Location: In central Switzerland south of Zurich and Basel
Time of Visit: May to August
How to Reach: By air to Zurich and thereafter by rail or road to Lucerne. Alternatively travel to Lucerne by international train and subsequently to other Lake Lucerne destinations by local railways or buses or cars
Nearest Railway Station: Lucerne
Nearest International Airport: Kloten Airport in Zurich
Time required for sightseeing: 7 days
This is what Mark Twain had to say about Weggis, a town alongside Lake Lucerne: ‘the charmingest place we have ever lived in for repose and restfulness, superb scenery”¦. We shall come here for the summers if we can’. Twain, with characteristic eloquence, echoed the feelings of thousands of visitors to the Lake Lucerne region. Lake Lucerne Switzerland, surrounded by enchanting mountain slopes, is a picturesque destination with city Lucerne on its shore.
Lucerne town with its medieval setting lies to the south of Basel and Zurich. Queen Victoria is supposed to have spent a holiday here under a pseudonym in August 1868. A boat cruise in Lake Lucerne, or a leisurely drive along its shore through winding roadways and tunnels, make a visit to this destination an indelible experience.
With a shoreline of about 144 kilometers and an expanse of nearly 114 square kilometers, Lucerne Lake serves a catchment area of more than 2100 square kilometers. River Reuss from the northwest, Sarner Aa and Engelberger Aa from the southwest, and Murata from the east are the main feeder rivers of this lake, while Reuss River continuing southwards is the primary outlet. Lake Lucerne or Luzerne in Central Switzerland averages a depth of about 104 meters and is 214 m at its deepest point. Situated at an elevation of about 434 meters the water level of the lake is maintained by a needle dam built across River Reuss at Lucerne city at the lake’s head. The shoreline of the lake merges with mountain slopes rising up to heights of 1500 meters to create a majestic landscape. Stanserhorn, Pilatus, and Rigi are mountains arising from these slopes.
Lake Lucerne Towns and Cities
Lake Lucerne shoreline of nearly 144 km is interspersed with historic and attractive towns. Lucerne, How, Hergiswil, Alpnachstad, Stansstad, Ennetbí¼rgen, Buochs, Beckenried, Bauen, Flí¼elen, Sisikon, Morschach, Brunnen, Gersau, Vitznau, Weggis, Gruppen, Kí¼ssnacht am Rigi (or Rigi), and Meggen is notable cities along Lake Lucerne’s shore.
On the shores and foothills of the mountains lies Lucerne city. This wonderful city is characterized by ancient guildhalls, medieval churches, chapels, large squares, and frescoed houses. Initially a fishing village, Lucerne rose in prominence after the establishment of the Benedictine Monastery in 700 AD. It grew in importance 13th century onwards when it became a key trading center in Central Switzerland with the opening of St. Gotthard Pass. Lucerne is well connected by railways with Zurich, Basel, and Geneva. Chapel Bridge, Water Tower, Spreur Bridge, Ritterscher Palace, Musegg Wall, and Franciscan Church are all medieval edifices adding to the romance and elegance of this city. The Lion Mountain depicting a dying lion was carved out of a mountain rock commemorating the death of Swiss mercenaries in 1792 Tuileries.
The magical Lake Lucerne and mountain setting offer an idle destination for tranquility and peaceful relaxation. This ‘Riviera’ of central Switzerland is located at a height of 435 meters at the base of Riga Mountain on Lake Lucerne shore. To reach Weggis you need to travel to Lucerne by international trains then travel by local train to Kí¼ssnacht am Rigi. Thereafter continue your journey by bus to Weggis. This town is famous for its Rose Festival in July.
Kí¼ssnacht am Rigi, popularly termed Rigi, is another magnificent tranquil destination on the banks of Lake Lucerne in Central Switzerland. Witness a legendary sunrise in Rigi, and experience a fascinating ropeway ride from Kí¼ssnacht to Seebodenalp at the foothills of Alps. This town is accessible from Lucerne by train and road routes.
Buochs at the mouth of Engelberger Aa River is reachable by A2 motorway which connects Basel, Lucerne, and Chiasso. Buochs on Lake Lucerne shoreline is famous for activities like skating, cycling, skiing, hiking, and fishing. Bucha village offers a tempting seafront promenade of Lucerne Lake.
