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Lake Lucerne, also known as Vierwaldstättersee in German, is one of the major lakes located in Switzerland. It is situated within the cantons of Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, and Nidwalden. The lake is fed by several rivers, including the Reuss, the Muota, the Engelberger Aa, and the Sarner Aa. The water flows out of the lake through the River Reuss, which continues on to flow into the Aare River.
Lake Lucerne is special due to its distinctive fjord-like features, including a narrow shape with numerous inlets and twists, pristine waters, and breathtaking natural scenery. A well-known tourist hub, Lake Lucerne offers multiple leisure options like swimming and boating. The area also has historical significance, as it is associated with the tales of Swiss hero William Tell and the formation of the Swiss Confederacy.
From idyllic mountain panoramas and charming settlements to diverse fish species, Lake Lucerne has it all. This article compiles the 10 best places to visit in Lake Lucerne, Switzerland.
If you ask me for the best place to visit at Lake Lucerne, Mount Rigi would top my list. Having visited it several times, I am always in awe of the breathtaking views it offers. Rigi is admittedly one of the most visited mountains in the entire Central Switzerland region. It lies surrounded by three lakes – Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, and Lake Lauerz.
Although there are numerous ways to go up to Mount Rigi, the fastest is taking the inter-regional train from Lucerne to Arth-Goldau and from there taking the cogwheel railway up to Rigi Kulm. This trip takes as little as 80 minutes from Lucerne. You may also reach Rigi from Lucerne via Vitznau.
A memorable, highly-rated day trip from GetYourGuide will take you across Lake Lucerne to Vitznau, then up Europe’s oldest mountain railway to Mount Rigi. Atop, you can see 13 lakes and 620 peaks. It’s an experience you won’t regret. You can check it out by clicking here – From Lucerne: Mount Rigi Day Trip with Cruise and Cable Car.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Rigi|
|* Ride Europe’s First Mountain Railway to Rigi Kulm|
* Mt. Rigi’s Highest Point
* Mineralbad and Spa by Mario Botta
* Rigi Kaltbad Car-free Village
* Känzeli Viewing Platform
If you want to witness views that rival the ones you find on Mount Rigi, then Fronalpstock is another great option to visit on Lake Lucerne. A popular tourist spot, Fronalpstock stands at an altitude of 1,922 meters and is a popular destination for hikers and tourists. You can reach Fronalpstock from the charming, car-free village of Stoos.
In case you are considering spending a day in Stoos, you can check out this article – How to Spend 1 Day in Stoos, Switzerland.
The most popular way to access Fronalpstock is via the Stoosbahn funicular from Schwyz, the steepest funicular in the world. Once at the top of Fronalpstock, visitors are greeted with stunning panoramic views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountains, including the famous peaks of Rigi and Pilatus.
If you’re in Lake Lucerne, I strongly advise you to take the trail from Klingelstock to Fronalpstock. Proper footwear is essential for this hike, as some sections may be demanding. Despite this, it is a secure and memorable adventure with stunning views of Lake Lucerne.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Fronalpstock|
|* The Steepest Funicular in the World – Stoosbahn Funicular|
* Fronalpstock Petting Zoo
* Klingelstock to Fronalpstock Hike
* Car-free Village of Stoos
If you’re looking for a great way to spend a beautiful day, consider taking a ferry ride on Lake Lucerne to Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock. From Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock, take the funicular up to Bürgenstock. The whole trip from Lucerne to Bürgenstock will take 43 minutes.
One of the main attractions at the Bürgenstock Resort is the Hammetschwand Lift. 152.8 meters high, it is the highest, free-standing outdoor lift in Europe. And from this vantage point, you will see fantastic views of Lucerne, its lake, and the boats.
If you would like to buy your ferry and funicular tickets to Bürgenstock, you can do so via GetYourGuide – From Lucerne: Mount Bürgenstock by Ferry and Funicular.
One can embark on a hike on the rock path built between 1900 and 1905, which also features a learning path with twelve questions on geography and geology, history of tourism, technology, forest, and nature conservation. This offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the area while enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Bürgenstock|
|* Lake Lucerne Cruise to Bürgenstock|
* Hammetschwand Lift
* Learning Path
Stanserhorn may not be as adjacent to Lake Lucerne as Rigi, Bürgenstock, and Fronalpstock, but it does provide a spectacular view of the lake from the top. At 1,848 Meters above sea level, it is located between the borders of the Cantons Nidwalden and Obwalden.
Those who visit the Stanserhorn can take in the stunning view of ten Swiss lakes and over 100 kilometers of alpine mountain scenery.
