The lakeside medieval town of Lucerne is a cozy base for trips to Switzerland’s snow-capped Alps and mountain landscapes of the Bernese Oberland. The picture-perfect, orderly town takes to the streets for the March Fasnacht carnival, with lantern parades, costumed revelers, strolling musicians, and fireworks.
Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s prettiest destinations, well deserving a day’s exploration of its historic sites. Then head to the hills of the Bernese Oberland and soaring Swiss Alps.
Day 1: Lucerne History
Lucerne’s proud symbol is the 14th-century Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) spanning the lake. Seventeenth-century paintings line the interior, and the bridge leads to an eight-sided water tower. The half-timbered medieval buildings of Lucerne’s Old Town are surrounded by rampart walls and watchtowers. The town’s poignant sculpture of a dying lion is unforgettable, and its Picasso Museum is another must-see.
Day 2: Swiss Towns
Postcard green valleys and surrounding white peaks await you on a day trip from Lucerne at Interlaken and Grindelwald. Surrounded by Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, Interlaken is the departure point for all kinds of adrenaline-fueled sports, if you fancy jumping from an airplane over the Alps or hitting the ski slopes. Nearby, the largest Jungfrau ski resort is based at the former farming village of Grindelwald. The cable car trip to Mt. First is a summertime feast for the eyes.
Day 3: The Swiss Alps
Of course, a visit to Switzerland is all about the Alps, and from Lucerne you don’t need to travel far to reach them. A trip to towering Mt. Pilatus is a different experience in winter when a cogwheel train gets you to the summit, and summer, when part of the fun is traveling by aerial cable car. There’s year-round snow vistas from atop Mt. Titlis aboard a revolving cable car, and the views from the Jungfraujoch are aptly dubbed the Top of Europe.