Lucerne or Luzern is located in central Switzerland and is the starting point of many excursions in the region. The city became famous in the 19th century and has been the subject of awe of Mark Twain and the likes. Today, this city welcomes you as it had welcomed the first settlers, to revel in its grace.
The Top 10 Attractions in Lucerne:
10. Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern
Lucerne’s Culture and Congress Centre (KKL) is iconic and has been host to all kinds of concerts from classical, pop to rock and blues. Visit in the summer during the Blue Balls Festival and the Lucerne Festival, when it gets busy and visitors from across the world throng the hall. However, concerts are available to go to almost everyday.
Not as famous as the Chapel Bridge, this structure is located downriver from it. Built in 1407, the darker and smaller bridge’s original still stands unlike its famous sister’s. According to lore, medieval villagers would throw Spreu or chaff from wheat into the river from this bridge, hence its name. The roof panels also have 56 17th century paintings by Caspar Meglinger’s called The Dance of Death, showing the effects of the bubonic plague on society.
6004 Lucerne, Switzerland
8. Richard Wagner Museum
This museum dedicated to the renowned composer is located in his former home in Tribschen on Lake Lucerne’s southern shore. It houses some of Wagner’s musical collections like a rare portable organ and rare photos, paintings, letters and valuable scores. The property is under historical monument protection and its origins go back to the 15th century.
7. Mount Rigi
This towering peak gives impressive views of mountains including Mt Titlis and the Jungfrau giants. To the north and west, one can see the localities of Arth-Goldau and Zugersee and a bit of Lake Lucerne. To reach the summit, one can take two railways from Arth-Goldau or Vitznau of which the latter offers a cable car ride down to Weggis. Swiss Pass holders can travel free here. This peak attracts hikers in particular to a scenic 17.5km trek around the peak; the hike usually takes 4 hours or more. The Rigi Kulm Hotel is the only big building at the summit and the views from there are spectacular; other resorts are scattered on the mountainside. You can also relax at Mineralbad & Spa Rigi Kaltbad on your way down. The best time to go would be during sunrises and sunset when the views are breathtaking.
6. Verkerhrshaus and the Planetarium
Verkehrshaus or the Swiss Museum of Transportation is perhaps the country’s most famous museum. Opened in 1959, the museum is interactive, documenting the country’s history of mobility and communication through theme parks interactive stations, exhibitions and films. The collection has more than 3,000 objects over 20,000 sq. meters and shows development of rail, water, road, air and space travel. The museum also features a planetarium, a chocolate themed ride and Switzerland’s biggest 3D cinema.
5. Museum Sammlung Rosengart
The city’s most famous cultural attraction is housed in a neoclassical building. It showcases the great collection of Swiss art dealer and Pablo Picasso’s dear friend Angela Rosengart. The collection also features Impressionist and Classic Modernist artists including Renoir, Klee, Cézanne, Monet, Chagall, Kandinsky, Miró, Matisse and Modigliani. But the star of the show is the collection of 200 photos by photographer David Douglas Duncan that portray Picasso’s last 17 years.
4. Chapel Bridge or Kapellbrücke
The Chapel Bridge is to Lucerne what Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Named after the St. Peter’s Chapel, which is nearby, it was a part of the city’s fortifications. The creaky bridge spans the Reuss River in the Old Town area of the city. Originally built in the 14th century, it was almost destroyed in a fire in 1993. The octagonal water tower of the bridge is still its original but the gabled roof is modern. While you are crossing the bridge, you will notice 17th century paintings in the triangular rood panels by artist Heinrich Wägmann depicting Swiss history and mythology.
Kapellbrücke, 6002 Luzern, Switzerland
3. Lion Monument
The Löwendenkmal or the Lion Monument of Lucerne was carved out of natural rock as a remembrance of Swiss soldiers who died defending King Louis XVI at the Tuileries in 1792 during the French Revolution. It was hewn by Lukas Ahorn in 1820 and is 10 meters long. The stance of the wounded, sad lion is so moving that Mark Twain himself has described it as the ‘saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world’.
2. Mount Pilatus
Mount Pilatus stands tall at 2132 meters on Lucerne’s southwest and can be accessed by the world’s steepest cog railway. The mountain became famous in the 19th century when Swiss composer Richard Wagner wrote a lyric about it; later Queen Victoria came up on horseback. It is said that the peak is named after Roman senator of biblical times, Pontius Pilate, whose corpse was thrown in a lake on the peak’s summit and his ghost haunts people to this day. However, it is more likely that the name is derived from the Latin word pileatus or ‘cloud covered’ since clouds cover the mountain frequently. It is an unforgettable day excursion. You can go up by the cog railway and descend by cable car while taking in the local Swiss landscape. There are plenty of restaurants there too.
1. Lake Lucerne
Locally known as Vierwaldstättersee, Lake Lucerne is a breathtaking water body surrounded by majestic peaks like Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Rigi and Stanserhorn. Most popular activities are the boat cruises on the lake especially the historic paddle wheel steamers. The boat trip can also be combined with a walk, like as the "Weg der Schweiz" or Swiss Path, a walk on Switzerland’s history. There are cycling and skating paths and bathing and rest areas as well as resorts are along the shores. Also, the views of the lake are best appreciated from any of the mountains mentioned. You can see the shimmering blue cobalt waters surrounded by the high peaks. The far eastern side of the lake is home to the Rütli Meadow where the country was believed to have been born.