Lucerne and Safenwil, Switzerland : A Brief Visit

Road Trip By Brian Norton |

We have always wanted to drive through Europe, to see more of the land, places that one normally doesn’t get to experience. On one such brief trip to Paris in 2017, we figured that we could actually drive to Lucerne, Switzerland. Roughly a 615km distance, we could easily cover in a day. So off we drove to Lucerne, a city highly recommended by Swiss friends.

Lucerne has envious temperature year round, with 24.5 being the highest. As such, it’s a great destination for summers and if you love white winters. The entire drive from Paris to Lucerne is gorgeous with (what seemed like) mustard fields in bloom (May) on either side and even passing through a small forest patch. There are regular turnouts and stopping areas to refuel the car and yourself.

We had reached by evening and with light falling fast, we decided to walk around the Chapel Bridge area and grab a bite before checking into our hotel. Lucerne is a very old city which has kept up with the times and modernised very admirably. It still retains its roots and the heritage and culture in art, architecture, food and everyday life is very apparent. These are the things that make travel exciting. Lucerne is kind of expensive. When we were checking out restaurant menus, almost every dish was more expensive than what we had experienced in Paris, London or San Francisco. Switzerland has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and as such, life here is expensive.

Lucerne is the center for business, art and culture in Central Switzerland. It lies on the shores of Lake Lucerne with gorgeous views of Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi. From Wikipedia: “After the fall of the Roman Empire beginning in the 6th century, Germanic Alemannic peoples increased their influence on this area of present-day Switzerland. Around 750 the Benedictine Monastery of St. Leodegar was founded, which was later acquired by Murbach Abbey in Alsace in the middle of the 9th century, and by this time the area had become known as Luciaria. The origin of the name is uncertain, it is possibly derived from the Latin name of the pike, lucius, thus designating a pike fishing spot in the river Reuss. Derivation from the theonym Lugus has been suggested but is phonetically implausible. In any case, the name was associated by popular etymology with Latin lucerna “lantern” from an early time”

In Lucerne we stayed at the Gasthauz zum Kreuz. Or the Kreuz Guest House. A family home since 6 generations, this heritage property was converted into a hotel in 1936. The owner and staff are very kind and warm, and the food is lip-smackingly delicious. Situated wonderfully to give you fabulous glimpses of the break of dawn, as well as the Alps spread out in front of you, The Gasthauz zum Kreuz, though kind of expensive, is highly recommended.

With the Alps in its backyard, Lucerne is awesome for treks in the Alpine meadows. We spent half a day walking in the meadows, bird watching, then drove to this beautiful village at Safenwil, to meet a friend. A tiny and beautiful village, Safenwil is surrounded by agricultural fields and forests. A sumptuous traditional Swiss lunch later, we went for another walk into the forests behind the village. These woods have ancient rock carvings dating back to 890 AD, and its interesting to see such clean lines in the drawings and also a big cat in one of them.

But we had only so much time and had to head back to Paris. Switzerland is beautiful and our hearts almost wept at having to leave after such a brief trip. But we shall be back for more…

Turnouts and resting places on highways in France and Switzerland offer ample opportunity to catch up on a nap and also a meal.

Lucerne Car Parking

We found parking for our car in Lucerne here, near its main Train stop.

Lucerne Train Station

The Lucerne train station. Catch a train to many European destinations here.

View from Gasthauz zum Kreuz

We woke up in the morning to see this surreal beautiful morning sky from our room at the Gasthauz zum Kreuz.

View from Gasthauz zum Kreuz

A slightly earlier view.

Rainbow from the window over Alps in Lucerne.

Don’t miss the rainbow. It was drizzling lightly, making this rainbow appear above the city of Lucerne.

Morning in Lucerne.

The magical painting like morning view from our guesthouse in Lucerne.

Magical Lucerne Morning

The light kept changing colours very fast…

Gasthauz zum Kreuz dining room.

The beautiful dining room of the Gasthauz zum Kreuz, Lucerne. The meals were delicious

Gasthauz zum Kreuz Restaurant

Love that font…Gasthauz zum Kreuz

Gasthauz zum Kreuz

And detailing in the ceiling. See those ceramic plates on the wooden cases…

Gasthauz zum Kreuz

This is where we stayed in Lucerne. The Gasthauz zum Kreuz. It was May and drizzling.

Gasthauz zum Kreuz

We stepped out from the Gasthauz zum Kreuz for a walk and oh it was so very beautiful.

A walk in the meadows, Lucerne.

We went for a walk in these meadows in the direction of Mt Rigi.

Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) in Switzerland

We went up for a walk in the direction of Mt Rigi. Somewhere over there, in a slightly elevated meadow, I spotted this Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

The Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) in Lucerne, Switzerland

A Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) in Lucerne.

A Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) in Lucerne. My birdwatching in Switzerland was paying off!

Wildflower in the meadows of Lucerne.

Wildflower in the meadows of Lucerne.

a Common Vole (Microtus arvalis)

Hidden in the under growth is a Common Vole (Microtus arvalis)

Lichen on a tree in Lucerne.

What looks like lichen on a tree trunk. The moist weather is beneficial to such lichen.

Bee on a wildflower in a meadow in Lucerne.

Bee on a wildflower in a meadow in Lucerne.

Fresh buds on a twig in Lucerne, Switzerland

Loved spending time in the outdoors in Switzerland amongst its flora and fauna.

Church in th meadows of Lucerne.

On that little mound is a beautiful Church…

Meadows in Lucerne...

Absolutely love these alpine meadows…


Church in Lucerne...

Walking up to the Church, Lucerne

Church in Lucerne, Switzerland

Up the small mount is this beautiful Church.

Safenwil, Switzerland.

From Lucerne, we drove to a quaint small village called Safenwil.

Restaurant in Safenwil.

And went out for a traditional Swiss Lunch with our Swiss friend.

Inside the Safenwil Restaurant

A wonderful traditional ambience in our restaurant in Safenwil… St Urs Und Victor.

After the delicious lunch we went for a small walk in the forest in Safenwil.

Lush wet leaves in Safenwil forest, Switzerland

It was drizzling and these alpine leaves were beautifully lush and wet…

Sanenwil Forest.

Somewhere in the forest is an opening with ancient rock carvings. This place has a picnic bench too!

Safenwil Forest rock carvings.

These old carvings date back to 893 AD.

Safenwil Carvings on rock

More carvings… this vase looks perfect…

Safenwil Rock Carvings

Looks like a large cat on the right of the rock carving…

Trekking in Safenwil Forest

The walk back through these dense woods…

Butterfly on wildflower in Safenwil

Butterfly on wildflower in Safenwil

Another beautiful wildflower in Safenwil, Switzerland

Another beautiful wildflower in Safenwil, Switzerland

Dandelion in Safenwil, Switzerland

Is that a dandelion? Safenwil, Switzerland

Danelions in Safenwil

There’s a meadow full of dandelions, Safenwil, Switzerland

Lucerne Map.

Our Lucerne Guide Map. Always get one where ever you go.

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