Lucerne, Switzerland

Starting August in Italy was phenomenal… If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ve hopefully noticed the pictures and videos from our trip. When we planned the trip, we were a bit reluctant about the location since we had spent time in Italy before.

Luckily the Italian coast was an entirely different experience than Florence, Venice, Milan and Rome offered.

But with that hesitation to visit a country we had already been to in the back of our minds, we added an additional few days onto our trip to visit Switzerland!

I can happily say, that was a decision we will never regret!

Zurich and Lucerne were a total change of pace from Positano and the rest of the Amalfi Coast – but made for a perfect end to a perfect vacation!

We woke up early in Positano before sun came up and took a shuttle to the Naples airport. It was a short and easy flight from Naples to Zurich, Switzerland.

Leaving the Amalfi Coast was hard (I’m talking crystal blue waters and beautiful cliffside villages) but flying into Zurich was very exciting – especially seeing the mountains in the distance and knowing we’d be exploring a country we would both be stepping foot into for the first time in our lives.

We flew Swiss Air (appropriately) and had a safe, quick and easy flight. Like most of Europe, we were going to rely on the public transportation to get around.

But when you don’t know the language – it can become pretty intimidating and scary if you let it. We luckily ran into an older gentleman who was MORE than excited to use his English skills to help us find and make our train connection.

For anyone planning on spending a few hours on a train – splurge for the 1st class cabins!

The extra luxury of more space, a little more piece and quiet and the power outlets (in our case) was well worth the few extra dollars in the end!

I wish the US had the public transportation countries like Switzerland have – within 2 hours we made it from the Zurich Airport to the city center of Lucerne!

And I may just be a huge nerd – but I LOVE train stations! They aren’t just hubs of mass transportation, they are convenience stores, restaurants and sometimes (like in Zurich & Lucerne) HUGE shopping malls!

We may not have spoken the language – but time is time – and we were able to stay on schedule on our busy travel day! Every train station had clocks everywhere which was surprisingly reassuring and comforting.

Like kids on Christmas morning, we were so eager to get to our destination and see what the day had in store for us.

As we got closer to Lucerne the views just kept getting better.

Green trees, cute villages and a ton of rivers kept the train ride very visually appealing and exciting.

But Lucerne was the icing on the cake – just steps from the City Station you are water font of Lake Lucerne!

We were blessed with the most beautiful sunny days – and the weather was perfect for our adventuring and site seeing throughout the city.

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We did our homework and selected one of the top rated hotels in the city for our stay, Hotel Schweizerhof.

Shout out to Trip Advisor – Trip Advisor was a huge help on deciding where to stay and what to do!

This hotel was a short walk from the train station – steps from the lake and its service, it’s hospitality and rooms were phenomenal (just check out their website – the website alone makes you want to book a flight to Lucerne immediately)!

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And the views from our top floor room were unbelievable!

We could see far across the lake, the beautiful museum across the water and an perfect view of Mount Pilatus (the focus of my next blog)!

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Walking to our hotel was short and easy – but also very difficult in terms of our attention because there were so many shops, busy city streets lined with restaurants and architecture begging to be admired.

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After we checked into our room, we had a small break in our schedule before our boat tour – so we explored the main road outlining the water which was conveniently lined with trees, flowers and a walking trail.

The boat tour was the best introduction to the city. We got to learn about iconic building in the city like the first church, the guard tower and cities walls and the beautiful mountains surrounding the city and their history.

One subtle fun fact about Switzerland, is that the country is broken out into 26 different “Cantons.” Each of these cantons have their own flag and coat of arms.

Luzerne has a blue and white flag and you notice these colors and the flag almost everywhere when touring the city. My favorite nod to Luzerne’s flag were these bold doors (the one pictured below and in this blog header).

After our boat tour (and our flight, two trains and 1,000,000 steps that day) we got to enjoy a nice dinner at a popular restaurant in the city.

Another fun fact – Europe eats significantly later than America. We were the first people at the restaurant and while we were eager to chow down on our meals, other patrons were just starting to make their way into the building.

Regardless of dining much earlier than the locals – the food was delicious and we finished early enough to get to do a little more exploring before the sunset!

I made it a game to find the unique ways the architecture, landscaping or artwork would tie in the canton colors – this 15 foot tall door was one of the most obvious.

Seeing the city by boat was like window shopping – and getting to walk in and out of the busy streets was the sweet reward.

As we explored, my mind was building up so many questions to ask about the buildings origins, the story behind the bridges and what the artwork represented.

Luckily for us, we had multiple tours planned for our next day in the city! We had an early walking tour planned in the morning and had a larger tour planned to explore Mount Pilaus and venture up into the beautiful mountains we had been admiring all day in the distance.

This beautiful, clean and very walkable city is one I would strongly recommend to anyone traveling to Europe for the first time. While you 100% have the European vibe and energy, there is a great deal of English spoken and its ease of getting around would be a great introduction to European travel.

I could have spent the entire day taking photos and finding new reasons to love the city. But we had a great deal of excitement and adventure for one day. So as the sun started to set, so did we.

But not after a few more pictures and snacking at the chocolate and ice cream shops that seemed to be around every corner.

We had a little fun pairing our scenery with our outfit choices for the day.

A palm tree polo looked great with an ivy wall…

…and my loud floral prints found a nice pairing with the flowers greeting us back at the entrance to our hotel (please note: my shirt choices definitely got attention, haha).

A few drinks at the hotel bar were all that we needed to call it a day and relax before another busy day ahead of us.

If you want to see a little more from our day in Lucerne – check out highlights on my Vimeo channel.

Lucerne, Switzerland from Matthew Goto on Vimeo.

I would love your feedback if you’ve been to Lucerne or plan on visiting!

We missed the “famous” Lion statue and I wish we had a few more insider tips before we started exploring – but still had an amazing day exploring Lucerne!

Thank you for reading and following along on our August adventures – more to come soon!

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