The larger of the two islands in Lake Zurich is reached by boat from Zurich, Rapperswil or Pfäffikon SZ and is perfect for a day out in the open air.
Starting at the jetty, a delightful path follows the western shore of the island, offering views of the pretty shoreline and over the meadow to the vineyard and the island's two churches. Follow the footpath through the lakeside forest until you reach the moorings in the south of the island. You can then make your way from here to the centre of the island and its restaurant. You soon reach St. Peter and Paul's, a church that dates back to the mid-12th century. The path is wheelchair accessible.
Ufnau, which is in Freienbach municipality, lies in the Frauenwinkel nature reserve and moorland landscape. With a surface area of 11 hectares, Ufnau is the largest island in Lake Zurich and home to a remarkable variety of flora and fauna. The flat moor in the east of the island is a designated nature conservation area, while all other areas – forest, meadows and vineyards – are protected landscapes.
A Gallo-Roman temple stood on the island during Roman times: its foundations are incorporated within the walls of St. Peter's Church. The first church was probably built in the year 500 on the site of the present chapel of St. Martin. The 10th century Swabian duchess Regelinda had St. Peter's built with a house next to it in which she lived together with her youngest son, Adalrich, who was later canonised. He died on the island in 973. His relics lay in a shrine in St. Peter's until the Second War of Villmergen in 1712.
On 23 January 965 Emperor Otto I gifted Ufnau to Einsiedeln Monastery. During the Helvetic Republic, when all the monasteries were closed for a while, the canton of Linth sold the island to a private individual. The Act of Mediation of 1803 saw Einsiedeln Monastery reinstated and buy back the island in 1805. Einsiedeln Monastery owns Ufnau Island to this day.
Ufnau Island is a convenient scheduled boat ride away from Zurich, Rapperswil or Pfäffikon SZ (daily from April to October). Timetable at www.zsg.ch.
A jetty is available for private boats.
The restaurant is open daily until the end of the ZSG summer timetable. It serves fish in batter, salads, grills, cold platters and more.