I absolutely fell in love with Lucerne from the moment we drove in to the quaint little town. Lake Lucerne has quickly become a significant tourist destination in Switzerland, attracting millions each year. In and around the lake are elegant historic buildings and beautiful panorama views of the Alps to truly capture what Switzerland is all about.
If you’re a lover of watches, this is where you’d want to really spend some time. Watch stores in Lucerne out number any other shop in the town. Which is no surprise, since the Swiss know how to make a pretty decent watch!
Below are our top picks on things to do while in Lucerne:
1. Lake Lucerne
Let’s start with the most obvious, Lake Lucerne. This is the main reason Lucerne became such a big international tourist destination. The town has been built around the Lake, with picturesque views of the Alps in the distance. Enjoy a walk along the shoreline, cruise the waters, or pack yourself a picnic and sit back and enjoy the beauty Lucerne has to offer.
To get the best views of the cross shaped Lake Lucerne, there is an observation deck, Pilatus Kulm. The total area of the lake is 44 square miles, and is known as the ‘Heart of Switzerland’.
2. CHAPEL BRIDGE (KAPELLBRUCKE)
The most iconic attraction of Lucerne is the stunning Kapellbrücke of the Jesuit Chapel Bridge, which has been photographed as the number one image for travel magazines, post cards and the like. This long, narrow wooden bridge connects the old two to the Saint Peter Chapel, boasting stunning views of Lake Lucerne.
The 170 metre bridge is now the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge and Europe’s oldest wooden bridge, built in 1333 AD. The octagonal water town is original; however the gabled roof is a more modern reconstruction, rebuilt after a 1993 fire.
Access to the bridge is free and open 24/7 to enjoy at any hour. The best views are when the sun is setting to get the reflection off the water from the bridge and local buildings. Inside the bridge are a series of 47 of the 157 paintings that Hans Heinrich Wägmann painted in the 17th century of important events from Swiss history. Unfortunately the other paintings have been destroyed in the fire.
3. OLD TOWN LUCERNE
The old town of Lucerne and The Quaint have been immaculately maintained over the years, with its old world charm, quickly becoming Switzerland’s number one tourist location. Beautiful historic buildings, churches, and shops fill the town, creating narrow walkways, with something to see at every turn.
The entire town can be seen by foot, with walking tours available throughout the day, taking between 2-3hrs to complete. Some of the top attractions to see in the old town include the Chapel and Mills Bridges, the Wine Market, Mills Square and an ample amount of tiny squares, all with fountains.
Here you will find designer boutiques, high end designer names, jewellery stores (in particular watches) and souvenir shops. Walking through the streets feels something like a fairy-tale, with bright coloured old buildings, perfectly groomed hedges and stunning gardens to stroll through.
4. THE NINE TOWERS
The Nine Towers, are part of the rampart walls, which were built in 1386 as a defensive fortification for the new town of Lucerne. Today, only 4 of the towers are open to the public, Schirmer, Zyt, Wacht and Männli. On the Zyt tower houses the oldest city clock, built by Hans Luter in 1535, chiming every hour (one minute before every other clock in the city).
The towers bring you back to the medieval times, with not much changing in the interior and exterior of the wall and towers. Small, narrow wooden stair cases lead you up to the top of the towers, with small look outs. To get from one tower to the other, you are required to walk along the giant narrow stone wall, boasting stunning views of the Old Town, Lake Lucerne and the Alps in the distance.
- Can walk the old town in 20 minutes by foot, no car needed
- Keep in mind Switzerland is very experience when it comes to food and shopping
- As the town is very tourist driver, beware there may be pickpockets. Keep passports and other valuables separate
- Best time to visit is during the Spring, Summer and Autumn.
- No smoking is allowed in any enclosed public areas, however some restaurants and bars may have a separate smoking area.
- Currency in Lucerne is Swiss Franc