Lucerne is world-famous as one of the most
popular destinations in Switzerland because of its beautiful preservation of old historic
buildings, its pedestrian zone on the shores of Lake Lucerne and the River Reuss giving
it a delightful waterside ambience. You can take boat rides to connect with some
of the nearby excursions to the mountaintops around Lucerne, and in this program we’re
taking you up three mountains to the top of Mount Rigi, to Burgenstock by funicular and
Mount Pilatus. You’ll find these excursions, linked together
with the scenic boat rides, provide some of the most rewarding experiences in your visit
to Lucerne. The fleet has a couple of dozen ships, but
try and select one of the historic side-paddlers for the best journey. There are a wide variety of routes you can
pick from, ranging from a one-hour round-trip to a full-day excursion, and in this episode
we will focus on three wonderful options for you. You could do a two-hour round-trip from Lucerne
out to the lakefront village of Weggis or, extend that with a trip up the mountain to
Rigi. Another big excursion from Lucerne is over
to Burgenstock and then continuing on to Mount Pilatus, all coming right up. The boat docks are right in front of the train
station with frequent departures, and you can check their schedules online or just go
right to the ticket office and find out when is the next boat leaving. We’ll start you out with a basic boat ride
from Lucerne to the village of Weggis and that just takes about 45 minutes one way. You can pick from a variety of lengths of
the boat ride. It’s all very easy to figure out. The Swiss are so efficient in their transportation
schedules of course. As we leave the boat dock looking at the theater
and convention center designed by Jean Nouvelle, one of Europe’s leading architects. Nice view of Lucerne off the stern and looking
up at Mount Pilatus where we will be taking you later in the program. It’s the natural landmark site of Lucerne. And as we reach the edge of the city, passing
the marina you’ll see that boating is very popular among the locals of Lucerne, and there’s
a lovely public beach. There are some cabana facilities in a park
behind it. Nice white sand. Nobody swimming today, it’s a little cool,
and stops a few times along the way. There is the Transportation Museum stop and
then continuing on across one of the big legs of the lake. You’ll notice some big mansions and tiny hamlets,
so keep your camera ready, but perhaps the nicest feature of the boat ride is simply
relaxing, a place where you can just put your mind in neutral. The peaceful scenery will surely help you
feel good. You’re welcome to bring your own food on board
the ship, no problem with that. Your own food and drinks, that’s a real Swiss
tradition, picnicking, going out for day’s hiking and carrying the rucksack on your back
and with a lunch inside. Or you can have a meal on board. There is a first-class dining room with complete
food service. There is second-class dining room. Or you can just sit down at the bar and have
a drink. You’ll find there’s a good view from your
dining table, even if you’re eating at the indoor dining salon, but perhaps the best
view of all is out on the open deck, especially when the weather is mild. You can see all around 360° and enjoy that
fresh lake air. We’re on this kind of about, it’s about this
size. There’s a variety of larger and smaller boats. The historic side-wheel paddleboats, some
of them a century, old love to show off their functioning and very clean engines. The ship sometimes makes a few intermediate
stops before you get to Weggis, such as here at Hertenstein. There is a deluxe resort hotel along the lake,
and wouldn’t that be a nice place to drop anchor for a few days and do practically nothing
except sit at the lakefront cafe and watch the ships come and go? You could easily stay in one of these lakefront
villages, and sit Lucerne during the day for your sightseeing in town. That Campus Hotel Hertenstein gets a very
good review on Trip Advisor, ranking it second out of 18 hotels in the Weggis area, with
a score of 4.5 out of 5, very good. Excellent. Weggis is a small village. It has a few restaurants, a few shops, couple
of little hotels. You could spend a few days here if you wanted
a quiet relaxing spot by the lakeshore. You could just catch the next boat going back
into Lucerne. You wait around for 10 minutes or if you want
to spend an hour here in Weggis you could do it that way, but we’re going up to Mount
Rigi. You could decide on the spot if you wish,
you don’t have to purchase a Rigi ticket ahead of time. You don’t need a reservation. So when you arrive at Weggis see how you feel. Check out the weather, the visibility, the
temperature and decide if you want to go up. If so, you head over to the ticket booth and
purchase your lift ticket. You would not be disappointed. It makes a great excursion. And go up the mountain to Rigi by cable car. At the top you can wander around, enjoy the
