The Walensee (15km/9mi long, up to 2km/1mi wide and up to 151 m/495ft deep) lies at an altitude of 423 m/1,388ft between the Glarus Alps to the south and the Churfirsten, which tower up on the north to a height of almost 1,000 m/3,281ft above the light green waters of the lake (Hinterrugg 2,309 m/7,576ft).
At the west end of the Walensee is Weesen (431 m/1,414ft), a charming little town (population 1,500) and holiday resort. From the shady lakeside promenade there are very beautiful views. 1km/0.5mi east, beyond the wooded detrital fan of the Flibach, is the hamlet of Fli or Fly. A little road which branches off the road to Amden at Fli (alternate one-way traffic) runs along the north side of the lake. The road is cut from the rock for most of the way, with two tunnels. After passing the Muslen falls and the ruins of Strahlegg castle it comes to the little village of Betlis, 5km/3mi east of Weesen (520 m/1,707ft; boat service from Weesen), from which a footpath (15minutes) leads up to the Seerenbach falls.
Amden and Speer
A road, northeast from Weesen via Fli (6km/4mi: views), winds steeply up from the Walensee with two hairpin turns to the summer and winter sports resort (several ski-lifts) of Amden (911 m/2,989ft), lying high above the lake on sunny Alpine meadows between the Mattstock (1,939 m/6,362ft: chairlift, 1,400 m/4,593ft in 15 minutes to the Alp Walau, 1,285 m/4,216ft) and the Leistkamm (2,105 m/6,907ft: five hours).There is a rewarding climb from Amden to the summit of the Speer (1,951 m/6,401ft: three hours). The N3 highway follows the south side of the lake from the Glarus exit to Walenstadt, with viaducts (electrically heated in winter to prevent icing) and numerous tunnels and galleries.
There is a scenic Walensee route via Näfels and the old road over the Kerenzerberg. 3.3km/2mi south of Niederurnen is Näfels (440 m/144ft), a busy little market town of 4,000 inhabitants (mainly Roman Catholic) at the mouth of the Linth valley. The richly appointed Freulerpalast contains the Glarus Cantonal Museum.A steep road runs 6km/4mi west from Näfels to a charming little lake, the Obersee (989 m/3,245ft).
In Näfels, take a road which branches off the Glarus road on the left and crosses the Linth. The first place on the road to the Kerenzerberg is Mollis (448 m/1,470ft), below the mighty Fronalpstock. It has a number of fine old burghers' houses, including the Zwickyhaus (1621), in the Kreuzgasse, which has a fine gable-roof and, on the Kerenzerberg road, the former mansion of Haltli (1772-1784) which was designed by Konrad Schindler; it is now a special school. Hans Hof and the neighboring Höfli, which were built in the second half of the 18th C., now form part of an old people's home. In the garden is an orangery, framed by beautiful beds of roses. The Fabrikhof on the Netstal road, built about 1760, has three fine curved gables.Beyond Mollis, road 3, of excellent quality, climbs with many bends and sharp turns but with a moderate gradient. To the rear there are beautiful views of Näfels and over the Linth plain, bounded by the Hirzli, as far as Lake Zurich; to the left are the Weggis chain, the Glämisch and the Tödi. In 2km/1mi the Talblick inn is passed on the right, after which the road turns through the forest, with the first glimpses of the Walensee.
5.5km/3mi from Mollis, on the left, is the Cafe Kerenser Berghaus (730 m/2,395ft), on the Kerenzerberg (1,375 m/4,511ft), with a beautiful view of the Walensee and the Churfirsten; to the left, below the Mattstock, is Amden and, at the west end of the lake, the village of Weesen. Here, the road reaches its highest point and begins to descend.
Filzbach (720 m/2,362ft) is a village and health resort, magnificently located on a terrace of meadowland 270 m/886ft above the Walensee, below the pyramidal summit of the Mürtschenstock (2,442 m/8,012ft). 1.25 hours' walk south is the little Talalpsee (1,100 m/3,609ft). A chairlift (1,650 m/5,414ft; 14 minutes) ascends from Filzbach to the Habergschwänd Alp (1,280 m/4,200ft; restaurant). From Filzbach, the road continues gently uphill and circles the Sallerntobel gorge, with beautiful views at the Cafe Seeblick (1.5km/1mi) just before reaching Obstalden.
Obstalden (700 m/2,297ft), in a beautiful setting similar to that of Filzbach, has an old church. The road on the right leads into the Hüttenberge (5km/ 3mi) and then winds its way down (views) into the Merenbach valley and passes through a short tunnel to join the road along the Walensee at Mühlehorn.
Along the Walensee shore, Muhlehorn, Switzerland
5km/3mi beyond the Glarus exit the N3 highway comes to a parking place and just beyond this, on the left, is the Walensee restaurant. 1km/0.5mi further on is an exit (cars only) to the village of Mühlehorn (426 m/1,398ft), at the inflow of the Merenbach into the Walensee. The road continues along above the lake, traversing two tunnels, and past the Mühlehorn/Kerenzerberg junction where the road from the Kerenzerberg comes in. The highway now begins to climb a little. In another 1.5km/1mi it comes to the village of Murg.
