Lake Lucerne is a lake in central Switzerland and the fourth largest in the country. Encircled by popular excursion mountains, Lake Lucerne is the lake with the greatest scenic variety in the country. The city, the lake, the mountains – the Lucerne-Lake Lucerne Region offers countless possibilities for an unforgettable event. Whether you want to discover sun-kissed lakes and mountains in the summer or winter landscapes and snow-covered mountain villages, the region has a lot to offer all year round.
The German lake name, “Vierwaldstättersee”, has its origins in the four historic “Waldstätten” (Lake of the four forested settlements), the three original cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, and the canton of Lucerne, which, together, surround Lake Lucerne. The foundation for the Swiss Confederation was laid in 1291 with the oath taken on the Rütli, a meadow above Lake Lucerne. In the past, the lake was an important transit route, until 1863 in fact the only trade route to the Gotthard pass.
Lake Lucerne was formed as a glacial lake about 12 000 years ago, at the end of the Ice Age. The lake has four main tributary rivers. The River Reuss flows into the lake at Flüelen and Seedorf, the River Aa near Alpnachstad and the Engelberger Aa at Buochs. The River Muota enters the lake near Brunnen. Coming downhill from the Gotthard mountain range at a significant slope, the River Reuss carries large amounts of sediment with it, which over time has pushed the river delta in Canton Uri 10 km further north and well into the lake. Lake Lucerne only has one outflow, the River Reuss in the city of Lucerne. In the city, the flow of the river is controlled with several locks.
The wonderful Alpine landscapes of Central Switzerland form the scenic backdrop to Lake Lucerne. Such world famous peaks as Mount Rigi, Mount Pilatus and the Stanserhorn frame the water and add scenic grandeur. Gently gliding over the water is one of the most relaxing and tranquil ways to experience the heart of the Swiss Alps. Aside from its unique shape, with countless different bays and side arms, Lake Lucerne is also noteworthy for the variety of scenery.
The Schöllenen Bridge which made north-south travel across the Gotthard range possible, and here, in 1871, Europe’s first cog railroad up to Rigi marked the beginning of tourism. The lake route is still plied today by the “Gotthard Panorama Express”: the trip begins in Lucerne with a cruise to Flüelen, and then continues in first-class panorama carriages across the famous Gotthard railway line through to Ticino.
Exceptional locations and exciting social programmes are available in Lake Lucerne. The good transport links ensure safe and easy travel throughout the entire region. Boat cruises on board five historic paddle wheel steamers and 15 elegant salon motor vessels count among the highlights of this region. A meeting in the historic function room of a venerable hotel, a cable car ride to a mountain peak in the afternoon, a sumptuous gala dinner on the lake in the evening.
A steamer cruise across the convolute lake of Lucerne on a sun-filled summer’s day is without doubt a wonderful experience. But a trip on a late scheduled sailing through a mild summer’s evening or, shortly before Christmas, toward the sea of lights that is the town of Lucerne must at least be just as unforgettable. As is the mystical mood on the lake during the autumn mist period, and when the steamer cuts steadily through the waves on Lake Uri whipped up by the föhn wind. Trips in the cosy warmth of the saloon motor vessels, whilst the snow-covered winter landscape passes by outside, can only be described as complete relaxation.
The largest shipping company in Switzerland operates the necessary routes to reach many of the most important excursion destinations and mountain cableways of the region, such as the Rigi, Pilatus, Bürgenstock and Klewenalp. Special musical and culinary events are also offered on numerous scheduled and additional trips. The rich offering of delicious foods from the onboard galley provides added enjoyment and pleasure to any cruise.
A boat trip can be ideally combined with a walk, such as the “Weg der Schweiz” or Swiss Path, a themed trail on the history of Switzerland. Several cycling and skating paths as well as numerous bathing and rest areas are provided along the lake shores. An excursion to the popular sightseeing and shopping town of Lucerne, to include a trip to the Swiss Museum of Transport with its IMAX cinema, the Glacier Garden or a leisurely shopping expedition through the old town, is well worthwhile.
Historic sites and enchanting countryside abound, from the monument to William Tell to commanding mountain peaks, from cities to remote Alpine valleys, from baroque monasteries to deserted canyons. Surfers brave wind and waves, lake steamers leave majestic wakes, colourful paragliders dot the sky. Mountain trains and suspended cable cars mount the peaks.
