When I was younger I always wondered why so many tourists visit my country all the time. For me, there was just nothing special about it. Mountains and lakes everywhere. For someone born and raised in Switzerland, this becomes something quite usual. Still, not a reason at all to not appreciate the beautiful nature that lays next to our cities and makes our country so special. When I got older I started to realize why all these people want to see Switzerland, and even more the most famous regions like the Bernese Oberland, Zermatt or Lucerne. When I started with photography in March 2017 this changed even more: I have endless possibilities to capture beautiful nature – in a fairly small country. One of these places that offers amazing views around basically every corner is Lucerne. I study there myself and know the city quite well. As a part of a little trip through the whole country, I also explored its most famous parts and surroundings in December again. Like a tourist would. But is it worth to visit Lucerne in winter or should you choose another time of the year? In my opinion, it has its pros and cons. Following you will find out what you can expect when you visit Lucerne in winter.
The heart of Lucerne – old town
Whenever someone visits Lucerne this should, in my opinion, be the first stop on an exploration of the city. With its population of 80’000 (2015) Lucerne is not a huge city at all, however, it has a lovely old town that you have to see. The buildings inside the Altstadt (old town) are extremely colorful and have their own charm. As it is not too big and complicated I recommend walking around without a real plan. Located between the river Reuss and the Museggwall you always have some points to get an orientation. If you want to reach the old town from the train station you can even add the most famous sight of Lucerne to your short walking tour: the Chapel Bridge. It is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe and attracts thousands of visitors every year. You can basically cross the bridge and will find your self in the heart of Lucerne. Nearby there is also the Lion Monument which commemorates the massacred Swiss Guards during the French Revolution. And now we’re coming to the point: In my opinion, the old town is even more beautiful when you visit Lucerne in winter. Why? because you have the chance to see the Chapel Bridge and the old town with snow-covered roofs – priceless. If you want to enjoy an incredible view of the whole city and the lake you can go up to the “Chateau Gütsch” from where you have one of the best views over the city.
- Wondering what I use to make my pictures? You can see my photography equipment here
Visit Lucerne in winter: Christmas time
Sure it depends on when exactly you decide to visit Lucerne in winter, but there will be a chance that you can experience this lovely little city with an additional touch of magic: During Christmas time. In December and early January, there will be Christmas lights all over the old town. The small bridges next to the Chapel Bridge and also the bigger bridge for cars have their own lights that just look lovely once the night-time starts. There is also great news for everybody that loves Christmas markets. Before and during Christmas there are several small markets where you can enjoy mulled wine and other typical Christmas treats. Christmas time in Lucerne is a feast for your eyes and your taste.
Admittedly it is a lot of fun to hike in the Swiss Alps or enjoy a cold lake during Summer. But do you know what is even more fun? Spending a day in the snow-covered Alps with incredible views and many possibilities to have fun. In Lucerne, you have the perfect starting point for all of this fun. With quick connections to several mountain areas and ski resorts, there are endless possibilities for you. Whilst my “Switzerland trip” I went to the two most famous places to visit from Lucerne: The Pilatus and Rigi. They are both included in the Swiss Travel Pass if you’re traveling by train – so a perfect addition to your itinerary in Lucerne. Whether you want to enjoy the beautiful nature, try out skiing, hike with snowshoes or enjoy a traditional Swiss cheese fondue on top of a mountain. You can have all of this when you visit Lucerne in winter. A quick tip for photographers inbetween all of this awesome things: You can even fly your drone on the Mt. Rigi – on the other hand, it is not allowed in Lucerne and the Mt.Pilatus due to a military airport that is close-by.
For my trip through Switzerland, I stayed in a hotel in Lucerne for the first time. And of course, I compared the prices of the different places I wanted to visit, just like I do it to find cheap flights. I realized that Lucerne is quite affordable for a visit in Winter, especially when you compare it to the famous ski-resorts like the Jungfrau region, St.Moritz or Zermatt. Sure, they are even closer to the ski slopes itself, however, you can reach so many amazing places and Swiss villages from Lucerne in under an hour that this price difference would definitely be worth it, at least for me. If you decide to visit Lucerne in winter you can have a great combination of a small and lovely city and parts of the Swiss Alps that are nearby. I spent 3 days and nights in Lucerne before I continued the trip to Interlaken. Whilst this time I stayed in the Hotel Continental Park which is located directly next to the train station and is therefore perfect to start your daily trips. Additionally, I also enjoyed their tasty breakfast buffet in the Bellini Locanda Ticinese which reminded me of my time in Lugano because they serve specialties from the Ticino, which is the Italian part of Switzerland. Thanks again for having me!