Lucerne is a stunning city that sits by the lake with the same name. The city is the gateway to Central Switzerland and is famous for its’ covered bridges, sunny plazas, candy-coloured houses and waterfront promenades.
At the time of our visit to the city, it had become a destination for many travel groups and individuals, thanks to its many attractions, its’ souvenir and watch shops, the beautiful lakeside setting and the nearby excursion mountains of the Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn.
The most iconic landmark of all is perhaps the covered, medieval Chapel Bridge, that forms the centrepiece of Lucerne’s townscape and is considered to be one of the oldest, covered wooden bridges in Europe.
The other striking feature of Lucerne are the Historic houses decorated with frescoes (see below) line the picturesque town squares as they do the ‘Weinmarkt’ square in the car-free old town.
As a city Lucerne gets its character from the fact that tradition and modernity exists side-by-side with perfect ease and the town has earned quite a reputation for itself with innovative design. The futuristic Culture and Convention Centre (KKL) , designed by leading French architect Jean Nouvel, is a fine example of this and is considered to be one of the architectural highlights of this beautiful town.
We spent a lot of time taking long walks down the city centre, stopping by whenever we found something interesting – a curio shop here or a book shop there. We especially recall our wonderful experience of walking into a craft shop selling exquisite handmade cards made of paper-cutouts. Having spent the best part of the day exploring the city, we headed for a cruise on the beautifully serene Lake Lucerne, which turned out to be the highlight of our first day.
As the city is the ideal starting point for many excursions to the highlights of central Switzerland, we did not waste time in planning our next: a much-awaited trip to Mount Rigi.
The near-vertical train ride all the way up the mountain top, from Vitznau was another experience that we shall never forget. Sharing a few shots taken during the ride to the top of Mt Rigi and a very memorable lunch with a talkative two-year-old for company!
The two cog railways from Vitznau (Europe’s first funicular railway that started in 1871) and Goldau, together with the panorama cable car from Weggis, made the journey up the mountain alone a truly unforgettable experience.
What awaited us there was the breathtaking panoramic view across the Alps, of 13 lakes and the entire Swiss Plateau, Germany and France. An experience that was impressive, awesome and one, certainly not to be missed!