The roots of the Swiss Confederation and 21 of the most appealing traditional winter sport areas in the country can be found around Lake Lucerne. Lucerne opens the door to a very special corner of the world. The city lies nestled among the most beautiful ski areas in the region, all reachable within just one hour’s travel. 500 kilometres of slopes (in total), 8-kilometre sledging track (Melchsee-Frutt), 12-kilometre descent with a 2000-metre difference in altitude (Titlis), 40 kilometres of cross-country ski tracks (Andermatt).
The shores of Lake Lucerne are partly formed by steep mountains like the Rigi and Pilatus, bordered by fabulous towns like Lucerne and Weggis, and are the site of Switzerland’s oldest history. The lake is unusual because it has a very irregular shape, with many bends and turns and four arms, touch on the lake, all of which makes for some of the most beautiful landscapes in Switzerland.
Lake Lucerne has formed an important part of Switzerland’s transport system for many centuries. Before the construction of the railways and before the advent of mass tourism in the late 19th century, commercial freight shipping was actually the most important activity on Lake Lucerne, as the lake was located along the important north-south trade route through the Alps. Until 1863, Lake Lucerne actually provided the only access to the stony roads of the Gotthard Pass.
Situated at the heart of the first four cantons of the Swiss Confederation, the lake has numerous historical associations. Lake Uri’s eastern shore is the site of the legendary Swiss patriot William Tell’s leap from the boat in which the bailiff Gessler was taking him to prison (marked by the Chapel of Tell). The legendary meeting place of the founders of the Confederation, the meadow of Rütli, is on the west bank. The Everlasting League of 1315 was formed at Brunnen, and the Hollow Way (Hohle Gasse), the scene of the legendary murder of Gessler by William Tell, runs south along Lake Küssnacht.
A boat trip that’s fun as well as beautiful. Enjoy the fresh lake air on an outing on Lake Lucerne. You’ll be fascinated by the scenery, the attractions of inland navigation and the historical places dotted along the shoreline. Combine your walk with a boat trip. Enjoy a late cruise on a mild summer evening or sail towards Lucerne’s sea of lights during Advent.
A trip aboard one of the five historic paddle steamers or 15 elegant saloon motor vessels is one of the highlights of the region. Dating from the Jugendstil period, the paddle steamers sail between Lucerne and Flüelen through some fabulous natural scenery. The meals served up by the galley double the pleasure of the on-board experience. You can sail to many destinations, mountain railways and aerial cableways in the region, such as those on the Rigi, Pilatus, Bürgenstock and Seelisberg. And in winter you can take the boat from Lucerne directly to the Klewenalp and Rigi winter sports resorts.
On the way south, the English discovered the mountains of central Switzerland. Several spa and bathing resorts such as Weggis or Gersau were created. In 1871, the very first rack railway in Europe, the Vitznau-Rigi Railway, was opened. In 1889 the steepest cog railway in the world was built from Alpnachstad to Mount Pilatus. Mark Twain described an ascent to the Rigi, which led to the blossoming of Swiss tourism in the United States in the 19th century. One of the largest steamship fleets in Europe operates with five steamships on Lake Lucerne.
In the area surrounding the lake and on terraces at medium height (for example Morschach and Seelisberg) there are numerous places for tourists. The Rigi, Pilatus, the Bürgenstock, the Stanserhorn, the Buochserhorn, and the two legends, the Urirotstock and the Fronalpstock are attractive panoramic mountains near Lake Lucerne. Most of them can be reached by mountain railways, some of which have their valley station near boat stations on the lake.
There are numerous locations on the lake that are important in Swiss cultural and tourism history: Rütli, Tellsplatte, Tell Chapel, Carving Tower of Stansstad, Neu-Habsburg, Schillerstein, Treib, Astrid Chapel (Küssnacht) and Meggenhorn Castle.
Lucerne is a city in central Switzerland, the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and a nexus of economics, transportation, culture, and media in the region. Owing to its location on the shores of Lake Lucerne and its outflow, the river Reuss, within sight of the mounts Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a destination for tourists. Lucerne, the gateway to central Switzerland, sited on Lake Lucerne, is embedded within an impressive mountainous panorama.
Thanks to its attractions, its attractive shopping offer, the beautiful lakeside setting and the nearby excursion mountains of the Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn, the town is a destination for many travel groups and individuals on their journey through central Switzerland. Complete with gable paintings, the covered, medieval Chapel Bridge forms the centrepiece of Lucerne’s townscape and is considered to be one of the oldest, covered wooden bridges in Europe. A further landmark of the town is the Museggmauer, a wall which, with the exception only of one of its towers, has been preserved in its original, well-fortified state.
