Lucerne (or Luzern, in German) embodies many of Switzerland
's most appealing aspects. It's a quaint and historic destination, and yet a sophisticated one as well. It has all the appeals of a city, with leading restaurants and cultural highlights, and yet it sits on a pristine lake in the shadow of snowcapped mountains.
Among the must-sees for thrill seekers is a ride on the world's steepest cog railway which climbs to the summit of Pilatus. You can also reach the summit on the Dragon Ride, an aerial cable car with incomparable views of Lucerne and its lake. Turn from the natural beauty of Switzerland to artistic spectacles with a visit to the Kunstmuseum Luzern, one of the country's top art museums which sits atop the city's convention and cultural center designed by starchitect Jean Nouvel.
One of the most popular activities among Swiss, and visitors to the country, in the summer is not about thrill seeking, but it has its undeniable appeals: Sitting on sunny terrace, with a cold drink in hand. At Zunfthausrestaurant Pfistern, you can pair your beverage with a meal of some typical local dishes—barley stew, venison, or raclette. The Seehotel Sternen is a short trip from the center of town, but it's worth the drive to enjoy the lakefront view from its terrace.
If you aren't tired of gorgeous views of Lucerne and its lake, spend the night at the Art Deco Hotel Montana Luzern, a grand dame that first opened in 1909 on a hill above town. The Boutique Hotel Schlüssel is 20 minutes from the city, and offers a chance to experience life in a quiet lakeside village.