When the Stanserhorn train opened to the public in 1893, it was the steepest and longest cable car in the world. There used to be three funiculars that went to the summit. Open wagons roll from Stans to the middle station of Kälti. Even after 100 years, this train still retains its original wooden carts. Nowadays, Stanserhorn has a cable car with an open upper deck. From Kälti, one changes to the double-decker panorama cabin which glides up to Stanserhorn. In the station, passengers can go directly out of the roof without having to get back to the cabin.
You may purchase tickets for Stanserhorn in advance via Viator if you wish by clicking this link – Skip the Line: CabriO Mt Stanserhorn Railway Ticket.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Stanserhorn|
|* Vintage Funicular Train from Stans|
* Open-air CabriO to Stanserhorn
* Summit Trail
* Rondorama Revolving Mountain Restaurant
If you would like to read more about Stanserhorn and CabriO, check out our article Ride the Open-air CabriO to Stanserhorn, Switzerland.
Pilatus is undoubtedly one of the most famous mountains that visitors to Lucerne flock to, offering breathtaking views and a diverse range of activities to enjoy on the mountain. For those seeking a closer alternative to Rigi and Fronalpstock, Pilatus is an excellent choice, particularly if you’re looking for panoramic views of Lake Lucerne from a higher altitude.
Pilatus Kulm, the top of Pilatus, has great views of Central Switzerland, restaurants, a bar, a souvenir shop, and a panorama terrace. Here, you can also find a short, secure way to enjoy the panorama. The area also offers other attractions such as the Rope Park and the Dragon Glider in Fräkmüntegg, as well as a big playground called Pilu Land located in Krienseregg.
Pilatus has the steepest cogwheel railway in the world. It has a maximum gradient of 48% and an average gradient of 35%. The train links Alpnachstad in Obwalden to Pilatus Kulm at 2,073 Meters.
The golden round trip is also a popular choice for tourists. It combines a ride on the steamboat, the red cogwheel railway, and going down with the cable car. Tourists can book the golden round trip from May to October.
Multilingual guided tours of Mount Pilatus are available for those who are interested. You will travel by comfortable coach to Kriens and take the cable car and gondola up to the mountain. You can check it out on GetYourGuide by clicking here – Lucerne: Mt. Pilatus Cable Car, Cogwheel Train & Lake Cruise
|Don’t miss these attractions in Pilatus|
|* Golden or Silver Round Trip to Mount Pilatus|
* Steepest Cogwheel Railway in the World
* Pilatus Kulm and Panorama Terrace
* Rope Park in Fräkmüntegg
* Dragon Glider in Fräkmüntegg
* Pilu Land
Weggis is a relaxed, holiday resort southwest of Mount Rigi. It lies on Lake Lucerne and is roughly half an hour away from the center of Lucerne. It is a good starting point to spend some time in this sunny and warm resort before going up to Rigi. The relaxed feel of this town can be attributed to its mild climate, southern plants (chestnuts, palms, grapes, orchids), and the presence of a warm wind called föhn.
From Weggis, you can take the cable car directly to Rigi Kaltbad. The mountain Rigi provides awesome views of its surroundings: Lake Zug, Lake Lauerz, and Lake Lucerne. Rigi is one of the most visited mountains in the entire Central Switzerland region.
Rigi Kaltbad is also a popular destination due to its mineral bath (Mineralbad). The new bath was designed by famed architect Mario Botta whose works include the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Bank of Greece in Athens, and Santa Maria degli Angeli in Monte Tamaro.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Weggis|
|* Boat Tour to Weggis|
* Weggis Bay Promenade
* Cable Car to Rigi Kaltbad
Vitznau is, similar to Weggis, also a beautiful holiday resort on the shores of Lake Lucerne. Parkhotel Vitznau, a 5-star hotel in this town, is an exceptional luxury hotel renovated completely in 2012 and 2013. It has its own beach, 2 restaurants, and a huge wellness area.
Mount Rigi towers over Vitznau, which can be accessed via public transport from Lucerne proper within an hour, or in just 30 minutes by car.
Visitors have the option of taking a train ride from Vitznau to Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Kulm or taking one of two small cable cars to Vitznauerstock or Gersauerstock. There are many hiking trails that lead to Rigi for those who wish to embark on a hike.
If you would like to learn more about how to travel from Vitznau to Rigi, you can check out this article: How to Travel From Vitznau to Rigi.
For those visiting Vitznau, the Vitznau Fortress is an exciting must-see attraction open from May to October. Every Friday afternoon at 5 PM, the public can access around 500 meters of tunnels, impressive ammunition stores, powerful cannon positions, a power plant, workshops, an operating room, a small hotel, and a special exhibition. The guided tour takes about 90 minutes.