views, then take a rack railway back down to Vitznau, and finally catch the next
boat for a return journey back to Lucerne. You could do that Rigi route in reverse by
staying on the boat until you get to Vitznau, take the train up to Rigi, and then you can
take a cable car down to Weggis and back to Lucerne. And so were going up Rigi from the village
of Weggis. The problem is that you do have to walk uphill
for about 15 minutes to get to the cable car. Whereas if you go up Rigi via Vitznau you
just take the rack railway right from the dock. It’s a little easier. Anyway, this was a beautiful cable car ride
up. Either way, you can have the full round-trip,
go up one way and down the other. Halfway up, in this case we are changing from
the cable car to the rack railway, and this is going to get more spectacular every minute. It’s the month of May and so there is still
quite a bit of snow up here on the slopes of Rigi. In the summer time, probably the snow is all
melted, if you come here in July or August, but now it’s very white. And we’ve arrived at the top where we can
enjoy this magnificent vista. We’re just staying up at the top for a little
while to enjoy the view and take some pictures. But you could go visit the restaurant and
have a meal. We’re looking from Rigi across the lake to
the massif of the central Alps. These are the highest mountains in the central
Alps reaching a peak of 10,000 feet at Mount Titlis. You can see why it’s a popular day’s outing. Take a hike. Walking? This is a rack railroad and that middle rail
is actually a rack, and there’s gears with teeth on the underside of the train that engage
that and pulls the train along up the steep hills and down the steep hills. It’s the oldest rack railroad in Switzerland. It was built in 1871, and it’s still running
today. Of course the cars have been modernized and
replaced since then. Or you can just walk along the side of the
tracks. If you wish, and there are side trails that
crisscross and honeycomb all over the hillside. So this half-day outing really exposes you
to a whole variety of different kinds of Swiss transportation starting out with the boat
ride. Mount Rigi stands 5900 feet high and it’s
surrounded by waters that’s called the island mountain, with its steep shoulders covered
with forests and beautiful chalets, and cows. Those were some happy contented cows on the
hillside and here’s a happy dog in the train. He’s a Papillion type with those butterfly
ears. All in all, it’s quite the half-day round-trip. You can easily make a whole day of it just
by taking your time and taking a little longer stroll, having a longer lunch. You could get off at some of the other villages
along the lake shore. There’s a number of hotels in the area, small
hotels. You can see why Lucerne is such a popular
place for the visitors to stay for a few days, because there’s quite a variety of things
you can do from Lucerne. Coming up next in the program were showing
you the two other great destinations from Lucerne, Burgenstock and Pilatus. The Swiss schedule is perfectly timed. You get off the train, on the boat, and depart
for Lucerne. Stopping a few more times at these little
villages along the way. Of course Vitznau is another small village
where you could spend a night or two. There are some lovely hotels like the Vitznauer
Hof, founded in 1901, four-star deluxe. It’s a one-hour boat ride back to Lucerne
following the same route you took getting here. And by now perhaps it’s quite late in the
day depending on your timing. It could be fortunate you’ll come home at
sunset. That’s a beautiful time to be arriving in
Lucerne by boat. Well, as the boat pulls in, another view of
the concert hall with its modern overhanging roof. So no doubt you’re feeling a little tired,
perhaps you want to rest up at the hotel and then bounce back and go out for a fine dinner. Coming up next we will show you the other
trip you can take the next day, going by boat once again to Burgenstock and then to Pilatus,
and some action on the dock. And we ran into a little bit of flamenco dancers,
what a surprise. Get some rest tonight because tomorrow morning
we have another ambitious itinerary for you on a day trip. The main goal is Mount Pilatus, starting with
boat ride to Burgenstock, then a funicular ride up the hill for some hiking through the
forest. Another boat ride over to Pilatus, up a steep
rack railway to the mountaintop, then cable car ride back to Lucerne, and the city bus
back into town. Or to save time you could get to Pilatus directly
by train, but you would like the boat ride. An enjoyable option to consider on your way
to Pilatus is a stop at Burgenstock. It’s a small mountain plateau with the dramatic
cliff-hugging walking trail. Most of the boats to Pilatus stop here en
route, so hop off at the Burgenstock dock. You can use one ticket that will take you
all the way to Pilatus and get off part-way here at Burgenstock, and then get back on
