After spending four incredible days enjoying Paris, Nick and I took the train to magical Lucerne, Switzerland where we spent five days. The city is centered around Lake Lucerne, surrounded by rolling hills and the alps reaching up to the clouds. We stayed at the elegant Chateau Gütsch which is perched on top of a hill overlooking the city.
You may have seen this published in One Fab Day.
“The Gütsch is a hill in the west of the city of Lucerne. A long time ago guard fires burned here to warn the city in times of war or other dangers. The Gütsch Tower was built in 1590 as the end point of the city fortifications and remained in existence until a fire in 1888. In 1859 Burkhard Pfyffer bought the land from the town and was granted the right to run an inn on the Gütsch. The inn was bought by Ignaz Businger in 1879 and expanded into a hotel. With the construction of the Gütschbahn in 1884, it became easier for guests to reach the hotel.
A large part of the hotel was completely destroyed in the great fire of 1888. In 1901 the hotel received its present fairytale castle appearance with towers and oriels “à la Neuschwanstein”. During the First World War and until 1921 the Hotel Gütsch remained closed. During the Second World War it had to perform military service and accommodated in turn refugees, returning emigrants, and prisoners of war.
In 2010 the city of Lucerne granted the new owner Alexander Lebedev permission to extend and renovate the hotel and in 2014 the hotel reopened its doors after a thorough renovation. The last renovations in 2014 focused particularly on the preservation of historical details such as ceiling stucco, wood carvings, parquet floors, and hand-painted wood panelling. English interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard has been successful in Château Gütsch back its historic charm while enriching it with all the modern amenities that discerning hotel guests expect.
Over the last 130 years, our Château Gütsch has experienced an exciting history, accommodating famous guests including kings and queens, diplomats, world stars and, of course, the citizens of the city of Lucerne.” – Chateau Gutsch
“The Gütsch was an incredibly luxurious, romantic and delightful place to visit. Views of the town from two balconies, attention to detail in historical items in the rooms, over the top breakfasts (particularly smoked salmon, muesli and espresso), and an attentive team restocking a complimentary minibar made for a fantastic, comfortable stay.” – Nick
When we were making plans for our honeymoon, I realized that we would be traveling to some really beautiful and romantic places, and I proposed that we bring our wedding outfits and vow books with us. When we got to the Chateau, we felt this was the perfect place to revisit our vows and reflect on our wedding. We both shook out our clothes, which had been stuffed in our suitcases and already lugged across several borders, and spent some quality time reflecting on our vows. Naturally, I set up my camera on my tripod to document the moment and had fun taking some fresh portraits of us while on honeymoon. I even went to the grocery store and put together a little bouquet of flowers that we then got to have in our room for the rest of our stay. It felt like such a great way to bring mindfulness to our honeymoon and focus on each other.
“We both felt this natural, romantic draw to revisit our vows. It was the first time since our private vow reading on the wedding day that we’d recited them to each other. The unexpected delight was how we had already blurred certain details – revisiting in this intimate setting was the perfect moment and place to do so, and I’ll never forget it.” – Nick
I’d highly recommend reading your vows again with your partner on a special occasion. Revisiting them on our honeymoon was really meaningful.
“I would recommend bringing a copy of your vows on your trip and keeping them with you. If possible, a paper copy, not just on your phone. Keep it with you, and let an organic moment present itself to read them together. That will only enhance the delight and intimacy, rather than forcing it. Let it happen.” – Nick
We spent the majority of our time in Lucerne walking the city, hiking up to forested areas, to a neighboring lake and, of course, eating. Even though it was mid-Novemeber, everywhere was fully decorated with Christmas ornaments and elaborate lighting and American holiday music blasting from every speaker. One of my favorite meals was at Pfistern where they had set up an exclusively outdoor seating area where they give you heated blankets and sit in cozy chairs while enjoying fondue. Another favorite with Rathaus Brauerei and Wirtshaus Galliker.
“I’ve always loved learning a city by walking through it, and Lucerne was exceptionally walkable, although hilly. There was so much variety- the vibrant shops downtown, historic bridges, grand hotels, and the lake and mountains framing it all. One moment that stands out is sitting on a bench at a monastery perched on a hill, looking out at the mountains, lake and town below, and enjoying the quiet reward of our steep walk up.” – Nick
Atlast Obscura best describes the Lion of Lucerne. “Carved directly into the wall of a former sandstone quarry in Lucerne, the titular lion statue sees the regal beast dying from a spear wound which is marked by a shield bearing the mark of the French monarchy. The remarkably large monument was etched from the stone in 1820 and measures a remarkable ten meters in length and six meters in height. Above the mournful lion is the inscription, “HELVETIORUM FIDEI AC VIRTUTI,” which is Latin for “To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss,” and below the lion’s niche is a list of some of the deceased officers’ names.
In his 1880 travelogue, A Tramp Abroad, American author and noted satirist Mark Twain described the monument as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” The lifeless eyes of the Lion of Lucerne may not be able to cry, but the endless tragedy in its gaze still inspires more than its share of tears.”
Another favorite trip was taking the gondolas up to Mount Pilatus which is one of the mountains that towers over Lucerne. The gondolas take you up thousands of feet to the top of the mountain at 6,983ft. We were hoping to hike along the top of the mountain itself, but the trails were not maintained for the winter. It was also very touristy at the very top and I would be wary of visiting in the summer if you don’t like crowds. After enjoying the views at the top, we took the gondolas down a level and hiked through gorgeous, snowy trails and only saw a few other people!
Switzerland was truly magical to visit and I would love to plan another trip in a slightly warmer season and spend more time hiking in the mountains. They were breathtaking!
This whole trip was made possible by our friends and family. Instead of asking for physical gifts at our wedding, we asked our buddies to contribute to a honeymoon. It was the best gift we could have asked for.
Our whole honeymoon was just short of a month and we had so many moving pieces and a short time to plan the trip, so I reached out to one my favorite couples, Sarah & Tom – you might remember these two from their Edelweiss Backyard Wedding. They run the boutique travel company, Pathways Active Travel and plan incredible trips all over the world. Sarah helped us with planning, logistics and gave us so much insight and expertise! I would highly recommend Pathways for the adventurous traveler.
After Switzerland we were off to Italy – Lake Como, Verona, Merano and Venice!
Boutique Travel Company: Pathways Active Travel // Vow Books & Flowers: Julia Luckett Photography // Venue: Chateau Gutsch // Julia’s Rings: Perrywinkles Fine Jewelry // Nick’s Ring: Castro Smith // Dress Boutique: Everthine Bridal // Dress Designer: Rue De Seine // Nick’s Suit: Brooks Brothers