One of the city’s landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (German: Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century. Since the city straddles the Reuss where it drains the lake, it has a number of bridges. These include the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a 204 m (669 ft) long wooden covered bridge originally built in 1333, the oldest covered bridge in Europe, although much of it had to be replaced after a fire on 18 August 1993, allegedly caused by a discarded cigarette. Partway across, the bridge runs by the octagonal Water Tower (Wasserturm), a fortification from the 13th century. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Lucerne’s history.
Downriver, between the Kasernenplatz and the Mühlenplatz, the Spreuer Bridge (Spreuerbrücke or Mühlenbrücke, Mill Bridge) zigzags across the Reuss. Constructed in 1408, it features a series of medieval-style 17th century plague paintings by Kaspar Meglinger (de) titled Dance of Death (Totentanzzyklus). The bridge has a small chapel in the middle that was added in 1568.
Old Town Lucerne is mainly located just north of the Reuss, and still has several fine half-timber structures with painted fronts. Remnants of the old town walls exist on the hill above Lucerne, complete with eight tall watch towers. An additional gated tower sits at the base of the hill on the banks of the Reuss.
Historic houses decorated with frescoes line the picturesque town squares as they do the ‘Weinmarkt’ square in the car-free old town. Lucerne is a city of town squares and churches. The Jesuit church dating from the 17th century is regarded as Switzerland’s first sacral Baroque building and the twin towers of the Hofkirche form an integral part of the townscape. The figure of a dying lion which was hewn from the face of rock in remembrance of the heroic death of Swiss guards killed during an attack on the Tuileries in 1792 is one of the best-known monuments in Switzerland. And with its 112-metre-long Bourbaki panorama, Lucerne possesses one of the world’s few maintained, mammoth circular paintings.
The twin needle towers of the Church of St. Leodegar, which was named after the city’s patron saint, sit on a small hill just above the lake front. Originally built in 735, the present structure was erected in 1633 in the late Renaissance style. However, the towers are surviving remnants of an earlier structure. The interior is richly decorated. The church is popularly called the Hofkirche (in German) and is known locally as the Hofchile (in Swiss-German).
Bertel Thorvaldsen’s carving of a dying lion (the Lion Monument, or Löwendenkmal) is found in a small park just off the Löwenplatz. The carving commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when an armed mob stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.
The Swiss Museum of Transport is a large and comprehensive museum exhibiting all forms of transport, including locomotives, automobiles, ships, and aircraft. It is to be found beside the lake in the northern-eastern section of the city.
Tradition and modernity stand side-by-side with ease in Lucerne, as the town has also earned a reputation for itself with innovative design. The futuristic Culture and Convention Centre (KKL), designed by leading French architect Jean Nouvel, is one the architectural highlights of the town. The KKL is also a landmark of “Lucerne: Festival City” and venue for a wide variety of cultural events throughout the year. The Richard Wagner Museum is found on the lake at Tribschen and is dedicated to the composer Richard Wagner. Wagner lived in Lucerne from 1866 to 1872 and his former villa now hosts the museum dedicated to him.
Lucerne is the ideal starting point for many excursions to the highlights of central Switzerland. A trip up one of Lucerne’s regional mountains, the Pilatus or the Rigi – the queen of mountains – is a must. But excursions up onto the Stanserhorn, the Bürgenstock or a steamship cruise on Lake Lucerne with its many bends and arms are certainly no less worthy. The Gotthard Panorama Express originates in Lucerne and ferries its passengers to the foot of the Gotthard pass via Lake Lucerne and then continues by rail into Ticino, south of the Alpine ridge. The cherry road leads from Lucerne through the landscape of cheery trees and kirsch.
Engelberg is a major mountain resort in Central Switzerland. Engelberg-Titlis is the largest winter and summer holiday destination in central Switzerland. The attractive village with the famous monastery offers a wide variety of holiday activities for families, newcomers and those in the know. The many exciting options will make your stay an unforgettable mountain experience.
