From Prague to Zurich, take a scenic train journey into the Swiss Alps this summer

Discover pristine lakes, medieval charm, and mountain magic when you explore Switzerland via sleeper from Czechia.

Julie O'Shea

Written by Julie O'Shea Published on 12.05.2023 12:00:00 (updated on 04.01.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

Medieval cities have always been your holiday go-to. Their rich cultural delights and picturesque architecture never fail to enthrall. But after this long, cold winter, you’re in the mood for a little mountain hiking, too. Maybe jump on a historic steam train or enjoy a daring jaunt across a 3,000-meter-high suspension bridge. And just to shake things up a bit: What about a lake cruise? Now that sounds like the sort of zen your body could use right now.

Do you really have to choose?

Nope. You can hit all the things on your list – and then some. Say hello to Lucerne! The vibrant metropolis jewel of the Swiss Alps offers classic medieval charm, stunning lake views and multiple nearby mountains to explore.

“If you are thinking about a summer holiday in the Alps, then definitely check out Lucerne. You can take advantage of a unique city experience, immerse yourself in the Swiss water, try the legendary Swiss trains and do not miss a ride on the Gotthard Panorama Express,” says Jan Ursíny, Market Manager Czechia at Switzerland Tourism. 

Lucerne panorama
Lucerne panorama

“The city puts you within steps from the Swiss Alps. You can enjoy the oldest cogwheel train in Europe at Mount Rigi or take a ride to Mount Titlis with the first revolving cable car in the world,” Ursíny adds. “If you are brave, don’t miss a walk across the mountain’s suspension bridge, which is suspended 3,000 meters above sea level, and explore the local glacier cave.” 

Think of it as an all-in-one holiday deal – beginning with a comfortable overnight train connection from Prague’s main station.

“Nowadays, it is important to think about sustainable travel as well,” says Ursíny. “Travel to your holiday destination by train, as there is a new additional direct night train from Prague to Zurich operated every day by Czech Railways. You will fall asleep on the train in a cozy sleeping compartment, and wake up in the morning in Zurich. From there, it takes only one hour by Swiss rail to Lucerne and your dream holiday experience.” 

Let us help you plan your journey with a few tips about what not to miss:  


First things first, Lucerne has a lot of appeal all on its own. From its lovely Old Town squares (including Mühlenplatz and Weinmarkt) and famous wooden footbridges to its many historic churches and museums, the city is a true treasure trove. 

If you won’t have time to unravel all its goodies, think about taking a guided walking tour which will hit many of the city’s main attractions, including Chapel Bridge, the Jesuit Church and KKL Luzern, home to the Museum of Art and highly coveted classical music concerts.  

Want to go at it alone? No problem, just download the Official Audio Tour Lucerne app onto your phone and enjoy the sights and history of the city at your own pace. 

In the Hirschmatt-Neustadt quarter, you’ll find plenty of stylish shops, restaurants and bars as well as venues for opera, stage performances and dancing. The Lucerne Theatre and Kleintheater are both popular with the local crowd as is The Neubad, a prime location for music and dancing.

Lake Lucerne

Lake Lucerne
Lake Lucerne

The lake – undeniably one of the city’s biggest draws – is the fourth largest in Switzerland. There are a number of ways to enjoy this beauty’s many perks. Take a walk along the winding promenade, where you can enjoy public concerts on the Kurplatz on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8:15 p.m. and on Sundays at 10:15 a.m. 

Enjoy a nice swim. The Seebad offers two courtyards with lakewater swimming pools. There is also an on-site restaurant and bar, changing rooms and sun loungers.

More detailed and up-to-date tourism information about Switzerland can be found on the website, where you can also order printed maps and brochures free of charge to be sent by post. Don't forget to share your Switzerland experiences on Instagram with the hashtag #MojeSvycarsko to inspire others to have the perfect holiday – the most interesting photos will be published in the upcoming issue of the print magazine SWISSmag.

If you want to go for a dip for free, then head to Ufschötti Park. It’s sparse on amenities, but has plenty of room to lay down your towels and sun umbrellas. There is also barbecue equipment on hand as well as a small snack kiosk. 

Above all else, don’t miss the chance to take in the lake from a historic paddle steamer or an elegant saloon motor vessel chartered by the Lake Lucerne Navigation Company (commonly abbreviated to SGV). The steamers sail between Lucerne and Flüelen and provide passengers with some jaw-dropping natural scenery. SGV also provides chartered cruises for those looking for a one-of-a-kind experience.  

Lucerne harbor
Lucerne harbor

Now let’s hit the mountains

After a few days of exploring the city and its numerous lake amenities, it’s time to head to higher altitudes. Lucerne is surrounded by several mountains that are easily accessible by cogwheel, funicular railway or aerial cableway. We spotlight two of the most popular ones – Rigi and Titlis.            


Known as the Queen of the Mountains, Rigi offers 120 km of hiking trails as well as a chance to hop on a restored steam train from the 1920s as it winds its way from Vitznau up the mountain and across the Mount Rigi peninsula. To combine both, you might want to look into securing a Rigi hiking ticket.  

Traveling with kids? The mountain offers a number of playgrounds, including Rigiland, an natural adventure playground close to the village square in Rigi Kaltbad and Mt. Rigi Rope Park, which features seven ropes courses covering about 4 km in total. The “Viper” course with its 25-meter high climbing pole will challenge even the most confident rope park visitor. 

View of Lake Lucerne from Rigi
View of Lake Lucerne from Rigi


At more than 3,000 meters above sea level, Mount Titlis is blanketed in thick snow year-round, providing a cool respite from the summer heat. Engelberg, a monastery village that’s about a 45-minute drive by car or public transport from Lucerne, is where you’ll catch the Titlis Xpress gondola cableway up the mountain. 

At the Stand terminus, you’ll switch to the Titlis Rotair, an aerial cableway equipped with the world’s first rotating cable cars, which will provide you with 360-degree views of the glacier's crevasses and ice boulders. 

If this isn’t thrilling enough, then make sure to journey across Titlis’ 100-meter-long Cliff Walk, which at 500 meters off the ground and 3,041 meters above sea level, is the highest suspension bridge in Europe. The walk takes you through the Glacier Cave and drops you off at the Ice Flyer glacier chair lift station, which will whisked up to the Titlis Glacier Park

This article was written in cooperation with the Switzerland Tourism. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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