Hike from Engelberg, Switzerland to Restaurant Flühmatt and the best Engelberger Älplermagronen
While we did not anticipate the ability to hike while visiting Engelberg in January, the unseasonably mild conditions opened this activity as a possibility as there was little to no snow. Hikes are usually most enjoyable when there is an achievable goal or destination and this one I found has food at the end of it. And not just any food, what is said to be the best Engelberger Älplermagronen.
I have never heard of this dish prior to planning our trip to Engelberg but an easy description is Swiss Alpine macaroni or or Swiss mac and cheese. This dish is simple but very unique. It consists of macaroni and potatoes swimming in an Engelberg cheese sauce and topped with caramelized onions and crispy bacon lardons. The unique part is this dish is served with a side of applesauce
The entire dish sounds amazing and what better way to find the best Engelberger Älplermagronen than to hike for it and burn some calories along the way.
The hike is accessible directly from Engelberg town by the monastery and takes you up Brunni Mountain where Restaurant Flühmatt is located. Restaurant Flühmatt website indicated it was a 40 minute hike and this website indicated it could take a bit longer so we were hoping for something in the middle. This trail is open all year round so it can be done during any season.
As we looked for the restaurant outside out Airbnb window, it became clear that we were going to have to being hiking up quite a bit. While hiking up is not the only way to reach Restaurant Flühmatt, it is the most direct. Alternatively, you can take the Brunni gondola to Ristis and then walk 30 minutes down but that trail is not official so may not be groomed or marked.
We had minor concerns about the trail markings for the Engelberg to Flühmatt trail but once we reached the monastery, there was a giant map with wayfinding instructions, including the path to the Restaurant Flühmatt. It was just after 12PM and the Fluttmatt website said it was a 40 minute journey, the sign indicated 50 minutes.
I will say, I was dressed like it was a blizzard outside so I must have looked like a hot mess going up on this hike with snow pants on with a tank top cause my new winter jacket and knit sweater created a furnace.
The trail was extremely well marked and since there was no snow, the path was obvious. It was quite a climbing exercise for most of the trail but we just took our time. There are a combination of stairs and flat inclines that eventually take you to the Restaurant Flühmatt. While it was definitely a climb and a bit more strenuous than advertised, it was easy to take your time and make stops along the way.
After 45 minutes of climbing, we made it to Flühmatt and even better, had a fantastic view of the valley below and the mountains!
We felt like we certainly earned the meal that followed and I will say it is worth every step to visit this spot while visiting Engelberg. This family owner restaurant is well known in the region and while I could not identify when they started, it had to be from awhile ago given it’s history within Engelberg.
We were seated in a small room full of charm. Wood everywhere, picnic curtains, giant bells and other various accessories that decorated the room, and then German folk music playing in the background. There was only one group there when we were seated and it was clear they were locals enjoying their regular visit.
It felt as though we were welcomed into someone’s home and they were making dishes in the kitchen just for us. This family truly has something special!
The menu features many traditional dishes but we were here for one specialty in particular – Engelberger Älplermagronen. This dish in a specialty of Engelberg but Flühmatt is unanimous to have the best version. This dish is super interesting – there is the pasta swimming in Engelberg cheese, then topped with many caramelized onions, with a side dish of applesauce.
This dish was so incredible! Served in a wooden bowl, mixed up all together, and then self serve more as you please. We ordered one serving to share and it was plenty of pasta – I have seen photos of giant wooden bowls to facilitate multiple portions so definitely gauge your hunger properly. And do not forget to add the applesauce. I can’t quite tell why this works so well but the sweetness really completes the dish.
We could not miss dessert – we were offered two options of apple and chocolate to which we chose to apple. It was an apple tart with whipped cream on top which was light and flavorful. After Kevin finished his Swiss lager, he ordered a coffee beverage he spotted at the locals table – the Swiss really enjoy turning up the coffee presentation.
After out hour and a half visit, we packed up to start our journey back down. Fortunately, it would all be downhill so we had no concern about the physical part, however, clouds started to roll into the valley at a low altitude so the concern for rain was upon us.
We made it over half way down before the rain started and luckily we were packed with umbrellas for the occasion. With stopping due to pouring rain at times, it took us 30 minutes to reach the monastery and I bet it could have been 20 minutes if the rain didn’t stop us.
If you are able to find time in your trip for a beautiful hike through the woods and a bit of effort to climb up, visiting Restaurant Flühmatt should be a must stop. I am so glad we decided to do this as the entire experience was one of our favorites on the trip.