Engelberg is located 25 km south of Lake Lucerne in a wide mountain valley at an altitude of around 1000 meters. At 3,239 meters, Titlis mountain with its glacier, and Hahnen mountain at 2,600 meters, are towering over the surrounding peaks. In the winter they make sure that there will be snow far into the spring season. One of the top 10 ski regions in Switzerland, Engelberg is also known for its diverse ski and freeride area. In the summer, on the other hand, it’s all about hiking, mountaineering, climbing, biking, and playing golf.
The town of Engelberg is appealing because of its distinct and rustic character. In the Middle Ages, Engelberg was known for the educational quality of its Benedictine monastery, Engelberg Abbey. The Benedictine monastery was founded in 1120 and has a great impact on the life of the village, even today. Monks still live, work and teach there. The homes left over from the Belle Epoque are also witnesses of that time period. In combination with the pleasant Swiss flair, the special architecture lends the village its very own charm.
From the 19th Century onwards Engelberg became internationally known as a mountain resort, but it is today visited as much for skiing as for its Alpine character. With its combination of modern snow and sports facilities and alpine location, Engelberg is popular today for both summer and winter tourism. The major tourist activities in the village and surrounding area are skiing and other snow sports in the winter season, and hiking and mountain activities during the summer.
In the village itself the main sights are the Benedictine monastery Engelberg Abbey which incorporates a cheese factory and demonstration shop, the Talmuseum showing the history of the area and Swiss rural life, and a number of old chapels.
Faster than ever directly into the eternal ice with the “Titlis Rotair” gondola. Biking, a climbing course or a golf game – Engelberg has a lot to offer for active people. The multifaceted family activities with the free summer program and the Alpine playground at Ristis make the children’s eyes light up.
Hiking with views far and wide, breathing in fresh mountain air and the scent of flowers make you feel as good as new and let your senses come alive: 500 km of hiking trails offer everything from leisurely to strenuous routes. There are pleasant places to stop and rest, countless grilling spots and mountain restaurants where you might like to linger.
Engelberg is a winter resort, the winter sports season generally lasts from December until April, although the high altitude glacier areas on the Titlis can sometimes be used (by advanced skiers) from October until May. Snow coverage is generally reliable, although in recent years artificial snow machines have been installed on some of the lower altitude runs in order to improve snow cover.
The town offers such a variety of things to do that you will be tempted to extend your stay long enough to try everything. The two sides of the valley couldn’t be more different and they provide pure enjoyment to both athletes and those who like to take it slower. The largest and the most beautiful ski area in central Switzerland. Spread over an altitude of 2000 meters, there is room for snowboarding, skiing and sledding, a varied winter program to make your holiday exciting.
The long, snowy winter begins as early as October and lasts into May. The 35 km of cross-country ski trails meandering through the lovely Engelberg area. Try the three different sledding runs with a total length of 7 km. On Fridays and Saturdays between Christmas and early March the sledding runs are also open at night for a fast downhill run. If you prefer a more quite pace, explore the area around Engelberg on 53 km sign-posted winter hiking trails.
The Titlis in the south of Engelberg at 3,238 metres (10,623 ft) above sea level is the highest summit of the range north of the Susten Pass, between the Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland. The Titlis mountain massif is accessible by cable cars of the Titlis Bergbahnen. The cable car bottom station is also the central terminus of the village bus services. A funicular railway (dating from 1913) runs up to station Gerschnialp (1,267 m (4,157 ft)) and a wide Alpine pasture called Gerschni, with easy snow areas suitable for beginners and cross country ski trails, and a toboggan run leading back down to the valley station. In the summer there are two cheese dairies, with walking trails leading up to Ober Trüebsee and back down to the village, or level trails leading to Unter Trüebsee to the west.
Andermatt is a mountain village and municipality in the canton of Uri in Switzerland. Andermatt is located at the center of the Saint-Gotthard Massif and the historical center cross of north-south and east-west traverses of Switzerland.Andermatt’s mountains are popular for their off-piste, deep snow characteristics.
The Ursern valley (canton Uri) at the foot of the Gotthard Pass is one of the most impressive upland valleys in Switzerland. Andermatt (1444 m) lies at the heart of Switzerland’s Alpine passes, and is the largest of the three villages in the valley; it’s at the crossroads of the mountain passes from north to south and from east to west.The variety of tour options with the eight surrounding Alpine passes is unique worldwide.
A stunning nature with countless mountain lakes, small glaciers, impressive side valleys and very different mountain passes wait to be discovered here. Switzerland is considered the water tower of Europe – and in the holiday region of Andermatt you stand right in the middle. Four water sources spring from the Gotthard massif, namely the Rhine, Reuss, Ticino and Rhone, which carry seven percent of the alpine water in all four directions. The four-source path, an attractive and varied hike in five stages, connects the sources.
