This is my first staycation trip to Luzern (Lucerne – French spelling) and I will definitely do more within safety regulations to Luzern, other German-speaking cities in Switzerland and hopefully to the Italian-speaking part. I’ve travelled to Luzern before for day trips or events. If you are new here, I live and work in Switzerland and if it wasn’t for the pandemic I’d probably would not have chosen to spend my staycation there. In the German-speaking part, you can get by with German and English. French is either not used or not spoken as much in the area. Here is everything that you need to know about my October staycation trip to Luzern including: Where I Stayed, Where To Eat, Places To Visit and Luzern Covid Information.
Where I Stayed
I arrived to Luzern by train from Lausanne. I chose to stay at in Old Town near the train station as I love exploring Old Towns in Swiss cities. The hotel I stayed at was across the lake and it took less than 15 minutes to get there from the train station. Hotel des Balances is a luxurious four-star hotel in the middle of Old Town Luzern in Weinmarkt. When I got to my hotel room, I received a personalised letter, a box of chocolates and a glass of prosecco was waiting for me at the hotel’s restaurant. I’m not a fan of prosecco but I appreciated the gesture. I booked it via Booking.com mobile app and was able to secure an additional discount of 15% on top of my Genius Level Two.
Where To Eat
Dr. Oetker Cafe Gugelhupf: This was my favourite breakfast spot. Dr. Oetker Cafe Gugelhupf is located in the Neustadt district of Luzern. It’s not easy to get there via public transport but I opted to walk there to do some sightseeing on my way to the restaurant. It took me around 20-25 minutes to get there and it did not disappoint. Dr. Oetker Cafe is a cafe, a restaurant, a bakery, a takeaway and a shop rolled up in one. They also offer cake and decoration workshops. The seating area close to the door as rocking benches attached to the ceiling with white rope and I was lucky enough to sit in this area. They serve brunch all day with a variety of options ranging from pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, fresh croissants and rolls, compote, museli, smoothies, platters, teas and coffee. It really was the best of both worlds with a hints of traditional Swiss breakfasts and international dishes. The decor of the cafe is the reason that I opted to go here first. I suggest getting there earlier in the day as it is very popular with the locals. It has a really great atmosphere, the staff are extremely friendly and you can ask them for their recommendations if you are not sure what to choose. They didn’t have an English menu but I always keep the app WordReference on my phone for times like these. For pricing, it was cheap (less than 20 CHF).
Mill’Feuille: Mill’Feuille is quaint eatery that is located by the River Reuss, on the edge of Old Town. It has an outdoor eating area, and a bar. They serve traditionally Swiss and German dishes. They speak both Swiss-German and English there and have menus in German and English. I went for a late brunch and ordered the Oven Egg (Ofnei) cooked in tomato sauce & grilled vegetables and bread. If you finish your bread, they offer another basket free of charge which is a bonus for me. For pricing, I found it cheap for a typical Swiss brunch (less than 20 CHF)
Ammos: I went to Ammos on my first night in Luzern after I settled down in my hotel room. It’s a ten minute walk away from Hotel des Balances. Ammos is a cosy Greek eatery that has both indoor and outdoor seating and serves traditional Greek dishes such as souvlaki and moussaka. The style decor of the restaurant is authentically Greek with Greek music. The staff are very friendly and call the eatery “Little Greece of Luzern” – I ordered an appetizer (Grilled pita bread with oregano), a main dish (Lavraki Filetos – Greek sea bass filet with warm chicory, potato salad and a herbal and olive olil vinaigrette) and a dessert that was far too sweet for me (Hellenic cheesecake). They have menus in English, German and French and the staff that were there that night spoke English and German. In total, the pricing was a little more expensive that I expected (just under 60 CHF).
Negishi: Negishi is a sushi bar that offers takeaway. As I ate late throughout my last day there, Negishi was one of the few restaurants open. It is located right beside the Luzern train station and it is a very popular spot with the locals. There are three levels to the restuarant including an outdoor seating area on the ground floor and on the second floor. The service is extremely fast and the food was delicious and they provide a wide option of choices. The atmosphere is very chill and it has this 80s vibe to it which was unusual but welcoming. I would definitely recommend going there if you enjoy eating sushi.
Opus: Opus is another resturant located beside the River Reuss on the opposite side of Old Town. There is a bridge that connects the New Town with Old Town. It is a very sophisticated and stylish Mediterranean restaurant that has an indoor seating area and an outdoor terrace. As I missed the usual lunch hours (11:30 -13:00), I was only able to have something small from the à la carte menu as they were preparing to serve dinner. I ordered some garlic bread with some salad and bowl of sweet potato fries and a mug of green tea on the side. I sat on the outdoor terrace watching a bridal procession go by.
Hotel des Balances Restaurant: The restaurant at Hotel des Balances was beautiful and very rich in styling. The restuarant is adjacent to the hotel and they serve breakfast with three different styled options, lunch and dinner. I had a classic breakfast on my last morning there. I would suggest trying dinner there at least once as they have two really known chefs, Andy Fluri and Niko Eichner, (if you are an avid fan of cuisines and culinary chefs, you may know them) who cook the lunch and dinner menu.
It was surprisingly warm for the middle of October which was good, I spent most of my time eating outdoors.
Places To Visit
Rhein Falls Neuhasen: I’m a lover of waterfalls and Switzerland has too many count! I spent a day visiting Rhein Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe, and the medieval Laufen castle. Luckily, it was a beautiful autumn day and I was able to take a stroll across the Belvedere panaromic trail above the Falls to a high viewing platform to see the Falls from another view. Before I left, I took a boat ride to the base of the waterfalls. There were four boat ride options that day, each one is colour-coded. I opted for a 30 minute boat ride and it felt refreshing to feel the sprays of the Falls on my face.
Old Town Luzern: My hotel was located in Old Town in Weinmarkt but I love visiting Old Towns in every Swiss City as it shows the medieval background and history of the city. The OldTown in Luzern has a lot of decorative buildings and paintings that tell its story, there are mutiple little alleyways that weave in and out throughout the old town. If you see the pavements change from a flat, smooth surface to cobbled stones that is an indicator that you have entered the old town of that particular city. They have wooden bridges that connect it to the other side of town and as you walk through these bridges, there are stories in German and pictures inside sharing an ancient story that is related to Luzern. It is definitley a must-see area of the city and it is best to explore it during the day. The atmosphere changes at night into a more chilled and romantic vibe. If you have time or enjoying hiking, I would suggest taking the cable car up to Mount Pilatus.
Burgenstock: I took a boat ride on Lake Luzern to Burgenstock which is a mountain along the shore. There is also a hotel on the top of the mountain, the Burgenstock Resort, which I hope to spend a night there for my 30th birthday as it looks beautiful and luxurious. It was the reason I took the boat ride as I have heard a lot about the Burgenstock Resort. The boat ride was only a hour long but you can take a boat ride across Lake Luzern stopping at various places but that takes 10 hours in total. I might have to do that during another visit to explore Luzern in its entirety.
Luzern Covid Information
The rules in Luzern have changed since I visited. At the time, it was compulsory to wear a mask at train stations, bus stops, boat platforms and on the boat. I wore a mask in and out of hotels and restuarants but it wasn’t mandatory in Luzern. At the time, there were different rules in terms of wearing masks across the country but in the French-speaking part , where I lived, you had to wear a mask if you were going inside any buildings. The restaurants, public tourist sites and the hotel all had hand sanitizers at the front doors. The hotel room was cleaned each day without fail, the bed sheets and towels were all changed regardless.