City. Lake. Mountains. Lion. Lucerne / Luzern has it all.
We loved the Löwendenkmal, or Lion of Lucerne. This impressive rock-relief monument was designed by Danish sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen (one of our favs - check out our post about the Thorvaldsen Museum) to honor the Swiss soldiers who were lost in battle during the French Revolution. Perhaps this tragedy gives insight to Switzerland’s staunch neutrality...
Lucerne is well-known for its covered wooden pedestrian bridges, the Kapellbrücke and Spreuer bridge. These bridges are incredibly unique because they have paintings in the rafters. The Kapellbrücke, or Chapel Bridge (as shown above) is the most prominent because it is known to be the oldest covered bridge in Europe. In addition, much of the bridge and its paintings were destroyed when the bridge caught fire in 1993 due to a carelessly disposed cigarette. The bridge has since been restored, though many of the paintings were lost forever. Charred remains serve as a reminder of the bridges history. Despite Kapellbrücke’s fame, Spreuer bridge is also impressive and shouldn’t be missed.
Beyond the admiring the Lucerne Lion and walking the wooden footbridges, we also recommend walking the old city walls. Sometimes, the towers are unlocked, allowing you to get a beautiful (FREE) panoramic view.
Don’t forget to explore altstadt (old town), wander the scenic river front, and of course, take a walk along the shores of Lake Lucerne!
This large, 17th century Jesuitenkirche / Jesuit Church is right along Lucerne’s waterfront and features impressive baroque architecture and ornate ceiling murals.
Some would argue it isn’t worth travelling in the winter because it’s cold, daylight is limited, and everything (foliage, cafes, etc) are a bit sleepy. However, when coming to Lucerne in January of 2017, it quickly began to flurry and the city was so beautiful under a fresh, white dusting of snow.
We had the opportunity to spend a day in Lucerne in May and compare it with our last visit in January of last year. This time during our visit we found the temperature much warmer, the trees green and the outside cafes bustling compared to our wintertime visit.
Know Before You Go!
We parked near the Transportation Museum of Lucerne and enjoyed a leisurely walk around the lake to the center of the city. Parking here for a day cost us 6 CHF rather than 20-25 CHF we would have paid in a garage in the city center. For reference, it's about a 30 minute walk into the city center from the Transportation Museum, but it's along the lake which you want to see anyway, so save yourself some money and take a leisurely lake-side stroll.