Thrilling moments around Andermatt: the Furka, Gotthard, Oberalp, Susten, Klausen, Lukmanier, Nufenen and Grimsel passes. A trip packed with experiences: traverse the passes by PostBus, car, motorbike, racing bike, mountain bike or rent a classic car, board the Glacier Express or a historic post coach, take the Furka steam railway or the Oberalp Openair Express.
The Gotthard region is furthermore characterized by its cultural diversity and its well-documented history. Traces of this turbulent history can be found in the architecture, in the valley museum or in the legendary Schöllenen Gorge with the notorious Devil’s Bridge, once established by the people as gateway from north to south over the mighty Gotthard.
For railway fans, Andermatt is an ideal place for taking a break or an excursion. From Göschenen station on the Gotthard line, the rack-and-pinion Schöllenenbahn climbs steeply up to Andermatt, where it meets the east-west route across the Alps of the Matterhorn-Gotthard line (with the Glacier Express), going towards either Valais or Grisons. Alternatively you can travel from Realp on the nostalgic “Dampfbahn Furka Bergstrecke”.
The Andermatt holiday region is one of the most snow-sure ski resorts in Switzerland. Andermatt has two main ski areas in the winter. Nätschen is a mountain located on the north-east side of Andermatt. Gemsstock is a mountain located on the southern side of Andermatt. Here, the diverse skiing areas of the Skiarena Andermatt-Sedrun offer a healthy mix with varying degrees of altitude and levels of difficulty. Freeriders and lovers of steep-slope descents fall for the Gemsstock, while recreational skiers and families find themselves in their element at the Nätschen and Sedrun resorts.
Both areas are accessible by ski lifts running up from the village, and have valley runs which are open until around mid-March. Additionally, Nätschen is accessible by the railway. There are plans to overhaul the ski areas, and connect Nätschen with the neighbouring slopes of Oberalp, which are currently only accessible by train, however they are a part of the whole ski area.
Well-signposted snowshoe trails and various winter hiking trails add to the long list of possible winter adventures too, not forgetting three different toboggan runs for rapid fun! And last but not least, cross-country skiers find 28 km of Classic & Skating trails in the Urserntal valley and another 12 km in Sedrun.
Capital of the Swiss canton of Zug, a stylish town that values public art, and goes together with the town’s business world, which lends the pretty town a certain international flavour. Zug is a high quality of life, a view of the Rigi and Pilatus, and a jewel of a historic centre.
Zug is surrounded with mountains, rivers and lakes including the mountains Zugerberg and the Walchwilerberg Oberallmig, the Höhronen and the river Sihl. The Choller nature reserve is also near Lake Zug. Sights within the town include the late Gothic church of St. Wolfgang, near Hühnenberg, or St. Oswald in Zug, the old town of Zug with the Town Hall and the Zytturm (clock tower), the Huwiler Tower, the Zurlaubenhof, feudal estate of the family Zurlauben, on the outskirts of the town.
The lake shore has been embanked and forms a promenade, from which views of the Rigi and Pilatus, as well as of the snowy peaks of the Bernese Oberland, are gained. Towards its northerly end, a monument marks the spot where a part of the shore slipped into the lake in 1887. The older part of the town is rather crowded together, though only four of the wall towers and a small part of the town walls still survive.
The town was founded in the early 13th century by the counts of Kyburg. The 52-metre-high Zytturm also dates back to this period. Initially built as a simple gateway in the old town wall, over the centuries it was expanded and its height increased until it attained the form we see today, with its oriel windows and steep hipped roof. In 1574 the great clock was built into it, giving the tower its present name. Under this main clock there is an astronomical timepiece with four hands indicating the week, the phase of the moon, the month, as well as whether it is currently a leap year.
The most striking old building in the town is the parish church of St Oswald (late 15th century), dedicated to St Oswald, king of Northumbria (d. 642), one of whose arms was brought to Zug in 1485. The town hall, also a 15th-century building, now houses the Historical and Antiquarian Museum. There are some quaint old painted houses close by. A little way higher up the hillside is a Capuchin convent in a striking position, close to the town wall and leaning against it. Still higher, and outside the old town, is the fine new parish church of St Michael, consecrated in 1902.
