Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

Lake Locations:

Switzerland - Lucerne - Nidwalden - Obwalden - Schwyz - Uri -

With a shoreline that rises steeply into the mountains to a height of more than 4,900 feet, Lake Lucerne is the fourth largest lake in Switzerland. Its 28,000 acres spread across the four Swiss cantons (states) of Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden and Lucerne.

Lake Lucerne’s surface appears irregularly shaped and receives inflows from the Muota River, Engelberger Aa, Sarner Aa and the Reuss River which also exits the lake at the city of Lucerne. The lake’s water levels are maintained by a water spike (also called a needle dam or a weir) in the Reuss River in Lucerne; built in 1859, the spikes are lowered into or removed from the river manually to control water levels.

The lake is a center for family water fun for residents and visitors from around the world. Pedaloes, boating, waterskiing, swimming, and fishing for the local favorite, whitefish, as well as perch, bass, lake trout, catfish, and carp are activities enjoyed by those who prefer an active vacation. For those who prefer to lie back and relax, the lakeside beach recently celebrated its 125th anniversary; the beach boasts vendors of local cuisine and a bar for your convenience and enjoyment. Lake Lucerne also has steamer cruises that provide scenic tours as you indulge in a meal of excellent local specialties. Paddle wheel boats also provide the same service if you prefer to take a step back in time as you enjoy a sunset cruise watching the sun slowly drop behind the majestic Alps. Boat transportation is a quick and convenient option to small villages around the lake for day excursions.

The city of Lucerne is a world renowned tourist center. Although these visitors arrive from destinations around the globe, Lucerne is also a top vacation destination for a large number of Swiss. While Lake Lucerne is a big draw, the city is thought to provide the true Switzerland experience with its picturesque mountains, crystal clear lake, alpine village atmosphere, goat trails winding through rolling green meadows plus numerous historic landmarks. Chapel Bridge, a covered wooden bridge, was built in the early 1300’s as part of the city’s fortifications and is a top destination for sightseers. Further on, the Water Tower, built around 1300, is a unique architectural feat with its octagonal shape and over 110 feet high; through the years it has been utilized as an archive, treasury, prison, and torture chamber and is believed to be the most photographed monument in Switzerland. The Musegg Wall was built also for the city’s defense with its rampart walls built in 1386 and nine of the original watch towers still intact with three open to the public. The Lion Monument is carved high in the side of the hill in memory of members of the Swiss Guard who were killed protecting the King of France.

If you prefer more modern diversions, then the Lake Lucerne area is sure to please. Opportunities for climbing, diving, horseback riding, mountaineering, rock climbing, sailing, bungee jumping and parasailing are available for your fun and excitement. Hiking and biking around Lucerne are the best ways to experience the way of life of the locals as you travel through their communities; local maps with marked trails are available at most tourist areas. During the winter, skiing, snowboarding, winter hiking, ice skating, sledding, snow tubing, snow biking, sleigh rides and husky pulls will keep you busy through the cold months. Local outfitters, guides, and sports shops can provide equipment needed and instruction to maximize your fun.

Holiday flats, grand hotels, guest houses, spas, and campgrounds are available for your vacation rentals and accommodations during your stay at Lake Lucerne. Dining opportunities go beyond the typical Swiss food to international cuisine. Try a boxed lunch of local cheese, pear bread and a local wine for your midday meal as you stroll through the cobbled streets, but dress in your finest for an elegant evening of dining in one of the many five star establishments.

Historical monuments, scenic mountain backdrops, great food, a beautiful lake, and lots of outdoor activities make the perfect equation for a memorable vacation. Lake Lucerne has been attracting visitors for centuries, and like its great wines, it only improves with age.

Things to do at Lake Lucerne CHE

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Parasailing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Horseback Riding

Fish species found at Lake Lucerne CHE

  • Bass
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Lake Trout
  • Perch
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Lake Lucerne CHE Photo Gallery

Lake Lucerne CHE Statistics & Helpful Links

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Water Level Control: Switzerland Hydrological Foundation

Surface Area: 28,467 acres

Shoreline Length: 89 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,423 feet

Average Depth: 341 feet

Maximum Depth: 702 feet

Water Volume: 9,566,416 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 3.4 years

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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