Located in Central Switzerland, Lake Lucerne (or “Vierwaldstättersee” in German) is the landlocked country’s fourth-largest body of water. Feeding from multiple inflows, the lake extends across up to 30 kilometers in length and up to 20 kilometers in width. Notable towns at the lake include Küssnacht, Vitznau and the namesake Lucerne, in itself one of Switzerland’s ten largest cities.
The particular appeal of the lake is created by a backdrop of mountains of the Swiss Prealps. Visitors can get amazing views of the entire area from the top of the Pilatus mountain south of Lucerne. To get to this unique viewpoint, visitors can either take a gondola lift from the town of Kriens or the Pilatusbahn, the world’s steepest mountain rack railway, which has its base station in the small town of Alpnachstadt.
Lake Lucerne’s primary inflow is the river Reuss, which comes all the way from the Gotthard massif at an altitude of more than 2,100 meters and often carries a lot of bed load. Regardless, the lake’s water is usually clear and of potable quality. On hot summer days, the water can get around 20° C warm, in part thanks to the valley being protected by the surrounding mountains. There are some spots on the shore where people go swim, for example the so-called “Lido” in Lucerne.
Main activities at the lake include diving, yachting and rowing. For a more leisurely experience, there are sightseeing boat trips available. Also, there are ferry services between a number of the lakeside communities. There are plenty of hotels in the communities surrounding the lake. Choosing a hotel in the city of Lucerne will allow visitors to travel easily to other places in Switzerland thanks to the well-connected railway station there, while the more rural towns along the lakeshore provide for more tranquil settings. As common throughout Switzerland, the area has a comparatively high cost of living standard, which also applies to accommodation options.