Located on the shore of Switzerland’s famous lake of the same name, Lucerne is a popular post-cruise extension destination for river voyagers travelling on the Rhine and ending their cruise in Basel. Due to its proximity to Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus, Lucerne is a popular city destination for all types of tourists and was founded in 1178 after beginning life much more humbly, as the site of a Benedictine Monastery. It was situated on an important ancient trade route and continued to grow in importance as a city. During its long history it has been its own city state and joined the Swiss Confederacy as a reaction to the increasing influence of the powerful Hapsburg dynasty.
The lake itself is the city’s biggest attraction and an area of great natural beauty. Whether you take a stroll, hire a bicycle to explore the shore or take a boat ride across its waters, you are sure to appreciate the tranquility that the environment offers. There are photo opportunities galore and some great places to relax and enjoy a leisurely meal. Also, if you’re stopping in Lucerne overnight as part of your itinerary, make sure you don’t miss the spectacular sunset over the lake.
Mount Pilatus is another must-see natural landmark and, as you would imagine, the views from the observation deck at the summit are more than worth the trip. You can take a (very steep) train ride up the mountain and a cable car to get down but there is also a range of mountain trails and a rope park to try out if you’re feeling more adventurous.Either way, spending time on the mountain is always a worthwhile experience.
Architectural attractions in the city include the Chapel Bridge, a wooden covered footbridge across the River Reuss which was built in 1333 as part of the city’s defences and houses over 100 paintings in its roof which depict the city’s history. The city’s concert hall is another key landmark and boasts what many orchestral enthusiasts believe to some of the finest acoustics in the world. If you find yourself with an evening in Lucerne and a partial to taking in a show, the concert hall is certainly not to be missed.
A real centre for culture, Lucerne hosts a number of eclectic festivals throughout the year, so you may be lucky enough to catch a little of one of them during your visit. Particular highlights include the Orchestra, Blues and Yodelling festivals.