While cruising along Lake Lucerne near Vitznau and the neighboring village of Gersau, you can expect to see the following:
- Between Vitznau and Gersau is Nas, the narrowest point of Lake Lucerne
- Between Beckenried and Gersau is the widest point of Lake Lucerne (3.3 kilometers) and deepest point (214 meters)
|Don’t miss these attractions in Vitznau|
|* Boat Tour of Lake Lucerne |
* Vitznau-Rigi Railway
* Vitznau Fortress
8. Lorelei Islands
With its spacious waters, Lake Lucerne is the perfect spot for both leisurely bathing and energetic swimming. One of the most special places to bathe in Lake Lucerne is called the Lorelei Bathing Islands.
The Lorelei Bathing Islands consist of a group of incredibly tiny bathing islands replenished by rocks from a nearby construction. In particular, a total of 3.3 million tonnes of rock and gravel were used in the construction of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, and some of these rocks were exported to the Lorelei Bathing Islands. It is located near Flüelen, the southern end of Lake Lucerne, near the mouth of the Reuss.
Did you know? The nearby Gotthard Base Tunnel (opened in 2016), with a length of 57 kilometers, is the largest train tunnel in the world.
The Lorelei Bathing Islands can only be reached by swimming across. These islands are perfect for swimming and chilling out. From any point on the bathing islands, you can enjoy incredible views of the mountains surrounding it.
The swimming area is free to use, and there are nearby toilets and outdoor showers as well. Sunbathing is possible on the flat rocks of the islands as well as on the fine sand of the shore. The Lorelei Bathing Islands are popular with both locals and tourists.
If you would like to learn more about the Lorelei Islands, you can check out The Lorelei Bathing Islands: A Special Destination Near Lucerne.
|Don’t miss these attractions near Lorelei Bathing Islands|
|* Lorelei Bathing Islands|
* Gotthard Panorama Express
* Tell Monument, Altdorf
* Uri Alps
Seelisberg is a charming village nestled in the heart of Lake Lucerne, surrounded by stunning scenery and steeped in rich history. Located on the eastern shore of the lake, Seelisberg is known as the birthplace of Switzerland, where important events in the country’s history took place. The village offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and is the perfect destination for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Seelisberg is an ideal destination for those looking to experience the outdoors. The village offers a range of hiking trails, including the history trail, panorama trail, and Switzerland Way, which offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Visitors can also enjoy a boat tour around Lake Lucerne, taking in the breathtaking scenery from the water.
Seelisberg also holds great importance in Switzerland’s history, with notable events such as the Rütli Oath, which took place in 1291, being signed here. Compared to other locations on Lake Lucerne, Seelisberg is really more about discovering nature and seeing the history of Switzerland before your eyes.
Nearby is also the 30-meter-high Schillerstein Monument, a rock with an inscription dedicated to Friedrich Schiller, the author of Wilhelm Tell. The natural rock was inscribed in 1859, a hundred years after his birthday.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Seelisberg|
|* Rütli Meadow|
* Switzerland Way
* Panorama Trail
* Schillerstein Monument
Klewenalp is a picturesque mountain resort located on the shores of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. Situated at an elevation of 1,600 meters, Klewenalp offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Lucerne. The resort is easily accessible by cable car or car, making it a popular destination for visitors to the region.
There are many things to see and do in Klewenalp, making it the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. In the summer, visitors can hike through the beautiful Alpine meadows going to Stockhütte and other destinations. Aside from the stunning scenery and fresh mountain air, mountain biking, paragliding, and climbing are also popular activities in the area.
During the winter months, the resort offers skiing and snowboarding on its well-groomed slopes, with trails suitable for both beginners and experienced skiers. It is particularly interesting for younger children.
I highly recommend following a hiking trail on Klewenalp and enjoying the fantastic views of Lake Lucerne.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Klewenalp|
|* Klewenalp-Stockhütte Panorama Trail|
* Emmetten Game Viewing Trail
* Ergglen Climbing Garden
* 9-kilometer Toboggan Run (winter)
Related Posts: Around Lake Lucerne
- How to Travel From Vitznau to Rigi
- 8 Most Beautiful Lakeside Resorts in Switzerland
- Why Lucerne Is Worth Visiting and What to Expect
- Ride the Open-air CabriO to Stanserhorn, Switzerland
- The Lorelei Bathing Islands: A Special Destination Near Lucerne
- How to Spend 1 Day in Stoos, Switzerland
Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.