Lake Lucerne information
Lonely Planet review
If you're not averse to breathtaking mountain scenery - perhaps a glance or two at a shimmering expanse of water with majestic steep peaks of limestone hunched over the coastline, forests coming down to the shore filled with deer, chamois, foxes, and Alpine-native marmots; and fertile hillsides, meadows and valleys beyond - then this lake won't disappoint.
The lake's northern point is expansive; the southern spur (Urnersee) is more fjord-like and has special significance for the Swiss as it's home to the Rütli meadow where the country was, in a way, born. The southern springs (now marked by the Kaltbad) were discovered to have curative properties, as far back in 1885. You may also have heard of the Rigi with its chestnut and almond trees and alpine flowers on its sunny slopes (in the north) and the distinctive Mt Pilatus (in the west).
The 114 sq km (44 sq mi) lake has been called the heart of Switzerland and it is surrounded by four cantons: Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. 'Lake Lucerne' is a name given by English speakers; its real name is the Lake of The Four Cantons (Vierwaldstättersee in German, Lac des Quatre Cantons in French). Water sports are popular and many explore the lake's wonders by paddle steamer.