Day 3 of our Switzerland trip–here we go! So we knew that our itinerary was going to be jam packed (self-inflicted). There were so many cities that we wanted to see. The downside was that we didn’t get to spend that much time in each one. We only had a short day in Lucerne. And we used it to explore Mt. Pilatus. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that great so we couldn’t see much of anything from the top. Just lots and lots of clouds. Still cool, but not what we had hoped for, haha.
We got up super early that morning to commute to Lucerne from Zurich. It was about a 1 hour train ride from Zurich Main Station to IR Luzern, and then another 10 min walk to our hotel. We checked in at 7:30am, but of course, our rooms weren’t ready yet. So we just checked our bags and set out for the day.
I’m referring back to my itinerary as I’m writing this. It looks like I had breakfast blocked from 7:30am-8:15am, but I’m pretty sure we ended up eating at the train station back in Zurich. So here’s the thing about food in Switzerland. It’s expensive AF. My boyfriend and I…well, we like our hefty breakfasts. So the best value breakfast that we could find was sandwiches from Coop. It’s just a grocery store, and you’ll find one every other block. $7-$8 can get you a decently sized chicken schnitzel sandwich, or a tomato mozzarella one if you’re feeling something lighter. That’s probably my biggest tip for traveling in Switzerland. Stock up on snacks at the grocery store. And if you’re looking for a cheap/filling meal…welp, grocery stores save the day yet again 🙂
Alright, here’s day 3! Gonna try a slightly different format this time. Pictures first, then a more detailed itinerary/description at the end. Enjoy!
8:30am-10:05am – Travel to Mt. Pilatus
- The path to Mt. Pilatus from Lucerne is as follows: Lucerne -> Alpnachstad -> Pilatus
- From Lucerne to Alpnachstad, you can take either train or boat. We went by boat on the way there and took the train on the way back. By train it takes about 15 min whereas by boat it takes ~50 min. Of course the views are more gorgeous via boat. I’m 95% sure that the first leg (boat/train) is covered by the Swiss Rail Pass, so you don’t have to worry about buying additional tickets. The cogwheel leg at the end (Alpnachstad -> Pilatus) you need to buy a separate ticket for, but Swiss Rail Pass might get you a discount.
- You can find timetables here.
10:00am-2:00pm (ish) – Explore Mt. Pilatus
- Depending on when you go and how the weather is, the view at the top may be amazing or meh. We weren’t so lucky. It was super cloudy the whole time that we were up there. We tried to wait it out and see if the skies would clear up, but they didn’t 🙁 Maybe if we waited a little longer…but we only had a day in Lucerne and we wanted to get back to explore the city a bit as well.
- There are several hiking trails at the top. You can find distance/difficulty information in the pamphlets that they give out at the top. Or just walk to an info booth and they can get you one. We explored a couple of trails. Some of them were surprisingly steep! And involved lots of stairs! Views were worth, though.
- There are several dining options at Mt. Pilatus. The restaurants looked really nice, but they were way too pricey for our budget. So we went to the self-serve dining spot (kind of like the ones that they have at ski resorts). Food wasn’t bad, and it was way cheaper than what it would have been if we dined at the restaurants. Some of the restaurants had outdoor seating, which would have been super nice if it wasn’t so cloudy.
- Also, it’s FREEZING at the top. It was raining on/off when we went as well. So definitely dress warmly, and bring a rain jacket! (If rain is in the forecast, of course).
1:40pm-3:00pm – Commute back to Hotel de la Paix
- Figured I might as well include where we stayed in case some of you were interested! Hotel de la Paix is a short 8-10 min walk from the main train station in Lucerne, in the heart Lucerne.
- The rooms are simple but very clean and cozy. Prices are reasonable as well. They offer a free welcome drink that you can redeem at the restaurant–a nice touch 🙂
- Breakfast is included!! I think this was the only place we stayed at in Switzerland where breakfast wasn’t an additional charge. The breakfast buffet had a great selection–bread, cheese, meats, hard-boiled eggs, cereal, etc. I only wish we had more time to eat haha cause our train was super early the morning that we left.
- You can find more information about the hotel here.
4:00pm-6:00pm – Explore Lucerne
- Did ya’ll notice from the pictures how sunny it got in the afternoon? Made us regret not staying up on Pilatus a little longer…maybe it would have cleared up up there as well.
- Definitely stop by to see the Chapel Bridge. You can’t miss it–I feel like it’s the main attraction. It’s known for the beautiful paintings on the interior of the bridge. The bridge is also nicely lit at night if you wanted to check it out in the evening.
- If you’re in the mood for ice cream, I HIGHLY recommend stopping by at Confiserie Bachmann. It’s a chain and we saw them all over Zurich as well but didn’t decide to give it a try until we were in Lucerne. Best hazelnut ice cream I’ve had in my life. So so rich and creamy (in a good way). And amazing hazelnut flavor. Great location too–you get a wonderful view of the lake.
- Sunset over the lake is gorgeous. There are a couple of really nice (and probably super expensive) restaurants along the lake where you can dine outside. They have blankets and everything in case it gets cold.
And that wraps up day 3! Hope you guys enjoyed.