Day 1 in Lucerne
Welcome to Lucerne! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and
immigration. Should you opt to purchase
a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit
immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check
in and do not give in to jet lag! There
is so much for you to see and do.
Once you arrive in town, start your exploration at the Old Town, a maze of cobblestone alleys lined with brightly frescoed facades. Follow the old cobbled streets in the Old Town of Lucerne, and get lost amongst the many shops, fountains, restaurants and the historic painted buildings. The four main squares of the Old Town are Mühlenplatz, Weinmarkt, Hirschenplatz and Kornmarkt.
Most of Old Town is spread across the north bank of River Reuss. On the south bank is the 17th century baroque style Jesuit Church of Saint Francis Xavier, identified by its dull-green twin onion domes. The flower-lined 14th century wooden Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) runs diagonally across the river and is the most well-known symbol of Lucerne. The Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden bridge in Europe and is full of history. As you stroll along the bridge and past the water tower, you can view the many paintings on the gables inside the bridge, which were painted by Hans Heinrich Wägmann in the 17th-18th century. Many of these paintings and the bridge were destroyed after a fire in 1993, but have since been reconstructed. You can also capture a gorgeous view of the town of Lucerne as well as a scenic view of Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps.
Further down the river is Lucerne`s second covered wooden footbridge, the Spreuer Brudge or Mill Bridge, built in 1408. The bridge, in the city`s lower end, connected the mills to the baker`s quarter. Triangular panels on the roof depict a macabre series of paintings that show grinning skeletons in everyday human scenes. Cross over the bridge and stop in one of the charming al fresco riverside cafes. Make sure to try some delicious handmade chocolates and the variety of specialty cheeses you`ll encounter along the way.
Check out the brick-roofed Rathaus, the 17th-century town hall that now houses its own brewery and restaurant in the basement. Continue on and check out the Lion Memorial, a dying lion is carved into a sandstone rock rising above a pond of water, commemorating the Swiss guards who fell fighting for King Louis XVI in 1792 during the French Revolution. Check out the Glacier Garden found next to the Lyon monument which displays natural remnants from the Ice Age 20,000 years ago.
In the evening, enjoy an atmospheric dinner by the riverside, many restaurants offer both indoor and al fresco seating.
Day 2 in Lucerne
Start off your day with a cruise of the beautiful Lake Lucerne. Sit back and relax while you cruise past the
stunning views of Switzerland. The average trip is about an hour-long and
includes an audio guide of the main sights, as well as amazing views of the
Alps. For something more active, you may want to explore Lake Lucerne by paddle
boat and make your own way around the Lake.
After the cruise, stroll and people-watch along the active waterfront promenade. When the weather is warm, the stretch is full of young people rollerblading and old men playing pétanque (an age-old ball game). Find a restaurant in the area to enjoy some lunch and make sure to enjoy the cheese fondue, a must try while in Switzerland!
Continue along the promenade towards the Swiss Museum of Transport. The museum traces the history of road, rail, water and air navigation through simulators and multimedia displays. Don`t miss the vintage locomotives on display among the numerous exhibits. There is a film theater and a planetarium within the museum complex, but the highlight for kids and the kids at heart is the Chocolate Adventure. The interactive ride explains the history and making of chocolate through visuals, smells and tastings. Grab a snack at the in-house restaurant and take it with you for a picnic across the street at the beautiful lakeside park.
As evening approaches head back into Old Town to enjoy one of the lively cafes or restaurants in town. You may want to take in the live music and traditional folk performances, complete with yodelers, alphorn players and other Swiss performances. And end your night with a characteristically Swiss dessert, a cheese platter. It features different cuts of cheese paired with relish, jelly, walnut, fig, mustard and bread, and can be found on almost every menu in town.
Day 3 in Lucerne
On your last day in Lucerne, grab your
comfortable shoes and take a day trip up the mountain to Mount Pilatus for a
breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne. Towering over Lucerne at
6,995 ft, Mount Pilatus has the
world`s steepest cogwheel railway. Board the 126-year-old cogwheel rail that
chugs up the mountainside at a steep angle, sometimes as sharp as 48 degrees,
and operates from May to November. The train gently rolls up the mountain at 6
miles/hr and rolls through tunnels piercing straight through the rock face.
Another option to the top of Mount Pilatus is by gondola from Kriens through Krienseregg to Fräkmüntegg. The ride is a peaceful stretch complete with pristine views of the Mount Pilatus and the luscious green meadows and wildlife below. The final leg up from Fräkmüntegg to Pilatus Kulm by aerial cableway is the most exciting, but maybe not for the faint hearted. The total journey up to the mountain station is about 30 minutes.
When you arrive at the top, be prepared for the most spectacular views as soon as you step outside. From here, it is a 10-minute climb to the summit of the Esel (the central peak, but not the highest). And from Pilatus-Kulm, it is a 30 minute trek to the Tomlishorn, the highest peak of the mountain. The trip can also be combined with various types of sports or hiking tours.
In summer, indulge your active side at the Rope Park or the Toboggan Run. Grab a bite at the upscale Queen Victoria restaurant at Hotel Pilatus-Kulm or the self-service restaurant with a sun terrace at the Hotel Bellevue. There`s usually a choice of set meals. The Panoramic Gallery linking the two hotels features a covered roof and is a good place to stop for breathtaking views of the mighty Alps.
On your last evening in Lucerne check out the Grand Casino, a perfect spot to try your luck in poker, roulette or blackjack. Or if you are looking for something a bit more cultural, and if you speak German, you can enjoy a performance at the Stadttheater. And after dark, the Old Town is a great spot to be with various pubs and cafes to enjoy.
Additional Days in Lucerne
Should you be able to spend additional days in Lucerne we recommend a day trip to the World Heritage-listed Jungfraujoch, located 50 miles from Lucerne, this is known as the Top or Europe and is home to the highest railroad station on the continent at 11,332 ft. A perfect way to enjoy this stunning Alpine scenery is on the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe Day Trip. The journey would begin with a drive through the breathtaking scenery of the Bernese Oberland and a cogwheel train trip up to the Jungfraujoch, passing through the mountain pass of Kleine Scheidegg, beneath the famous Eiger North Face. While on the summit, you can stop to explore the Ice Palace and enjoy the stunning views from the Sphinx Observation Terrace.
Your Last Day in Lucerne
Depart your hotel for the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer, if so a representative will meet you at the hotel in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.