Switzerland is one of those slightly underrated destinations, which may have a good reputation for winter sports and snowy mountains but there really is so much more to it. I’ve been to Switzerland many times over the last years and every single time I realize just how nice it is. The delicious food, the laid-back people, the high standard in everything you see, taste and visit. It’s a great place to experience adventure, nature, culture and relaxation, all in one.

Naturally I said YES when Lucerne Tourism asked whether I wanted to come visit their city during the annual LILU Festival of Lights, which has been around since 2019 and attracts over 100.000 visitors from all over the world. For the festival a group of 16 international artists is selected to submit their light installation and the range is truly impressive. Many are interactive, some entertaining and others just beautiful to look at. And the best part? They’re mostly free and scattered throughout town.

It’s no coincidence that Lucerne would be hosting a festival focussing on light installations. After all the word lucem (latin for light) is in the name. Even when it’s not festival time, the beautiful lighting throughout the entire city is very noticeable and stunning. Especially a walk along the river in the evening will make this very poignant.

Add to this the impressive mountain backdrop and you have a picture perfect destination.

LILU Festival of Lights

Many of our highlights on this trip were related to the festival. We joined a walking tour with knowledgeable local guide who not only showed us many of the 16 different installations, she also explained everyone we wanted to know about each artist and lots of interesting background information around the festival.

One of them is the “Aquatics”, an aquarium under the KKL roof, for which visitors can choose the color or size of a fish or jellyfish on a tablet and let this flow into the show.

Many times, interesting light formations were projected on a variety of buildings, there was usually a deeper meaning behind each of them, so to get that inside look was invaluable.

One of our favorite parts of the festival was the 30-minute light show inside the Jesuit Church to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. A unique and truly impressive display by Swiss artist collective Projektil.

Another highlight which really surprised me was the concert atKKL where a large symphony orchestra played an original score to the cartoon “How to train a dragon”. The experience was unlike anything I have done before and it was highly entertaining and even emotional! It helps that the concert hall at the KKL is an architectural masterpiece.

But there is much more to Lucerne, which I came to find out. It’s an amazing place to spend a long weekend or even a week and star-travel to surrounding ski resorts and villages that offer fun and inspiring activities to balance out your city trip experience.


Trip to Engelberg

From Luzern the train to Engelberg takes less than an hour and after another short bus ride you arrive at the gondola that takes you up to the Führenalp, an amazing starting point for a mountain hike or – what we did – some good old tobogganning. The Führenalp Alm lets guests borrow sleds free of charge and after a short hike, there is a perfekt little beginner’s slope to ride down. Did I fall off my sled a couple of times? Maybe. Did we laugh A LOT? We sure did!

After sledding fun we were hungry and gladly tried the Führenalp’s Alm special – the Fondue Sled! Think bubbly melted cheese, freshly baked bread and a delicious bottle of white wine, all served on a sled which you are free to place wherever you see fit (and the best mountain view of course!)

If fondue is not your cup of tea, the Führenalp restaurant dishes up many more hearty and sweet favorites such as Kaiserschmarren and Charcuterie Boards.

Erlebniswelt Muotathal

Another recommendation for a special experience or day trip while you’re in Lucerne is Muotathal, home of a friendly bunch of huskies and an easy 90min commute from Lucerne if you travel by train. The Erlebniswelt offers accommodation, a restaurant and many activities for guests, but the star of the show are no doubt the huskies who live here. If you’ve always dreamed of a dog sledding experience, this is your place.

There are many different types of experiences involving the huskies, both summer and winter tours and activities. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough snow for a proper dog-sledding tour, but we enjoyed visiting and feeding the huskies, learning more about them and taking a couple of them for a walk – which is very different to taking any normal dog for a walk, because these guys PULL! That’s also why one doesn’t just hold them on a leash, but the leash actually gets attached to a type of belt around your hips.

Lucerne Tips

Where to stay:

Cascada Boutique Hotel – A practical, central and comfortable choice for accommodation in Lucerne is the Cascada Hotel, just a 5 minute walk away from central station. From here we were able to walk virtually anywhere and the breakfast was always fresh, delicious and with lots of variety.

Where to eat:

Bacio della Mamma – This was my favorite of the restaurants we tried in Lucerne. It’s close the center, has gorgeous interior design and the food did just feel like a kiss from an Italian mamma. Think delectable antipasti, gorgeous pizza and rich pasta dishes. Highly recommended.

Anker – Love meat? This is your place. Come to Anker for some yummy spare ribs, a good old steak or juicy burger.

Le Piaf – This unpretentious bistro is the perfect stopover before or after your catch a show at KKL or visit the Museum of Art here. We enjoyed the goat’s cheese salad and the Coq au vin but the secret star of the show most likely are the freshly bakes cakes available here.

Things to do:

Museum of transport – Traveling with kids? Don’t miss out on the Museum of Transport which is actually the most visited museum in the whole country! Kids of all ages come here to learn more about the history of cars, trains and planes and there are many interactive installations available for fun and play.

Museum of Art Lucerne – If enjoying contemporary art is your cup of tea, don’t miss out on the Museum of Art located right next to central station inside the KKL building. Exhibitions are changing constantly and Jean Nouvel’s architecture gives the national and international exhibitions enough room to work their magic.

Kulturhof Hinter Musegg – The Kulturhof is an eco-farm in the middle of Lucerne and home to many animals from alpacas to mini pigs. Check their calendar for their various events or simply come visit to enjoy the animals and learn more about the farm’s sustainability approach.

Confiserie Bachmann – Don’t even think about coming to Lucerne and going home without buying some famous Swiss chocolate. One of the best placed to do so is at Bachmann, a reputable chocolatier which serves up only the finest cakes and truffles. I guarantee that your friends and family back home will be very grateful for a chocolaty little gift from this shop.

All in all, we had the most wonderful and rich 4 days in Lucerne and I can confidently say that this city is giving Zurich a run for its money! So next time you’re in the mood for a city trip to Switzerland, consider giving Lucerne a shot, it’s worth it!


*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. A special thank your to Lucerne tourism for inviting us on this trip and organizing this perfect itinerary, we had so much fun!

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