Road to Travel Logo

Tips and Advise for visiting Switzerland by Road to Travel Inc.

Friday, August 5, 2016

What to do in the Lake Lucerne Region

The Lake Lucerne Region in Central Switzerland is the best place to start exploring the country on private tours of Switzerland. The region has something for everyone: cultural events, museums, a network of Alpine hiking trails, boat cruises and much more. Here are a few suggestions on what to do in the Lake Lucerne Region.

Lake Lucerne
Immerse in history and culture

Lucerne is a must-see for history and culture buffs. Walk around the city to see iconic Chapel Bridge, the medieval watch towers, the charming old town brimming with architectural gems, stunning Baroque churches. Lucerne hosts many music festivals all year round such as Summer Night Festival (Luzernfest) in August, Lucerne Festival with concert series of classical music, Lucerne Blues Festival, the World Band Festival in September. 

See Lucerne from above

The Hammetschwand Lift is Europe’s highest exterior elevator that will take you to the Bürgenstock plateau. The lift shoots 153 metres in a minute to take passengers to the summit 1132 metres above sea level. The views over the Lake Lucerne an Alps will take your breath away. 

Mount Pilatus
Explore Lake Lucerne by boat

Hop on a boat to see the 38-kilometer-long lake and its shores. The William Tell Express, combines a boat ride with a train excursion through the St. Gotthard Pass. In summer, you can board a historic paddle-wheel steamer heading to the pretty town of Flüelen.

Climb the mountains

Mount Pilatus, the Stanserhorn, the Titlis are all within an easy reach from Lucerne. The Rigi mountain range has many hiking trails and spectacular views over the Alps from the top. If long hikes is not your cup of tea, hop on a cable car that will take you to several summits or take the cogwheel train to the Rigi. 

Cable car on Mount Titlis

Enjoy winter sports

Some of the best winter sports resorts are located in the Lake Lucerne Region. With 500 kilometres of ski slopes, the 8-kilometre Melchsee-Frutt sledging track and 40 kilometres of cross-country ski tracks you will never get bored here in winter.

Photos via Flickr by: Tomasz Trzebiatowski, Devon D'Ewart, Björn Söderqvist.

Exploring Sion

A sunny town of Sion, the capital of the Canton of Valais, is a must-see on private tours of Switzerland. Elegant architecture, excellent museums, music festivals all with the spectacular mountain peaks as a backdrop make the town a popular destination all year round. 

Two magnificent castles, Tourbillon and Valère, stand atop twin hilltops above Sion like ancient guards. The 14th Château de Tourbillon was burnt, rampaged an rebuilt through centuries. Today visitors can see the restored rooms, the keep, the beautiful chapel, frescoes in the castle and admire breathtaking vistas over the town and valley.  The Cantonal Museum of History housed in the Château de Valère tells the fascinating story of Valais. Inside the cathedral of Valère is a 15th century Gothic organ, one of oldest playable organs in the world.

Château de Tourbillon
Stroll around Sion’s charming Old Town to see historic buildings and pretty squares. The Sorcerers‘  Tower is one of the few surviving fragments of the medieval walls that once surrounded the town. It reminds of the famous witches’ trials that took place here between the 15th and 18th centuries. 

Reminders of gory torture used to extract confessions of involvement in witchcraft can be seen inside the tower. The old Town Hall, Cathedral of Notre Dame du Glarier, church of Saint Theodule, Bishop’s Museum will tell you about Sion’s rich fascinating history that goes almost 7000 years back.

Located in the heart of one of the Switzerland’s biggest wine regions, Sion is surrounded by terraced vineyards with centuries-old dry stone walls. Make sure to try excellent local wines the Fendant, Ermitage, Dôle and Syrah that are hard to find outside the country. Take a walk along the vineyards see how much work goes into winemaking here and admire the views over the valley.

Château de Valère
In summer, Sion hosts the International Antique Organ Festival with top-class concerts in the Castle Church of Valère, several other music event as well as “son et lumière” shows with concerts and special lighting effects that turn the of Valere and Tourbillon into a something of a fairy tale setting.

Photos by: Owen Massey McKnight/Flickr, Johannes Löw/Wikimedia Commons, Julian Mendez/ Wikimedia Commons. 

Ruinaulta, Switzerland's Grand Canyon

Dubbed the Grand Canyon of Switzerland, the Rhine Gorge Ruinaulta is a sight to behold on private tours of Switzerland. 

More than 10,000 years ago, during the Flims Rockslide, huge rocks tumbled down into the Anterior Rhine Valley obstructing the Rhine River. Over the course of time, the mighty stream carved its way through the pile up forming the dramatic Ruinaulta. Hundreds metres deep, the canyon is flanked by imposing cliffs and dense forests. Outdoors enthusiasts flock in the area for great rafting, biking, canoeing and hiking. The gorge is also famous for its diverse wildlife and stunning orchid blooms. 

One of the most popular hiking trails runs from Laax to Il Spir, a high observation platform that allows breathtakingly beautiful views over the Rhine Gorge. Lake Cauma is another popular spot where, after a good hike, you can swim in the turquoise waters.  

The gorge can also be reached by the Rhaetian Railway. You can get off at Trin, Versam-Safien or Valendas-Sagogn stations and continue to explore on foot or just relax in your seat and take in the spectacular views of the canyon from your window.

Lake Cauma
There are many picturesque villages along the trails running to the Ruinaulta where you can stop to relax and have a hearty meal. Ilanz sits at the start of the gorge and is a great starting point for adventurous explorers. In winter, the area around the village fills up with winter sports enthusiasts who come here for skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, Nordic skiing and winter hiking. In Reichenau, where the Upper and Lower Rhine meet, you can cross a 100-metre long suspension bridge across the river, walk to a spectacular viewing platform in the Bonaduzer Forest or tale a tour and chill out with a glass of wine at the 17th century Reichenau Castle’s winery.

Photos via Flickr by: Rosmarie Voegtli, Kurt Zwahlen.