Encircled by popular excursion mountains, Lake Lucerne is the lake with the greatest scenic variety in the country. It is somewhat reminiscent of a fjord landscape, yet remains characterised by a mild lake climate. Boat cruises on board five historic paddle wheel steamers and 15 elegant salon motor vessels count among the highlights of this region.
A steamer cruise across the convolute lake of Lucerne on a sun-filled summer’s day is without doubt a wonderful experience. But a trip on a late scheduled sailing through a mild summer’s evening or, shortly before Christmas, toward the sea of lights that is the town of Lucerne must at least be just as unforgettable. As is the mystical mood on the lake during the autumn mist period, and when the steamer cuts steadily through the waves on Lake Uri whipped up by the föhn wind. Trips in the cosy warmth of the saloon motor vessels, whilst the snow-covered winter landscape passes by outside, can only be described as complete relaxation.
The largest shipping company in Switzerland operates the necessary routes to reach many of the most important excursion destinations and mountain cableways of the region, such as the Rigi, Pilatus, Bürgenstock and Klewenalp. Special musical and culinary events are also offered on numerous scheduled and additional trips. The rich offering of delicious foods from the onboard galley provides added enjoyment and pleasure to any cruise.
A boat trip can be ideally combined with a walk, such as the "Weg der Schweiz" or Swiss Path, a themed trail on the history of Switzerland. Several cycling and skating paths as well as numerous bathing and rest areas are provided along the lake shores. An excursion to the popular sightseeing and shopping town of Lucerne, to include a trip to the Swiss Museum of Transport with its IMAX cinema, the Glacier Garden or a leisurely shopping expedition through the old town, is well worthwhile.
The German lake name, ‘Vierwaldstättersee’, has its origins in the four historic ‘Waldstätten’ (lit. forest sites), the three original cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, and the canton of Lucerne, which, together, surround Lake Lucerne. The foundation for the Swiss Confederation was laid in 1291 with the oath taken on the Rütli, a meadow above Lake Lucerne. In the past, the lake was an important transit route, until 1863 in fact the only trade route to the Gotthard pass.
The lake route is still plied today by the "Gotthard Panorama Express": the trip begins in Lucerne with a cruise to Flüelen, and then continues in first-class panorama carriages across the famous Gotthard railway line through to Ticino.