Lucerne is as beautiful as its location is strategic. From the Zurich airport, hop aboard the clockwork-efficient Swiss railway system for the hour-long ride to Lucerne. Consider the Swiss Travel Passwhich allows unlimited travel on trains, buses, and boats as well as discounts on mountain railways. Most of the Old Town is spread across the north bank of the River Reuss. On the south bank is the 17th-century baroque Jesuit Church of Saint Francis Xavierdefined by its dull-green twin onion domes and grand marble stucco interiors. Next to the bridge, the Needle Dam regulates the water level of Lake Lucerne with wooden water spikes.
In winter, riverside stalls sell marronior roasted chestnuts. The brick-roofed Rathausthe 17th-century town hall and meeting place, now houses its own brewery and restaurant in the basement. At Kappellplatz Chapel Squarethe site of the annual Lucerne carnival, stands the iconic Fritschi fountainthe intricately painted Fritschi restaurant in a 17th-century building, and the nearlyyear-old St.
The adjacent Glacier Garden displays natural remnants from the last Ice Age 20, years ago—polished boulders and deep glacial potholes, fossilized mussels, and palm leaves. Children will enjoy the Alpineum Museum just opposite the monument, especially its lifelike diorama of Alpine peaks.
For dessert, head off in search of Swiss chocolates and specialty cheeses. The decadent creations at Max Chocolatier and Heini are handmade. The popular concert and festival venue also houses the Museum of Artwhich constantly changes its contemporary art exhibits.
Five minutes away, the Rosengart Collection showcases more than works by 19th- and 20th- century great masters, including Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Stop in at the art deco Hotel Montana for lunch at the chic Scala restaurant. The lamb chops with leek, apple, and beetroot gnocchi and the potato gnocchi with celery cream and horseradish are equally delicious whether enjoyed on the open-air lakeview terrace or in the heated conservatory.
Saphirwhich departs from just across the Bahnof.
With a convertible roof left open on days when the weather is good, the cruise covers the main sights, includes an audio guide, and affords grand views of the Alps. After disembarking, walk or bus to the Swiss Museum of Transportwhich traces the history of road, rail, water, and air through simulators and multimedia displays.
Top 5 ice cream parlours in lucerne
The museum complex includes a film theater and planetarium, but the grand bonanza for kids is the Chocolate Adventurean interactive ride exploring the history and making of chocolate through visuals, smells, and tastings. Grab a light bite at the in-house restaurant Mercato, or take snacks across the street for a picnic at the lovely lakeside park where ducks waddle in and out of the water.
Towering over Lucerne, 6,foot-high Mount Pilatus makes for a great day trip. Operating from May to November, the train lets visitors watch the meadows slowly give way to Alpine vegetation.
2. kapellbrücke (chapel bridge)
In off months, take the bus to Kriens to catch a cable car up to the peak of Pilatus. Walk the winding Dragon Path around the mountain and through tunnels with large windows and viewing platforms that afford stunning vistas of Lucerne far below. Artwork by noted Swiss artist Hans Erni adorns the walls with depictions of the dragon legend.
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. Stop in the roofed Panoramic Gallerywhich links the two hotels, for breathtaking views of the mighty Alps. All rights reserved. Malavika Bhattacharya is a freelance journalist who writes about travel, culture, and food.
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