This compact city in central Switzerland truly has it all.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LUCERNE TOURISM
Lucerne looks exactly like the pictures you’d find in an expensive poster calendar. Scenes of snowy peaks and tree-lined lakes make up the backdrops to a Swiss holiday here, alongside shopping for chocolates and timepieces. But Lucerne isn’t just another laid-back destination; it’s a place of fascinating contrasts.
Amid serene nature is a city buzzing with attractions both modern and traditional. These include striking landmarks like the KKL Luzern (Culture and Convention Centre Lucerne), by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, which comfortably shares the landscape with structural gems from the past like the Chapel Bridge, Lion Monument and Old Town.
Festivals – from music to comic book ones – are held throughout the year, but the Lucerne Carnival is the most dazzling. Held at the end of February, the week-long outdoor party is a parade of fantastic costumes and masks to celebrate the end of winter.
If it’s peace and quiet you need, Lucerne has you covered as well. Travel up Mount Rigi on Europe’s oldest mountain railway, ascend Mount Pilatus on the world’s steepest cogwheel-train ride for thrilling views, or take a revolving aerial cable car to the frosty peak of Mount Titlis. The Lake Lucerne region also offers a wide network of hiking, cycling and mountain-biking routes for those who want to embrace nature.
Vacationers who prefer a more passive approach to taking in the environment can book a stay in any of the five leading wellness hotels in the area, such as the Rigi Kaltbad Mineral Baths & Spa.
Begin your journey in Zurich or Geneva and head for the famous Alps by all means, but make sure your Swiss adventure takes in Lucerne, the country’s colourful, vibrant heart.
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The beauty of Lucerne, with all its contrasts, has a unique appeal.