Lucerne Switzerland is a top contender on people’s Swiss Bucket Lists, and for good reason. The charming medieval old town is surrounded by the shores of Lake Lucerne and the towering Swiss Alps.
Lucerne Altstadt (Old Town)
Lucerne’s Old Town is full of charming squares and cobblestoned streets. You’ll be drawn to the medieval wood-timbered houses and colorful buildings, many with beautiful murals painted on their facades.
Stop by the Hofkirche, also known as the Court Church of St. Leodegar. It’s the city’s main cathedral, which began as a Benedictine monastery all the way back in the 8th century. As with many historic structures, the church was destroyed by fire in the 1600’s. Also in the Old Town along the River Reuss sits another stunner, the Jesuit Church. Consecrated in the 1600’s, it is the first baroque church built north of the Alps in Switzerland.
Lucerne’s Old Town will whisk you away. The architecture, crisp blue waters, and flocks of swans are all part of the appeal. Grab a bite to eat along the river and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.
Built on the River Reuss in 1333, Chapel Bridge is Lucerne’s prized joy and most prominent landmark. It is the world’s oldest wooden bridge, although a majority of it was destroyed by a fire in 1993. As you walk across the bridge, your eyes will be drawn to the paintings depicting life in the 17th century. At the end of the bridge is the Water Tower, which was once used as a prison and even a torture chamber!
Lion Monument (Löwendenkmal)
A personal favorite of mine is the Löwendenkmal Monument. The “dying lion” pays homage to the Swiss Guards who lost their lives during the French Revolution while serving under King Louis XVI. The somber memorial is carved into sandstone and tucked away from the bustle of the city, peacefully residing over a pond. Mark Twain dubbed the piece ‘the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world”. We visited the monument early in the day to avoid the crowds that flock to see this poignant monument.
Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps
Lake Lucerne is Switzerland’s fourth largest lake, cradled by the Swiss Alps. While you can hike or bike around the area, it is also possible to take a boat cruise. Surrounding the lake are picturesque views of Swiss chalets and the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Swiss Alps. Lake Lucerne is a great spot to see Mount Pilatus. Mount Pilatus is made up of several peaks, the highest being Tomlinson, with an elevation of 2,128 meters. To reach the top, take a ride on the Pilatus Railway, famed for being the steepest cogwheel railway in the world!
Fortress Walls (Museggmauer)
In the 13th century, Lucerne was fortified, and a large part of the wall is still intact. Known as the Museggmauer, there are nine towers still standing, although only a couple are still accessible. You can climb the tower and get a panoramic view of Lucerne below.
Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s top destinations. With endless medieval charm, serene waters, and the powerful mountains enveloping the area, there is something for everyone.