The Rütli has a great claim on the heart of many a Swiss patriot as the spiritual birthplace of the Helvetic Confederation (ie, Switzerland).
Nestled below the town of Seelisberg in Uri Canton, the meadow is where the Rütlischwur (Oath of Eternal Allegiance) between the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden supposedly took place in 1291. It’s the scene of national celebrations and speeches every August 1st, which is Switzerland’s National Day.
July 1940 saw General Guisan, the head of the Swiss Armed Forces, use the site for his ‘Rütlirapport’, where he rallied every officer of the Swiss Army to resist any potential invasion from neighboring Germany.
Each year, more than 100,000 people come to see the lush green (but rather small) meadow, and it’s also the start of the popular ‘Weg der Schweiz’, or Swiss Path, the 35km memorial walk around Lake Uri. A typically Swiss-looking cafe and gift shop are just next to the meadow.
To get here is a simple-enough descent on foot from the town of Seelisberg, or a boat ride from Lucerne (two hours) or Brunnen (10 minutes). Boats depart regularly throughout the year. You can also take regular train from Lucerne to Brunnen (about 50 minutes), then the boat from there.