Adventure in Lucerne, Switzerland – Travel Journal

Arriving in Lucerne late afternoon after a flight and train ride there was  some arrival administration to do. This left very little time to capture many images.

This is my favourite from the ones I did manage to get, a cloud filled and moody sky brightly lit by a powerful moon.

I love the way the clouds are lit up and coloured blue and there is just a glimpse of some of the lights from the Seeburg Hotel which is Lucerne’s Christmas hotel. The hotel is lit up by over 300,000 lights just one reason the hotel gets its name, it also provides great vies over Lake Lucerne.

Thankfully there were plenty of opportunities to capture many more images from beautiful Lucerne.

Moon over the Seeburg hotel in Lucerne in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_057744

Moon over the Seeburg hotel

Lucerne is certainly one of Switzerland’s most beautiful cities and its water tower is probably its most recognisable and best known landmark. It is also Switzerland’s most photographed.

“prison and torture chamber and yet it looks so benign”

Walking around the city and lake it is impossible to miss it, it is visible from almost everywhere along Lake Lucerne’s shore.

It has a rather chequered past, having been a treasury, archive, prison and torture chamber and yet it looks so benign! It has never at anytime however stored water, I guess the only connection is the river it rests in.

It is probably my most photographed Lucerne landmark too everytime it came into view, it almost always found my lens pointing in its direction.

The panorama gondolas were unfortunately not operating due to strong winds so it was not possible to go to the top of Mount Pilatus. The fascinating Bourbaki Panorama museum which was the entertainment of choice for the wealthy before the advent of moving pictures, the sorrowful lion and the impressive Transport Museum made up for it however.

Lucerne's iconic water tower, one of Switzerland's most photographed landmarks on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Lucerne’s iconic water tower

Switzerland may not be ‘Sound of Music’ country but it certainly feels like it should be. Not just in the mountains either, the streets of Lucerne just seem to be waiting for their annual carnival to start again in the summer.

Enjoying the city though I was, after the disappointment of missing out on visiting the summit of Pilatus, it was a great pleasure to take a boat and mountain train to the summit of the Rigi Kulm.

There is not a great deal of snow around at the moment, certainly not enough for any slopes to be open. The ‘dusting’ that was there turned out to be especially treacherous sitting right on top of slippery ice. The mountain gods blessed those of us brave enough to venture up the mountain with some clearing skies and afforded us with fantastic panoramic views.

The little train takes about thirty minutes to arrive at the summit, it is a pleasant ride but after a hearty goulasch soup opted to catch the cable car down from the midway station.

This meant a shortened boat ride back from the quaint village of Weggis, around forty five minutes to Lucerne. Just enough time to sing the whole score from the film, everybody sing along now

“The hills are alive with the sound of music!”

Weggis on the shores of Lake Lucerne below the Rigi Kulm in Switzerland's Bernese Alps on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Weggis on Lake Lucerne

I have visited a great many churches, cathedrals and monasteries but the tour given at the Klosters Monastery in Engelberg is one of the best.

“I immediately dubbed him the Hippy Monk”

The tour guide the most youthful monk in the monastery Father Thomas was entertaining and informative, providing an insightful narrative throughout.

The Benedictine order of monks here are apparently quite liberal in their ways and views, one of the recent Bishops had been especially broad minded. Apparently sporting a ponytail, a follower of the ‘Flower Power’ generation so I immediately dubbed him the ‘Hippy Monk’.

The monastery is quite large and relatively new dating back only to the 12th Century although the existing building is only 300 hundred years old. The original building was burnt down by a home made firework experiment that went disastrously wrong.

There is a mixed school there too which although taking children on a boarding basis also educates a large number of children from the local village.

That is just a taster as the place interested me to such a degree there is almost certainly a post in the pipeline.

Klosters Monastery in Engelberg near Lucerne in Switzerland on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Klosters Monastery in Engelberg

It maybe not be high season in Lucerne but there is still plenty going on, especially during the festive period.

There are several markets one of which is in location throughout the festive period and others for a few days at a time.

There is also the “Live On Ice” charity event which this year is being hosted in the city. This includes a live radio broadcast, a variety of other live events. There are also  plenty of refreshment stands selling bratwurst  and other tasty specialities. Glühwein is available everywhere of course, but there is also coffee and tea, with a little schnapps added to provide a little extra warmth.

There are plenty of restaurants and bars for when it gets a little too cold to remain outside.

It is a city filled with lights at this time of the year, the bridge and streets are adorned with them, there are several huge trees and everywhere just seems lit up.

The water tower may not be covered in lights but it manages to stand out perfectly well without them, my lens cannot get enough if it, easy to see why.

