Things to do in Lucerne (Luzern)

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If you are looking to visit a part of Switzerland that encapsulates the essence of this awesome country, then head to Luzern (also known as Lucerne). Spiritually, politically and geographically, Luzern is known as the country’s heartland and should definitely make it on to your list of places to visit.

Why choose Luzern?

Need we say more than sparklings lake vistas, historical gems from the Victorian era and tongue-tingling delicacies? Here are ten reasons a trip to Luzern is an absolute must.

1. Visit the Old Town

Located on the right bank of the river Reuss, spend some time exploring the historic core of Lucerne where you can admire the painted houses and medieval guildhalls.

A visit to the Old Townhall (the Renaissance Altes Rathaus) is an absolute must. Built in the 17th century, the ground floor boasts or stunning arcades ready to be explored.

2. Educate yourself at the Swiss Museum of Transport

If you are looking for places to visit in Luzern, we recommend Switzerland’s most visited museum – the Swiss Museum of Transport.

Ever wondered what Switzerland’s first diesel locomotive looked like? Take a trip here to find out. You will also take in 30 aircrafts as well as the autotheatre, which showcases a fleet of vehicles spanning eras. The cars are stacked on shelves, similar to what you might see in a toyshop – only much larger, of course.

If cars aren’t quite your thing, the museum is still worth a visit. Inside, there is an IMAX theatre (Switzerland’s first), an updated planetarium and, last but not least, a new Swiss Chocolate Adventure!

3. Take in the Rosengart Collection

The 20th-century art dealer Siegfried Rosengart was acquainted with many modern painters. He and Angela (his daughter) acquired what is known as one of Europe’s richest collections of modern art and includes hundreds of pieces from the likes of:

  • Picasso
  • Paul Klee
  • Chagall
  • Matisse
  • Monet
  • Miró
  • Fernand Léger
  • Braque

The museum was opened in 2002 by Angela, and you can expect to see over 300 pieces when you visit.

4. Indulge at the Aeschbach Chocolate Factory

If you are looking for something a little more indulgent then add a visit to the chocolate factory to you list of things to do in Lucerne. An easy ten-minute journey, a trip to the Aeschbach Chocolate Factory involves learning how the chocolate is produced, sampling their delicacies and potentially creating a chocolate bar of your very own.

5. Feel mesmerised at Mount Pilatus

This mountain reaches over 2,000 metres high and is immersed in folklore. It is known to locals as ‘Dragon Mountain’ after stories dating back to medieval times warned that the peak was inhabited by dragons.

If you are visiting Mount Pilatus during summer, invest in a Golden Tour (Goldene Rundfahrt) and begin your adventure in a paddle steamer. From there you will ride the world’s steepest cogwheel railway and jump on the ‘Dragon Ride’ aerial cableway, before descending the mountain via a gondola cableway. Whether you are travelling alone, with a partner or with your family, this is sure to be an unforgettable day out.

6. Pay a visit to the Lion Monument

If you are looking for something a little different to do in Luzern, head to view a monument of a dying lion carved into the old sandstone quarry.

This evoking monument was designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and carved by Lukas Ahorn in the early 1820s. The lion is a representation of the Swiss Guard who died protecting Louis XVI during the French Revolution in 1792.

The symbolism doesn’t stop there, the lion lies on top of a broken shield depicting the French royalty’s fleur-de-lis and in the background, there is a shield with the Swiss coat of arms.

7. Take a dip in Lake Lucerne  

This peculiarly shaped body of water is known to locals as the Lake of the Four Cantons and is a welcoming day out for everyone.

Enjoy a dip surrounded by epic mountains and stunning views before strolling through local neighbourhoods, which were reconfigured in the 1880s; taking full advantage of the spectacular landscapes.

8. Take in the Musegg Wall

The Musegg Wall had to make it onto our list of things to do in Lucerne. This breathtaking site consists of a city wall broken up by nine towers. The walls and towers were constructed towards the end of the 14th century as a defence to protect the city.

You can access four of the towers, including Zytturm which also holds Luzern’s oldest clock dating back to 1535. You may notice that it chimes exactly one minute before all of the other clocks in the city, this is in honour of the clock’s age. Listen out for it.

Any of the four towers you choose to climb will offer spectacular views of Luzern, including the lake.

9. Visit Chapel Bridge

For history lovers, a visit to Lucerne’s emblem is a must. Chapel Bridge is the world’s oldest standing truss bridge, dating back to 1333.

Extending for 200 metres, there are ceiling pediments and 17th-century paintings that showcase Luzern’s historic events. Take it all in with a history lesson like no other.

Sadly, a fire in 1993 burned down most of the bridge. What remains of this historical masterpiece is now covered for protection.

The adjoining tower stands 35 meters high and is older than the bridge by approximately 30 years. Unfortunately, you can’t climb the tower but you can enter the ground floor where there is a souvenir shop.

10. Enter the Hofkirche and Jesuit Church

The Hofkirche church is a must for history buffs. After the original basilica burned down in the 17th century, the new church was erected during the Thirty Year War. Very few churches were built north of the Alps during this period, making this a ‘must-see’ during your trip.

Constructed in the style of the late Renaissance, the church does still hold elements from the original basilica. This includes two towers and some ornamentation inside.

Once you have had your fill of the Hofkirche, head over to the Jesuit Church to make a day of the activity. Here you will see a beacon of the Counter-Reformation in the Baroque style. The church was designed by Austrian and Italian architects and was constructed throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, before being consecrated in 1677.

Whatever your taste, there is plenty to do when you visit Luzern. Why not take the hassle out of planning your trip and book a tour with us?

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