Lake Lucerne and its fjord-like fingers is the jewel in Central Switzerland’s crown. It’s surrounded by mountains and its shores are dotted with pleasant towns where you can catch a boat to ply its waters. You can’t avoid a trip to Lake Lucerne when visiting Central Switzerland and you definitely shouldn’t.
Sitting on the banks of Lake Lucerne, this city is a perfect blend of history, culture and modernity. Its iconic Chapel Bridge, a beautifully decorated covered bridge, is the emblem of the city and the perfect place to watch the sun go down. But there’s much more to visit; from the streets of its old town, to the contemporary art galleries that have brought Lucerne into the modern age in style.
There’s not much to dislike about Zug. Small, quiet and peaceful with two beautiful lakes nearby and easy access to the mountains of Central Switzerland. But the best of Zug is its sunsets, as the sun goes down over the Zugersee you can see the blend of colours dancing on its waters. There is no sight quite like it in the whole country.
The village of Einsiedeln is famous for its imposing monastery, devoted to the Virgin Mary. For centuries, it’s been an important site for pilgrims from across Europe. Come Christmas time, the village hosts one of the most popular markets in Switzerland. For the adventure minded, there are signs for hiking trails throughout the region, so you can head out and explore the surrounding valley and countryside.
Tackling the steepest and stomach churning railway up Mount Pilatus is well worth it once you reach the journey’s end. Once you’re off and have recovered, the mountain is yours to explore. Take a wander along the Flower Trail where you’ll see hundreds of wild flowers, some of them rare in Switzerland.
Engelberg is one of the most popular spots for Swiss retreats during both winter and summer. South of Lucerne, this pretty town isn’t the main attraction however. Engelberg is one Switzerland’s top ski resorts in winter and come summer when the snows have retreated, it becomes one of the best base camps for hiking adventures. Nearby the two main peaks, Titlis and Hahnen, tower over the town like sentinels.
Perched on the banks of Lake Lucerne, Brunnen is the perfect spot for a relaxed summer break. Over the years, this beautiful resort has been the favoured haunt of artists, writers and even the odd King or two, who have been inspired by the tranquil waters and the dramatic views of the Schillerstein mountains in the distance. During the summer, you can escape the heat by taking to the lake on a boat or going for dip.
Known as the ‘Queen of the Mountains’, Mount Rigi is the place to go for breathtaking panoramic views of the Swiss Alps. After ascending to the summit via two cog railways (including Europe’s first) and a cablecar, you’ll have clear views of mountain tops and shimmering lakes all the way into neighbouring France and Germany.
The town and canton of Schwyz is where modern Switzerland was born, and it’s also famous for its cherries. The town’s Museum of the Swiss Charter holds the original 1291 charter of federation, which is considered the founding moment in the history of Switzerland. Spring is perhaps the best time to visit as the many cherry trees surrounding the town blossom. There is no better place to try kirsch, a typical brandy of the region.
Andermatt is a small village nestled in the centre of the Ursern valley that is quintessentially Swiss. Its narrow streets are full of chalet-style buildings. Most people come to Andermatt for the skiing or the hiking to take advantage of its ideal position at the cross-roads of the Alps, which means spectacular views are only a short distance away. Nearby to the town is the famous ‘Devil’s Bridge’, which according to local legend was built by the devil himself.
The village of Grindelwald is a gateway to exploring the Bernese Oberland. The imposing north face of the Eiger mountain is an ever-present feature of the town and adds a spectacular touch to an already beautiful resort experience. Whenever you visit, Grindelwald retains this effortless charm on account of the sheer quantity of activities you can get up to, most of them allowing you the chance to glimpse the bountiful nature that lies at the town’s very doorstep.
Looking out from the infamous Titlis Cliff Walk is at once beautiful and terrifying. Over 3,000 metres above sea level, you can tackle the world’s highest suspension footbridge – if your nerves can handle it. The views, both outwards and downwards, are insurmountable as you admire a veritable land of snow and ice.