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Lucerne Switzerland

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Lucerne, Switzerland (6/7-10/2024)

Beautiful Lucerne Switzerland!

WOW… Lucerne is Beautiful with so many fun things to do! Lucerne is a wonderful city to walk around and is known for its beautiful Old Town, Chapel Bridge, Lake Lucerne, and snow-capped mountains. Exceptionally well preserved and set to the backdrop of beautiful Mount Pilatus, German-speaking Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s prettiest cities (see photo). English is spoken everywhere.

Lucerne’s Wonderful Old Town

Compact, pedestrian-only, and easy to explore, there are delightful walks along the lake, river, and though the old town. A good place to start your exploration of Lucerne is walking along the Old Town (Alstadt) banks of the Reuss River (see photo). It truly feels like taking a step back in time with its historic architecture beautifully preserved. 

Walking Tour of Lucerne

Lucerne’s Old Town is filled with picturesque squares, water fountains, covered bridges, elegant historic buildings with colorful façades, amazing churches, and interesting attractions. See the Lucerne Walking Tour Map (see map) for a nice way to link up many of Lucerne’s attractions described below.

Lucerne Upscale Shopping Switzerland
Lucerne’s Upscale Shopping

While you are visiting Lucerne’s main sites, enjoy just strolling through the narrow car-free cobblestone streets lined with designer shops and small restaurants, many with outdoor seating. For a beautiful setting, we enjoyed the restaurants along the river. Some of Lucerne’s best upscale shopping is located along Hertenstrasse, Grendel, and Weggisgasse Streets

Riverside Promanade Lucerne Switzerland
Riverside Promanade – Lucerne

located north of the river (see photo). The window showing alone is worthwhile. On Tuesday and Saturday mornings 6AM-1PM there is a farmers’ market along both banks of the Reuss River selling locally produced vegetables, cheese, bread, and flowers.

Lucerne Town Hall Rathaus Switzerland
Lucerne Town Hall (Rathaus)

In Lucerne’s Old Town, many beautiful buildings are located on both sides of the Reuss River – I gave my camera a workout snapping beautiful photos. Among them is the Town Hall of Lucerne (Altes Rathaus), one of the city’s oldest structures dating back to 1602. Located in the Kornmarkt square, this Italian Renaissance style landmark dominates the city’s skyline and worth a stop to admire its Italian Renaissance architecture and ornate door. There is a 14-century clock tower located here – you can’t miss it. 

Weinmaarkt Square Lucerne Switzerland
Weinmaarkt – Lucerne

Another beautiful square to visit is the Weinmaarkt where you shouldn’t miss the beautiful 1481 Gothic fountain and the painted guild halls. It is fun to get ‘lost’ around here through the side streets and alleys.

Chapel Bridge Lucerne Switzerland
Famous Chapel Bridge – Lucerne

Be sure to cross Lucerne’s famous pedestrian bridge Chapel Bridge (Kappelbrücke), a 669-foot wooden footbridge and over the Reuss River with a stone Water Tower dating back to the 12th-century (see photo). It is the oldest covered wooden bridge in the world and the most photographed monument in Switzerland. 

Painting Chapel Bridge Lucerne Switzerland
Painting Inside Chapel Bridge

The Chapel Bridge is decorated with flowers and interesting paintings inside that narrate the history of Lucerne and Switzerland (see photo). The gaveled roof is modern construction after the fire in 1993. With a great view of Chapel Bridge, it is fun to enjoy cheese fondue at one of the charming waterfront restaurants along the river.

Pat Dunlap Swiss Fondue Along River Lucerne Switzerland
Pat Enjoying Swiss Fondue Along River

Fondue is a melted Swiss cheese dish served in a pot over a heated lamp and eaten by dipping bread into it. While in Lucerne you should also try Rosti, a typical Swiss dish for lunch or dinner made from grated potatoes that are fried crispy and golden brown and can be served with bacon, cheese, or eggs.

