Lucerne Travel Guide

With towering mountains on one side and Lake Lucerne on the other, this medieval city is known for its scenic location and historic charm.

Flanked by Mounts Rigi and Titlis, the small city of Lucerne is located on the shores of Lake Lucerne. It offers water recreation, hiking and mountain sports to visitors throughout the year. Because of its temperate climate, the region is nicknamed “Lucerne Riviera.”

The central Swiss city is primarily German-speaking. Its roots trace back to the 12th century. Stroll down the cobblestone streets to see some of the city’s history in its centuries-old architecture. With its compact nature, Lucerne is easy to explore on foot but you can also admire the city from the water with a ride on a ferry or rented paddleboat.

Old Town has narrow alleys, quaint storefronts and outdoor cafés. It’s also home to one of Switzerland’s most famous attractions, the 14th-century Chapel Bridge across the Reuss River. Chapel Bridge is the oldest covered bridge in Europe and features a variety of historic paintings for visitors to admire as they stroll its length. Be sure to investigate the iconic Water Tower, which once served as a prison and torture chamber. Two-thirds of Chapel Bridge was destroyed by a fire in 1993 and has since been carefully restored.

The Lion Monument is another Lucerne highlight. Designed by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, the “Lion of Lucerne” was erected to commemorate 600 Swiss soldiers who were killed during the French Revolution. Described by Mark Twain as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world,” the massive monument was carved into the sandstone face of a former quarry.

The Swiss Museum of Transport is beloved by visitors of all ages for its interactive exhibits. In addition to a vast collection depicting the past, present and future of transportation, the museum also features a planetarium, an IMAX theater and a wing with works by local artist, Hans Erni.

Lucerne has access to most major Swiss cities via the SBB Railway. The nearest international airport is in Zurich, which is an hour from Lucerne by rail and about 45 minutes by car.

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