Lucerne (and its surroundings) seem to have been taken out of a fairy tale. With its elegant buildings surrounding the clear lake, Lucerne is a Swiss jewel!
Although I had been here when I was younger, I didn’t remember much except for Lucerne’s famous Kapellbrücke (the wooden bridge with flowers all over).
My day trip to Lucerne started out taking the Golden Round Trip, which I highly recommend if you’re staying at least for a day. This ticket includes a breathtaking boat ride to Alpnachstad, admiring high peaks, green valleys and cute wooden houses by the lake while stopping along the way (Verkehrshaus, Hergiswill, Stansstad).
After that followed a spectacular ride with the world’s steepest cogwheel railway to Pilatus Kulm (2132 metres high). This will take you through alpine meadows and tunnels carved in the rocky and snowy mountains (I know, even in late May). This train was commissioned in 1889 and climbs a gradient of up to 48 percent! Be sure to catch a glimpse of the lakes down below just in case it’s too cloudy up in Pilatus Kulm (unfortunately that’s what happened to me).
Riding down with the aerial cableway ‘Dragon Ride’ to Fräkmüntegg was quite an experience as one couldn’t even see where we were going with all the clouds, although we definitely knew that we were very high up. You’d better not look down if you get vertigo easily.
Upon arrival to Fräkmüntegg, the ride with the panorama gondolas to Krienseregg and all the way to Kriens was rather pleasant. You could see hikers heading up and down as well as families enjoying a picnic in the fresh air. From Kriens, I took bus 1 back to Lucerne.
Back in the city, and following lunch, I went on to discover the old town. I started with Spreuerbrücke by the Reuss river, a medieval bridge which dates back to 1408 and features some phantasmagorical paintings.
I then passed by Mühlenplatz, Weggisgasse and Hirschenplatz until I reached Bourbaki-Panorama (I didn’t get to see the inside but I found it disappointing), the Old Swiss House, Löwendenkmal (the dying lion) and Gletschergarten (the glacier garden).
From there I visited Hofkirche (church of St Leodegar), beautifully surrounded by a cemetery in Italian-style. Then I hit the lake of the Four Cantons, where elegant hotels and the casino line up. Finally, I walked around the famous Kapellbrücke and the Jesuit church.
All in all it was a great day trip and I’m already looking forward to coming back and exploring more!
-Transportation: direct train from Geneva to Lucerne (3 hours) with SBB.
-Accommodation: hotel Alpha (10 min walk from the railway station); very helpful staff and some good news -> they’ll give you a free ticket to take the bus during your stay!
- I had a delicious lunch at Ammos, a Greek restaurant by the Reuss river with a view to the Water Tower. I had their chicken ‘souvlàkia’ (skewers) with pita bread, tzatziki and a spicy feta dip.
- I really wanted to try the specialty from Lucerne (the Chugelipastetli) but it was closed due to the bank holiday. 🙁
- Ice cream in Dieci Gelateria: this is a must! I tried two yummy scoops of chocolate and mango.
– Good to know: Lucerne is in the German part of Switzerland, which often times means things will be written in German, so good luck! What’s positive though is that people are friendly and usually speak English and French too. You will also likely notice that streets are spotless and everything is well taken care of. Enjoy!