The River Ruhr flows through the city. The Sauerland, a mountainous region, starts at the southern border.
It has a Romanesque church, with a carved altar of 1523, and stained glass of the 14th and 15th centuries; and there is a 16th-century town hall.
Today, there are some industries left, which are confined to the manufacture of iron and steel goods. Schwerte received civic rights in the 12th century.