From snow-capped mountains to shimmering lakes and rivers, cheese fondues to exquisite Indian food, old quirky corners to modern architecture, Lucerne is known to be one of the prettiest and oldest cities in Switzerland with its idyllic location on the North of the Alps. Some people call it Luzern since it is located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and for some, it’s simply Lucerne. The official language is actually German with the main spoken language being Swiss German.
Lucerne is relatively compact and its transport system is very reliable. Some of the hotels will normally provide you with a travel-card when you check-in which enables you to travel for free within the area. One good thing about the city is that most of the attractions are close to each other and near the Old Town which makes it easy to visit in one or two days.
While winter is not really the best time to visit Lucerne (think about freezing hands, cold rainy days and blurry views), the city is still filled with sport lovers paving their way to the Alps for snow activities. Summer in Lucerne is said to be pleasant but busy and expensive. Be on your guard since Switzerland is one of Europe’s most expensive destinations. As such, a meal for two can cost you around 50 euros.
What to see in Lucerne?
Chapel Bridge / Kapellbrücke Bridge
Immersed in history, Chapel bridge is the center of attraction in Lucerne besides the Alps and cheese fondues. As a matter of fact, it is the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe built in the 12th century which connects the city center to the Old Town. While the outside is adorned with flowers, the interior is filled with 30 paintings portraying the history of Lucerne.
Pave your way through the quirky maze of alleys in the charming Old Town after you cross Chapel Bridge. There, you’ll find a number of shops, half-timbered houses, water fountains and murals. The places of interest include Chapel Square, St Peter’s church which is the oldest church of Lucerne and the Fritschi fountain.
Further down, remaining of the old town walls can be found on the hill joined together by the nine watch towers known as the Musegg wall, where you can enjoy show-dropping views of the city, Lake Lucerne and the Alps.
The Lion monument
The dying Lion monument by Bertel Thorvaldsen is one of the most precious emblems of Lucerne. This 20 ft sculpture was carved in the cliff as a memorial for the Swiss soldiers who lost their lives during the French revolution.
If you’re there on a Tuesday or a Saturday, drop by the farmers’ market right along Reuss river bank. Indulge in some Swiss specialties such as cheeses, home-made delicacies, wines and meats.
Switzerland is famed for its watches, knives and chocolates. If you have some spare time, check the chocolateries and local shops. Chocolate lovers should visit the Bachmann store in Lucerne where they hold a large variety of chocolate to cater for every taste and a chocolate wall.
There are a few museums in Lucerne for those who are passionate about history. Richard Wagner Museum reflects the life of the composer when he was living in Lucerne exiled from Germany. The Swiss Transport Museum hosts a great number of different forms of transport such as trains, planes, ships and spacecraft, Nature Museum is about earth science and Sammlung Rosengart is home to artworks by the famous Pablo Picasso as well as other artists.
Spreuer Bridge is the second covered wooden bridge after Chapel Bridge. It was actually the first bridge to be built on river Reuss. It was destroyed by a flood later and was then rebuilt. The third bridge, Hofbrucke was demolished in the 19th century. Similarly, Spreuer bridge is also filled with medieval-style paintings by Kaspar Meglinger. There is also a small chapel in the middle.
Jesuit Church overlooking the river Reuss, is absolutely gorgeous. It is a catholic church and the first large baroque (ornamental) church built in North Switzerland. The Jesuits were brought to Lucerne for the establishment of a college (Jesuit College of Lucerne). This beauty can easily be spotted with its onion shaped towers.
Hofkirche – Hof Church
St. Leodegar Church (Hofkirche) is a roman catholic church that was built in the 1600s after the Roman basilica was burnt. In 1874, the church became a monastery church and a parish church. The two towers are the remnants of the previous structure.
Enjoy a serenade across Reuss river or lake Lucerne in good company of the beautiful white swans. You can also take a boat trip in the scenic lake and dwell in the jaw-dropping views that surround. If you have more than one day in Lucerne and if the weather permits, head to Mount Pilatus or Mount Titlis. There is also a wine market for wine lovers.
To sum up, this city is definitely an upright charmer. It’s totally worth a visit.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, thank you for dropping by.