Combine a visit to Lucerne with a trip on the world famous Glacier Express train.
Switzerland has to rank as one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. Over 60% of the country is mountainous, with the Alps taking up the central and southern-most areas. In all seasons the scenery is stunning, whether you’re gazing at distant snow-capped peaks or walking in a meadow surrounded by pretty alpine flowers.
The Swiss city of Lucerne is a perfect size for a short break. Its most famous landmark is the Chapel Bridge which is thought to be Europe’s oldest covered bridge. It was built in the 14th century and was originally a part of the city fortifications. There is a superb view of the old town from the bridge. It’s well worth spending half a day strolling around the narrow streets of the old town, soaking up the beautiful architecture, fine statues, fountains and bridges in an almost traffic-free environment. There are plenty of tempting shops including chocolate shops, clothes stores (don’t expect to come away with a bargain though!) and a whole range of eateries, restaurants, and bars. Other attractions include the Old Town Hall and St Peter’s Chapel.
An experience I would highly recommend is a steamer cruise on Lake Lucerne. There are many different boat trips possible, from a round trip that takes less than an hour to a single trip to the resort of Flüelen that take close to 3 hours. A boat trip is certainly the ideal way to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery at a slow pace.
A visit to Lucerne in the summer months can be extended by a few days to allow some breathtaking trips by rail to some of the many mountain highlights including the Jungfraujoch or the pretty resort of Zermatt. Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi are also just a short but spectacular train journey away.
Cities Direct offer an itinerary which includes a night in Brig in the Rhone Valley, 2 nights in Lucerne and a ride on the Glacier Express, one of the most famous railway journeys in the world. The full journey stretches from Zermatt to Davos or St. Moritz. It takes around seven hours and winds its way through stunning mountain landscapes, deep gorges, picturesque valleys, 91 tunnels and across 291 impressive bridges. The “taster” package follows the section from Brig to Chur over the spectacular Oberalp Pass and takes around 4.5 hours. You then make your way by train from Chur to Lucerne.
Most Swiss trains follow an hourly timetable, making it relatively easy to put together a tailor-made itinerary taking in your own favourite Swiss highlights. Just thinking about the possibilities makes me want to get on a plane to Geneva right now!