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Lovable Lucerne

Which came first, the city or the lake? Well, technically, it was the lake, but since the lake is named after the city, you could argue it’s the other way around. Either way, the two combined make Lucerne’s location one of the most charming corners of the world. Lucerne is the gateway to central Switzerland and within striking distance of the glorious Swiss Alps, which makes it pretty special. So special, in fact, that it was recently named the fifth most popular tourist destination in the world.

With museum gems like the Swiss Transport Museum (don’t knock it until you’ve been there), plus its so-close-you-could-touch-it proximity to Mount Pilatus, it’s impossible to be bored in Lucerne. Don’t forget to pick up an iconic Swiss-made watch in Weinmarkt and visit the touching Lion Monument. There is also chocolate. Need we say more?

Lucerne’S Top 10

10. KKL Lucerne Host to concerts and festivals. Catch a show and check out the perfected acoustics.

5. Rosengart Museum 19th and 20th Century art fill the walls of this museum. Picasso, anyone?

9. Richard Wagner Museum Fans of the famous composer should check out his former residence/cool museum.

4. Alpineum The Swiss Alps are brought to life with mammoth 3D dioramas and photographs.

8. Lucerne Museum of Art Swiss art and world-renowned exhibitions come together.

3. Chapel Bridge A 14th Century wooden bridge with amazing art encased within its walls. It’s the oldest truss bridge in the world!

7. Glacier Garden Post-glacial gardens that have been around for over 150 years. There’s also a museum and epic mirror maze!

2. Swiss Alps Does this really need explaining?

6. Bourbouki Panorama A gigantic 19th Century circular painting of the snowy town is the main attraction.

1. Lake Lucerne Check out the scenic beauty via a cruise on an ol’ school paddle steamer.

Lucerne History

  • Lion Monument – The famous sculpture of a dying lion created in 1819-21 by artist Bertel Thorvaldsen to commemorate the bravery and loyalty of the Swiss people.
  • Kapellbrucke – A 14th-century bridge where, in 1614, Heinrich Wagmann placed painted roof panels depicting a variety of Swiss historical events.
  • Spreuer Bridge – Built in 1407, this is one of the city’s oldest bridges.
  • Lowendenkmal – The sculpture of a dying lion carved by Lukas Ahorn into the rock face in 1820 to symbolize the death of Swiss soldiers who stood against King Louis XVI.
  • Gletschergarten – A glacier hit this strip of rock over 20 million years ago and the scars can still be seen.

Lucerne Art & Culture

  • Sammlung Rosengart – An art gallery showcasing pieces by masters such as Cezanne, Miro and Monet.
  • Picasso Museum – A museum dedicated to showcasing the famous artists.
  • The Panorama – A 360-degree painting that shows 87,000 men of the French army crossing into Switzerland during the 1870-71 war with Germany.
  • Luzerne Theatre – The city theatre hosts a variety of shows.
  • Carnival – An annual winter festival that starts the Thursday prior to Ash Wednesday. People wear masks and costumes and dance to the music of carnival bands.

Lucerne Shopping

  • Bucherer – A high-end jewellery store featuring upscale watches like Cartier and other jewellery.
  • Williseger – A small shop devoted to selling vintage and handcrafted Christmas decorations.
  • Casagrande – This shop features eclectic items like cuckoo clocks, Heidi dolls and cow mugs.
  • Flea Market – Stalls offer a variety of cheap items. It is open on Saturdays from May to October.
  • Casa Grande Gift Shop – A place to purchase handcrafted souvenirs.

Lucerne Gay & Lesbian

  • Uferlos – A GLBT bar and club featuring interesting drinks and dancing.
  • Mona Lila Disco – A popular night club with live music and a variety of themed events.
  • Pink Panorama – The city’s gay and lesbian film festival held yearly every November.
  • Post Hotel Weggis – A gay-friendly luxury hotel.
  • The Loft – A night club/lounge which hosts themed events like “Frigay” night.

