Off the beaten path in Lucerne
If you’ve ever been to Switzerland, you’ve heard of Lucerne. While no visit to this wonderful city is complete without crossing the Kapellbrücke from the Old Town into the newer part of the city, visiting the KKL, reading up on the history of the Lion Monument, or taking a tour of Lake Lucerne on a historic steamer, the city has so much more to offer than just the famous tourist attractions. Come join us on our tour of the undiscovered side of Lucerne.
Doing Lucerne like the locals
We’re heading out from the Carlton Tivoli Tennis Club, which played host to Davis Cup matches in the 1930s and simply oozes the glamour and charm of that era with its stylish pavilion and beautiful terrace. We continue on toward the historic Seebad, passing by countless statues and colorful flower beds. During the warmer months, a visit to the swimming area on the shores of Lake Lucerne is a must, even if you don’t want to take a swim. The Seebad’s bistro and bar are the perfect place to grab a bite or a drink, and the views of the lake are spectacular. Continuing past the Schweizerhofquai, a creperie, a gelateria, and the legendary floating restaurant Wilhelm Tell, the promenade brings us to the mouth of the Reuss river.
Our stroll through Lucerne’s historic city center starts at the Kapellbrücke, which is a truly stunning sight to behold, even for the locals. If you’re visiting the city on a Tuesday or Saturday, you’re in luck: farmers’ markets are held on both sides of the Reuss on these days, and we’re pretty sure you won’t see a more picturesque farmers’ market anywhere in Switzerland. From here, we head along the right bank of the river to Friedlis Markthalle and then on to Nils Hofer’s fish stand ... and no, you’re not the only one suddenly wishing you had access to a kitchen. Next, we climb the stairs of Lucerne’s city hall and find ourselves in Lucerne’s Old Town – the historic city center. We pass by the Fritschibrunnen, the paintings on the walls of Restaurant Fritschi and the Hotel des Balances – making sure to stop by the rooftop terrace – and continue along the Reuss until we reach the Zöpfli. If its walls could talk, this building would surely have a few stories to tell, as it dates back to the year 1600. If you walk over to the Reussbrücke and look to your right, you will see two more historic buildings: the Nadelwehr and the Spreuerbrücke.
Before continuing on along the Reusssteg toward the lake, we have time for a quick stop at the Franciscan Church. The courtyard in front of the church is surrounded by tiny, unique shops filled with beautiful handmade goods. The Alte Suidtersche Apotheke, the oldest pharmacy in Lucerne, is also well worth a visit if you have time, but now we’re going to take the Burgergasse back to the Reuss river.
For fearless sailors in terry cloth robes
We’ll be the first to admit there are times when Lucerne’s weather forces you to escape inside a museum or duck your head down and run from one shop to the next. Not that this isn’t a great way to spend the day, but, if you’re up for a bit of adventure, we recommend setting sail on Lake Lucerne as the captain of your own ship. In nothing but a bathrobe. No no, we haven’t lost our minds, we’re talking about Lucerne’s famous Sauna Boat.
The Sauna Boat, also known as the SSR1, docks in the small harbor by the four-star Seehotel Kastanienbaum, accommodates up to six daring sailors, and is extremely easy to captain – and you can even reserve cozy bathrobes and comfy slippers as well. You can also order food and drinks for your voyage from the hotel. What more could you want? Time to start the motor, set sail, and keep your eyes peeled for a quiet place to drop anchor. Sauna, here we come! One more insider tip: start heating the sauna while the boat is still docked in the harbor so you can jump right in as soon as you’ve found the perfect spot for your unforgettable sauna experience.
Information and reservations: www.saunaboot.ch
Indulgence à la Lucerne
Lucerne natives love to spend a relaxing evening eating out with friends, and chances are good that the evening will turn into something a little livelier. Having a good time is as much a part of the culture here as Mount Pilatus and the Bürgenstock. The city is brimming with excellent bars and restaurants, but we want to take you to one of our favorite hot spots.
Carola and Bettina have traveled a lot in their lives. Inspired by the different people, cultures, and flavors they encountered along the way, they returned to Lucerne with a brilliant idea: to open a vegan restaurant. And so they made their dream a reality. Pura is located in the heart of the historic city center, halfway between the Kapellbrücke and the Rathaussteg. During lunchtime, this unique restaurant offers ever-changing menus, which are always posted on Instagram and Facebook, and you can choose from a wide array of different dishes in the evening. All the ingredients come either from the sisters’ own garden or are sourced from local farmers. If you manage to make it out of bed early enough on a Saturday morning, you simply must treat yourself to breakfast at Pura.
From the trendy Bruchquartier to Lucerne’s historic city center, all the way to nearby towns: the region is filled with fantastic shops run by upholsterers, glass painters, milliners, tailors, carpenters, and chocolatiers. You really can shop till you drop here, and there are three shops that we think you might just love.
Take a walk along the lakeside promenade from Schwanenplatz to the floating restaurant Wilhelm Tell and then cross the Schweizerhofquai on your left and you’ll end up at Alpenstrasse 4. The first floor is home to the showroom of a one-of-a-kind fashion atelier. LU Couture is working to keep traditional tailoring alive. They have around 30 apprentices earning degrees in apparel design, and their collections are all designed and sewn right here in-house. A look around the showroom proves how enjoyable the combination of creative work and fair production can be. LU Couture also offers made-to-measure tailoring and alterations. Their experienced designers are happy to help you select pieces from the shop’s haute couture collection.
Wirz & Weli Welten
Prisca Zehnder’s shop may be located a little out of the way in Stans, but it is definitely worth making the effort to visit. You could make it part of a longer excursion and see some more of what the city’s surroundings have to offer. The attention to detail shown in the interior designer’s shop leaves no doubt that she is a professional who is passionate about her work. From home goods and furniture manufactured in-house all the way to paintings by international artists: every piece is carefully curated and fits perfectly into Wirz & Weli Welten’s overall concept. After visiting her shop, it should be no surprise to learn that Prisca Zehnder creates and implements interior design concepts for private and public clients as well. When it comes to your home and your closet, if you value style, quality, and a bit of exotic flavor, then you’ve come to the right place.
Carolines Hüte & Mützen
Practically every travel guide recommends visiting the Church of St. Leodegar – which, by the way, was named after the city’s patron saint – with its mystical collection of artworks and reliquaries. On the way there or on your walk back to the historic city center, there is one quite colorful shop window that will probably catch your eye. This is Caroline Felber’s millinery shop, and it’s one you won’t want to miss. Caroline firmly believes that anyone can pull off a hat, and she prides herself on finding the perfect hat for every customer. If, for some reason, she is unable to find the right model for you, then she’s happy to create a one-of-a-kind piece based on your personal preferences. The store is also home to the owner’s own millinery, where she turns her wildest ideas into wearable works of art. Oh, and her workshop just happens to be the oldest and biggest in the whole of Switzerland.
If you’re planning a trip, you should definitely head to our online shop first. You might find a cool trolley or a stylish weekender bag that’s the perfect match for your vacation wardrobe.