Guarded by snowcapped mountains and kissed by the crystal clear waters of lake Lucerne, Luzern/ Lucerne is sure one of the prettiest towns in Switzerland. A laid back old world charm, medieval architectures, the bustling lake side and the iconic Chapel Bride are most definitely the highlights of this beautiful, little place.
While we went to Lucerne on a day trip from Zurich (which was our base), one can also base at Lucerne and explore famous Swiss sites such as Mount Rigi and the Rütli Meadow.
Lucerne can be reached easily from nearly every other city in Switzerland using the Swiss Federal Railway.
There are hourly trains from Zurich Airport and half-hourly trains from Zürich Hauptbahnhof (Zürich HB) and a direct train every hour from Berne.
The best way to explore Lucerne is by walking as the majority of the points of interests are all clustered within a small radius. However, one can get a pass for buses to get around the city. Bicycles are also available for rent at the central railway station.
Places to visit
1) The Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge)
A signature of Lucerne, the Chapel bridge is a covered, wooden footbridge built diagonally across River Rheuss
The bridge links the old town, resting on the north bank of the Reuss River, to the new town on the south bank. Even though it was initially 200 meters long it is now only 170 meters in length, due to numerous shortenings and river bank replenishments. it is hard to miss the marvelous paintings covering the roof of the walkway.
The Wasserturm, literally meaning “Water Tower” alongside the bridge, was named due to its location in the water but has never been used to store water. The tower has been used as a prison, torture chamber and later a municipal archive!!
The Kapellbrücke is not only the oldest wooden bridge in Europe, but also the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge.
It also happens to be the most photographed object in Switzerland after Matterhorn.
2) Old town (Altstadt Luzern)
The old town oozes oodles of charm with its fresco clad buildings, picturesque squares and fountains. The Weinmarkt, where Lucerne swore a federal oath with the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden in 1332, is especially attractive.
3) Lake Lucerne
A fancy cruise or a humbler boatride, a divine meal by the lake or the most idyllic walks along the banks, one can romance the pristine waters of Lake Lucerne in ways more than one.
Do not forget to gorge on the Swiss pralines ( they have 50 different varieties) or gawk at the chocolate fountain wall in this chocolate heaven.
A few other popular sight seeing spots not covered by us
Dying Lion of Lucern
In a small park, just off the Löwenplatz, the carving commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when an armed mob stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.
Swiss Transport Museum
A large and comprehensive museum exhibiting all forms of transport, including locomotives, automobiles, ships, and aircraft. It is to be found beside the lake in the northern-eastern section of the city.
✓ get a day pass from Zurich HB that includes to and fro rail fare to Lucerne as well as unlimited bus travel in Lucerne
✓ carry a water bottle. You can easily refill from the fountains.
✓ spend the saved Francs for chocolates!! 😉
✓ enjoy a magical meal during sunset by the lake.