Lucerne Outdoor

  • Natur-Museum – Indoor/outdoor museum that features a walk down a woodland trail and a 15th-century meteorite.
  • Verkehrshaus – An interactive science-based museum featuring flight simulators, steam locomotives and flying bicycles.
  • Aelggi Alp – This mountain is the centre of Switzerland.
  • Chas-Hutte Rust – A family-owned dairy situated in one of the most beautiful spots in Lucerne. Tours are available, and you can purchase cheese, yogurt, butter and other dairy products.
  • Mt Pilatus – A major landmark in Lucerne; two cable cars will take you to the top of the mountainm where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Lucerne Sport

  • Watch an FC Luzern soccer game.
  • Take in the Lucerne Equestrian Masters event or the annual horse-racing event in August.
  • Watch the last leg of the Rowing World Cup at Rotsee Lake.
  • Go hiking on any of the 250km worth of hiking paths around the city.
  • Try figure skating at the local skating rinks.

Lucerne Events

The streets come alive in March with lantern-lit parades packed with peeps in fancy dress, open-air concerts and a lot of drinking and eating. Why? The Lucerne Carnival.

Easter provides sacred/religious tunes and a stack of good food.

For over 60 years, the Lucerne Festival has transformed the months of August and September into a veritable smorgasbord of musical treats and performances. If you enjoy your orchestral beats, you can’t miss this.

You may need to take a translator along to Lucerne’s annual comedy festival, Lucerne Laughs, from October to November. Top Swiss and international comedians fill venues around the city with people looking for a good laugh.

Chilly autumn days are made a lot more bearable with the Festival of the Piano in November. It celebrates the awesomeness of the piano and hosts both classical and contemporary concerts.

When To Go

  • May and June can be a bit wet, so be prepared to traipse around puddled streets if you’re thinking of a pre-summer visit.
  • Lucerne summers are mild, with temperatures ranging from 17 to 25°C (63-77°F) from June to August.
  • Snow isn’t guaranteed in the winter, but nippy days and frosty nights are. Expect temps to drop as low as -3°C (27°F) from December to February.

Getting Around

  • The VBL operates a bevy of buses and trolleybuses (kinda like trackless trams) and is the best approach for a Lucerne adventure.
  • If you’re travelling solo, Lucerne Train Station has bicycles and scooters for hire if you want a unique and fun tour of the city.
  • Hiring a car is a good idea if you want to visit the many Lucerne attractions that aren’t centralised.

General Information

A lively town with tremendous allure, Lucerne is a snug Alpine gem in Central Switzerland with just under 60,000 people. At the confluence of the Reuss River and Lake Lucerne, the small city is famous for a network of old and particularly attractive bridges. The Chapel Bridge, to name one, is the most famous symbol of Lucerne and dates back to the 14th century. Other important landmarks worthy of a visit include impressive half-timber structures that still stand in Lucerne's Old Town, by far one of the most fetching in all of Europe. Traces of old fortification walls, along with eight watch towers still intact, overlook the city from a nearby hilltop.

As the cultural heart of Central Switzerland, Lucerne is ground zero for music and the arts. Folklore events dot the summer calendar, in addition to festivals that celebrate blues and jazz music, cheese and comedy. The soccer-mad town also hosts several football clubs, the most prominent of which is FC Luzern.

Attractions & Activities

Attractions

  • Swiss Transport Museum
  • Chapel Bridge
  • Cathedral of St. Leodegar
  • Lion Monument
  • Lucerne Art Museum (KKL)
  • Activities

  • Lucerne Festival
  • Rose d'Or Festival
  • Lucerne Carnival
  • Lucerne Cheese Festival
  • Blue Balls Festival
  • Restaurant & Nightlife

    Restaurants

  • La Cucina
  • Old Swiss House
  • Bam Bou
  • Opus
  • Wilden Mann
  • Nightlife

  • Grand Casino Lucerne
  • Stadtkeller
  • The Lounge Bar
  • P-1 Bar
  • The Loft
  • Climate

    Protection from the nearby Alps provides Lucerne with mild winters for Switzerland, along with warm, temperate summers.

