Stans is the capital of the canton of Nidwalden in Central Switzerland.
The canton of Nidwalden, is commonly known as a half-canton, the other half being Obwalden. The canton is bound in the north by Lake Lucerne and on all the other sides by mountains, making for very scenic views. Two exclaves of other cantons reach into its territory: Engelberg, part of Obwalden, at the end of the valley and the Bürgenstock mountain at the shore of the lake, which is part of the canton of Lucerne. The area is rather rural, with the capital Stans having roughly 8000 inhabitants. The other bigger towns Hergiswil, Buochs and Stansstad are all located nearby along the lake shore.
Stans lies on the Lucerne-Engelberg line and is also part of the commuter train network around Lucerne. The following connections are available:
- One hourly IR connection from Lucerne (15 min) and in the other direction Engelberg (30 min).
- Two hourly S4 connections from Lucerne (20 min). This train also stops in Hergiswil and Stansstad.
The A2 highway from Lucerne and Altdorf runs along the lake and through most of the canton of Nidwalden. There are two exits for Stans, Stans-Nord and Stans-Süd. The A8 from Sarnen and the Bernese Highlands joins the A2 near Hergiswil.
From Stans main roads lead south to Engelberg on the one side and Sarnen on the other side. In Beckenried, east of Stans, there's a ferry across the lake to Gersau, saving around 40 km (25 mi) of driving.
While Stans can't directly be accessed by boat, the neighbouring towns of Buochs, Stansstad and Hergiswil all have stops with connections to Lucerne and other towns around the lake.
The old town core of Stans has a couple of historic buildings, but there are more things to see in the surrounding area:
- 1 Glasi Hergiswil (Glass works), Seestrasse 12, 6052 Hergiswil am See (Walk from either Hergiswil train station or boat station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa 09:00-16:00. Visit the exhibition on the history of glass making in Hergiswil and observe the glass makers during their work. Fr. 7 for the exhibition, Fr. 5 for the glass maze.
- 2 Fürigen Fortress, Kehrsitenstrasse, 6362 Stansstad, ✉ email@example.com. Apr-Oct Sa Su 11:00-17:00. This military fortress from the second world war is a leftover of the reduit strategy. The fortress has been decommissioned and preserved. You can visit the living quarters as well as the military infrastructure while walking around the fortress. Fr. 7.
- 1 Stanserhorn. Apr-Nov 08:15-17:15 runs half hourly. To get to the Stanserhorn you have to take the funicular halfway up and then change to a cable car. The cable car is the world's first double deck cable car with an open air top deck. From the top you get a nice view and there's also a rotating restaurant. Single/return Fr. 37/74.
The Bürgenstock is a mountain north of Stans. It is surrounded on three sides by the lake and features near vertical walls towards the lake. There is a resort town halfway up as well as a viewing platform on top. To get to the resort there are two possibilities (prices one way): Take the ship from Lucerne (Fr. 17.20) to Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock and then take the Bürgenstock Funicular (Fr. 25). Alternatively, a much cheaper, albeit less scenic alternative is to take the S4 train from either Stans or Lucerne to Stansstad and then change to the hourly postal bus bringing you up to the resort (Fr. 7.80 from Lucerne).
- 2 Felsenweg (5 km, 2h, easy). This rocky path leads around the Bürgenstock along the precipitous rock wall. The hike also brings you past the Hammetschwand lift.
- 3 [dead link] Hammetschwand Lift. Summer months 09:30-11:30, 12:00-17:30. A 152 m (499 ft) high outdoor glass lift bringing you up to the top of the Bürgenstock where a great view and a restaurant awaits you. If you don't want to pay for the lift, it's also possible to walk up by foot. Single/return Fr. 10/13.