In Zug’s old town itself there are fine sights in the form of the late gothic town hall built in 1505 and St. Oswald’s church, from the same period. You can certainly lose yourself in the picturesque narrow streets of the old town, without actually getting lost: saunter past brightly coloured rows of houses, pretty boutiques and tempting restaurants, and end up in Landsgemeindeplatz, the main square on the lake. This is where Zug lives, celebrates and simply takes it easy on fine summer evenings. Children love the aviaries, fans of the water can hire boats, and romantics simply appreciate the world’s most beautiful sunset.
The business quarter is on the rising ground north of the old town, near the railway station. Several fine modern buildings rise on or close to the shore in the town and to its south, whilst to the southwest is a convent of Capuchin nuns, who manage a large girls’ school and several other educational establishments. 140 shops and restaurants nestle amid the historic houses of Zug’s old town. Traditional handicrafts meet timeless cultural goods; centuries-old traditions sit side-by-side with modern lifestyles.
Take a stroll through the old town either, which is situated right by the lake, spending an idyllic summer’s day on the lake, go to one of the town’s three jetties, step onto one of the Lake Zug Navigation Company steamers and let it ferry you through the fairytale scenery. The fresh breeze, the feeling of leaving your everyday life behind and the view of the surrounding shores are as reviving as a day in a spa. But then again, there’s a whole host of sporting activities on offer, by, on and in the water: stand-up paddle boarding, wakeboarding or pedalos.
There are a number of Swiss heritage sites of national significance in Zug. These include two libraries, the Library of the former Capuchin monastery and the library of the parish church of St. Michael. One archeological site, the Sumpf a late Bronze Age lake shore settlement, is included. The rest of the sites are the Catholic Church of St. Oswald with Charnel house, the Seminary of St. Michael, the town walls and several buildings in the old town of Zug.
The Museum of Prehistory Zug houses an important collection of archaeological remains, especially from the late Bronze Age (urnfield culture) settlement of Zug-Sumpf. Many of Catharine II of Russia’s relatives descended from Zug and became known as the Volga Germans.
There are three museums in the town: the Museum of Prehistory, which displays archaeological finds from Canton Zug; the castle houses the Museum of Cultural History of the town and Canton Zug, and the Zug Art Gallery attracts visitors with its exhibitions. Several municipalities also have their own local museum. The Casino Theatre in Zug and the Zug Burgbachkeller, along with the Chollerhalle cultural center, are the most famous establishments. The event centers in Baar, Cham and Rotkreuz and the Zug youth scene (Galvanik, Podium Industrie 45) enrich the range of cultural events.
Zug’s culture also includes the famous Zuger cherry liqueur cake. Zug is proud to be known as the “Cherry Canton”. Numerous cherry-related customs and traditions are celebrated in the town and indeed in the whole region. Cherry walks are particularly popular, for example. There are social festivals and sumptuous events that are held from spring until late summer. Starting with the cherry blossom, moving on to the Zug Lake Festival and right through to Jazz Night. Local specialties, in addition to the cherry and the cherry liqueur cake, include the Zug ‘Rötel’, a fine lake charfish, found on many menus.
Rigi is one of Switzerland’s most popular mountains, located in Central Switzerland. The whole massif is almost entirely surrounded by the water of three different bodies of water: Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug and Lake Lauerz. In a majestic setting where three lakes meet, easily reached by cog railway or cable car, with a panoramic view of the highest Alpine peaks and a varied range of leisure activities.
The Rigi, also known as the Queen of Mountains, the highest point on the Rigi-Kulm at 1,797m asl is where visitors can admire a magnificent panorama over Lake Lucerne and the nearby Alps, and to the Swiss Plateau looking north. The Rigi Kulm and other areas, such as the resort of Rigi Kaltbad, are served by Europe’s oldest mountain railways, the Rigi Railways. The whole area offers many activities such as skiing or sledging in the winter, and hiking in the summer.
Back in the 18th century, the Rigi’s unique location made it a famous destination for travellers across Europe. In some ways, it was the pioneer mountain of Alpine tourism. Queen Victoria, no less, was even carried up the peak in a sedan chair. The 19th century saw spas and fashionable hotels opening one after another in Kaltbad, Rigi Kulm and on the Scheidegg, with later additions above the Klösterli monastery and on the Staffelhöhe. The modern era of mass tourism dawned in 1871 with the construction of the Vitznau-Rigi Railway, which went down in history as Europe’s first mountain railway, and the Arth-Rigi Railway in 1875.
