Quintessentially Swiss Things to Do in Lucerne
Lucerne is a picture perfect, quaintly small city for travelers looking to have the Swiss experience. Easy to walk through its lovely medieval old town center, with a pristine blue lake situated beneath a snow peaked mountain range, it’s an ideal choice for any traveler wanting to enjoy a combination of nature, metropolitan refinement, and wonderful history and architecture. We’ve listed a few ideas below to help you have the quintessential Swiss experience.
Visit a cow covered Swiss Alpine Mountain
It really doesn’t get any more naturally Swiss than this. Just outside Lucerne you can visit Mt. Pilatus, an over 2000 meter (nearly 7,000ft) tall peak overlooking Lake Lucerne. The trip offers all of the beautiful scenery you could ever dream of, including stunning alpine forest, going through tunnels burrowed through the mountainside, and passing herds of cows with clanging bells around their neck.
Travelers can take the steepest cogwheel train in the world to the top of the mountain from spring through early winter or take gondolas all year round. Highly recommended is the “Golden Round Trip” which takes you from Lucerne to the mountaintop by boat, cogwheel railway, and gondola before returning by bus to the city.
Swiss Cheese and Swiss chocolate may well be two of the greatest contributions that Switzerland has made to the world. When eaten in their most basic form these treats can be deliciously memorable, but when melted and served as an obscenely rich dipping condiment they can become life-changing.
In Lucerne, you have ample opportunity to participate in the art of Fondue, the fun, group interactive, eating experience that melts a bowl of savory, gooey cheese for dinner and a bowl of sweet chocolate for dessert and allows diners to dip pieces of bread inside until they can’t stuff themselves any longer.
Fondue is ubiquitous within Swiss restaurants around the city, so visitors to Lucerne will have no issue finding the famous dish. Best might be to try to visit a place not too far of a walk from your accommodation, to help make the trip home following your overindulgence a bit more manageable.
Check out a Chocolate Maker
Swiss chocolates are a beloved treat known as some of the tastiest treats in the world. In Lucerne, you can get up close and personal with the chocolate making process and of course taste some ravishing, freshly made concoctions along the way.
The upscale boutique Max Chocolatier hosts advance booked groups of up to 12 people for their pricy 90-minute chocolate tasting or their even pricier chocolate tasting and making workshop in the town center. The Aeschbach Chocolatier located just 10 minutes outside of the city offers a “Chocoworld” experience which allows visitors of all ages to tour through the chocolate making experience at a very affordable admission price. If you just want to get immediately to eating the chocolate without caring about how it’s made, try the famous Läderach shop in the city center.
Learn about Swiss clock making in Lucerne’s oldest Clocktower
Could there possibly be a more perfect place to learn about Swiss clocks than inside the oldest Clock Tower in Lucerne? The medieval Zyt Tower, built in 1535, contains a museum that displays historical clocks made between the 16th and 20th century and shares a fascinating history of clockmaking and watchmaking while charting the progress of the craft through the centuries. To hear the clock bells chime, be sure to visit at :59 on the hour, as the Zyt Tower has the special distinction of being the only clock tower allowed to chime one minute before all others in the city. Don’t be late!
Do some Swiss watch shopping
After being inspired by your visit to the Lucerne clock museum in Zyt Tower, perhaps you’ll also be inspired to own your own Swiss timekeeper. Renowned the world over for centuries for their perfect precision and high quality, Swiss watches are a valued keepsake and a wonderful souvenir.
You have several options to find your ideal watch, including browsing the high end Bucherer shop that sells the most famous (and expensive) brands made in Switzerland, witnessing a live watchmaking exhibition from Chronoswiss Atelier before buying a newly crafted piece, or hunting for antique bargains at the Riverside Flea market on Burgerstrasse held every Saturday between May and October.
Whether eating, scaling mountains, or enjoying the city’s heritage, you’ll be sure to have a fabulous Swiss experience in your visit to Lucerne.
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