At first I was skeptical about visiting Lucerne in winter, but this Swiss city ended being one my favorite trips. Our winter weekend in Lucerne was especially memorable because the buildings were so beautiful sprinkled in snow. Exploring the surrounding area and seeing the Alps completely white was simply magical.
Where to Stay in Lucerne
During the winter season, many hotels have incentives and special freebies. Our hotel, Altstadt Hotel Krone Luzern included complimentary Tell-Passes with our booking (which ended up saving us about $400 in boat and lift fees).
We were lucky and got a room with a window facing the small square below. Altstadt was the perfect choice for us with its central location, charming views of the square below and included breakfast. Be sure to double check if they have any winter promotions!
Day One: Rigi Klum and Lucerne
We were determined to explore the Alps and make the most of the Tell-Passes, even if it was a little snowy. Rigi’s website has live cameras so you can scope out the visibly from the top of the mountain. It didn’t look promising, but we decided to go for it.
We took a boat from Lucerne to Vitzau and then a train and a gondola to get up to Rigi Klum. I couldn’t see a thing! I could barely see ten feet in front of me much less breathtaking views of the lake and the Alps. The boat portion was still beautiful though and you could watch all the snowy Swiss towns dotted along the shore pass by from the warmth of the boat.
When we got back to Lucerne, we spent the rest of the day exploring the city. Along the river, you can’t miss the Chapel Bridge or Kapellbrücke. As you walk across one of the oldest wooden bridges in Europe, be sure to look up to see paintings with scenes from Swiss history.
You can’t visit Lucerne without seeing the Löwendenkmal, or Lion of Lucerne. The monument was carved in 1821 and serves as a memorial to the Swiss Guards who died in the French Revolution.
On the way back to our hotel, we walked along the river, strategically passing by Max Chocolatier. Getting chocolate in Switzerland is a must and stopping in this shop for unique flavors is highly recommended.
Day Two: Mount Pilatus
On our second day in Lucerne, we headed up to Mount Pilatus. We got luckier than the day before with much clearer skies. Again, we used our trusty Tell-Passes to take the lifts up to (what felt like) the top of the world. The views were absolutely incredible. You’ll want to read this post on Mount Pilatus for more details.
After an amazing afternoon in the mountains, we ended the day back in the charming streets of Lucerne. We got a drink at the Storchen and it was full of local Swiss socializing. It had such a homey feel, like someone might have been walking home and decided to pop in for a drink when they happened to spot a friend through the window.
Everyone seemed to be drinking white wine, so we opted for two glasses of Riesling. Then strolled down to have dinner at the lovely Mill’Feuille. I’d recommend the beet risotto.
As our two days in Lucerne came to a close, we took a train to the unexpectedly darling town of Basel. Lucerne is definitely a winter wonderland that shouldn’t be missed!
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