Just fondue it! Switzerland's premier slopes and medieval charm beckon this winter

From Lucerne to Rigi, Switzerland has long been a magnet for winter tourism, thanks to its towering mountain ranges and famous ski slopes.

Julie O'Shea

Written by Julie O'Shea Published on 04.01.2024 17:00:00 (updated on 04.01.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

Switzerland has long been a magnet for winter tourism, thanks in no small part to its towering mountain ranges and famous ski slopes. 

Nestled in the middle of all the action sits Lucerne, the undeniable jewel of the Swiss Alps. This vibrant metropolis offers a mix of medieval charm, stunning lake views, cozy cafes, and numerous nearby snow-capped mountains to explore, including Rigi and Titlis, which boasts the highest suspension bridge in Europe.   

With a direct overnight train connection between Prague’s main station and Zurich, making your way to lovely Lucerne has never been more convenient. 

On its own, the city has a lot to take in, from its beguiling Old Town and picturesque wooden footbridges to its historic churches and museums. And now with winter in full swing, Lucerne is rolling out many seasonal activities and events, making it an ideal base for winter adventure seekers who want to combine traditional city sightseeing with seasonal sporting fun.

Lucerne is truly like a two-in-one holiday deal. We’ve pulled together a few tips about what not to miss.            


Let’s be honest, Lucerne doesn’t have to try hard to stand out. A walk through its well-preserved medieval Old Town is enough to keep you enthralled for an entire afternoon. 

In addition to permanent new additions, like the Gübelin Gem Museum, which highlights the fascinating world of gemstones, the city has a few other special attractions that routinely pop up during this time of year.

Ice skating enthusiasts will want to spend some time at the rink in front of KKL Luzern, home to the Museum of Art and highly coveted classical music concerts.

Many of the city’s main sights, public square, and walkways will be illuminated by intricate light installations during the fifth Lilu Light Festival Lucerne, running from Jan. 11-21, which displays works by artists from around the world.

A trip to Lucerne wouldn’t be complete without a stroll along its lake – the fourth largest in Switzerland and undeniably one of the city’s biggest draws no matter what time of year it is. 

Don’t miss the chance to take in the lake aboard a hybrid-powered catamaran chartered by the Lake Lucerne Navigation Company (commonly abbreviated to SGV). An hour-long cruise passes by many of the city’s prominent landmarks as well as the majestic Mount Pilatus, Mount Rigi, and Mount Bürgenstock.

For a unique treat, reserve a table on SGV’s “Diamant” vessel and enjoy a lunchtime cruise, where you can choose seasonal variations of the chef’s innovative menu.          

Time to hit the mountains

After you’ve explored the city, it’s time for some high-altitude winter fun. 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 around 35 km of well-prepared winter hiking trails. From a leisurely walk to a challenging hike of several hours, there is truly something for everybody, including plenty of panoramic views.  

Book a memorable fondue party while traveling on the world's oldest electric cogwheel railcar, built in 1911. Climb by moonlight up to 1,800 meters above sea level in this heated vintage carriage. The unique evening atmosphere on the mountain and the delicious Rigi cheese fondue makes for a perfect occasion.  


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, which sits at more than 3,000 meters above sea level.  

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. 

Covering an altitude difference of 2,000 meters from the glacier to the village down below, Titlis is the perfect destination for skiers and snowboarders. With more than 80 km of slopes, the ski area offers plenty of variety during the season which typically runs through May. The lower-lying slopes around Trübsee, Gerschnialp, and Untertrübsee host a selection of easier runs.

The snow park at Trübsee Alpine Lodge makes this a great place to bunk for the night. Grab a snow tube, minibob, or balancer and whiz down the piste. Snow-tubing is an all-round hit here. This fun and crazy winter activity will see you racing down the track on a rubber tire. A “magic carpet” will then whisk you quickly back to the top.  

Covering a distance of 3,500 meters and an altitude of 250 meters, a toboggan run is sure to set pulses racing. You and your fellow tobogganers are in for an exhilarating ride as you whiz through the snow-covered forest down from Gerschnialp to Engelberg. 

More detailed and up-to-date tourism information about Switzerland can be found on the website MojeSvycarsko.com, 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.

Where to stay

Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen is a great option for those looking to explore an Alpine village a bit off the beaten path. Andermatt, a short distance from the hotel, sits in the Ursern Valley nestled between the slopes of SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun-Disentis and the Gemsstock ski area.  

The village also has a world-class golf course, where you will see exactly why it was named Switzerland’s Best Golf Course in 2016, 2017, 2018 , and 2020. After a few rounds, have a swim in the Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen pool, offering stunning mountain views, or spend some time in one of the saunas and finish off with a spa treatment.

Back in Lucerne, book a room at the newly opened Karl’s Boutique Hotel. This small hotel is situated between the Reuss River and the “Museggmauer” and has 30 rooms on offer. 

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

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