

The geographical center of Switzerland – Älggi Alp

Geographical Center of SwitzerlandA 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).

Geographical Center of Switzerland - ÄlggialpWe 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”.  


Geographical Center of Switzerland - ÄlggialpAs is frequently the case in Switzerland, this 45 minute drive to the Geographical Center of Switzerland takes us to a completely different landscape. The drive and the destination are well worth the journey as are the Swiss Bratwurst with french fries, the Swiss Cheli, and the Swiss card game of Jass that I’m playing with my friends over dessert at Brian’s Restaurant, waiting for the thunderstorm to pass as it finally unloads over Älggi Alp.

Be sure to say hi to Brian from me when you visit and leave a comment below. 

About Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust


Switzerland travel enthusiast. Cat lover, bicyclist and classical music fan. I prefer walking over running and enjoy a good Swiss card game of Jass with friends.  More about Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust »

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Photos: Silvia Schoch

Geographical Center of Switzerland
Geographical Center of Switzerland - Älggialp
Geographical Center of Switzerland - Älggialp
Geographical Center of Switzerland - Älggialp
Geographical Center of Switzerland - Älggialp
Geographical Center of Switzerland - Älggialp
Geographical Center of Switzerland - Älggialp


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