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Suggestions for three lovely days in Lucerne in April

We will spend three days in beautiful Lucerne, from April 21 to 24, at the end of Viking Rhine Getaway Cruise, which ends in Basel on April 21. Having seen so many enticing photos of Lucerne, and the Chapel Bridge on the lake, I decided to stay in Des Alpes Hotel overlooking the bridge, for three nights. Which day-trips, by SBB train or by boat, would you recommend from Lucerne and back each day? We are senior citizens and our long hiking days are over, unfortunately. We plan to take the train from Lucerne to Zurich Airport on April 24 for the flight back home to San Francisco.
Thank you so much in advance, Jeepu

PS: purchasing “Tourist one-off advance tickets & seat reservation” online at SBB web site is another matter altogether that I rather not discuss because I am very disappointed with my prior experience. Unlike legendary Swiss efficiency reputation, it is not at all clear nor efficient!

Posted by
578 posts

You can easily spend several hours one day doing the Golden round trip to Mt Pilatus. We took aerial cable cars up, ate lunch at the top plus a short hike, cogwheel tram down, boat back to city center. Another day we took a cruise to Weggis and had lunch and drinks in a little place overlooking the lake. Views are amazing.

Posted by
24 posts

Katherine: Thank You for your suggestions, which will be good for us. I have two questions:

1), Where did you start the Golden tour to Mt. Pilatus and back. Also, where did the day-cruise to Wiggins(?) start on the lake? Did they serve lunch on the boat?

2) Would you recommend a day-trip to Interlaken and back by SBB train from Lucerne?
Is Interlaken worth visiting for a day and a nice Swiss lunch?

Thank you for your time and help
Jeepu

Posted by
578 posts

The website pilatus.ch has all the details about the Golden round trip. At the recommendation of our hotel staff we did the aerial cable car leg first which departs from Kriens. We caught a bus in front of our hotel to Kriens. Cable cars and gondolas will take you to the top of Mt Pilatus and its observation deck. There are 2-3 restaurants as I recall and you can take a couple of short walks to higher observation points. From there you take a cogwheel train down to Alpnachstad, walk across the street and catch the boat back to Luzern. On the boat there is an outdoor observation deck or indoor table seating with windows. Limited food options on the boat. As I recall the boat portion took about 45 minutes.
The boat trip to Weggis was on the same boat. This boat runs a regular schedule on the lake with a series of stops. I would recommend finding a lakeside place for food and/or drink in Weggis.
We did not make any train trips out of Luzern so can’t help you with Interlaken.

Posted by
24 posts

Katherine
Thank you for your detail recommendations. I’ll follow up with Mt. Pilatus website and go from there. Good plan for one day. Would like to take train to Interlaken on second day. But, my confidence on buying train tickets from SBB website online is very low based on prior experience. Might just buy point-to-point train tickets at the counter in Lucerne station.

Thank You for your prompt help.
Best regards,
Jeepu

Posted by
2141 posts

Hi jeepu, sounds like a great trip! We also did Viking’s Rhine Getaway (Basel to Amsterdam) and enjoyed it very much. We spent a week in Switzerland on our own prior to boarding the cruise.

Lucerne is a beautiful town and the scenery is amazing. We also stayed at the Des Alpes Hotel (very nice breakfast). We spent some time wandering around looking at all the shops, stopping for coffee or a drink. We walked along the lake to the Transportation Museum which was very well done and interesting. Be sure to take a look at the lion monument and get some day and evening photos of the bridge. Hope you have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
8530 posts

We did exactly what you're planning, post cruise. My suggestion is that you do the Pilatus trip the firs chance you get good weather up top. For us, that was soon after we checked in. The desk clerk at Des Alpes advised us so, as they have live webcams monitoring the tops of Pilatus and Rigli. There are restaurants and facilities up top, so you dont have to do any hiking. The day cruise boats are a short walk from the hotel, and we just walked up to one that had a sign for a 2-hour cruise with snacks, and got on board.

The hotel gave us a pass for local transportation (bus and tram) that gave a small discount for the Gold/Silver Pass. If you haven't thought about it, finding less expensive places to eat was a challenge.

Posted by
24 posts

Thank You so much Katheryne, Donna, Stan for your thoughtful recommendations.
I will certainly review these suggestions and be well prepared for Lucerne even before I leave home on April 10.
It's interesting that few of you also stayed in Des Alpes Hotel in Lucerne, near Chapel Bridge, and enjoyed the food and lodging. I must have chosen a good hotel (though not cheap) just by chance. I had planned to go to Interlaken for a day, although it will take about 2 hours each way by train. But, now you have given me some other helpful ideas to consider closer to Lucerne. Three days in Lucerne after a classy, comfortable, informative Viking cruise will be fun!
With thanks and best regards,
Jeepu

Posted by
1949 posts

We stayed for 3 nights at the Walstadtterhof Hotel directly across from the train station. So convenient. Pricey, but clean as a whistle.

Overall, food is fairly expensive as are most things in Switzerland. But the rooftop Manor Department store delicatessen is a great, cool place for lunch and relatively inexpensive, probably under $25 CHF for high-quality fare. Tremendous soups, entrees, baked goods.

Also, the best lager of the trip, and a killer boiled beef on pretzel roll sandwich, was at Rathaus Brauerie right by the Chapel Bridge on the banks of the River Reuss. Sat outside in March on a blindingly sunny day and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Posted by
4901 posts

Did you check out the three day STP? You never buy tickets for the covered destinations.
Boat ride and Cogwheel to Mt Rigi is completely covered, along with Mt Stanserhorn. Pilatus is discounted. The STP is so easy, just walk on and sit down , you don't buy tickets.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
24 posts

Thank You Pat, but what is STP? Where can I find out more about STP & also buy advance tickets online before I leave for Viking Rhine Cryise to Amsterdam tomorrow, Wed, April 10?
Thank you for your help
Jeepu