Located at the heart of Bernese Oberland and surrounded by the famous peaks of Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus, Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee) is one of Central Switzerland’s most photographed natural wonders and the country’s fourth largest lake. Whether you’re soaring overhead in a cable car, cruising the lake itself, or visiting waterfront villages such as Weggis and Gersau, Lake Lucerne is mesmerizing from all angles.
Lucerne city tours will take you to the lake’s most memorable viewpoint: looking out over the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke) from the shore of Old Town. Alternatively, enjoy a hike around the lakeside villas; take the Golden round trip and travel by boat, cogwheel railway, and aerial cableway to the most spectacular viewpoints on Mount Pilatus; or gaze down over Lucerne from the summit of Mount Rigi.
Things to Know Before You Go
- It can get chilly on the mountaintops or out on the lake even in the summer, so bring some warm clothes.
- Many boat tours and trains are wheelchair accessible, but it’s best to check with the operator in advance.
How to Get There
Lake Lucerne is located in Central Switzerland, 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Zurich, or roughly 45 minutes by train. Trains run regularly from Zurich to the city of Lucerne, located on the lake’s northwest shore. Daily ferries run between Lucerne city and Fluelen at the southeast tip of the lake, taking about three hours one way and stopping at lakeside towns such as Vitznau, Beckenried, and Brunnen. You can also travel to different lakeside attractions on a sightseeing boat tour.
When to Get There
Lake Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s top vacation destinations. Summer (July through August) and Christmas are the most popular times to visit. While summer visitors come to hike in the Alps and enjoy boat cruises on the lake, winter travelers can hit the nearby ski slopes or visit the Lucerne Christmas Market.
Day Trips in the Lake Lucerne Region
Once you’ve scaled the summit of Mount Rigi and ridden the world’s steepest cog railway to the top of Mount Pilatus, brave a ride to the “Top of Europe” at Jungfraujoch or hike the notorious Eiger Trail around the North Face of Eiger Mountain. You could also visit the alpine village of Engelberg and take in the views from Mount Titlis, ride the open-air cable car to the top of Mount Stanserhorn, or take a ride on the Golden Pass Scenic Train.