Beautiful Lake Lucerne sitting in the midst of the Alps is a short and picturesque train ride from Zurich airport. The train goes through the lush green cute countryside of Switzerland, the land of huge gardens and flowers everywhere amidst the breathtaking Swiss alps backdrop. Fell in love with this place from the train ride with all the cute country cottages overlooking the mountains with huge gardens of sunflowers and all kinds of color to the beautiful lake and charming town of Lucerne to the peaks of Mt Rigi! Switzerland and her beautiful mountains is one of the queen gems of Europe and to this day is one of my favorite spots. Hiking the Swiss Alps has always been a life dream and there are no shortage of peaks to climb from Lake Lucerne as a base camp. This charming cobble stone and medieval architecture town really does look like a fairytale setting.
How to get there
The fastest and cheapest way to get to Lucerne city from the Zurich airport is to take the train. The Swiss travel centre, called SBB, is located below the Airport Centre building in the Check-in 3 area. There is only one train that will take you from Zurich airport to Lucerne directly, and no changing trains. The train is in that side of the airport. The train from the airport to Lucerne is the IR70 and it runs from 4:55am to 11:35pm. Taking the taxi from the airport to the city of Lucerne takes around 45 minutes, and will cost around 240€. The train ride to Lucerne is 1 hour and 2 minutes and costs 12.50€ for a regular one way ticket. Tickets can be bought at ticket machines in Arrival 1 and 2, at the SBB ticket counters (6:15am to 10:30pm), at the Service Center, or on your phone. Buy tickets on the railway site here.
Things to Do
This is a historical landmark from the 1300s, a wooden bridge with grand stone. It is a water tower & has a roof decorated with 17th-century art. This bridge crosses the Reuss river from Rozengart Platz to Luzern theater and the old Jesuit church. This is one of two main covered historic bridges crossing the river in the city connecting the two halves over the river, the other being the spreuer bridge. This bridge has less older beauitful paintings on the inside of the ceiling when compared with the Spreuer Bridge. This one still has amazing views of the city and beautiful flowers hanging all along the bridge.
Hike Mt. Rigi
Mt. Rigi is a nearby Alp Peak 35 minutes driving and a 20 minute boat ride across the lake. It is a mountain offering scenic views of the surrounding lakes, killer hiking, skiing & sledding depending on the season. There are beautiful wildflowers all around in bloom in the summer and spring. Cows with their bells clanging roam the hills as the soundtrack to your hiking.
Explore Old Town
Old Town of downtown Lucerne is the most charming architecture and cobblestone passageways. The little shops lined up and old churches with city towers and lookout points above are magical. This is one of my favorite small cities in Europe to explore. There were many tea houses, coffee shops and great restaurants to stop and enjoy the river and city view. There were markets and many boutiques to shop in the city.
This is a beautiful historic iron work bridge that is the best overlook of Chapel Bridge on the water. This is another pedestrian footbridge across the Reuss river connecting the two halves of the city. This bridge has the best views to get a picture of the Chapel bridge and city.
Hofkirche St. Leodegar
See this gorgeous Catholic cathedral open to the pubic on a raised hill of the city with great views of the town and lake below.
Sail on Lake Lucerne/Take a boat tour
If you don’t have time on your trip or are not the hiking or outdoors type the boat rides you can do for cheap on the lake are still a gorgeous way to get out on the water and see the mountain peaks from the lake with epic views. The boat ferry across the lake is also a great way to do day trips to other parts of the lake in small towns to visit in other areas. The average water ferry cost is 3CHF per 2 kilometers. Their timetable and tickets are here. Buy your boat ticket with your mountain cog-way tour together if you are hiking the alps and you will save money!
Take a walk on Spreuer Bridge
This is a 15th-century, covered pedestrian bridge featuring a series of paintings with a death motif. This is the other beautiful historic pedestrian bridge crossing the Reuss river in the city. There are really beautiful renaissance paintings inside the wooden eves on the ceiling of the bridge. This is the less popular bridge compared with the Chapel Bridge but is just as beautiful and less crowded.