Spreuer Bridge – Dance of Death Paintings

There were 3 wooden bridges in Lucerne. The two surviving are the Chapel Bridge and the Spreuer Bridge. Spreuer Bridge, completed in 1408, is the shorter version of the Chapel Bridge. They both have triangular gable paintings. The ones in the Spreuer Bridge are special because they are one of the largest collections (68) of Dance of Death (Danse Macabre) paintings in the world – pretty strange to view (see photo). From Spreuer  Bridge you have great views up the Reuss River and some parts of the old town most people miss.

Lucerne City Walls Switzerland
Lucerne’s City Walls

Lucerne’s Old Town is very close to the medieval city walls and nine towers (Museggmauer – Musegg Wall) where you can walk the walls between the towers (see photo). You can climb to the top of the open towers for one of the best views of Lucerne. Be sure not to miss the clock tower on the Zyt tower built in 1534. It is the oldest clock in Lucerne.

Jesuit Church Lucerne Switzerland
Jesuit Church – Lucerne, Switzerland

The Jesuit Church (Jesuiten-kirche) (see photo) by the Reuss River, established around 1666, is one of the most beautiful churches in Switzerland, especially inside (see photo) – it is amazing! The interior is decorated with beautiful intricate rococo stucco designs that are impressive and showcase the culture of Catholicism. For church lovers, there are two other noteworthy ones in Lucerne to visit: Franciscan Church (Franziskaner-kirche) and St. Leodegar Church.

Beautiful Inside Jesuit Church Lucerne Switzerland
Beautiful Inside Jesuit Church

Museum Luzern displaying nature and the history of Lucerne and Central Switzerland is interesting.  For art lovers, especially Picasso lovers, a stroll around the Rosengart Museum in Lucerne’s Old Town will be of interest.

Boat Cruise on Lake Lucerne
Boat Cruise on Lake Lucerne

If the weather is good, you can take a wonderful boat trip on beautiful Lake Lucerne or Reuss River enjoying the views of the alps, pretty lakeside/river villages, and the historical places along the shoreline. There are two companies to choose from. SNG’s hour-long boat river cruise leaves near Schwanenplatz on the opposite side of the river from the train station. You can purchase tickets at the boat dock.

SGV Lake Lucerne Boat Rides

One of the highlights of the region, around Lake Lucerne, SGV ( operates five historic paddle steamers and several elegant saloon motor vessels taking passengers.
Operating near the train station, breakfast, lunch, and dinner cruises are available. 

Weggis – Village Along Lake Lucerne

For a fun excursion you can take a 45-minute cruise from Pier 1 to quaint villages like Weggis (see photo) and Vitznau (and Mount Rigi). You can also have lunch or visit Mount Rigi and return to Lucerne on the next boat. Tickets are sold on every boat as well as at the ticket office at the piers in Lucerne.

Lion of Lucerne Monument Switzerland
Lion of Lucerne Monument

Just a short walk from the Lucerne’s old town in Löwenplatz, where the St. Leodegar Church is located, the 33 feet long Lion of Lucerne Monument (Löwendenkmal) is a renowned Lucerne site. Carved into a large rock face in a charming park, it depicts a dying lion sculpture commemorating almost 1,000 Swiss soldiers who lost their lives during the French Revolution in 1792 protecting King Louis XVI in the Storming of the Tuileries in Paris. It is visited by about 1.4 million people every year. Mark Twain described the Lion of Lucerne Monument as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” There is no charge to visit.

Bourkaki Panorama Lucerne Switzerland
Bourkaki Panorama – Lucerne, Switzerland

We very much enjoyed Lucerne’s Bourbaki Panorama located near the Lion Monument. It is a fascinating historical artwork with a message of Peace showing the horrors of war. This circular painting, 330 feet in circumference, portrays the retreat of General Charles Denis Bourbaki’s French army during the Franco-Prussian War and the care the Swiss people offered the almost 90,000 starving soldiers. Housed in a custom-built rotunda, it offers an immersive experience viewed from various angles (see photo). It incorporates 3D figures that blend seamlessly with the painting.

