5 fabulous things to see in Lucerne, Switzerland

Located in the geographic center of Switzerland, Lucerne is a crown jewel nestled along the banks and deep blue waters of Lake Lucerne. Surrounded by the majestic Alps and the Swiss Plateau, it is the perfect place to enjoy some of the best that this country has to offer. Here are the top things to see and do in this beautiful city:

1. The Swiss Museum of Transport

Most people visiting Switzerland would never guess that the number one paid attraction is the Swiss Museum of Transport. Located an easy walk or bus ride from the city center, the first thing that you see is the amazing façade crammed full of automobile wheels by the hundreds. The museum showcases the history of transportation with planes, trains, locomotives and autos from different eras. There are more than 3,000 objects for viewing, many of which have interactive exhibits.

One of the buildings houses racing vehicles in a gigantic floor to ceiling display. Visitors can enter the one they wish to see into a display panel and a robotic system will grab the car and bring it right down to eye level for closer examination.

2. Chapel Bridge

This is one of the most visited sites in the country and is also the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. Originally, the Chapel Bridge was constructed as part of the city’s defense system. Today, it is a beautiful reminder of a history long since passed and one of the most photographed owing to the medieval paintings still visible under the eaves.

Chapel Bridge

Located adjacent to the bridge is the old wasserturm or water tower. This monument has served as a prison, watchtower, torture chamber and treasury building. Part of the original city wall, the brick building is one of the most important historic landmarks in Lucerne.

3. Stone lion monument

Carved out of the natural rock face, the Lion of Lucerne, as it is sometimes known attracts thousands of visitors each year. This included Mark Twain who called it the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world. Looking at the tragic lion you can feel the pain infused into this piece of art that was created to honor the heroic deaths of Swiss guardsman during the French Revolution. The simple inscription above the lion states: “To the fidelity and virtue of the Swiss.”

4. Building facades

Walking along the cobblestone streets you will want to bring your camera as many of the hotels and restaurants are festooned with colorful and ornate murals. Most of these tell stories about events or celebrations of the city and date from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Colorful facade in Lucerne

5. The Golden Round Trip

The Golden Round Trip should be on your must-do list if you visit Lucerne. Your one purchase price at the boat dock starts your journey which begins with a ferry ride across Lake Lucerne to the town of Alpnachstad.

From there you will take an unforgettable ride to the top of Mt. Pilatus on the world’s steepest cogwheel railway. As the landscape shrinks below you, above will see majestic cliffs, local wildlife and an occasional colorful paraglider gently riding the winds towards the valley below.

Looking out from aeriel tramway on Mt Pilatus

Once at the summit, known as Pilatus Kulm, you can enjoy a meal or even spend the night at their mountaintop hotel with a great view of the moon and stars, on a clear night.

Your third part of the Golden Round Trip has you boarding an aerial gondola as you silently descend upon the spine of the mountains to the town of Kriens where a short bus ride brings you back to Lucerne.

The Swiss do a lot of things right, including knowing how to enchant visitors with their natural and man-made attractions. Your first visit to Lucerne will most certainly not be your last as there are many more local treasures to behold.

Comments (2)

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  1. A quality city life, cultural and historical heritages, splendid architectures and mind blowing sceneries, Lucerne has it all. Lucerne surely one of the top places to visit in beautiful Switzerland. And The Swiss Museum of Transport is surely the number one attraction…. Lucerne is the place to have the most memorable train ride in life….

  2. Maaike says:

    There are only a few places in the world that I’ve a soft spot for and Lucerne is one of them. Often as as kid, I would go camping with my parents at a farmer’s camping about 15 minutes from Lucerne. We would either spend a few weeks of our summer holiday there or we stayed a few nights on our way to Italy, Slovenia or Croatia. Lucerne is such a great city with so much to do and the surrounding area is stunning.

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