26Cantons52Weeks: Nidwalden

Canton: Nidwalden

Destination: Stanserhorn (mountain) and its open-air cable car

Interesting thing: The CabriO build cost around CHF30 million, but the idea was so popular the funding rounds were oversubscribed, attracting around CHF7 million alone from local donations.

Special guests: my parents-in-law

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The canton of Nidwalden is located right in the centre of Switzerland. Something I only just realised looking Nidwalden up on Wikipedia for this entry! It seems fitting, then, that our last major outing with the in-laws before they return to Australia was here – in the heart of Switzerland.

Our plan was to ride the open-top, double-decker CabriO cable car from cantonal capital city Stans, up to the peak of the Stanserhorn mountain. It was a good plan and the weather was lovely.

The Stanserhorn CabriO is the first and only cable car of its kind in the world so far. The original 2-stage cable car was struck by lightning in the 1970s, causing much destruction and burning down the hotel at the top. It was replaced at the time but, as 2010 rolled around, they were looking to upgrade and this deluxe, 90% Swiss-made model with its rather impressive USP opened in 2012.

First you have to catch a creaking cogwheel funicular railway up the bottom part of the mountain. This ‘oldtimer’ celebrates its 125th birthday in 2018 and, due to its age is quite tiny – with capacity for only 40 people. Because we’d come on a busy Sunday, this meant a bit of waiting around, which was rather frustrating. They have a slightly odd system of time-slot tickets that didn’t quite work as well as it should, but is necessary given the small size of the cogwheel carriages (the Cabrio has capacity for 30 on top, 60 below). Chatting to the train driver on the way back down, he said they’d experimented with various ticketing methods and this was the one which worked best. My advice would be to pick a less-busy, ie: non-weekend, day if possible to avoid some of the kerfuffle.

However, it’s worth putting up with a bit of potential annoyance, because the view at the top is just superb. You’d think I might be sick of these alpine vistas by now, but each one is different. From the Stanserhorn’s highest peak (1,898 meters above sea level), you could see so many other mountaintops: Titlis, Santis, the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, and a bunch of others besides. Then, if you look down, there’s the stunning Lake Lucerne below, as well as chocolate-box scenes of green fields and wooden farmhouses studded with cows and goats. Just so, so pretty.

A QUESTION FOR READERS: Last time I did the photos through the post, this time I’ve gone back to a slideshow. Which do you prefer? 


Cantons visited / to go so far. 


Appenzell Ausserrhoden

Appenzell Innerrhoden



Bern *













St. Gallen









*I haven’t written this up yet!



  1. I like the slide show approach, because it is more compact, although having the photos separate on the page seems to highlight them better and break up the text.

  2. Oh, this canton is all Greek to me! I must admit that before reading your post I hadn´t had any slightest idea about its existence – shame on me! :O But according to your pictures is really worth visiting! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. I like the slideshow option for when there are more than a few photos. Love these posts – I feel like I’m exploring Switzerland from home 😉

  4. What canton is that??? Haha didnt know swiss has a canton Nidwalden. I will be laughing so hard if my swiss husband doesnt know either!

    The funicular looks awesome! But with a toddler I am not sure I have the patience to wait. We cant book in advance?

    Btw, I am a big fan of pictures so I prefer lots lots of pictures!

    1. I think you can book in advance online. And if you went outside of school holidays / weekend it would not be so busy. We had the one-two punch of toddlers and older folk so it was a bit stressful.

  5. Another nice day up there in the mountains! A vendor once gave me free tickets so I’ve had the pleasure to explore Stanserhorn as well.
    I like the pictures in the blog post, but I can live with the slide show as well, as long as they’re great pictures which is the case!

    Can’t wait for the next canton, such a cool project!

    1. Thanks! In reply to last week’s – I’m not sure when we’ll get to Zug but usually go on the weekends… what would you say are the must-sees?!

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