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Luzern great for summer hikes

View from the Rigi across Lake Lucerne to the Buergenstock.
View from the Rigi across Lake Lucerne to the Buergenstock.
Swiss Tourism

Lucern is one of Switzerland's most beautiful cities, and there's no better time to go on excursions there, than in the summer months.

Lucerne is the capital city of this canton of the same name, and home to 180,000 inhabitants, making it Switzerland’s eighth largest city by population. It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations within Switzerland, for good reason.

Tourism began in this city as early as 1845, when the first major hotel was erected here. More soon followed, and a number of ports and a long promenade along the Vierwaldstätersee (Lake Lucerne) now allows visitors to take a peaceful stroll near one of Switzerland’s most lovely lakes. The historic Old Town is split by the Reuss River and empties into Lake Lucerne just pass the Chapel Bridge near the main train station.

Wandering around Lucerne’s Old Town can only be done on foot, as it is car free. The rest of the city can be explored on bike or by car. But the main part of Lucerne that you’ll want to visit is the Old Town, and it is easily visited in a few hours time on foot.

The Lucerne Tourist Office sponsors daily city walks from May 1-October 31 at 9:45 a.m. The walk features an English guide for the two-hour journey and costs 16Sfr. From November 1 to April 30 the walk is available on Wednesday and Saturday only. You may also want to purchase a Tell Pass from the tourist office if you plan on traveling via boat, mountain train or postal bus throughout the canton of Lucerne. The prices range from 135 to 184Sfr for two to five days of travel from April through October. You’ll also want to grab a Junior Card that offers free travel for kids under the age of 16 who are traveling with an adult.

No trip to Lucerne is complete without a visit to Pilatus. This 7,000-foot mountain can be reached via the world’s steepest cogwheel railway on a four to five-hour journey. You can purchase tickets for the trip through the Lucerne Tourist Office or from the Pilatus Bahnen, Schlossweg 1, CH-6010 Lucerne. Phone 41-329-1111.

To visit the 10,000-foot Titlus mountain, the highest point in central Switzerland, you can take the first revolving aerial cable car in the world that provides you with an exhilarating 360 degree panoramic view. From Lucerne you will ride by train for an hour to the village of Engelberg. From here you’ll board a cable car for the 45-minute ride to one of the most breathtaking Alpine glacier crevasses in all of Europe. You can purchase tickets from the Lucerne Tourist Office or from Titlus Rotair, CH-6391 Engelberg. Phone 41-639-5050.

Mount Rigi is known as the “Queen of the Mountains” and deservedly so. It is where Europe’s first cogwheel mountain train was built and operated, and at the top is home to 13 mountain lakes and spectacular views. For a great five-hour journey, take the Rigi-Kulm excursion, which is a combination of cogwheel railway train, cable car and boat trip on Lake Lucerne. You can purchase tickets at the Lucerne Tourist Office or through Mt. Rigi Railways, CH-6356 Rigi Kaltbad. Phone 41-397-1128.

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