:  The Internet's leading website for Side-Wheeled Paddle Steamers

Lake Lucerne
Lake Lucerne, Switzerland is one of the most beautiful lakes around. It starts at the city of Lucerne (Luzern) and the main arm of the lake quickly reaches into the foothills of the Alps, passing the Burgenstock hill on the right and the imposing Rigi mountain on the left. Steamers call at numerous closely spaced piers, criss-crossing the lake, with Weggis and Vitznau the main resorts visited before reaching Brunnen. Onwards from Brunnen the scenery takes on a markedly more alpine character with sheer slopes dipping into the lake with piers clinging to the edge precariously. At the upper end of the lake, the town of Fluelen is at the head of a valley which cuts deep into alpine territory which acts as the route south for road (and now motorway) and train.
The two branches of the lake, to Alpnachstad in the Alpnachersee and to Kussnacht receive fewer services, although one paddler is rostered for the former route in the main season. PS Unteralden is the only vessel which can reach Alpnachstad as it is the only vessel with retractable funnel and wheelhouse and hinged masts to allow it to pass under the Aschereggbrucke, a modern bridge which replaced a swing bridge carrying traffic from Luzern to Stans and down the western side of the lake.

Each of the piers is illustrated, with photos of the piers, showing, where possible, the view in both directions at the pier. Some photos are taken of the pier from aboard a vessel but most are views of vessels at or near the pier taken from the shoreline. These photos are part of a large collection of photos taken by Gordon Stewart, webmaster, between 1988 and 2001. Click on the pier name to see the photos.  

The main services are from Luzern to Fluelen via the main resorts of Weggis, Gersau and Brunnen and other piers providing interchange with mountain railways or cable cars for onward travel to popular vantage points such as Rigi (from Vitznau), Burgenstock (from Kehrsiten), Klewenalp (from Beckenried) and Seelisberg (from Treib). Rutli, Bauen and Isleten are popular piers for walkers particularly since the establishmemt and marketing of the "Weg der Schweiz" which passes around the southern part of the lake.
Since the end of the 2010 season, Rotschuo pier has not been included in the SGV's sailing programme

Vitznau (right)

Kehrsiten (Burgenstock), Stansstad and Alpnachstad are the main piers on the service under the low bridge near Stansstad (Aschereggbrucke) into the Alpnachersee. At Kehrsiten Burgenstock, connections are made with the services along the main part of the lake to Fluelen as well as the Burgenstock mountian railway. At Alpnachstad, connection is made with the railway serving Pilatus, the dominant mountain lying to the west of Luzern and itself the world's steepest rack railway. Services to Alpnachstad from Luzern generally call at Verkehshaus, St Niklausen, Kastanienbaum, Kehrsiten-Burgenstock, Kehrsiten-Dorf, Hergiswil, Stansstad, Rotzloch and Alpnachstad.


Kussnacht is the main town at the head of the eastern arm of the lake and whilst the service provided is infrequent, special paddler steamer trips are provided on occasion. In June to September 1999, the 10.00 am Sunday service from Luzern was provided by PS Unterwalden, with a special breakfast buffet. Piers used by SGV services are Verkehrshaus and Seeburg, Meggenhorn, Meggen, Merlischachen and Kussnacht on the northern bank and Greppen on the southern bank.


Go to

Photograph Library (complete collection, reduced size for internet purposes)
Return to
Lake Lucerne
Paddle Steamer List