Lucerne, Switzerland is stunningly beautiful! It’s a fairy tale setting in the old town and surrounded by breathtaking mountains full of all sorts of activities.
We have so many amazing adventures in store for you during our upcoming tours (including the Swiss City Marathon & Half Marathon this fall). On our own “runcation” to Switzerland, we started with a leisurely afternoon to get over our jet lag. We always try to stay awake upon our arrival to Europe and push through until bedtime. (Check out our “Jet Lag” posts here.) We got outside and walked a bit to perk us up, and then had a glass of wine in the hotel bar before walking to dinner. Staying active really helps to push through the “fog” that comes with a long day of travel to Europe.
On the first day, we try to find a casual place for dinner. First, a casual option is usually open for dinner at an earlier hour — some places in Europe don’t open for dinner until 7:30 pm. We know we won’t last too long after dark, so an earlier dinner is very helpful. Second, a casual spot makes for a quicker dinner. More formal restaurants have a slower pace, possibly with multiple courses.
We held out until about 9:00 pm before crashing into bed. That gave us about ten uninterrupted hours of sleep and that’s exactly how you get over your jet lag quickly.
Day two was a bit rainy, but our private guide knew of many options that could keep us relatively dry, but still give us a taste of the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Switzerland. So, we set off on a short train ride to the Aare Gorge. The hundreds of feet deep gorge is cut through the mountains by a fast-moving river. There are waterfalls, rapids, and sights galore! The tunnels and rock over-hangs kept us mostly dry before the sky cleared up a bit for the remainder of the day which included lunch (we’ll tell you about the yummy flammkuchen in a future post) and a bit of hiking.
Asparagus is fresh and local in early May, and it was on all the menus. So, we dined on asparagus at a restaurant recommended by a friend. We love getting recommendations of spots away from most of the tourists so we can feel how the locals live, and this cafe was perfect.
Day three was sunny, so we hit Mount Pilatus for the spectacular views. The trip to and from the mountain is almost as fun as hanging out on the peak! We started with a boat trip on Lake Lucerne. You can grab a glass of bubbly and enjoy the lake and surrounding views of the Swiss Alps. Then, we climbed Mount Pilatus on the steepest cog train in the world. After a lunch enjoying the breathtaking views, we hopped on a tram down the other side of the mountain, followed by a relaxing gondola ride to the base of the mountain. With our guide, we also have the option of hiking part way down the mountain. We will get away from all the tourists and see how the Swiss do Mount Pilatus.
Day four was a day to explore Lucerne in running shoes! We set off on our early-morning run along the lake, and in addition to the spectacular mountain views (I know, I just can’t stop talking about the views), we passed a castle, vineyards, Swiss cows (with their famous cowbells ringing), inviting park benches, and more.
We finished off the evening at our hotel’s partner restaurant. We didn’t even look at the menu, as the chef created for us a custom four-course tasting menu with local wine paired. It was out of this world!
Our final day was, again, with our private guide. We visited an outdoor museum showing the history of Switzerland. It was educational, but not like a “sterile” museum. You can buy fresh made bread and cheese (made by hand, using the traditional methods). With you as our guest, we can also bring our own brats, sides and beer & wine and grill out over an open fire. Plus, it was a nice way to work out some of the soreness of our long run. We followed that up with a tour of some of the highlights and history of the town of Lucerne. We had the perfect ending to the tour at the local brewery.
Lucerne & Switzerland have so much to offer, but here’s just a sampling of things to do:
- Private chocolate tasting and chocolate-making class
- Private cheese tasting of local, artisanal cheeses
- Hiking the Swiss Alps (with a traditional Swiss “wurst” and beer/wine as our reward!)
- Boat tour on Lake Lucerne
- Visiting the amazing mountain vistas on one of the nearby peaks. (Plus, an option to hike part of the way back down the mountain, if the weather and leg muscles allow.)
- A drive through the “Valley of 72 Waterfalls”
- A leisurely afternoon on a paddle boat
- A run along the lake with some of the most gorgeous views imaginable.