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Welcome to Lucerne, Switzerland

Introduction

Lucerne (Luzern) is one of Switzerland's most charming medieval cities, nestled amidst snow-capped mountains, surrounded by a beautiful lake and embellished by the clear mountain waters of the River Reuss. Lucerne is the gateway to Central Switzerland with all its marvelous alpine scenery.

Travel to Lucerne

Train services to and from other Swiss and European cities leave from and arrive at the main train station, located in the city centre. Lucerne is about one hour from Zurich.

Lucerne Transport

Walking is the best way to explore the city, the old town, the lake promenade and all nearby tourist attractions.

Bicycles are available for rent at the central railway station. The old town of Lucerne is traffic free and perfect for bicycles. Bike lanes are present on most secondary streets, and Lucerne drivers are generally aware of and polite towards bicyclists.

Lucerne Attractions

Chapel Bridge crosses the River Ruess and was constructed in first half of the 14th century as a part of the city's fortifications and named after St. Peter's Chapel, which is located nearby. The paintings were added in the 17th century and illustrate scenes of Swiss and local history, including the biographies of the city's patron saints, St. Leodegar and St. Maurice. Unfortunately some of the bridge burned down in August 1993 but was rebuilt within a few months.

Jesuit Church located near the Chapel Bridge on the River Reuss was the first large sacral Baroque church in Switzerland constructed in 1666 by Father Christoph Vogler for the Jesuits.

Lucerne Lion Monument Lucerne Chapel Bridge

Lion Monument is a dramatic and famous stone sculpture of a dying lion in honour of the heroic deaths of the Swiss Guard of Louis XVI at the Tuileries in 1792. Mark Twain described the Lion of Lucerne as the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world. The monument is walking distance from the center of town.

Glacier Garden - No visitor to Lucerne should miss a visit to the Glacier Garden, which was discovered in 1872 next to the Lion Monument. Here, you will encounter lost worlds; there are few places on earth that portray the history of our planet so clearly. The visitor embarks on a voyage of discovery from Lucerne as a subtropical palm beach that existed 20 million years ago to the glaciers of the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago. Lucerne was once under a glacier 1000m thick. Glacier Garden also features some exclusive relief maps of the Alps and a model of the city of Lucerne dating from 1792. This is also a lovely location to relax after exploring the Old Town - and to enjoy the gardens with their alpine plants and sun terrace. As a special treat, you can round off your visit by exploring the historical labyrinth of mirrors. You won't get lost, but will certainly come out with a smile on your face.

Lake Lucerne (434 m above sea level) is fascinating due to its picturesque landscape and historical sites. 20 boats - 5 of which are nostalgic paddle-steamers - enable you to take round trips and offer endless possibilities for excursions which can also be combined with mountain railways along the lake. A scenic boat ride across Lake Lucerne, the Lake of the Four Cantons, is a relaxing way to enjoy the morning or afternoon.

The Swiss Transport Museum is the most diverse museum for transportation and communication in Europe. More than 3,000 items are exhibited in a space as large as 40,000 square meters. The planetarium, which is based on digital technology, takes visitors on a trip through the vastness of the universe. In the "Gotthard Tunnel", you can travel into the mountain and experience the building of the tunnel during 1875. The Imax Film Theater guarantees to bring about strong emotions and offer an incomparable film experience. It is the only one of its kind in Switzerland.

Musegg Wall Lucerne Walls is part of the rampart walls built in 1386 to protect the city. The wall is still almost entirely intact. Three towers are open to the public: Schirmer, Zyt and Mnnli. The oldest city clock, built by Hans Luter in 1535, is in the Zyt tower. This clock is allowed to chime every hour one minute before all the other city clocks. The Musegg walk is walking distance from the center of town and offers spectacular views over Lucerne and the River Reuss.

Water Spikes was built in 1859-60, replacing the Reuss steps that channelled the water over the city mills. The water spikes are pieces of timber manually lowered into or withdrawn from the water to partially dam the river to regulate the water level of Lake Lucerne. The barrier is located a few minutes walk upstream from the Chapel Bridge. This 19th century technology is a unique sight in todays world.