Murg (430 m/1,411ft) is situated below the road (exit only on left) on the alluvial cone of the river Murg, which forms a promontory projecting into the lake. There is a pleasant walk (four-five hours) up the quiet Alpine valley of the Murg to the three beautiful Murg Lakes (1,673-1,825 m/5,489-5,988ft).
On the north side of the Walensee opposite Murg (motorboat service), beneath the Leistkamm (2,105 m/6,907ft) at the west end of the Churfirsten massif, is the very attractive little village of Quinten (Au inn), with beautiful southern vegetation. Like Terzen and Quarten, the village takes its name from the Latin numbering of ecclesiastical properties in the Middle Ages.The road continues past parking places on either side and then descends towards the shore of the lake. In another 1km/0.5mi, on the left is the Rössli hotel and restaurant, and 1.5/1mi beyond this, on the right, the Mühle hotel.
Unterterzen (429 m/1,408ft) is a little industrial town (cement works, match factory, etc.) of 8,000 inhabitants. A road goes off on the right and runs up 3km/2mi via Quarten (574 m/1,883ft) (convalescent home) to Oberterzen.
Oberterzen (662 m/2,172ft) is a health resort and a cross-country skiing base. From here it is a 2.5-hour walk to the three Seeben lakes (1,643 m/5,391ft). At the far end of Unterterzen, the Chur road passes the lower station of a cableway which ascends via Oberterzen to the Flumserberge.
About 2km/1mi from Unterterzen is Mols (432 m/1,417ft), after which the road curves to the right under a wooded spur with the ruins of Bommerstein Castle. It then passes a camping site on the left and the Walenstadt beach at the end of the lake.
Crossing the Seez Canal you reach Walenstadt (430 m/1,411ft): population 3,500; a popular summer holiday spot, it lies 1km/0.5mi from the east end of the Walensee below the steep rock-faces of the Hinterrugg.
From Walenstadt, an attractive mountain road winds its way up to the health resort of Walenstadtberg (800-900 m/2,625-2,953ft), 4km/2mi northwest, on a terrace of meadowland above the north side of the lake, beneath the jagged peaks of the Churfirsten. 1.5km/1mi farther on is the Knoblishühl sanitarium (982 m/3,222ft) from where a narrow little road runs up another 2km/1mi to the Schrina-Hochrugg restaurant (1,313 m/4,308ft), near which is a temple-like monument to Peace by Karl Bickel.
Seez Valley (castle ruins)
From Walenstadt, the Chur road leads up the broad Seez valley below the Alvier massif (on left). To the right, on a projecting spur above Flums, stands the ruined castle of Gräpplang.
Berschis (446 m/1,463ft: bypass). On a wooded crag above the village to the left (easy climb) the pilgrimage chapel of St George (592 m/1,942ft: 12th and 15 C.) has wall-paintings.
Beyond Berschis, at the beginning of the highway to Chur, a road branches off on the right, crossing the railroad and the Seez canal, to the neat village of Flums (444 m/1,457ft) at the mouth of the Schils valley, with the Weissmeilen (2,490 m/8,137ft) and the curiously shaped Spitzmeilen in the background. By the Seez canal is the church of St Justus, the nave of which was altered in the 17th C. (painted timber ceiling); under the Late Gothic choir (tabernacle of 1488) are the remains of an earlier Carolingian structure. Above the village are the ruins of the 13th C. Gräpplang castle (469 m/1539ft) and 15 minutes southwest of this is St James's chapel (St Jakob), which is partly Romanesque.
From Flums two attractive little roads lead up to the Flumserberg, a region of Alpine meadows dotted with huts, visited both in summer and during the winter sports season (several ski-lifts, ice-rink, indoor swimming pool). To the southeast, above the east side of the Schilsbach valley, is the Kleinberg, with the Frohe Aussicht restaurant (900 m/2,953ft), 4.5km/ 3mi from Flums; higher up are the Sässliwiese (1,200 m/3,937ft) and Schönhalden hotels (1,494 m/4,902ft): hotel cableway from Saxli.
Tannenheim (Tannenboden Alp)
To the southwest of the Flumser Berge, above the west side of the valley, is the Grossberg. A good road (11km/7mi) climbs up, passing a number of inns, to Tannenheim (1,220 m/4,003ft; chairlift via the Prodalp, 1,576 m/5,171ft, to Prodchamm, ca. 2,000 m/6,562ft), with restaurant and the Tannenboden Alp (1,400 m/4,593ft; cableway from Unterterzen, with several hotels and many chalets). From here a cableway ascends via the Kreuz hotel (1,610 m/ 5,282ft) to the Maschgenkamm (Maschgenlücke inn, 1,960 m/6,931ft), on the Spitzmeilen (2,505 m/8,219ft).
Local Museum, Schanis, Switzerland
The local museum of Schänis presents an historical background on the town.