Lucerne can be found in Central Switzerland and boasts of being one of the most historic cities in this country which holds so much history. Lucerne which is the most populous town in Central Switzerland is mainly inhabited by German-speaking natives. Although Lucerne is home to a multitude of modern fixtures and architecture, a traditional and historic touch can still be found lingering around somewhat. A number of landmarks which are revered by natives consist some of the first places to check out in Lucerne. Similarly, proximity to water makes a boat tour just one activity that you should definitely embark on.
What to Do in Lucerne in One Day
Thanks to the wealth of history and beauty that Lucerne holds, exploring the entire town in a day can be literally impossible. However, if you are wondering at what to do in Lucerne, here is a number of things you can especially when you are spending just one day in Lucerne.
Walk Across the Chapel Bridge
The Chapel Bridge is a wooden footbridge which can be found crossing the Reuss River. It got its name from the St. Peter’s Chapel which is just close-by and is well known for being a magnificent piece of architecture thanks to its construction and covering style. Chapel bridge dates back to 1322 and is regarded as the world’s oldest bridge. You can take a walk on this bridge at any time – either in the morning or later in the evening because it is equally gorgeous at both times. You can also find some artworks in triangular frames dating back to the 17th century attached to the bridge.
Also, cross the Spreuer Bridge
The Spreuer Bridge is located just downstream of the Chapel Bridge and is shorter in length and attracts a lesser number of visitors than its counterpart. It was constructed in 1408 and boasts of a number of paintings as well. These paintings were done by Caspar Meglinger better the years 1625 and 1635 and the meaning they portray can be easily deduced; they serve as a reminder that death is ubiquitous. Another attention-catching feature is the chapel that was incorporated into this bridge which holds figures and motifs from the ecclesiastical year’s cycle.
Visit the Church of St. Leodegar
The Church of St. Leodegar is also known as the Hofkirche and is regarded as the most valuable of church buildings still left from the Renaissance period. It is presently the parish church of Lucerne and has a very exciting and eventful backstory.
This church was once destroyed by fire and the only remains were the two towers standing today alongside their elements of Roman architecture. Visiting this kind of historic site is one that you do not want to miss out on.
Wander Around the Old Town Squares
Old Town is specifically designed for walking which can be clearly seen from the absence of cars. These squares are very picturesque and hold a wealth of cultural and architectural content. Some of these squares include:
Weinmarkt was a fish market up until the middle of the 16th century until the building where sales of bread, leather and meat were sold was then demolished; this led to the construction of this square. The fountain in this square is regarded as one of the city’s most beautiful sights.
There is a legend that a certain carnival character “Brother Fritschi”is buried in Kapellplatz alongside its colorful Fritschi Fountain. The columns of this fountain are a depiction of the Fritschi family even. All around, you can find carnival masks that date back from the 19th century along with a standard-bearer. You shouldn’t miss out on visiting this square.
For an amazing tour experience of this city, you should embark on this 2-hour stroll of the city to discover other sites including the Museggmauer with its 9 towers, the modern Culture, and Congress Centre, historical building façades and beautiful squares all found in this old town. On your leisurely stroll/tour, check out Lucerne’s amazing sites and learn all about their histories as well.
Also, you can go on an hour-long boat tour of the three tour hours to take in the amazing sight of Lucerne’s other bridges, streets, towers and the beautiful sprawl of intricate architectural designs that make up Lucerne.
Admire the Lion Monument
The Lion Monument is a sculpture of a mighty lion dying from a spear wound which has a shield with the mark of French monarchy. It was carved into the wall of a former sandstone quarry in 1820 and has an inscription above it stating HELVETIORUM FIDEI AC VIRTUTI, which is Latin for To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss, followed by a list that holds the names of deceased officers. This sculpture is one to behold as it brings up nostalgic imaginations and it is held in high regard by the people of Lucerne.
Explore the Musegg Wall and its Nine towers
This historic structure once served to portray power, in other words, it was constructed to make a power statement. The Musegg Wall and its Nine towers, all with unique features can be spotted from very far away and they are indeed quite a sight. Forming a crown are the Old Town, you would get to hear many-a-tale about the construction and history that it holds.
Take a Boat Trip Around Lake Lucerne
The scenery around Lake Lucerne can be described using only very few adjectives, one of which is “fascinating”. With fresh air swirling all around you and historic sites on the shore surrounding you, take your time to relax and bask in this sensation. You can sail to a lot of places including the famous mountains while experiencing the culinary delights and beautiful music that Lucerne has to offer. Go on a classic boat trip – a 2-Hour Gourmet Lunch Cruise that serves a 3-course meal made from fresh produce.
Also, a scenic 1-hour cruise aboard a luxury yacht is yet another option to explore. This yacht trip continues on to Meggenhorn Castle when you get to take in views of hilly landscapes, luxurious villas, and the deep blue lake.
Lucerne Swiss Museum of Transport
The Lucerne Swiss Museum of Transport holds records of the progressive advancement of transport including air, rail, road, water, and space. The museum is home to a number of simulators, the exhibits alongside multimedia displays. All of these divided into different sections guarantee an exciting time for both children and adults.
