Why Lucerne is the Best Place To Start Your Switzerland Experience

map of Switzerland and tours by Echo Trails

Many people ask me to plan a Swiss trip for them.
When I ask what they want to experience, I hear things like panoramic Swiss Alps, green pastures, cows, cheese, trains, chocolate etc. These are all things you can see and experience in and around Lucerne.  And if they are limited in time, I recommend visiting Lucerne because the Lake Lucerne region offers the best use of their time to maximize their Swiss trip experience. Here are some of the main reasons why visiting Lucerne as your  first Swissplaace  offers visitors a great Swiss experience.

.. Easy to get to – An hour by train from the Zurich airport.

…Small enough – enjoy walking around  in a medieval town on your own.

…Super scenic & easy access  – with the lake across the street from the train station and great visibility to two 6,ooo ft Mt. Rigi & 7,000 Mt. Pilatus peaks with amazing views of the hundreds of Central Swiss Alps peaks.

..Easy to get around – train, boat, tram and bus transportation all available from the central train station area.

Lucerne is where our  Swiss office is based and why we offer over 10-different Guided Lucerne Day walking & hiking tours. Echo Trails starts its 12-Day and 8 Day Swiss Alps Rail Tours in Lucerne. The area provides the best introduction to Switzerland’s ecology, culture and  heritage. This is also why we named our company Ecology, Culture, Heritage, Outdoors, ECHO.

Lucerne’s Mt. Rigi is preferred by Swiss-Germans as one of the most favorite places to hike

View from Mt Rigi in Lucerne

I’m often asked what’s the best hike to do from Lucerne.
I recommend Mt. Rigi is because there are so many ways depending on your fitness and activity level to experience this mountain.

Back in the 1880’s when Mark Twain visited the Lake Lucerne area and was carried to the top of Mt. Rigi in a wooden chair sedan he writes in his book “A Tramp Abroad”…
……“I believe that this place [Weggis-at the base of Mt. Rigi on Lake Lucerne0] is the loveliest in the world, and the most satisfactory. The scenery is beyond comparison beautiful…”
Now 140 years later, you still get this incredible 180 degree view of hundreds of peaking Central Swiss Alps.

Mt. Rigi is very accessible from Lucerne via train or boat and once you reach the base, you have lots of choices on trails and scenery. If you have the time and are adventurous, there is a two hour summit easy to hike trail that connects Rigi-Kaltbad with Rigi-Scheidegg where you constantly have the Swiss Alps visible all the while you are hiking.

Once you reach either side, you can choose to take public transportation via a cable car or cogwheel train back down to the base and connect easily with public transportation back to Lucerne.

Depending on your time, we offer some half-day Guided tours along Lake Lucerne…


While ascending Mt. Rigi is relatively easy, the advantage of having one of our local guides with you, you hear how the place started world-wide tourism with the legendary British tour operator, Thomas Cook, back in the 1860’s with the first group ever to travel out of the country.

In the distance, on a green meadow, you will learn how Switzerland got founded in 1291 and why Lucerne became the administrative center for the Habsburg’s who ruled Europe for centuries. And of course, if you want to know some of the names of the Central Swiss Alps peaks, you will learn them too.

For a first day in Lucerne “get orientated” tour, our Mt. Rigi guided day tour with multiple uses of public trains and boats provides not only a great introduction to Switzerland but that Swiss Alps experience you envision.

Lucerne’s Mt. Rigi’s, Cheese-Dairy “Chaserernholz” farm overnight offers “a-one-of a kind” Swiss Alps Hut experience

View from top of Switzerland's Mt Rigi

When you are on top of Mt. Rigi, there’s big visual sign where you can read about Mt. Rigi’s history that includes what Mark Twain did & said and a column about a 7th generation cheese-dairy farmer named Franz Tony Kennel.

What many people do not realize is the same family still works the farm (7th generation) on a 15 to 20 minute hike below the top of Mt. Rigi.

For those who have the time, just think what a wonderful experience Mt Rigi would be if you could actually overnight at 5,000 ft and see the sunset & sunrise and do it authentically on a working “Cheese-Dairy Farm.” After a day hiking with your guide on Mt. Rigi, you’ll enjoy the beautiful sunsets and see the amazing stars in the clear skies above. The sounds of the dairy cows are comforting – their voices & bells pasturing nearby and, in the barn, providing soothing sounds as you “soak in” the incredible Central Swiss Alps ambiance.

When you visit this place, you will just see local Swiss who visit since it’s a bit of a local secret this place exists. To make such a “Cheese-Dairy farm” experience possible for our English speaking visitors, we’ve designed a guided Day hike with an overnight stay.

Also here you can meet & hear the “Cheese-Dairy” farmer, Franz Toni Kennel in person.