Engelberg is a resort town and municipality in the canton of Obwalden in Switzerland. Besides the town of Engelberg, the municipality also includes the settlements of Grafenort, Obermatt and Schwand.
The municipality of Engelberg is an exclave of Obwalden, surrounded by the cantons of Bern, Nidwalden and Uri. Engelberg has a population (as of 31 December 2012) of 3,989. As of 2007, 21.0% of the population was made up of foreign nationals.
Engelberg is the leading mountain resort (Urner Alps) in central Switzerland. In the Middle Ages, Engelberg was known for the educational accomplishments of its Benedictine monastery, the Engelberg Abbey, whose school was well-known and regarded throughout the country. From the 19th Century, Engelberg became internationally known as a resort and spa, but is today visited as much for skiing as for its clean air. With its combination of modern sports facilities and alpine location, Engelberg is a magnet for both summer and winter tourism. The closest large cities are Lucerne and Zurich.
Engelberg is first mentioned as Engilperc in 1122, when the Abbey was first founded there, although the mountain pasture of Trübsee was already exploited collectively before this time.
From 1850, Engelberg became an international vacation resort (mineral water, milk serum and fresh air cures). Many hotels were built by the families Cattani, Hess and Odermatt, pioneers of tourism. From 1872 to 1874, a new, wider road was built, and the Stansstad-Engelberg electric railway was opened in 1898.
Hiking and other mountain sports developed at the end of 19th Century and Engelberg first held a winter season in 1903-1904. Since 1913, a funicular railway connects Engelberg to Gerschnialp and, from there, the second cable car in Switzerland (1927) led to Trübsee. The decade preceding the First World War was a period of boom conditions (165,922 visitor-nights in 1911). The widening of the road and the extension of the railway to Luzern (1964) considerably opened up the tourism catchment area of the station and, in 1967, the higher section of the Titlis cable car was opened. Recently, regular conferences in Engelberg came to supplement winter tourism. In 2000, the tertiary sector, especially tourism, offered three quarters of the employment of Engelberg