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Walensee from Kerenzerberg to East.jpg
Walensee from Kerenzerberg to the east
Geographical location Eastern Switzerland
Tributaries since 1811 Escherkanal ( Linth ),
Drain Linth Canal
Islands Chive Island
Places on the shore Weesen , Walenstadt
Coordinates 734 765  /  220520 coordinates: 47 ° 7 '  N , 9 ° 13'  O ; CH1903:  seven hundred thirty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty-five  /  220520
Walensee (Switzerland)
Altitude above sea level 419  m above sea level M.
surface 24.1 km²
length 15.5 km
width 2 km
volume 2.49 km³
scope 37.084 km
Maximum depth 150 m
Middle deep 103 m
Catchment area 1061 km²


BFS no. : 9179

Map Walensee.png
Template: Infobox Lake / Maintenance / EVIDENCE LAKE WIDTH Template: Infobox Lake / Maintenance / EVIDENCE MED DEPTH Template: Infobox Lake / Maintenance / EVIDENCE Catchment Area

The Walensee ( Rhaeto-Romanic Lag Rivaun ? / I ) is a lake in the eastern foothills of Switzerland and is located in the cantons of St. Gallen and Glarus . The main inflow and outflow of the Walensee is the Linth . Audio file / audio sample


The name means "Lake of the Italians " (see. Walchensee in Bavaria) since the early Middle Ages the Lake Walen language boundary between the settled in the West Alemanni and Romansh , the , Welschen made in the East.


The Walensee with the Churfirsten with a wintry sea ​​of ​​fog over the Mittelland

The lake is 419  m above sea level. M. and has a surface of 24 km². Its greatest depth is 151 m. Due to its special location (in the middle of a valley and on both sides up to 1000 meter high steep slopes) the water temperature of the Walensee is a few degrees colder than that of the neighboring lakes. In summer it rarely gets over 20 ° C. The U valley was shaped by the Rhine Glacier in the Würme Ice Age .

The main tributary was originally the Seez . Since the Linth correction in the years 1807 to 1811, the Glarner Linth has been the main tributary through the Escherkanal . The Linth did not previously touch the Walensee and flowed directly from the Glarnerland towards Lake Zurich . The connection between Linth and Walensee was established by the Maag , which merged with the Linth at Ziegelbrücke .

Places on Lake Walen are Walenstadt , Mols , Unterterzen , Murg , Mühlehorn and Weesen, and on the north bank the villages Betlis and Quinten . The most popular with tourists is the car-free village of Quinten, which can only be reached by ship or a three-hour hike from Weesen or Walenstadt and offers a Mediterranean climate . Protected from the north, hemp palms and figs grow on the south side of the Churfirsten . To the north is Amden , located on a terrace high above the lake , with the Mattstock (1936 m) and the Churfirsten mountain range (up to 2306 m). To the south of the lake are the winter and summer tourist regions of Flumserberg and Kerenzerberg .

As a result of the Linth correction , the water level sank by 5.5 m. When there is a flood, the lake takes on its former appearance.

In the southeast corner of the lake, in the area of ​​the municipality of Quarten, lies the small island of chives .


The steep north bank between Fly and Betlis

After the Roman conquest around 15 BC. The Walensee was located in the border area of ​​the Roman provinces Raetia ( Raetia ) and Germania superior (Upper Germany). The Roman vici Centum Prata ( Kempraten ) and Turicum ( Zurich ) served on the Walensee – Lake Zurich waterway across the Limmat and the Rhine as hubs for goods traffic on the Alpine route.

In terms of traffic, Lake Walen has been a major challenge since ancient times, as there are hardly any plains. The railway line Ziegelbrücke-Chur, respectively. the former south - east railway Sargans - Rapperschwyl as well as the A3 motorway cross the Walensee through galleries and tunnels. Until the opening of the Walenseestrasse, it was only possible to pass overland between the Lin Plain and Walenstadt via the Kerenzerberg between Mollis and Quarten. Until the early modern era, goods traffic between Zurich and Chur was therefore transported by ship on the Walensee. However, the widely ramified Linth with its continually changing course between Lake Walen and Lake Zurich was a challenge for the boatmen and their rowing boats.

Since the construction of the Linth Canal , goods could be transported better and faster by ship from Walenstadt to Zurich. Only twice passed a steamer , the channel routes, usually the goods were in the Sust on Ledischiffe reloaded that from the shore (of humans and animals, most recently with the help of tractors) were drawn, the towing was called in March stretching . Over time, the railroad made the transport of goods on the water between Zurich and Walensee superfluous, but passenger shipping has become a popular leisure activity, as has the recreational shipping.

In 1974 the four-lane A3 motorway was opened in the Linth plain . Between Weesen and Mühlehorn it became the two-lane Walenseestrasse . It essentially consisted of the main road through the villages of Mühlehorn, Murg , Unterterzen and Mols . In Walenstadt continuing the A3 began.