the boat and continue to Pilatus later, and use that ticket for the cable car after you
finished with Pilatus, to come back down towards the Lucerne. You ride this funky, old-fashion funicular
to the top, and notice the open air balcony. It’s the original railcar, the oldest funicular
in Switzerland, first opened in 1888, reaching maximum a gradient angle of 58°. It’s pulled up the steep hill by cables with
automatic electric propulsion. Upon reaching the top you can take a lovely
nature hike following the signs to the cliff walk. This is a level path with sweeping views across
the lake and straight down the rock face of the mountain looking down about 1000 feet. A series of short hiking trails continues
through the forest, very easy to walk on. They are either paved or they have a smooth
gravel surface and the gradient is really not steep at all. So it’s very pleasant walking in the shade
of the tall trees of the forest. It’s big enough to give you a feeling of adventure
but small enough that you will not get lost, a little disoriented perhaps, but there are
signposts to help you find your way. Elevation is just over a thousand feet high
and there’s a plateau that features a 9-hole golf course. Burgenstock has always been popular holiday
center, with luxury hotels that were first built from 1872. In recent years an amazing transformation
of the hotel facilities has taken place with construction of three new ultraluxury properties. There is the five-star Burgenstock Hotel Superior. And there is the Waldhotel for healthy living,
which has 160 guestrooms and features spa, and professional team with medical care, and
healthy living facilities. And then there is the reconstruction of the
four-star Palace Hotel which was first built in 1906, and all of its historical value is
been retained during the renovation, bringing it right up to date. When finished with your visit, if you’re not
spending the night in one of those super-luxury properties, you take the same funicular back
down the hill to the boat dock and resume your journey. When this funicular first opened in 1888 it
was water powered, filling its water tank to make the car heavy, so gravity would pull
it down while it pulled up the other lighter car by cable. And at the bottom, the water was emptied out
and pumped back up the hill to the other car. When done with Burgenstock, continue on with
us to Pilatus. It’s another fun boat ride over to Alpnachstad,
then up to Pilatus by rack rail, and down by cable car back to Lucerne. You can buy that rail ticket on the boat to
avoid standing in line when you get to the rail station. They have some large boats here, as you can
see. They have first-class and second-class service
on board with a snack shop and a cafe, a restaurant, nice choices for a meal or just a light
bite. Or just simply sit outside and enjoy the view. From the boat, you get a great view of where
we are heading, Mount Pilatus, the signature site of Lucerne. And then you ride up the world’s steepest
cogwheel railway to the top of Pilatus, which goes uphill at a 48° angle. Some funicular are even steeper, such as
the one at Burgenstock, 58° elevation, but funicular are pulled up by cable, whereas
this is a rack railroad. Get some beautiful views along the way. Great place to snap some more pictures, shoot
some more video, and soon we’re up in the snowfields. Arriving at the top of Mount Pilatus
on this funky little funicular. And at the top, surprise, surprise, there
is actually a hotel up here. That round building is a hotel where you could
spend the night. You could hike up, but that’s pretty strenuous,
much easier to just pay the money, reasonable charge and go on up via funicular. And they have a restaurant, there are several
cafes, beautiful platforms, staircases, and vistas and viewpoints in all directions. The Swiss have truly got some great scenery
here and have civilized their mountaintops. You can return back down the same way on the
rack railway, or for a slightly faster alternative with a totally different routing, a little
bit of variety for you, take the cable car down the backside of the mountain to Krienz,
and then you walk a few blocks to the city bus stop that will then whisk you right back
into town. It’s quicker and it gives you some variety. Final view looking from Lucerne back up to
where we just came from, Mount Pilatus. We have a big series of movies about Switzerland
taking you to most of the great places. We will bring you to Lucerne and up to Mount
Titlis, Mount Rigi, over to Interlaken, up to the Jungfrau. We will see the Shilthorn, Lauterbrunnen Valley,
Trummelbach Falls, Grindelwald, Bern, then on to Zermatt, the Matterhorn, yes we will
have a look at the Gornergrat, up the Sunnegga, do some hiking, show you the village then
on down to Lugano and Locarno in the southern part of Switzerland, the Ticino we also take
you to the great city of Zürich. Look for them in our Swiss collection.