I’ve always revered Switzerland as the delectable birthplace of Toblerone and raclette, a faraway wonderland where people wore nice watches and frolicked about on snow-capped mountains. While I had been there once (a quick stop in Basel and Rhine Falls last summer), I never really knew much about Switzerland, and hadn’t ever prioritized it on my list of ‘must-see travel spots’.
Moving to Munich, this perspective changed slightly. Switzerland was now only hours away, an accessible weekender that became increasingly more tempting. The deal was sealed when I laid eyes on a perfect photo of Lucerne and realized I had to see it for myself. When a long weekend finally popped up in May, the choice of where to go was clear.
Setting off from Munich, we rented a car and took the scenic route down to Lucerne, a journey filled with winding roads, rolling green hills and cute villages dotted along the trek. As we crossed the border and edged closer to our final destination, the scenery became all the more ridiculous. The warm hues of golden hour engulfed all our surroundings, turning everything we saw into some sort of painting. Pulling the car over immediately, we watched the sun come down from a quiet spot nestled in the mountains, surrounded by the vibrant colours of the sunset bouncing off trees.
Right then, I knew I was in trouble. Switzerland already had me, and I had barely been there for an hour.
Further reading: 50 Unique Things to do in Switzerland
What I would discover in the next two days is that Lucerne is not just beautiful, it is ridiculously, jaw-droppingly gorgeous. In extreme cases like these, one is at a loss for adequate descriptions and adjectives (a true rarity for wordy folks like myself), but I will try my best!
It could be the bright turquoise water coursing through the River Reuss, or the gentle glide of swans over Lake Lucerne, but there is an unmistakably magical ambiance that emanates through this city. After checking in to our hotel, we wasted no time in setting out for a night time stroll through Lucerne, one of the highlights being Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a sight practically ripped from the pages of Harry Potter. Besides its unique look, this bridge is also the oldest wood-covered bridge in Europe, with a gorgeous interior lined with a variety of paintings (many of which were destroyed by a fire over 20 years ago). Kapellbrücke is one of the best-known symbols of the city, and I’m sure you can see why:
I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time in Europe in the past two years, with plenty of charming cities that have caught my eye, but genuinely… Lucerne is something special. We were blessed with two solid days of sunshine during our visit, and the city seemed to come alive with the warm Spring weather, with everyone outdoors, enjoying the warmth and bright blue skies.
One of Lucerne’s greatest perks is its proximity to nature, with its vast shimmering lake and its location surrounded by mountains. With only a bit of time to spend in the city, we were faced with the tough decision of which mountain to explore. After some research, our minds were made up: we’d be spending a half-day up Mount Pilatus, home to the world’s steepest cogwheel train, the longest toboggan run in Switzerland and the less-official title of ultra badass mountain (as coined by me). Our visit was marred by a bit of bad luck. We were beyond excited to ride the cogwheel train up Pilatus (again, the steepest in the world!) but were gutted to find out upon our arrival that its opening had been delayed by a few days. Standing by the deserted cogwheel station, we let the disappointment creep in for a few minutes, but quickly bounced back to our Plan B: taking the gondola up. After a long wait for parking (arrive early, folks!), we hopped into our adorable red car, which zipped us over 2000m up in the air, with stellar views as we climbed higher and higher.
If you’re looking for things to do in Lucerne, I highly recommend the venture up Pilatus. Even in May, there was snow, and plenty of cool activities for all ages. For half the day we kept busy breathing in the fresh mountain views, walking through icy snow tunnels and even having a go at the toboggan run (yup, the longest in Switzerland!) Now, although this was an activity that even kids flawlessly whizzed through, I was genuinely terrified (because I am me, and I am lame). But luckily, you could control your own speed, which meant I was able to go at an (admittedly) grandma-esque pace while enjoying the gorgeous scenery.
Due to our time constraints, we weren’t able to try every activity on the mountain, which is a real bummer because the giant ropes course looked like so much fun! Maybe it’s for the best though… I’m not sure clumsy-me would have survived.
We capped off our perfect day with a sunset stroll through Lucerne, which glows the most incredible of colours when the sun comes down. On this particular night, the city became awash in shades of light purple, which made the scene absurdly perfect.
After prying ourselves from our gorgeous hotel balcony, our second day was spent taking in some of Lucerne’s major sights, ducking into quirky craft shops and snacking on ice cream along the way. It was my idea of a perfect Sunday, strolling through the sunny streets of Lucerne, climbing the old city walls for idyllic views and ogling goods at the pop-up flea markets along the river. Some must-sees for me were definitely the Lion Monument, a sandstone memorial for Swiss mercenaries who died during the French Revolution, and the Musegg Wall, which has four climbable towers open to the public, boasting the most incredible views of the city you’re bound to get.
Here’s the bottom line: Lucerne is gorgeous, and there’s examples of this all throughout the city. If you’re looking for a place where you’ll be mindblown by nature, where you’ll fill up your memory card with photos and a place that you’ll dream about for years to come, then this is it. Add Lucerne to your bucket lists, because it is oh so worth it.
Until next time, beautiful city!
I was generously provided with complimentary admission to Mount Pilatus, but as always, opinions are entirely my own 🙂