Brunnen, lying towards the eastern shoreline at the confluence of Mouta River and Lake Lucerne, is perhaps the most dramatically located of all Lucerne Lake destinations. Brunnen is situated snugly between Fronalpstock scarps and Rigi crests. You get a breathtaking view of the misty cliffs of Seelisberg, Uri-Rotstock and Titlis mountains on one side, and the Umersee and Gotthard snowy peaks on the other. Brunnen being situated at the head of a wind tunnel draws in warm Fíöhn wind from the Mediterranean. Mad Bavarian King Ludwig supposedly used to take boat rides in Lake Lucerne around midnight with a team of alphorn blowers during his stay in Brunnen in 1865. The sound of alphorns echoed by mountain faces in the still of midnight created a mournful yet ethereal sensation for the riders.
Summer in Lake Lucerne
Summertime from May to August allows you to explore Lake Lucerne and its vicinity in its entirety. Boat rides in the lake with a clear view of the Alpine ranges all around are unmatched experiences. Cable car rides from most of the shoreline places to higher mountain slopes are exhilarating. A combination of the world’s densest cog railway network, funiculars, and cable cars offer you this thrilling experience of summer ride in Lake Lucerne area.
Get hold of a ‘Tell Pass’ for exploring this area at affordable rates. ‘Tell Pass’ is a regional holiday card specifically designed for making a thorough tour of this region during the summer season. This pass entitles you to steamer cruise in Lake Lucerne, cable car and funicular rides in the mountain ranges, and cog railway trips to Riga Mountain. Visit the Alpine destinations of Bí¼rgenstock, Bannalp, Klewenalp, Lungern — Schíönbí¼el, Melchsse-Fruit, Stanserhorn, and Wirzweli. Mount Titlis glacier and Pilatus range are additional attractions.
Lake Lucerne winter magic
Wintertime is a magic time in Lake Lucerne. The winter festivals begin with ‘City of Lights’ in Lucerne on Advent Sunday which incidentally is the first Sunday of December. Christmas market and Marliwelt (a fairy tale program targeted at children) are colorful festivals on Pilatus Kilm attracting thousands of visitors. ‘Venite’, an International Christmas forum, is participated by twenty groups from 20 countries displaying their respective Christmas pleasantries. This festival at Kapellplatz is held just before Christmas. Lucerne Carnival a festival of merriment, exhilaration, and color is held in end February to mark the end of winter festivals in Lake Lucerne region of Switzerland.
Engelberg Titlis, Andermatt, and Melchsee Fruit are winter sports destinations. If you enjoy skiing, tobogganing, or sled riding Titlis Glacier is perhaps the best destination.
Accommodation in Lake Lucerne Region
While touring Lake Lucerne you can put up in any hotel or lodge depending on your requirements and budget. Lucerne, Weggis, Kí¼ssnacht, Brunnen, and Vitznau are some of the important cities of this region. You will have the possibility of exploring this area from any of these lovely cities and towns circumscribing Lucerne Lake.
Grand Hotel National in Lucerne is a 5 star rated accommodation with 41 rooms spread over 4 floors. Overlooking Lake Lucerne, this luxury hotel is within walking distance from the historic wooden Chapel Bridge. It is at an approximate distance of 65 km from Zurich International airport.
NH Luzern is a 4-star rated luxury hotel in Lucerne city located at a driving distance of 75 minutes from Kloten airport in Zurich. This 120 roomed hotel in the center of Lucerne is close to Lion Mountain.
Palace Luzern, Best Western Hotel Krone, Grand Hotel Europe, Hotel Seeburg Luzern, and Hotel De La Paix are other noteworthy hotels in Lucerne city.
Related Links :
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=NDzbBt-yxGo: For exciting views of the Lake Lucerne and the adjacent cityscapes, along with a great script beautifully narrated, watch this video! Great overview of Lucerne and Lake Lucerne regions, covering all possible aspects of this fabulous destination.
http://revver.com/video/163245/steam-boat-on-lake-lucerne-in-weggis-switzerland/: This is a short video of cruising in the Lake Lucerne at Weggis. However, you will get a fair idea of the beauty of the place by watching it. Hard to believe, such places do still exist in the world!
http://www.travelblog.org/Photos/34853.html: For a cool collection of pictures from a tour to Lucerne, click on it! It has a spectacular photo taken in the course of a Lake Lucerne cruise as well.
http://realtravel.com/lucerne-switzerland-travel-blogs-d15729-3.html: No two travelers experience Lucerne in absolutely the same way. For varied travelers’ accounts of a tour to the Lake and the surrounding regions, click!