This Stunning Swiss Lake Town Has Wildflower Hikes and Private Sauna Boats — Here's How to Spend One Perfect Day

This Stunning Swiss Lake Town Has Wildflower Hikes and Private Sauna Boats — Here's How to Spend One Perfect Day

Lucerne's fresh air is waiting for you.

You deserve a vacation, so why not take it somewhere epic, like Lucerne, Switzerland?

Lake Lucerne offers some of Switzerland’s — and maybe the world's — best views. The lake stretches on for 43 square miles, offering visitors the chance to find both adventure and relaxation all around its shores. Ready to plot your visit? Here's where to stay, dine, and explore on a visit to Lucerne.

<p>Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern</p>

Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern

Where to Stay

Mandarin Oriental Palace Luzern

Your stay in Lucerne should be luxurious, and that's exactly why you should check into the Mandarin Oriental Palace Luzern. The hotel began welcoming guests in 2022, but it still maintains much of its original charms from when the building first opened as the Palace Hotel Luzern back in 1906. Since that opening day, the building has taken on several identities, including as a hospital. Mandarin Oriental took it over in 2019 and spent four years working on extensive renovations. Now, it sports plenty of glitz and glamor in its various restaurants, its 136 rooms and suites — some of which open to patios and balconies overlooking the lake — and its historic details saved from the past, like the tile from the original building found throughout the common spaces. Book your room starting at about $700 per night.

<p>bluejayphoto/Getty Images</p>

bluejayphoto/Getty Images

Where to Eat

Breakfast at Cafe Tacuba

Cafe Tacuba is a specialty coffee shop located in the heart of the city. Here, you can get all the usual hits like espressos, lattes, drip, and more, all made from beans roasted in house and harvested at a partner farm in El Salvador, along with other drinks like house-made lemonades. If you're feeling hungry, you'll find a full menu of breakfast delights, or you can pick up a flaky, buttery, and all-around perfect pastry, including some of the short-crust pastries Switzerland does best. Pick up a coffee for about $4.50 and a croissant for another $5.

Lunch at Mill'Feuille

Find yourself in the midst of a warm and friendly local crowd for lunch at Mill'Feuille. The eatery sits atop the lake. No, we don't mean next to it, we mean above it, as some seats hover right over the water. Here, you can enjoy plenty of locally sourced food and drink, including cheeses produced just a few miles down the road, meats raised in a nearby valley, and fish from Swiss farms. Don't miss the meaty lasagna or the vegetable-forward quinoa slices. Get a full meal for about $30 per person.

Dinner at Colonnade

Sit down for an absolutely divine finale to your vacation in Lucerne by dining at Colonnade, a restaurant that earned its Michelin Star just five months after opening. And one taste will prove why. The menu is filled with French classics with a modern twist, including wild turbot topped with hazelnuts, pigeon with shallot marmalade, and vegetarian options like its in-season asparagus, all expertly paired with the perfect wine. A three-course testing begins at around $200.

<p>aletheia97/Getty Images</p>

aletheia97/Getty Images

Things to Do

Go on a hike.

While Lucerne is gorgeous from every angle, getting high above the clouds will provide you with a view almost too beautiful to be true. To get there, you'll have to hike to the top of Mount Pilatus, a mountain with a peak that rises almost 7,000 feet in the air. And the best way to get there is a hike with local guide Sven and his partner, Leni. On the way, you'll walk past meadows filled with flowers and craggy cliff sides, and at the top, you may even see a sprinkling of snow, no matter the season. The entire hike takes about five hours, but don't worry, plenty of stops are included. The hike begins at about $105 per person.

<p>Xantana/Getty Images</p>

Xantana/Getty Images

Take a ride up the Cogwheel.

Live out your mountain view dreams just by hopping aboard the Mt Rigi Cogwheel, a train that takes you to the top of Mount Rigi in under an hour. The train ride is as serene as it gets, slowly passing mountain homes, meandering through the tree line, and providing awe-inspiring lake views along the way. Guests can get off wherever they like and stop at the top to breathe all that mountain air before getting back on for the ride down once again. Tickets begin at about $80 for a round-trip ride.

Float in a sauna boat.

You've hiked, you've dined, and you've explored the city. Reward yourself by slowly drifting around Lake Lucerne on a private sauna boat just for you. Sauna Boot offers its vessel in Lake Lucerne to any weary traveler hoping to sweat away their worries. Guests drive the boat themselves for a full four hours, jumping between the sauna and the lake's frigid waters. It's an ultra-calming experience that once again comes with those mountain views you've already fallen in love with throughout your stay. Get your boat starting at about $380. No need to bring a towel, that's included.

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