The canton of Obwalden, in the centre of Switzerland, is surrounded by the cantons of Lucerne, Bern, Nidwalden and Uri. It has a long historical past as one of the founding cantons of the Swiss Confederation in 1291, along with Nidwalden, Schwyz and Uri. The canton’s capital is the town of Sarnen, located at the foot of the mountains and facing the lake that bears its name.
The tourism sector began to expand in 1889 and today accounts for a quarter of jobs in the canton. The landscapes are picturesque and imposing with Mounts Pilatus and Titlis, the canton’s rivers and numerous lakes, including Lakes Sarnen and Lungern, to the south of Lake Lucerne. The Ranft gorge, hollowed out by the Melchaa River in the high mountain pastures, are a true wonder to behold from the “die Hohe Brücke” suspension bridge, as are the majestic views from the panoramic cable cars and the “Dragon Ride” aerial cableway from Kriens to Pilatus, at an altitude of more than 6,500 ft.
The region is criss-crossed by a number of winter sports resorts, including Engelberg, at the foot of Mount Titlis, at an altitude of more than 10,000 ft, which was made famous by the Swiss singer Stephan Eicher. It is ideal for skiing, sledging and paragliding or meditating at the monastery. A comfortable means of transport from which to admire these landscapes are provided by the funicular, aerial cableways and cable cars, including the Titlis Rotair, the world’s 1st revolving cable car. In the summer months, hiking and mountain bike tours, parachuting and tennis are among the most popular sports.
The numerous dual carriageways, linking the various districts to one another and to the towns of neighbouring cantons, make for light traffic. Railways were also built in the 19th century, one of which takes you to Mount Pilatus, home to the world’s steepest cogwheel railway.
With one of the lowest taxation rates in Switzerland, the economic conditions are ideal, and the canton’s economy is among the most profitable at the international level for both small and medium enterprises in a very wide range of sectors, although farming remains predominant. Farms continue to be family-run and expansion of organic farming is higher than average. The food industry is also expanding (Nahrin AG), along with the construction industry and the robotics and microelectronics sectors, serving both the medical sector and NASA (Maxon Motor AG, Elfo AG).