At the beginning of our two week trip in Switzerland, we spent a weekend in Lucerne (aka Luzern). Lucerne is just an hour’s train ride from Zurich, so it’s an easy first stop out of the city. It’s a small, yet bustling, town. The train station is right next to the heart of Lucerne and the beautiful Lake Lucerne. So what are some of the must dos there? Well, here’s what we did.
There are several sights around Lucerne that are definitely worth checking out. The Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) is in the middle of town. Lucerne is known for this wooden pedestrian bridge, though we spotted ones of less grandeur in other cities. In Lucerne, the bridge is extremely easy to visit and we found ourselves crossing it several times a day just to get from here to there. I loved it because at different times of the day it looked quite different. Here’s a shot early in the morning, which made the yellow on its roof pop:
Or you can see it at dusk when it’s cloaked in darkness:
Or just the classic daytime shot:
Inside the Chapel Bridge, you walk through pictorial history. The bridge was built in the 14th Century, but the paintings in the interior date back to the 17th century. The words describing the painting are in German, so we never quite got the full story. Here’s you can see a few of them:
Speaking of wooden pedestrian bridges, Lucerne also features the Spreuer Bridge. This bridge is smaller and doesn’t have the large stone structure, but I thought it was quite beautiful just the same. It gave a nice red pop to the river.
This one is down the river a bit, but we again found ourselves crossing it multiple times just checking out the city.
From near the Chapel Bridge, Neal spotted what looked to be a castle. Because Neal cannot resist a castle, we set out to find it. It turned out to be Museggmauer, a 14th century wall and tower structure built around the city. It was so cool! The best part: it’s free! We explored it for awhile. You can enter a few of the towers and get a great view of the city. Behind it is the part of the city where I think the normals are–you know the people who actually live there. We saw some goats and cows behind the wall as well. Like in the rest of Switzerland, they appeared to just randomly be hanging out.
The Lion Monument
We had heard about the Lion Monument in Lucerne and were curious. I had seen pictures and thought, okay, what’s the big deal? It’s a fair bit out of the way around the lake and then through the town. Along the way, we stopped at Hofkirche St. Leodegar-a beautiful church, but didn’t go in.
Instead, we headed to the monument. When we got there, we were surprised at how big it was. It’s really large and surrounded by water. There were also a TON of people. We kind of felt like, where did all these people come from? But they were fine. The lion was carved in the 1800s as a war monument. We sat by it for some time in the shade before heading back.
Chateau Gutsch and Gutsch Woods
We talked a bit about the Chateau Gutsch and Gutsch Woods in our itinerary post. When we were at the Musegg Wall and down in old town Lucerne, every time we looked up, we saw this incredible castle-like building on the hill.
We had to know what it was. We walked through the city following the sight of it until we arrived at a funicular. The funicular is free with the Swiss Pass, or $8CF otherwise. No one is checking tickets, though, and, honestly, we couldn’t figure out how to buy them in any case. So we got in the funicular to head up. You get a cool view of the Museggmauer from the funicular.
Once at the top, we saw that the castle was actually a hotel. A beautiful hotel, but a hotel nonetheless. So the first thing we did was try to check out the beautiful (maybe) glass heart we could see from town. We couldn’t go up to it without paying, so we admired it from afar.
Rather than go straight to the Chateau Gutsch, we took a stroll through Gutsch woods, which is right next to it. It was a nice reprieve from the heat and something different! We sort of went in and out and didn’t get lost for too long. Next, we checked out the hotel. The view from here is gorgeous.
You can grab a drink at this hotel or eat lunch before heading back down to Lucerne.
Old town Lucerne
Walking around old town Lucerne is a fun adventure in itself. The streets are very narrow and the architecture is interesting. There are sculptures and fountains and lots of ancient art on the buildings. We enjoyed walking around whenever we had downtime.
From Lucerne, you can go up several different mountaintops. The big ones are Rigi, Titlis and Pilatus. We chose to do the Golden Round Trip to Mt. Pilatus. We did a separate post all about it because it was just so incredible. Mt. Pilatus won over Rigi and Titlis because of the adverture you go on getting to and from the mountain. You get to ride a boat, go in a steep funicular, ride two gondolas and take a bus. It’s just an overall experience that I don’t think you get with Rigi and Titlis. And it’s simply otherworldly up there.
The Food and Drink
There are lots of riverside restaurants and bars in Lucerne. We visited a fair number of them! As a vegetarian, I felt there was plenty to eat. Our favorite place was Mill’Feuille. We had some great food there! I would say there wasn’t as much traditional Swiss food in Lucerne, which was kind of a blessing as from there on we ate sooo much Swiss food. Also, I loved how much gelato there was in Lucerne (and everywhere we went in Switzerland!)
The Street Art
Because I can’t not look for street art everywhere I go, I of course found some in Lucerne! Now, I said before, there’s tons of ancient “street art” — murals painted on the walls in the 1600/1700s. They’re very cool, but what about some modern street art? Welp, here’s some of what I was able to find!
There’s also lots of shopping if you’re into that, or just sitting by the lake/river and hanging out. We did plenty of both! Biking is also extremely popular here, so why not rent a bike and be one of the locals? We wanted to, but not quite enough time.
So there you have it! A weekend in Lucerne, Switzerland. We had a blast! Even though it was hot, it was such a lovely town. Hope you enjoyed our story!
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