Lucerne Mountains

Mount Pilatus is one of the highlights of Central Switzerland at 2132 m (7000 ft) above sea level. Travel on the steepest cogwheel train in the world (ascent 48%) from Alpnachstad or the spectacular aerial tramway and modern panoramic gondolas from Kriens to the mountain top hotel and see for yourself the breathtaking panorama of mountain peaks. Of course you can walk to the top on foot, which takes at least 4 hours from Kriens. A pleasant alternative is to walk down to Kriens from the bottom of the middle cable-car section. Thrill seekers can choose to ride Switzerland's longest toboggan run (4500 feet or 1.4km) before boarding the aerial cable car to Mt. Pilatus.

Mt Pilatus Lucerne Switzerland Mt Titlis Lucerne Switzerland

Mount Titlis is the highest point in Central Switzerland. From the mountain resort town of Engelberg, visitors experience a ride in the Rotair, the first revolving aerial cable car in the world, and enjoy a breathtaking 360 panoramic view from the glacier paradise at 3020 m (10,000 feet above sea level). Visitors can reach Engelberg from Lucerne by train in only one hour (35 km). A 45-minute cable car ride takes you up to a high alpine paradise with a spectacular view of glacier crevasses. Choose to dine at a choice of several restaurants, relax on the sun terrace enjoying the magnificent Alpine scenery or visit the Ice Grotto. Take the IceFlyer to the FunLift for close-up crevass views or hit the slopes for some sledging.

Mount Rigi, at 1800 m above sea level, was the queen of the mountains having been the famous mountain in Central Switzerland for over 100 years, where Europe's first cogwheel train was built. Enjoy a fantastic view of the Alps, which includes 13 lakes and extends as far as Germany and France. The excursion to Rigi Kulm is a combination of a cogwheel train ride, an aerial cable-car ride and a boat trip on Lake Lucerne.

Stanserhorn has a panoramic view from the first and only revolving restaurant of Central Switzerland at 1900 m above sea level. The ascent combines an old-timer funicular (built in 1893) with a modern aerial cable car which takes you up to this mountain top with its panorama of over 100 km of the alpine range, 10 Swiss lakes and an alpine-flower reserve. The point of departure is Stans, just 20 minutes by train from Lucerne.

Brgenstock at 830 m above sea level, has a panoramic view with a landscape that revitalizes and invigorates. Escape the world of everyday cares to this unique oasis, where nature and tranquillity are one - a sophisticated haven of rest and relaxation, and of pleasure and hospitality. The Brgenstock Waldhotel is open all year round.

Klewenalp - A modern cable car will take you up to Klewenalp at 1620 m above sea level; with a sunny terrace overlooking Lake Lucerne, numerous hiking trails and a wildlife paradise. Take a boat from Lucerne to Beckenried, where you will find the valley station of the aerial cable car.

Stoos-Fronalpstock -The mountain village Stoos (1300 meters above sea level) in the middle of the Swiss Alps is reached by one of the world's steepest panorama funicular railroads or a cable car. Above Stoos rises the powerful Fronalpstock. Ascend it with a chair lift, a cable car or by hiking on beautiful trails. The view at the new summit restaurant (at 1922 m) is breathtaking and opens up a panorama on the Ruetli and the heart of Switzerland. The area Morschach-Stoos offers a lot of in- & outdoor activities and is reachable in 30 min from Luzern and in one hour from Zurich.

Eiger and Jungfrau Panorama Tour has the best Alpine views in Switzerland. From Interlaken travel to Lauterbrunnen and board the Wengernalp rack railway for a 45-minute trip through idyllic Alpine meadows and forests to the little village of Wengen, and then further on up to Kleine Scheidegg (6,762 feet, 2,061 meters). There are magnificent panoramic vistas of the Eiger, Monch and Jungrau mountains. The imposing Eiger North Face is an incredible sight. Enjoy lunch, relax or do some hiking on the well-signed hiking trails for all levels of competence. The trip back down to the valley follows the north-west slopes of the Eiger to the famous resort of Grindelwald.