The main road had normal connections and pedestrian crossings, but was still exposed to a high volume of traffic. This bottleneck gave Lake Walen a nationwide reputation as a bottleneck for traffic, since traffic jams for kilometers formed in the Lin Plain when there was a high volume of traffic and the associated frequent serious traffic accidents. For years the message “traffic jam at the Walensee” was so common in Eastern Switzerland that the cabaret artists of the trio Eugster , popular in the 1980s, gave the Walensee the nickname Qualensee . At the same time, today's Walensee motorway was built in a consortium of various construction companies. Construction management was carried out by the civil engineering office Locher & Cie AG in Zurich. In 1986 the 5.8 km long Kerenzer Tunnel was opened to traffic, making the A3 consistently four-lane along the Walensee.

The popular footpath and hiking trail on the northern shore of Lake Walen is only available to pedestrians from Betlis and is closed to bicycles. Due to the topography of the terrain, the hike is associated with some height differences and is sometimes considered to be challenging. However, it can also be interrupted in fifths.

Passenger shipping

Three scheduled ships operated by Schiffsbetrieb Walensee operate between ten berths in the summer months. The ship MS Quinten II holds 260 passengers, MS Churfirsten 220 and the MS Seestern 110 people. The MS Alvier holds 60 people and operates as a passenger ferry between Quinten and Murg. The MS Gonzen is a barge or Ledischiff for freight and goods traffic on Lake Walen. The three landing stages Betlis , Quinten with 56 inhabitants and Au on the north shore of the lake can only be reached by boat, which is why the MS Alvier is in operation all year round. The lake is ice-free even in winter. Quinten is also the home port of the small fleet, but the workshops and offices of the local shipping company are in Unterterzen.

The first steamship operated in 1837, but rail and road led to the cessation of passenger shipping in the 1860s. The first restart between 1900 and 1925 did not last long. In the 1940s to 1960s there was a new beginning, first with small motor boats, from 1954 with the motor ship Quinten I and in 1971 with the MS Fridolin . The big change came thanks to the support of the tourism organizations from the 1970s. The MS Churfirsten was put into operation in 1976, the Seestern in 1982 and the MS Quinten II in 1987. The Quintner family Walser was formative for the shipping business from 1950 to 2004; Since then, Schiffbetrieb Walensee AG has been responsible.

water sports

The Walensee is popular with scuba divers because of its often clear water. Because the Walen cooler usually a few degrees than the floor or Zurich is the development of algae slower than in other lakes, resulting in a generally better underwater visibility leads. Numerous underwater rock faces allow you to dive quickly into great depths and in some places there are shipwrecks to explore. The most famous of these is the so-called " Lediwrack " that lies between Mols and Walenstadt at a depth of about 30 meters. The lake bed, which is steeply sloping in many places, and the cool temperatures make Lake Walen a demanding body of water for divers that should only be dived by experienced divers.


On the eastern shore of the lake near Walenstadt is the Walensee stage , on which musicals have been performed every summer since 2005.


In 1850 the steamboat Delphin sank in the Walensee .

In 1951 a ton of German MG 42s were sunk by the Swiss Army in Lake Walen . Between 1960 and 1965 another 200 kg of ammunition were sunk, the exact dump locations are not known.

The fully loaded gravel transfer ship Brisi sank within seconds in April 2006, with the entire load tipping onto the seabed. After two months, the ship was recovered from a depth of around 130 meters. The gravel load of such a larger Ledischiff is at least 300 tons. The reason was the revision hatches that remained open, through which water from a leak could penetrate unhindered into all other bulkheads.

When Franz Liszt traveled from Geneva to Lake Como with his beloved Count Marie d'Agoult in 1837 , he took the ship from Weesen to Walenstadt (the road over the Kerenzerberg was only opened in 1848). He dedicated the piano piece “Au lac de Wallenstadt” to this trip on Lake Walen.


See also


  • Jakob Kuratli Hüeblin: Walensee. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  • Guido Städler: Walensee Shipping 1837–1987. 150 years of “modern” maritime and shipping history. Städler, Walenstadt 1987.
  • Guido Städler: Walensee shipping, Linth shipping. Walensee – Linth – Lake Zurich. Sarganserländer Verlag, Mels 1996. 2nd edition 2012.

Web links

Commons : Walensee  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. a b c d e Seen (Federal Office for the Environment FOEN). Retrieved January 19, 2020 .
  2. Schweizerisches Idiotikon , Volume XV, Column 1426 .
  3. ^ Gertrud Walch: place and field names of the canton of St. Gallen. Building blocks for a Glarus name book. Schaffhausen 1996, p. 266.
  4. wanderland.ch ( Memento of the original from July 14, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.wanderland.ch
  5. The difference in the Worm Ice Age Rheingletscher near Sargans ( Memento of the original from July 14, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / quaternary-science.publiss.net
  6. Shipping on the Linth ( Memento of the original from July 14, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.museum-uznach.ch
  7. ^ Daniel Mate: Mols, Lediwracks. Walensee. In: Dive Site Directory. Swiss Divers, February 16, 2010, accessed April 30, 2014 .
  8. ^ Herder's Conversations Lexicon. Freiburg im Breisgau 1 1857, Volume 5, p. 665
  9. Historical clarifications on deposits and ammunition sinking, VBS  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.vbs.admin.ch  
  10. Schweiz Aktuell, video from June 15, 2006 ( Memento of the original from November 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / videoportal.ch.msn.com
  11. Bündner monthly sheet 1/2020, p. 41
  12. Recording with Francesco Piemontesi