You don’t have to go far to find history in Luzern. It’s everywhere. Chapel Bridge is Switzerland’s oldest wooden bridge, dating back to the fourteenth century. It connects one side of town to the other at the point where Lake Lucerne flows into the Reuss River, and the underside of its roof is decorated with elegant paintings. The Zyt tower clock is Luzern’s oldest clock and has the privilege of chiming one minute before all of the others, and the Jesuit Church is Switzerland’s first baroque building, built in 1666.
Luzern began in the eight century as a monastery on the Ruess River. The city grew rapidly in the Middle Ages when relics like Chapel Bridge were built. Queen Victoria took an anonymous holiday in the city in 1968, writer Goethe came to stay in 1779, and German composer Wagner lived for six years on the shores of Lake Lucerne.
Things to do
Just seeing the sights of this city can fill up a day trip or two. Lake Lucerne is cobalt-coloured, with an outdoor swimming pool, it’s surrounded by mountains straight out of a fantasy novel. Book a cruise around the lake or, if you want to feel like a mythical adventurer, hike Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Rigi to see the lake from up high. Less active types can also take a cable car up to the top of both mountains.
Luzern is also filled with museums and galleries. Check out the Sammlung Rosengart Museum for works by world-famous artists of the 19th and 20th centuries: Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Cezanne and Renoir, among others. The Swiss Museum of Transport is Switzerland’s most visited museum and has over 3000 exhibits including planes, trains and automobiles. Visit Wagner’s old house (he probably won’t be home, though), which is now called the Richard Wagner Museum and full of Wagner antiques.
Luzern is also full of unique events and festivals: Lucerne Festival is a summer festival that attracts some of the biggest performers in classical music, while the Luzern Carnival – Fasnacht – comes to the city streets. Classical musicians play gleeful music as a fantastic selection of masks and costumes parade around town.
Shopping and dining
If you’re looking for watches, jewellery or souvenirs, you’ll have no shortage of options in Luzern. Check out the shopping districts like Kappellgasse and wander down cobblestone alleyways for gift shops and fashion boutiques. You’ll find stacks of dining options in Luzern, including traditional Swiss, great Thai, German and French banquets, and you can sometimes chow down with riverside views.
Daring souls can take the train to the unusual city of Interlaken, where you can hang-glide from the tops of mountains. If that’s not enough of an adrenalin rush, try skydiving and watch the Alps zoom by as you descend at 120 miles per hour.
From there you can visit the World Heritage site of Jungfrau region, which houses the highest glacial mountains in Europe.
Luzern is a 37-minute drive from the city of Zurich, and our cheap flights to Zurich can save you some serious cash, no Swiss bank account required! Take a train from Zurich to Luzern and enjoy unforgettable views of the Swiss countryside. Book your Luzern accommodation with us and see why this attractive city is so inspiring.
Hotels in Lucerne start at AU$208 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.