With fantastic ski resorts, sailing, rock-climbing for people of all abilities and skill levels, adrenaline sports that range from summer tobogganing through to paragliding and bike-boarding, Lake Lucerne and the surrounding area has it all. But why not instead take a trip to the heart of Switzerland with gentler thoughts and experience a slice of Swiss heaven.
Lake Lucerne is one of my favourite destinations and has been for many years, but as I grow older I want different things in life than when I first started visiting here in the late ‘90s. Back then I was looking for adventure and in the summer it would be traversing the Diavolo via ferrata through the Schöllenen gorge of hard granite rock near Andermatt, or mountain biking down rugged trails with heart stopping drops and views. Now I look at the area around Lucerne with different eyes and whilst my gaze often drifts up to the peaks and thinks of the fun I’ve had there, I am more than happy to look back across the calm waters of the lake, take a sip of wine and enjoy a radiant sunset that lights the sky and surrounding area with a golden, soft glow…although deep inside I still ache for the hills.
If I feel the need to stretch my legs I am quite prepared to hitch a lift in the steepest cog rail service in the world up to Mount Pilatus. The railway hits 48 degrees in places and watching the hillside drift by at this angle I can almost hear my knees cry out in relief and thanks for not having to bear the strain of the ascent. Make sure you bring a camera because the views from the top stretch out across the lake to the peaks of the Bernese Oberland in the distance. Try and get an early morning or early evening trip to make the best use of the light.
Of course I’m not completely couch-bound, I still enjoy the hiking that can be found in the area and with over 220 local routes, 60 regional hikes and 7 national hiking routes, Lucerne could be called the champion of Swiss walking towns.
My goal is to complete the Obwaldner Höhenweg, or high-level-trail, from Mount Pilatus to Storegg at the head of the Engleberg Valley, an 85 km route that is normally completed over five days. Described as moderately challenging, the Obwaldner Höhenweg takes in some decent summits to provide some of the best panoramas of the region.
Perhaps I’m not yet ready for the retirement home after all and whilst I know I said that Lake Lucerne could be explored with gentler thoughts…we only live once right?
So who’s with me? Grab your rucksack, book a flight and let’s give our knees and the rest of our body the workout it deserves. Who cares if the hair colour matches the snowy peaks…let’s go.