Swiss House Museum Glacier Garden Lucerne Switzerland
Swiss House Museum – Glacier Garden

Also located in this area is Lucerne’s Glacier Garden housing a variety of geological and paleontological exhibits along with diverse flora showcasing rock formations resulting from glacial erosion during the Ice Age. Start your visit at the Felsenwelt, an interesting geologically designed entrance portal showing the history of the Earth as old as 1 billion years. Importantly, an elevator at the end takes you up to the Alpine Park at the top with to a lookout tower and you can walk down the garden instead of up the many stairs.

Mirror Maze – Glacier Garden

We found other attractions at the Glacier Garden even more interesting than the garden. The Mirror Maze provides entertainment for all ages (see photo). Built in 1896, it is a hall of 51 mirrors and is good fun to find you way through the labyrinth. The Sandstone Pavilion offers visitors a 13-minute film explaining the Glacier Garden and highlights the climate, earth, and tourism history of Central Switzerland. The Swiss House Museum has a nice collection showing life in the 1800’s. Of interest are the numerous historical landscape reliefs, such as the glacier relief in the glacier salon (Pfyffer Relief).

Verkehrshaus Swiss Museum of Transport Space
Swiss Museum of Transport – Space

We thoroughly enjoyed spending a day at Lucerne’s wonderful Verkehrshaus entertainment complex located close to the Old Town. Here the Swiss Museum of Transport is the most visited museum in Switzerland. Actually it is five separate fabulous  museums: Aviation and Space (see photo), Navigation and Tourism, Road Transport, Rail Transport, and Energy. Each one is very well done with interesting interactive exhibits and displays in multiple languages, including English. They have lots of actual airplanes, helicopters, race cars, cars, trains, boats, space travel, and even a submarine. The list goes on and on… Amazing! There is also much for children to do in each museum (see photo).

Lots to Do for Kids Adults Lucerne Museum of Transport
Lots to Do for Kids & Adults – Museum of Transport

Verkehrshaus has other great attractions such as the 3-D IMAX Cinema (Filmtheatre), Planetarium, Media World Experience, and Swiss Chocolate Adventure. Spending the day, we saw three very good IMAX shows in their large very nice theatre with an headset offering multiple languages, including English. The Planetarium is special and you can have interesting experiences at Media World Experience like virtual reality of high diving.

Swiss Chocolate Adventure Verkehrshaus Lucerne Switzerland
Swiss Chocolate Adventure – Verkehrshaus Lucerne

Verkehrshaus’ fun Swiss Chocolate Adventure is a 20-minute multimedia ride done by Lindt Chocolate, one of Switzerland’s largest chocolate manufacturers. It is like a Disneyland ride taking you through the history and making of Swiss chocolate (see photo). As a lover of chocolate I found it interesting. You are treated to many chocolate samples during the ride and after at the Lindt store.

Nude Naked Girl Boy Statue Verkehrshaus Lucern Switzerland
The Swiss Can Have Fun – Nude Statue

At Verkehrshaus you can purchase tickets for just the Transport Museum or a day pass for everything. Verkehrshaus is something to experience for all ages and especially good for rainy days and kids with very nice play areas – even a small train ride. From Old Town Lucerne, you can take a SGV 10-minute boat ride, 9-minute train from the station, or 13-bus line 6 to Verkehrshaus. It is also a nice walk 1-mile along the lake.