Descend the World’s Steepest Cogwheel Railway
The top of Mount Pilatus is about 2,132 meters above sea level offers a widespread view of the mountains and lakes. Upon arriving at the top via aerial Dragon Ride cable car, enjoy this panoramic view and grab a sumptuous lunch at one of the restaurants at the top. Afterward, descend the mountain on the cogwheel railway which is the steepest in the world which guarantees that it would be the most thrilling ride of your life.
Swiss Chocolate Adventure
The Swiss Chocolate Adventure is definitely one that you shouldn’t miss. Join a traveling cart and hear all about Swiss chocolate production including how they are produced, packaged and transported. Last but certainly not least, you get a free sample of Swiss chocolate to enjoy.
Day Trips from Lucerne
From Lucerne, embark on a coach trip to the breathtakingly beautiful mountains of the Bernese Oberland. With beautiful countryside for your viewing pleasure, journey on to Interlaken after which the village of Grindelwald calls. Grindelwald is more than 1000 meters above sea level, therefore offering a stunning view of the surrounding area. In your leisure time, ride the cable car to the Grindelwald First terrace, after which you should definitely soak in the beauty around while taking a walk or riding a trottibike.
A train ride back to Interlaken is then in order and you can spend the afternoon lazing around. Check out the shops or go by cable car to the Harder Kulm viewpoint where you can see the landscape spread out. From here, you can then embark on your return journey to Lucerne.
Swiss Mountain Pass: Full-Day Tour from Zurich/Lucerne
From Lucerne or Zurich, board a luxury mini van directly to the Alps. Go through the Brünigpass to get to the Bern uplands, while stopping to visit the massive Aare Gorge. This mind-blowing chasm would be passed on solid paths which are pretty safe before you take a break for lunch.
Continue on your journey after lunch until you get to the wild upscapes of the Grimselpass where a stunning view of the Totensee awaits. Next to be visited is the Rhone Glacier which stands at a height of 2300m, however, it would require going through the 100m long blue ice tunnel that leads to the ice chamber.
After catching your breath, go on to the Furkapass where the impressive Gotthardmassiv and the valley of Urserental await. From Realp to Andermatt and over the Schöllenenschlucht gorge on the legendary Devil’s Bridge is where this tour leads. Afterward, go past Göschenen, at the foot of the Gotthard Pass, before reaching Zürich. A Zurich to Lucerne train can get you back to Lucerne easily.
Visitor Card Lucerne
The visitor card gives you free access to trains and buses all within zone 10 of the city network. Similarly, you can get discounts for using other facilities and tourist sites as well provided they are within the Lucerne-Lake Lucerne Region. Your hotel would be in charge of providing you with all the necessary links and documents you need.
Where to Stay in Lucerne
There are a number of accommodation options to explore during your stay in Lucerne, however, here are some hotel options for you.
Ambassador Luzern is found very close to the Old Town, Lake Lucerne, and Lion Monument. Rooms have their own mini-bar and free WiFi and the restaurant serves tasty delicacies and exquisite wines. Parking space and a golf course within 3km are some of the other perks of this hotel. Pets are allowed as well.
Boutique Hotel Weisses Kreuz – Adult only Hotel
Boutique Hotel Weisses Kreuz is found standing close to the Reuss River in Old Town. It is only a 5-minute walk from the train station and a 2-minute walk from the Chapel Bridge. Free WiFi alongside a minibar, free Nespresso coffee machine, high-quality parquet floors, and a flat-screen TV with 65 international satellite channels are some of the perks of this hotel. Parking space is available as well.
Cascada Boutique Hotel
Cascada Boutique-Hotel can be found centrally sites just by the Lucerne Train Station and is only a few minutes from the old town and lake Lucerne by hiking. All rooms in this hotel have high-speed free WiFi and air conditioning facilities. Every room has a wall painting of a Swiss waterfall and rooms on the upper floors offer an amazing view of the Swiss mountains. The restaurant offers various delicacies and some facilities available include parking space, sauna, spa and fitness center among others.
Hotel Luzernerhof can be found in Old Town and is located only 100m from Lake Lucerne, the distance between this hotel and Lion Monument as well as Chapel Bridge is only a 5-minute walk. Each room consists of a seating area, flat-screen cable TV, and wooden floors. Since the rooms are non-smoking rooms, there is a balcony on each floor where guests can smoke. Similarly, the hotel has a restaurant which serves French cuisine. Hotel Luzernerhof also as free WiFi and parking space.
Ibis Styles Luzern
Ibis Styles Luzern is located in the historic city center and offers beautiful rooms as well as a bar and a restaurant. Free WiFi and a restaurant that serves both local and internationally made gourmet dishes are at your disposal as well. Ibis Styles Luzern is only a 5-minute walk away from Lake Lucerne and about a kilometer from the train station. Parking space is available as well.
If ever you are in Lucerne, things to do would no longer be an issue since this is a comprehensive compilation of most of the highlights of Lucerne. A tour of these locations is one that you definitely want to embark on especially if you are spending only a single day on your tour.