Central Switzerland is an excellent region to start your visit to the country. It's easy to access from Zurich, and there is plenty to do and see. Central Switzerland is dominated by Lake Lucerne, with the pre-Alps north of it and the Bernese Alps south of it. Lucerne, with its pretty old town center, is the main town in Central Switzerland. It's worth knowing that Central Switzerland is where the country was founded in 1291.
WHAT TO DO
Find day trips and attraction suggestions in Central Switzerland.
Browse this huge selection of hotels in Central Switzerland.
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Central Switzerland as a base for your holidays
Central Switzerland is a great region for first time visitors to Switzerland. There are activities for anyone: Lucerne is a beautiful old town with museums, monuments and lots of shopping facilities. Zurich is less than an hour away if you want to do more city trips. Also there's plenty of Alpine nature to enjoy. There a lots of hiking trails to explore the region on foot. You can make scenic trips by train or cable car to mountain tops and enjoy the beautiful scenery from there. And of course there are boat trips on Lake Lucerne, again with great views all around.
We recommend the region for plane travelers too, either to begin or end their stay in Switzerland. The international airport of Zurich is just an hour by train from Luzern.
As you may expect from Central Switzerland, it's located in the middle of Switzerland. Therefore you can travel to other parts of the country quite easily. That does not mean you can make day trips all over the country. Graubünden and the Valais for example are simply too far away for that. But day trips to Basel, Bern, Zurich and the Bernese Oberland can all be done from Lucerne.
The highest peaks in Central Switzerland are about 3600 m. Peaks of over 4000 m can be found further south, in the Bernese Oberland and the Valais, for example. If you are interested in seeing the highest peaks of the Alps, you'd best continue to one of those regions after visiting Central Switzerland.
What not to miss in Central Switzerland
The town of Lucerne is definitely worth a visit. Even if you just have a few hours time it's worth it. The old town center can easily be visited on foot from the rail station.
We think a trip with the cogwheel trains up the Rigi should be included too. It can be combined with a boat trip on Lake Lucerne, which is another thing not to miss.
For a high Alpine experience, visit Mount Titlis. If you plan to stay in the Bernese Oberland or the Valais as well, be sure to travel via the Golden Pass line. It's more scenic than the main train line via Bern.
TOWNS IN THIS REGION
Lucerne is ideal for first time visitors. It's compact and lively, and close to many attractions for both good and bad weather.
SUBREGIONS IN THIS REGION
One of the top destinations, with a magnificent lake surrounded by easily accessible mountains.