From Our Lens – Cruising Around Lake Lucerne in Central Switzerland
Our mission for Switzerland was simple – to get outside and explore.
We skipped the lazy, overcrowded beaches of the Mediterranean to instead surround ourselves with towering rocky mountains and pretty freshwater lakes. Switzerland reminds us of British Columbia in many ways. It’s the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts of all walks, serving up virtually every kind of adventure one can dream up.
I wanted to lace up my hiking boots and head for the hills, but that wasn’t in the cards for this trip. Traveling with a 10 month old baby means stroller friendly activities are on order, so we decided to jump on a ferry and cruise around Lake Lucerne (also known as the Vierwaldstättersee or “Lake of the Four Forest Cantons”). Not a bad way to spend a summer day if you ask me!
Grey overcast skies and damp humidity greeted us that late summer morning. Not exactly cruising weather, but you take what you’re given. The forecast called for sunshine, so we put faith in the weatherman and hoped for the best.
There are several lake cruises to choose from, ranging from short one hour tours to full day excursions. Our game plan for the day was to reach the peak of Mount Pilatus by taking the world’s steepest cogwheel railway from Alpnachstad. To do so, we boarded the 3-hour round trip ferry but got off the boat at Alpnachstad instead of making the return trip back to Lucerne (more on our trip to the peak of Mount Pilatus in an upcoming post).
Here are some photos from our Lake Lucerne experience.
Baby B making a funny face while the ferry prepares to depart from central Lucerne
Lucerne city-scape views from the open deck of the boat – should we add it to this list?
City views of Lucerne from the lake, a lovely European city!
The pointy medieval watch towers overlook the Old Town and waterfront buildings
Mount Pilatus looms over a lakeside village
They don’t make homes like this in Canada!
The Swiss Alps hide behind a curtain of morning haze
The boat floats around the calm lake, passing through steep fjords – a fabulous natural setting!
Interesting table top mountain blanketed by morning haze
The town of Hergiswil with Mount Pilatus in the backdrop
The boat leaves Hergiswil and travels to the town of Stansstad
Mount Pilatus packs some serious WOW!
Baby B fueling up on the upper deck of the ferry
Swiss version of Coke Zero
Enjoying the moment
Not a bad view?! The lake water is so green that its reflection makes the white boat look green!
Picture perfect summer day in Switzerland
Thinking about cruising around Lake Lucerne?
Where to catch the boat – the piers are located beside the main Lucerne railway station (Bahnhof Luzern), near the futuristic Lucerne Kunstmuseum – you can’t miss this landmark. If I remember correctly, our boat departed from Pier 2. There are several ticket and tourist info booths with English speaking material.
How long is the trip – to take the boat to Pilatus Kulm you will need to get off at the Alpnachstad station (you can also take the train from Lucerne). It takes about 90 minutes to get from central Lucerne to Alpnachstad station. Check the seasonal schedule here.
Price for the trip – if you have a Eurail Global Pass or Swiss Pass the trip is included, no additional fees required. Otherwise, prices will depend on kilometres travelled. When we visited in Aug 2012, a one way trip from Lucerne to Alpnachstad was 25 Euros for 2nd Class and 38 Euros for 1st Class. Round trip was 42 Euros for 2nd Class and 63 Euros for 1st Class.
Have you visited Switzerland? What was your highlight?
Share your experience and travel tips in the comments section below!