Lucerne (city) — located 45 minutes (51 km) south of Zürich, this city (which is alongside Lake Lucerne) is considered the gateway to central Switzerland. Lucerne is the ideal starting point for many excursions to the highlights of central Switzerland. A trip up one of Lucerne’s regional mountains, the Pilatus or the Rigi – the queen of mountains – is a must. But excursions up onto the Stanserhorn, the Bürgenstock or a steamship cruise on Lake Lucerne with its many bends and arms are certainly no less worthy. The Wilhelm Tell Express originates in Lucerne and ferries its passengers to the foot of the Gotthard pass via Lake Lucerne and then continues by rail into Ticino, south of the Alpine ridge.
Historic houses decorated with frescoes line the picturesque town squares as they do the ‘Weinmarkt’ square in the car-free old town. Lucerne is a city of town squares and churches. The Jesuit church dating from the 17th century is regarded as Switzerland’s first sacral Baroque building and the twin towers of the Hofkirche form an integral part of the townscape.