Lake Lucerne boasts long stretches of sandy beaches around the bay, with pretty views of the city and the distant mountains.
This 300m-long, soft, sandy beach is located on the other side of the bay to the bustling city centre and is backed by a huge sunbathing lawn. Onsite, you'll also find a heated pool and a choice of cafés and bars where you can grab a snack or a spot of lunch.
The Lucerne Nationalquai, situated in front of a row of historic hotel complexes, offers bathing in the heart of Lucerne. You can take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear lake, sunbathe on the deck or hire a stand-up paddle board and head out on your own little voyage.
Lucerne's markets are amazingly varied, from fruit and veg to clothes and toys - and all at great prices. There are farmers' and flea markets every Saturday, as well as a crafts market on the first Saturday of every month. The Stadt Luzern also holds a monthly market on the first Wednesday of every month.
There are two main shopping districts in Lucerne - the pedestrianised old town and the busier high streets of the new town. Both districts house a selection of well-known international brands, while the old town also has a mixture of regional boutiques. The Pilatusstrasse, in the new part of town, even has a few big department stores, too.
Shopping for famous Swiss goods - like watches and jewellery - is in easy reach too. The old town and new town shopping districts are not only home to high-street brands and independent boutiques, but also to top-notch designer names like Rolex and Cartier.
The Sunset Bar at the Hotel Seeburg is a perfect location for a chilled evening. It's in the garden of the property and features sun loungers so you can watch the sun set with a cocktail in hand. There are lots of restaurants and bars on the promenade, too, where you can enjoy a a quiet meal and a post-dinner drink.
From rooftop bars and casinos to modern lounges and nightclubs, Lucerne is the epitome of swish Swiss nightlife. Louis Bar, on the Adligenswilerstrasse, is named after the legendary trumpeter, Louis Armstrong, and is the place to go for a bit of jazz and soul. The Pilatusstrasse in the old town is also full of lively night spots. If you're looking for something extra swanky, try Nectar - a sophisticated rooftop bar at the Radisson Blue Hotel that has DJs playing on weekends.
Lucerne is stuffed with restaurants selling cuisines from all over the world. From lakefront eateries to cafés and bars in the maze of streets slightly more inland, there are loads to choose from. Make sure to try some of Lucerne’s very own pear bread – buttery puff pastry filled with pears, plums, figs, walnuts and raisins.
On the Schützenstrasse you’ll find Wirthaus Galliker, a traditional tavern run by the Galliker family since 1856. It’s always thriving with locals and the atmosphere is great – friendly waitresses serve Swiss specialities like the Lucerne Chogalipasteli.
A short walk from the railway station is Restaurant Drei Konige - a high-ceilinged, retro restaurant offering a mixture of European dishes and Swiss classics. Despite being part of the Drei Konige hotel, it’s a place that locals love too.
Down the road from the Drei Konige is Grottino 1313, a gorgeous restaurant with rustic décor. The plates from the set menu are colourful, inventive and beautifully presented, and the service is top-class.
Lucerne is a city of opposites, with lots to see and do. History buffs can stroll through the old quarter, admiring historic buildings and architecture, while those who prefer things a little more modern can head to the cosmopolitan heart of the city. A walk along the lakeside promenade is always a must, as is crossing the famous Chapel Bridge.
There are five ferry routes on the lake – to Fleulen, Alpnachstad, Kussnacht, Burgenstock and Meggenhorn. Most of the boats have an onboard bar as well as separate first and second class seating, though only the Fleulen route uses the iconic paddle steamers. Your Region Visitor’s Card will give you discount on the late night boat to/from Weggis and Vitznau. If you just want to see the sights, there's also a 1-hour round-trip cruise that won't take up too much of your day.
With typical Swiss efficiency, you can catch trains to loads of places around the country, including Bern (1 hour), Zurich (50 minutes), Lugano (2 hours), Interlaken (2 hours), Montreux (3 hours) and Lausanne (2 hours 30 minutes). Your Swiss Transfer Ticket Combi will get you discounts too. There are also plenty of mountain railways, including the world's steepest cogwheel up Mount Pilatus. And take advantage of your Swiss Half Fare Card that you get as part of your holiday for up to 50% off Swiss train journeys during your stay.
A good system of post buses runs in the area, and you can get discount with your Swiss Transfer Ticket Combi. And your Swiss Half Fare Card that you get as part of your holiday for up to 50% off the buses too.
Your Ticket Combi will also give you discount on the summer lifts. It’s well worth riding to the peak of Mount Pilatus, to get the best views in the area.
Strolls along the lakeside promenades of Lucerne and the surrounding villages can be enjoyed by all. For fabulous views over the region, both Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus offer some excellent walking, along Alpine trails and through lush green meadows. Take the steepest cogwheel railway to the top of Pilatus - it's worth the 10-minute walk up the path to the summit at 2,118m. You can also take the cable car down to Frakmuntegg and enjoy mountain moorland and crystal-clear streams on the walk down to Krienseregg.
Discover the beautiful Alpine meadows surrounding Lucerne with this easy walk. Catch the no. 14 bus to the St Anna Clinic and walk past the school complex to the Restaurant Schlossli Utenberg. A meadow trail will take you to the Dietschiberg viewpoint, where the views are spectacular. Carry on following the trail through the fields to Adligenswil, where you can stop for something to eat. Buses will bring you back to Lucerne.
Take the Krienseregg lift to the middle station on Mount Pilatus and follow the signposted route through the forest to Dragon Moor. There are various platforms to stop at along the way, each with different flora, fauna, history and myths to explore - In the Realm of Moss, Water Moves Mountains, A Forest Tour, Purple Moor Grass, and On Track to the Ice Age. The loop takes from 1-3 hours, depending how long you spend at each platform.
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