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Surrounded by a magnificent mountain backdrop, Lake Lucerne is always worth a trip. Last summer, on a splendid summer evening, we went on a candlelight trip on the oldest paddle steamer in Switzerland and experienced a wonderfully romantic and nostalgic evening. Three hours on Lake Lucerne that really give you that holiday feeling.
In cooperation with the Association of Swiss Shipping Companies, I am presenting you with a selection of excursion ideas and culinary tours from Lake Constance to Lake Zurich that we have made. At the beginning of this series, I brought two kinds of tips for boat trips on Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore from a trip to Ticino.
Holiday mood on Lake Lucerne
The thermometer shows almost 28 ° Celsius, the sun shines from the steel-blue sky. Here and there a few beautiful weather clouds form – wonderful picture-perfect summer weather. This wonderful weather lured us out of the house a little earlier than necessary and we arrive at Lucerne train station a good hour before the candlelight steamer leaves. We use the remaining time for a leisurely stroll along the lake basin up to the level of the Hotel Palace and via the Chapel Bridge (a “must” for me on a detour to Lucerne) back to the landing stage. On the way we watch the “bustle” in the lake. Pedalos and the fleet of the shipping company of Lake Lucerne provide an entertaining exhibition.
Take the steamboat on a culinary evening tour
On this evening, various ships are on special tours. In addition to the candlelight steamer, the display at the landing stage also shows the departure times of the sunset voyage and the Fajita ship.
The candlelight trip is carried out on the Uri steamship. Built in 1901, it is the oldest steamship still in operation on Swiss waters and is also the oldest ship in the local fleet. We first take a look into the open “technical room” and admire the machines that have been sailing the Uri across Lake Lucerne for over 100 years. In 1994 the Uri was completely renovated and at that time the neo-baroque salon was also set back in the style of the 1920s – definitely a harmonious ambience for a romantic candlelight dinner.
Sparkling wine & sunset to start
Half an hour before the scheduled departure, the candlelight dinner starts with an aperitif consisting of canapés and a glass of sparkling wine. Live music is played on the sun deck. We cast off shortly before the sun goes down. I enjoy the pleasantly mild breeze that comes up with the wind and stay on deck until the last rays of sunshine say goodbye behind Lucerne. The departure times of the candlelight steamer are the same from July to November, which means that the sunset takes place at different times (our pictures are from the candlelight trip in mid-August).
The meal is then served in the salon or in the panorama restaurant on the upper deck. The tables are permanently assigned (as you know from restaurant reservations) and lovingly decorated with rose petals and candles. When it comes to “romantic” decorations, I’m quite critical and quickly find it cheesy. On the Uri, however, the setting was great. The list with eleven personal questions such as «Name three things that you and I have in common in your opinion». Even those who have been with their partner for a long time will find such questions to be entertaining to stimulate conversation.
3-course menu by candlelight
The candlelight dinner consists of an amuse bouche (we served a gazpacho with a grissini), followed by a starter, main course and dessert. Finally, Friandise is served with the espresso / coffee. Between the individual courses there is always the opportunity to go up on deck and admire the scenery. You can find out which menu awaits you on this year’s evening tours with the candlelight steamer on the SVG website (you can find the veggie menus in the PDF with additional information).
We served a MSC smoked salmon tartare with a shipyard honey dressing and colorful lettuce as a starter. The ship’s crew served a saddle of veal from Central Switzerland as the main course and ended with a delicious homemade Felchlin chocolate mousse with Swiss cherries. What I think is great about the menus is the regional focus. This also applies to the veggie version, where Dallenwil goat cheese is used.
While we are enjoying dinner by candlelight, our candlelight steamer cruises at a leisurely pace from Lucerne via Vitznau to the level of Beckenried. There he makes the arc around the Bürgenstock back to the port of Lucerne, where we dock shortly before 11 p.m. – with a perfect connection to the train back to Zurich.
Our conclusion: a worthwhile evening excursion for everyone who wants to treat themselves to a nice and decelerating short break from the hectic everyday life.
Practical information for your excursion with the candlelight steamer
- The trips with the candlelight steamer take place on one Saturday per month from July to November. The exact dates can be found on the SVG website.
- “Doors open” at 7:30 p.m. and departure at 8:00 p.m. At 10:45 p.m. you are back in Lucerne.
- The offer, including an evening trip by steamboat, aperitif and 3-course menu costs 159 CHF per person.
- Reservations can be made until 3:00 p.m. on the same day (provided there are still free tables available).
- There is also a vegetarian menu to choose from and the menu changes seasonally (summer menu and autumn menu).
Here you will find even more (summer) excursion ideas around Lucerne. Another excursion tip for a boat trip on Lake Lucerne can be found in this article: from Lucerne to Bauen