    • Winter (November to February) -1-7°C
    • Spring (March to May) 2-18°C
    • Summer (June to August) 11-23°C
    • Fall (September to October) 6-17°C

    Lucerne official guide


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    Hotels in Lucerne

    Recommended hotels

    From US$225

    1 Romantik Hotel Wilden Mann

    4 stars
    4.0 / 5

    BAHNHOFSTRASSE 30 Map

    Stay 3 nights and save 20%

    Experience the comfortable accommodation blended with a warm hospitality and unsurpassed service at the Romantik Wilden Mann Hotel Lucerne. GeneralThis property offers well-equipped meeting rooms... More

    From US$200

    2 Hotel De la Paix Lucerne

    3 stars
    4.5 / 5 2 reviews

    Museggstrasse 2 Map

    Hotel De La Paix Lucerne offers quality accommodation and excellent service for travellers visiting Lucerne. This hotel is close to the main railway station and the historical city centre with its... More

    From US$214

    3 Hotel Astoria

    4 stars
    4.3 / 5 4 reviews

    Pilatusstrasse 29 Map

    The superb setting and facilities as well as the staff's personal attention to detail combine to make Astoria Hotel Lucerne the ideal choice at any time of the year. GeneralVisitors travelling on... More

    In a great position
    This hotel was in a great position, just a short walk from the train station and the centre of town. Our room was beautiful, and the breakfast was lovely. Apart from this, we felt the staff were...
    9 Jun 2014
    From US$179

    4 Hotel Ambassador Lucerne

    3 stars
    4.3 / 5

    Zrichstrasse 3 Map

    Sited just a short stroll from all Lucerne's attractions, the Ambassador Hotel comes highly recommended for its unpretentious charm and special hospitality. GeneralGuests travelling on official... More

    From US$206

    5 Hotel Monopol Luzern

    4 stars
    4.5 / 5 2 reviews

    Pilatusstrasse 1 Map

    Extra charge for internet/parking

    The property with its comfortable accommodation and convenient facilities is an ideal base for experiencing an exciting vacation in the city of Lucerne. GeneralThe hotel offers an excellent... More

    helpful staff , great location
    Train station at your door step. Good breakfast , large room, minutes walk to all the attractions. Would stay again 100%. Great location , great town, Staff extra helpful.
    9 Oct 2013
    From US$190

    6 Hotel Alpina

    3 stars
    4.0 / 5 7 reviews

    FRANKENSTR 6 Map

    Offering expected facilities and comforts, Alpina Hotel Lucerne is a good choice for business as well as leisure travellers. GeneralAt leisure, guests can relax at the lobby, which is also an... More

    Avoid, not worth the money
    (1) The street noise from bars and cleaners prevent sleeping (2) The rooms are too hot for comfort and street noise even louder if you open the windows. Excuse is that AC cannot be installed due to...
    7 Sep 2014
    From US$243

    7 Drei Koenige Hotel

    3 stars
    5.0 / 5 1 reviews

    Bruchstrasse 35 Map

    Presenting numerous facilities and luxurious comfort, the Drei Koenige Lucerne offers intimate hospitality and friendly services for a supreme retreat. GeneralDuring your enviable stay at the... More

    From US$142

    8 Jail Hotel

    2 stars
    4.0 / 5 1 reviews

    Loewengraben 18 Map

    Switzerland's first prison property, the The Jail Hotel Lucerne is a fun and youth-orientated property that is highly recommended for the budget traveller who likes to try something different. ... More

    From US$281

    9 The Hotel

    5 stars
    4.6 / 5

    Sempacherstrasse 14 Map

    The Hotel is a boutique deluxe hotel close to Lucerne Concert Hall, Dying Lion of Lucerne Monument, Glacier Garden, Lake Luzern and Modern Art Museum. GeneralThe Hotel spacious conference and... More

    From US$184

    10 Hotel Seeburg

    3 stars
    4.5 / 5 8 reviews

    Seeburgstrasse 53-61 Map

    Step into a world where centuries converge and the spirit of the times welcomes at the Seeburg Hotel Lucerne where greatest attention is paid to even the smallest of details to make your holidays... More

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