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L u c e r n e – f e a t u r e •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 📍 Jesuitenkirche 👤 Photo by @zimmermannchrisphotography •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• #⃣ Tag #visitlucerne to be featured •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 👥 Admin @marcojost •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• #switzerland #luzern #lucerne #suisse #wanderlust #beautiful_places #mylucerne #beautifuldestinations #visitswitzerland #swissgrandtour #swissalps #experience #vierwaldstättersee #greatesttravels #bestvacations #switzerland_vacations #instatravel #thebestofswitzerland #blickheimat #travelphotooftheday
The old Jesuit church or Jesuitenkirche, is a large 17th-century church with baroque architecture, murals on its ceiling & a large organ. This is a beautiful historical site on the Reuss river near the Rathaussteg iron pedestrian bridge. This is another church open to the public.
Visit Rathaus Brauerei for a drink & local food
This is a Historic, stone-walled restaurant with a covered terrace for a menu of Swiss food & local beers. They have their own brewery inside of the restaurant and it faces Chapel Bridge on the Reuss river with the best views of the city. They are known for their spicy white sausage, beer, and their delicious pretzels. This is one of the top rated restaurants in the city. Also Mill’Feuille is a warm casual German restaurant on the river that is a modern asthetic and popular for coffee and food. It has all the hygge charm wtih its huge candles lit everywhere and big glass windows overlooking the city and river.
Climb the old city towers & walls for the best views!
This is one of a series of historical watchtowers and walls overlooking the city wiht some of the best views of the city, the lake and the mountains as well as Schirmerturm, Männliturm, Zeitturm, Museggmauer, and Nolliturm. The Museggmauer is an iconic old city wall with 9 towers, some open to the public & offering views from the top. The Zeitturm is a historical landmark tower from 1535, with a colorful clock face & a museum of antique timepieces. The Schirmerturm is one of several towers of historic city wall, open seasonally for stair climbs & scenic views. The Mannliturm are Stalwart guard towers & a clock tower accessible by steep stairs & offering scenic city views. Nölliturm is the last historical landmark tower sitting on the Reuss river.
Lion of Lucerne Monument
This is a monument to commemorate the great tragedy of this area. During the French Revolution, hundreds of Swiss mercenaries fighting for Louis XVI were killed. This monument was carved to honor those who died. This monument is near a pond in the city as a peaceful garden. This monument is right next door to the Glacier Garden and are great to see at once, as seen below.
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Glacier Garden Located beside the famous Lion Monument, the Glacier Garden ranks amongst the oldest attractions in Switzerland. The glacial potholes dating back to the Ice Age and the much older marine beach was discovered in 1872. The Chalet-style Schweizerhaus, now heritage protected, houses exhibitions of geological and historical interest. Fossils found here indicated Lucerne was a coastal area with tropical like climate. F. L. Pfyffer’s 18th-century terrain model of Switzerland, considered as the world’s oldest large-scale landscape relief displayed here. #fossil #glaciergardens #lucerne #switzerland🇨🇭 #europetour #2018
The glacier garden, or Gletschergarten is a local history museum with ice age glacier exhibits, 19th-century mirror maze & a leafy garden with lots of different species of flowers. This is a beautiful natural wonder to see in your time in Luzern. It is open 10am-5pm daily and offer tours 45-60minutes for CHF 135. See more information and book tickets here.
The Swiss carnival called fasnacht is a major event in many cities. Several Swiss cities have their own created fasnacht customs. It is known as a mediaeval Christian tradition, fasnacht literally is the night before the fasting. So the partying happens before Easter, and originally ended by Ash Wednesday, when the 40-day fasting period began, with no meat, alcohol and parties. The tradition was thought to scare winter and usher in spring. This happens for a few days in the winter where you can find streets full of people in wild masks and full body monster costumes, as they play loud music on trumpets, horns and drums. Find out all about the festival on their site here.