Central Switzerland is a great place to get outdoors. Lucerne is without doubt one of Europe’s most picturesque cities. Moreover it also boasts one of the continent’s best backyards, especially if you take into account its Lucerne Canton’s neighbors, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Uri and Schwyz. All feature outdoor attractions and a uniquely central Swiss flavor and sense of history.
Starting with Lucerne as a base, walking enthusiasts would do well to head to Bürgenstock. It boasts formidable views over Lake Lucerne along the easy and pleasing Felsenweg trail. Take the opportunity to combine Europe’s highest outdoor elevator with a little James Bond nostalgia at the Hammetschwand Lift, a needle-like structure that will transport you to 1132m.
A short 20-minute train ride from Lucerne, the town of Stans offers one of the prime examples of Swiss innovation twinned with epic scenery, thanks to the marvel that is the Stanserhorn CabriO – the world’s first open-topped, double-decker cable car.
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Continuing east from Stans you can pay a visit to Klewenalp, an under-the-radar ski resort popular with locals and their kids. Moreover, this resort is also a fine summer destination, thanks to its cable car which takes you to 1593m.
If you continue your travels around Central Switzerland by rail, you can easily continue from Stans to Engelberg. One of the country’s great Alpine destinations, Engleberg is a scenic stunner. Don’t miss Central Switzerland’s highest mountain, Titlis, home to great skiing, dazzling views and the breathtaking Cliff Walk. Anyone staying overnight in Engelberg would do well to book in at the impressive Swedish-run Ski Lodge Engelberg.
From Engelberg, make your way to Andermatt in Uri Canton for some of the most memorable Alpine pass driving. This is due to the low-key town’s location at the true crossroads of Switzerland, in the Urseren Valley. Take your pick of the following thrilling routes: the Oberalp Pass, the St Gotthard Pass and the Göschenertal Pass. Furthermore, James Bond fans should check out the famous Furka Pass, scene of the famous car chase in Goldfinger. Some of the passes are even passable (from mid-June until mid-October) by Post Bus.
After spending a day or two taking in the big scenery via your skis or on some hikes, head out of Andermatt on one of Switzerland’s famous train journeys – the Glacier Express – to either St Moritz or Zermatt.
To book a suitable hotel or other accommodation in or around Lucerne, you can use the map below, which shows current prices for hotels and apartments. If you wish to book further afield, then just enlarge the map (+/-) to see more properties or, if you have somewhere particular in mind, enter your preferred resort/town/village in the ‘Where are you going?’ box.