The water tower in the Swiss city of Lucerne at night on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Still stunning at night

Lake Lucerne is great for taking a cruise on. Catch a boat from the quay close to the train station, the views are spectacular.

Whichever direction that you look there are amazing vistas, great snow-topped mountains, the picturesque city, alpine villages or individual houses on the lakeside.

The weather this particular day was quite changeable with glimpses of blue skies one minute and angry storm clouds the next. This image was actually taken mid-morning with the sunlight streaming through the clouds like half opened curtains.

It is possible to just cruise on the lake or take sometime to explore the villages of Wessig or Vissau, maybe even catch the cablecar to the top of the Rigi Kulm which is what I did.

The villages are quaint alpine style, perfectly clean with plenty of little shops and cafes to tempt a purchase or two.

Views from the top of the Rigi Kulm on a clear day must be breath taking, even on the day when I visited, with some cloud cover there was plenty to see. The cafe at the top is worth a vist too!

Cruising Lake Lucerne surrounded by the Bernese Alps of Switzerland on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Cruising Lake Lucerne

Engelberg is a small but pleasant ski village near Lucerne in Switzerland, that was extremely pleased to receive some snow at last just before we arrived.

There are two small resorts with just a number of gondolas, cable cars and chair lifts, the longest run being the 12 km into the village.

The highest point at 3238 m is Mount Titlis in the Urner Alps which ensures it  has snow on the upper slopes, especially as there is also a glacier although snowsports are only possible in Winter.

A trip to the top can include a 360 degree rotating cable care which provides a panoramic view of the area. The views are probably stunning unfortunately the day I visited they were not visible.

The village was busy preparing to host the World Ski-Jumping championships, an event they are proud to be involved with even shipping in snow from Andermatt to ensure there was enough.

With the nearby monastery and cheese factory too it is certainly worth visiting even if skiing is possible or you choice of activity.

Mountain sheep sculpture in Engelberg in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Mountain sheep sculpture in Engelberg

This trip is organised by the Lucerne Tourism Board and MagellanPR I am very grateful for all their assistance and for providing me with this opportunity to visit this lovely city.


Comments 14

  1. Doug

    Nice post! Sounds like you had /are having a great time there! It’s been great to follow your Twitter posts as well. Felt like I was walking around my old stomping grounds with you! I too love the area!
    Safe travels!
    All the best,


    1. Post

      Thanks Doug it was a great trip to a lovely city, hoping to return there one day again soon. Switzerland is a fantastic country just love the mountains and clean air of the place.

  2. Keith Kellett

    Of course Benedictine monks are liberal; they invented that great liqueur! 🙂

    (Try it with grapefruit juice sometime!)

    I last visited Lucerne in 1976, & have only some faded photographs & sketchy memories! Must go again, preferably around now. Sounds like you had a great time!

    1. Post

      I think a lot of monasteries produce some form of alcholic beverage Keith and certainly many produce good wines. Apparently within the order of Benedictine monks some are more liberal than others 🙂 Really enjoyed the whole trip I hope you get to visit again soon.

    1. Post

      Italy and Austria aren’t too shabby Bret! I was a little concerned about the reflections actually, almost felt the colours from the lights were a little too much and did not enhance the photo, but it came out ok in the end, glad you like it and thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Dayna

    I want to meet the Hippy Monk! I laughed quite a bit when I read that. Some incredible photos as well, I was only able to spend a few hours in Lucerne, so this is inspiring me to go back and explore a bit more!

    1. Post

      It had us laughing at the time too Dayna, the monk guide certainly opened my eyes, entertaining and very approachable. I was glad to have a few days to explore Lucerne and the surrounding area it really makes a difference to be able to find the best of a destination.

  4. cailin

    Where did you stay while you were in Lucerne? When I was there I stayed in a hotel that use to be a jail. Definitely haunted and very cool, my room was an old jail cell. 🙂

    1. Post

      Hmmm already replied to this Cailin but hey so good we did it twice. No comment from me about you suiting your choice of accommodation 😉 does sound cool though. I stayed at the Seeburg Hotel.known as Lucerne’s Christmas hotel due to it’s 300,000 lights and several trees. It also hasa great view of the lake.

    1. Post
  5. Johanna Bradley

    Nice to know that Switzerland can still afford Christmas lights! Have to add that the “cruising Lake Lucerne” is one of my all time favourites of your photos (and there’ve been some real goodies). I’ll sign up for a lake cruise any time- not so good with heights but I love a gondola (either kind!).
    Merry Christmas!

    1. Post

      They seem to be able to afford a heck of a lot of lights actually, maybe that is why it is not so cheap there 😉 That cruise on the lake is especially great Johanna, thoroughly recommended and glad you liked the picture

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