Switzerland is that little corner of the world that will have you breathing in fresh mountain air, admiring the beautiful scenery, hearing the twinkling of cowbells and of course who can resist a little Swiss chocolate. So where in Switzerland will you find all this and more?Why Lucerne of course! The picturesque town of Lucerne sits upon Lake Lucerne, with the stunning Swiss Alps in the background. At it’s centre is the historic Old Town, which will have you stepping back to the medieval times.
What to see
Located on the right bank of the river Reuss is the Old Town of Lucerne. A truly gorgeous area with 15th century buildings that have painted artwork on their facades depicting medieval life. Old Town is a pedestrian only area and a lovely place to stroll around the cobblestone streets and wander in and out the shops and admire the old buildings. There is plenty of alfresco dining and restaurants in the area too, where one can sit and admire the beautiful view of the mountains in the background. Old Town gives you a glimpse of how life looked quite a few centuries ago and all of which are wonderfully maintained.
The Chapel bridge and water tower
The Chapel Bridge or Kapellbrucke was originally built in the 14th century and is the oldest covered bridge in Europe. Partially destroyed by fire in 1993, it was restored to an exact replica. The walk across the bridge is quite interesting with 17th century paintings representing the history of Lucerne. The water tower beside the bridge once served as prison and a torture chamber but is now used privately as a club room.
Old City Wall
The old city wall of Lucerne (Musegg Wall) is part of the historic 14th Century fortress surrounding Lucerne and is mostly intact. There are nine towers located along the wall with three open to the public. There is a walkway along the wall to each tower, where inside you can climb the stairs for a view over Lucerne. One of the towers houses the city’s oldest clock.
Blue balls festival
The Blue balls festival is an annual summer music and art festival held on the banks of Lake Lucerne. Running now for 20 years it has featured many different artists from Goldfrapp to BB King to Ed Sheeran to Joss Stone.
The lion Monument or the lion of Lucerne is a large stone sculpture carved into a cliff face in 1821. It depicts a dying lion as a moving tribute to the bravery of the Swiss during the French Revolution. It is located about 15 minutes walk from the centre of town and is quite imposing – measuring 10 metres in length and six metres in height.
There are various markets are held along the River Ruess. Every Tuesday and Saturday is the vegetable, fruit and flower market. Whilst on the first Saturday of the month is a craft market and the first Wednesday of the month is the monthly market selling various items and souvenirs.
An easy ferry ride away is Mount Pilatus, a mountain that overlooks the city of Lucerne. Take the world’s steepest cog railway to the summit for a thrilling ride up and on the way down you get to ride the gondolas which offer a panoramic view as you descend down the mountain. There is a restaurant at the top which will have you dining in the clouds, the scenery and view is just spectacular.
Lucerne makes for a wonderful day trip and is easily accessible by train from any of the major cities in Switzerland. Zurich is about a 40 minute drive away and an ideal base for exploring this region.