Lucerne is a town that the more time you spend there, the more you love it. Quite an impressive feat considering the moment you step off the train and cross the bridge, you’re greeted by spectacular views of lakes, forests, and mountains.
Most places I visit during my travels will follow a similar pattern of wandering around, taking in the sights and sounds, and then having a bit of a rest in the evening while I compose my thoughts and share them with both of my adoring fans.
Lucerne, however, is different.
On more than one evening I found myself leaving the warmth and comfort of watching YouTube videos in my hotel room for no other reason than simply heading back to the lake’s shore and staring in wonder at my surroundings.
Never was this more relevant than on my final evening there, when I braved walking through the snow storms (according to the hotel receptionist, it was the first time in 20 years that it had snowed there in April) to sit on a bench on another side of the lake. My patience and wet nose were rewarded by the unforgettable sights of the sun setting over the back of the town, bathing the mountains in yellows and golds, my only company being the occasional dog-walker and the gentile lapping of the water against the shore.
But it’s not just the scenic backdrop that impresses, Lucerne’s pride in its history and heritage shine through in its architectural preservation, making the old town an enjoyable location for a picturesque stroll, despite the presence of numerous well known shops. The wall that separates the old from the new is an attraction of its own, but it also allows the town to show off its party piece. If you’re willing and able to climb the 259 steps from street level – the steepness of most making the descent just as tricky – to the top of the tower, then you’re in for a treat. Take in the panoramic view of the town, with Mount Pilatus and Lake Lucerne in the background, and you’ll soon forget your burning thighs. Add a well-timed flurry of snow, and we have what I’m confident will be one of the most beautiful views of my entire journey.
However, all this beauty comes at a price, which is, well, the price. Lucerne, in keeping with the majority of Switzerland, is not cheap. A sandwich and drink at a local supermarket will cost you around 8-10CHF (£7.50-8.50), a Big Mac meal is a little over 15CHF (£13) and my chicken and chocolate enchiladas – which tasted a lot better than they sound – at the fairly average quality mexican restaurant I dined at on the first evening set me back 33.50CHF (£28), and I wasn’t even full.
If you’re planning on travelling on a budget, I wouldn’t recommend spending a whole lot of time in this part of the world, but, while you’re enjoying one of the finest lunchtime views you’ve ever seen, you really won’t care that much.