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Lucerne, Switzerland is a very unique and picturesque city. The backdrop of the Swiss Alps and its medieval architecture are breathtaking! It sits on the Reuss River at the end of Lake Lucerne and has a population of around 81,000.
I was actually a little surprised at that number. Lucerne isn’t a big city by any means, but I thought the population was higher. However, its smaller size definitely adds to its charm because even though it’s a tourist city, it never seemed crowded to me. My friend and I were even there during the summer! We had a great time exploring the city and these are the best things to do in Lucerne, Switzerland!
Lucerne Resources & Recommendations
- Allianz Global Travel Insurance– Make sure to protect your trip and YOU!
- Swiss Travel Pass– Provides convenient, unlimited travel in Switzerland by train, boat and bus
- Accommodations– Read Reviews | Book Rooms
- Skyscanner– Compare flight prices and get the best deals
- Lonely Planet Switzerland Travel Guide– the best destination guidebooks out there! You can also preorder the new 2018 version here.
The Kapellbrücke or Chapel Bridge crosses the Reuss River connecting Lucerne’s Old Town and New Town.
Constructed in the year 1332, it is the world’s oldest covered wooden bridge! It went through reconstruction after the fire in August of 1993.
Chapel Bridge provides access to the Water Tower. Notice it’s unique octagonal shape! Also built in the 14th century, the Water Tower stands 111 ft high (34 m), was previously a prison and torture chamber and is the most photographed monument in Switzerland!
The flowers that line the outside of the bridge are gorgeous! Flowers, as I would come to learn, became a stand-out throughout my exploration of Switzerland. They are simply beautiful.
This is probably my favorite photo of Chapel Bridge. I love the reflection of the flowers in the water, the swans, the mountains and the baroque-style Jesuit Church that is peaking through the bridge!
The Jesuit Church was the first large baroque church that was built in Switzerland north of the Alps. It represented the Counter Reformation and was dedicated to Francis Xavier.
Today it isn’t much associated with church life and is primarily a tourist attraction and a concert hall. I love the grandeur of the baroque style!
See the Kornmarkt or Town Hall clock tower. The ground floor was used for grain storage in the 1400s. Administration is no longer in this building, but you can still get married here since marriages have to take place in front of a town clerk according to Swiss law!
The Spreuer Bridge is the second wooden footbridge in Lucerne. It was first constructed in 1408 and then later rebuilt in 1568 after it was destroyed by a storm. It houses the famous Dance of Death Paintings . The bridge got its name from the word “Spreu” which is the chaff from wheat. It’s the only place where this chaff could be dumped into the river.
How awesome is this view from the Spreuer Bridge???
The Needle Dam maintains the level and manages the flow of the Reuss River by using thin needles of wood that aren’t watertight. Isn’t this a pretty view? Read here to see where you can eat while taking in this view!
See The Colors Of Lucerne
Be sure to walk around Lucerne and take in all its color and gorgeous architecture!
I personally loved all the painted buildings. They were beautiful and fascinating!
Talk about colorful, you can’t miss the very interesting Fritschi Fountain…
Or the Weinmarkt Fountain with its cute little doggy water fountain.
Being a dog owner, I loved this and so did this little guy!
Don’t miss walking along the banks of Lake Lucerne!
Climb The Musegg Wall
The purpose of The Musegg Wall was to protect Lucerne. It has 9 towers, 4 of which, are open to the public. Built in the 1300s, it is still mostly intact today!
This is one of those 4 that you can go in. It houses the oldest clock in Lucerne which dates back to 1535! It chimes the hour one minute before any other clock in the city!
The views of Lucerne from the wall are breathtaking! In this photo, you can see Lake Lucerne, the Water Tower, the Jesuit Church, the Reuss River, the Needle Dam and Spreuer Bridge!
Another beautiful view of Lucerne from a different point on the wall.
Views From The Gütsch
The Gütsch sits up on a cliff overlooking all of Lucerne!
Take the funicular, called the Gütschbahn, to the top!
Pretty amazing views, right? You can see ALL of Lucerne from here…everything you could see from the wall, but in this one you can see Chapel Bridge and the wall itself!
Day Trip To Mount Pilatus
Going to the top of Mount Pilatus is an excursion you definitely don’t want to miss! There are many different ways to get there or you can take them all which is what we did, including the world’s steepest cogwheel train!
It makes a great day trip from Lucerne! See how in my complete Visitor’s Guide to Mount Pilatus!
Make sure you catch a Lucerne sunset…
And the Schweizerhof Hotel’s colorful windows!
Lucerne is easily one of the prettiest places I have ever been. There aren’t many places that offer you alpine peaks, a lake, medieval architecture, and this much color!
If you just can’t get enough of this beautiful city, check out these additional activities in Lucerne!
I hope this inspires you to visit Lucerne because you will love it!! If you have been, what was your favorite part?
‘Til next time…