Jungfraujoch Mountain is an unforgettable Alpine tour to the majestic world of the Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe, at 11,333 feet (3,454 meters). The views are simply magnificent in this incredible world of eternal snow and ice, and the cogwheel train railway is a fascinating way to get around the mountains. Travel by coach to the magnificent mountain world of the Bernese Oberland. In Lauterbrunnen, board the cogwheel train for a unique mountain train trip via Kleine Scheidegg at the foot of the famous Eiger North Face to Jungfraujoch - Europe's highest railway station. Visit the Ice Palace and experience the breathtaking panoramic view from the Sphinx Observation Terrace overlooking the Aletsch Glacier (Europe's longest glacier) and see the snow-capped peaks of neighbouring countries.

Interlaken and Grindelwald Tour gives visitors the opportunity to explore some of Switzerland's most magnificent Alpine regions on a day trip from Lucerne to Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland. Along the way you'll visit the lovely town of Interlaken and it is highly recommended to take the cable car ride (operates late May to late October only) to the sunny terrace of Mt. First at 7,113 feet (2,168 meters) for a breathtaking panorama of the Bernese Alps. After free time to spend at your leisure in Interlaken, journey to the well-known holiday resort of Grindelwald, nicknamed the "Glacier Village".

Lucerne Switzerland Lucerne Swiss Horns

Great Alpine Railway Journeys

The Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt is 8 hours travel in the Swiss Alps.

The Bernina Express from Chur to Tirano is the highest mountain crossing in the Swiss Alps with beautiful alpine scenery.

The Jungfraujoch Railway from Interlaken (560 meters) to the Jungfraujoch station (3450 meters) takes two hours and is one of the most impressive journey in the Alps.

The Gornergrat Railway departures from Zermatt to the top of the Gornergrat at 3090 meters(10,000ft).

Lucerne Nightlife and Entertainment

Grand Casino Lucerne lies on Lucerne's famous lakeside promenade. The classical building with its impressive rooms is a playground for events and entertainment. At the Casino Event Bar, performances of all kinds can be found: comedy, magic and music.

Lucerne Folklore TourAfter a short orientation tour of the city of Lucerne you will visit a typical Old Town restaurant where traditional Swiss dishes will be served. You will start with a cheese Fondue, followed by a hearty Bratwurst, which is a veal sausage, and Roesti-potatoes. The meal is finished with a delicious dessert. During lunch or dinner visitors will be entertained with yodelling, singing, Alphorn-blowing and flag-throwing - Swiss Folklore at its best. The meal and entertainment lasts about two hours.

Lucerne Accommodation

There are many places to stay in Lucerne, in all price ranges. There is also many hotels to stay at in the surrounding areas such as Engelberg and Interlaken which are only one hour away.

Lucerne Dining

There are many restaurants in the center of Lucerne catering to high number of visitors. The casino on Lucerne's famous lakeside promenade has several restaurants and cafes.

Movenpick Restaurant is always popular with visitors serving local and international dishes with very good service.

Lucerne Shopping

Switzerland is famous watches, chocolate, cheese, and Swiss Army knives.

Watches - Switzerland is the watch-making capital of the world. The French-speaking regions of Switzerland are associated with famous watchmakers like Rolex and Omega. The Bucherer store in the center of town sells all the top watch brands such as Rolex.

Chocolate - Switzerland is famous for its chocolate such as Lindt and Nestl.

Cheese - The most well-known cheeses are Gruyre and Emmentaler. The Emmentaler cheese has holes through it caused by bacteria excreting carbon dioxide bubbles in the cheese-making process.

Swiss Army knives - There are two brands Victorinox and Wenger that are available in many stores across Switzerland.

Language

English is spoken by people in the tourism business. Many staff at hotels, shops, restaurants and museums will speak English. English is spoken less outside of tourist areas and in smaller cities and towns. The locals appreciate visitors who attempt to learn basic German.