Excursion Up Mount Pilatus

Lucerne has good access to nature and panoramic views. A popular attraction in Lucerne is a gondola ride up to Mount Pilatus riding the gondola and aerial cablecar (see photo). The 30-minute gondola ride takes you to Fräkmüntegg. From there, you transfer to the 5-minute aerial cableway, known as the ‘Dragon Ride’, arriving 7,000 feet above sea level. The panoramic views over the lake and Alps are absolutely stunning. For the adventurous, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, the Pilatus Bahn, is in Lucerne where you can take an exciting 30-minute ride enjoying incredible vistas.

Cog Train to Mount Rigi

Another popular circular route involves a SGV boat trip from Lucerne to Vitznau and then a cogwheel train ascent up Mount Rigi (see photo). You can descend via the cogwheel train to Arth-Goldau and a regular Swiss train back to Lucerne.

City Train Luzern Lucerne Switzerland
City Train Luzern

City Train Luzern (see photo) offers 40-minute tourist highlights and history of Lucerne’s Old Town with brief information available in 16 languages. It leaves several time a day next to the Franciscan Church in the Franishaner Square.

For a fun touristy lunch or dinner show, Stadtkeller, located in the Lucerne’s Old Town, offers a show with flag throwing, yodeling, cowbells, and other Swiss traditional activities. It is very popular so book ahead.

Colorful Building Lucerne Switzerland
Colorful Building – Lucerne

As an overnight hotel guest in a Lucerne city hotel, you can use all buses and trains within the city zone free of charge as well as many discounts on the attractions and boat cruises. Quality Swiss watches are available in Lucerne. If you want to pick up a high-end Swiss watch, this good place to do it.

Interesting fact: ‘Lucerne’ is the French way of spelling the city’s name and most commonly used internationally, while ‘Luzern’ is the German version. The latter is most commonly seen on signposts around the city.

Wonderful Swiss Chocolate
Wonderful Swiss Chocolate!

Another Interesting fact: Switzerland has long been known for its fine chocolate and cheese. The Swiss chocolate industry produced over 200,000 tons of chocolate in 2018 worth $1.7 billion. It mostly goes to Switzerland, Germany, UK, France, and Canada. The Swiss chocolate brands make up around 40% of the world’s global chocolate production. Alpine milk sets Swiss chocolate apart. It is sourced from high-altitude farms in the Swiss mountains. Due to it being denser and less aerated, alpine milk gives Swiss chocolate a rich fragrance and an extremely milky texture. I liked Läderach Chocolate with stores in many Swiss cities, including Lucerne.

Hotel Des Alpes Luzern Lucerne Switzerland
Hotel Des Alpes Luzern

We enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Des Alpes Luzern (see photo). The location could not be better in the heart of Lucerne’s Old Town on the Reiss River next to the famous Chapel Bridge and 15-minute walk from the train station. Views from the river side are fabulous. The restaurant is very nice and it is especially nice to sit outside viewing the river and beautiful buildings. Breakfast is nice covered by vouchers provided for any meal and the Internet is good. The staff was helpful making suggestions and answering questions to make our exploration of Lucerne even more fun. The rooms are on the smaller side but efficient. There is no air conditioning – could be problematic to sleep comfortably during warmer months.

Pop Up Band Lucerne Switzerland
Pop Up Band – Lucerne, Switzerland

The best time to visit Lucerne is in the months of May, June, and September. The weather in these months is nice and it is not as busy with tourists as in July or August. To get in a festive mood during Christmas, visit early to mid-December when Lucerne comes alive with Christmas markets and decorations.

While visiting Lucerne, it is nice to use Essential German phrases:
Thank you – Danke (dan-kuh)
You’re welcome – Bitteschön (bit-tuh-shun)
Please, excuse me, or pardon – Bitte (bit-tuh)
Yes – Ja (jah)
No – Nein (nine)
Hello – Hallo (hallo)
Goodbye – Auf Wiedersehen (Owf Veeder-sane)
German – Deutsch (“doych”)

We loved our visit to Lucerne!

See another wonderful place in Switzerland, Click on link:

Switzerland Montreux & Chocolate Train


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