Rigi has been featured in many works of art, including both paintings and literary publications. Perhaps the most famous paintings of the Rigi were a series by J. M. W. Turner, including The Blue Rigi, Sunrise, several of which are in the collection of the Tate Britain art gallery in London. Mark Twain also visited Rigi during his tour of Central Europe in the late 1870s, and wrote about his travels in chapter 28 of his A Tramp Abroad.
Several trains dating back to the early days still operate today, with public nostalgia trips scheduled on weekends between July and September. For one journey up the mountain, these lovingly restored steam locomotives dating back more than 100 years use about 500kg of coal and 2,200 litres of water. Together with the modern panoramic cable car from Weggis, the Rigi railways carry 600,000 passengers up the mountain each year. The range of leisure activities and events on offer in both summer and winter is constantly being expanded.
The Rigi is known as a true paradise for hikers, with over 100km of hiking paths and 15km of Nordic walking trails. On the routes between Rigi-Kulm, Staffelhöhe, Kaltbad, Scheidegg and Klösterli, hikers are sure to enjoy spectacular views over the lakes and the Swiss Plateau. The major differences in altitude can easily be conquered by cable car or mountain railway. Young and old alike love to flock to Rigiland in Kaltbad, where they will find a large children’s playground, the Wildmannlipfad trail, a mini-golf course, picnic areas and a natural pond complete with Kneipp path. The Rigi steam railway journey can be combined with a steamer voyage on Lake Lucerne for a truly wonderful experience.
In autumn, as the days start to get shorter and the fog cover begins to cloud the mood, it is well worth heading up the Rigi. That liberating feeling when the Rigi Railway rises up through the fog is indescribable. On its sunny terraces, the warm temperatures can be enjoyed alongside glorious views of the blanket of fog below and the surrounding mountains.
In winter, the Rigi is a sunlit isle floating above the sea of mist. At these lofty heights, visitors can choose from a wide range of winter sports: five ski lifts with 15km of ski and snowboard pistes, an airboard piste, 7km of tobogganing runs, a 14km panoramic ski run as well as 35km of groomed winter hiking, snowshoe and Nordic walking trails.
The village of Stoos is set in a delightful alpine landscape at the foot of the Fronalpstock mountain, on a sunny alpine plateau of the same name at about 1300 m. Stoos is reached by the steepest funicular railway in the world via Schlattli (from Schwyz on the road to Muotathal) or from Morschach by cable-car. The little village, with its hotels, holiday apartments and group accommodation is an ideal holiday destination for families.
Fronalpstock (1,922 meters) is the local mountain that can be reached on foot or with one of the cable cars. From this imposing viewpoint (where there is overnight accommodation), there is an impressive panoramic view of ten lakes, down to Brunnen and over to the Rütli, Pilatus, Rigi, Säntis, the high Alps and the central lowlands as far as the Jura.
The Stoos ridge hike from Klingenstock to Fronalpstock offers spectacular views of more than ten Swiss lakes and countless Alpine peaks in Central Switzerland. Alongside the fascinating panorama, you can see a large number of exquisite Alpine flowers by the wayside.
Summer visitors will find attractive routes for hiking, strolling and climbing among varied alpine flora and fauna. The marshland at 1,300 meters above sea level is an ideal excursion destination where visitors can find plenty of excitement and expand their knowledge of moors. On the way you can enjoy tasty specialities from local alpine cheese-makers at the two inns in Laui and Tröligen. There are three marked Nordic Walking Trails of varying degrees of difficulty to encourage followers of this fashionable sport.
The winter sport region around the Fronalpstock and Klingenstock mountains offers eight lifts and 35 km of slopes as well as a fun park. The little ones can learn how to ski in the snow sport school. Cross-country skiing enthusiasts will enjoy the 10 km of trails surrounding the village of Stoos. A 2 km long downhill run is available for sledding and air boarding. As a matter of course, there are numerous groomed winter hiking and snowshoe trails.
The Swiss Parks are exceptional places, where local people are dedicated to maintaining their glorious landscapes, lively traditions and sustainable regional economies. Genuine natural experiences, fascinating stories and delicious regional specialities are just waiting to be discovered. Explore our adventure and theme trails, which offer more than just natural beauty, with many opportunities to acquire a wealth of knowledge. Encounter local wild animals, sample traditional delicacies and learn all there is to know about handicrafts and architectural witnesses to history in our country.
Switzerland’s castles and fortresses beckon with splendidly flowering gardens, airy battlement walkways and prodigious halls of knights. The palaces and castles of Switzerland can look back on long and fascinating histories: each has its very own story to tell. Behind these ancient walls lie hidden treasures and fascinating stories for visitors to discover and explore. Embark on a journey through history as you visit Switzerland’s castles.
Ascend a peak, hike through alpine meadows, explore a forest, thanks to over 65 000 kilometres of waymarked trails, virtually every corner of Switzerland is waiting to be discovered.
Challenging single trails, impressive mountain bike tours or bike tours lasting several days. Selected and recommended Enduro, All Mountain and Tour mountain-bike routes along the SwitzerlandMobility network. Superb roads, unspoilt scenery: Switzerland is a paradise for devotees of road cycling.
Taking a sightseeing tour on boat is the most refreshing and relaxing way to see Lake Lucerne and experience this unique place in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Gently glide over the water, feel the fresh breeze and bask in the sun on the spacious decks of the stylish ships. From Lucerne, different boat routes provide the most direct access to the different mountain railways, beautiful villages and fascinating places steeped in history. Combine a cruise with visits to Mount Rigi, Mount Pilatus or the luxurious Bürgenstock Resort. On all of ferry links, drinks and light refreshments are available, while all of our paddle steamers and large motor vessels offer full catering services in ornate salons or comfortable modern lounges.
From urban and medieval Lucerne, to the dramatic cliffs of Lake Uri along the Gotthard route, there’s much to see. Best of all, for direct access to such popular destinations as Bürgenstock, Vitznau or Klewenalp, the boat connection is not just the nicest way to travel but also the fastest link. The refreshing cruises offer you the best opportunity to enjoy relaxing moments in the heart of the Swiss Alps. From 1-hour sightseeing cruises in the Bay of Lucerne to full-length cruises across the whole lake.
Passenger boats of the Schifffahrtsgesellschaft des Vierwaldstättersees (SGV) provide services on the lake, including many run by historic paddle steamers. The SGV serves 32 places along the shore of the lake, with interchange to both main line and mountain railways at various points. Under separate management, the Autofähre Beckenried-Gersau provides a car ferry service between Beckenried, on the south bank of the lake, and Gersau on the north.
Different sports are possible in some separate areas due to the water and wind conditions. The lake is accessible from boat and yacht harbors, to lake resorts and pools (e.g. the Lido pool in Lucerne, built in 1929 by Arnold Berger). Therefore, the lake can be easily accessible from both shores. The See-Club Luzern was founded in 1881, which is now Switzerland’s largest rowing club, as well as the Reuss Luzern rowing club (Ruderclub Reuss Luzern) in 1904. The Lucerne Yacht Club (Yachtclub Luzern) has existed since 1941 and has been running since 1966 a boathouse and buoy field on Churchill-Quai in Lucerne.
The Brunnen water sports club (Wassersportclub Brunnen), founded in 1958, held on Lake Lucerne in the first years of its existence international motorboat races and water ski championships. In 1965 the association chose a new name for the club: Lake Lucerne Water Sports Club (Wassersport-Club Vierwaldstättersee). The Central Switzerland Motorboat Club (Motorbootclub Zentralschweiz) was established in 1980 and the Hergiswil Water Sports Club (Wassersportclub Hergiswil) in 1986. SchweizMobil has created a canoe tour across Lake Lucerne between Brunnen and Gersau. Due to the wind in the Reuss Valley, the southern part of Lake Uri between the campground at Gruonbachstrand in Flüelen and Isleten is a center of windsurfing.
There are about ten places where you can dive without a boat in Lake Lucerne. The water is rather chilly all year round and therefore mostly very clear. In Lake Uri, at Sisikon, one can dive to a fragmented steep vertical wall, at the northern portal of the Schieferneggtunnel. The Lediwrack Bruno lies in front of Brunnen at a depth of 15 meters. Other well-known diving spots are in front of Vitznau, Weggis, Gersau and Hergiswil.
Wide pistes, steep gullies, huge halfpipes. More than 200 ski regions offer everything the heart desires when it comes to winter sports. With snow-capped peaks to thank for making Switzerland one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. Up until this very day, the mountains still captivate skiers, snowboarders, tobogganers and other winter sports enthusiasts.