Experiencing “Terrific & Terrifying” in small charming city of Lucerne – Switzerland

Experience

Lucerne

The best thing about visiting this location is the history, with a touch of luxury and the pristine nature surroundings

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akamau

Enjoying this small charming town

Lucerne in brief

This town of Lucerne, in Switzerland is situated in the alpine scenery of central Switzerland, is the gateway to central Switzerland. Few cities around Switzerland can match this fairytale setting, surrounded by lakes and mountains and straddling the banks of the Lake Lucerne. With its outflow, the river Reuss, within the sight of the Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps defines Lucerne has been a destination for many travel groups and individuals all over the world that make their journey through central Switzerland. With an impressive mountainous panorama and surrounded by spectacular view of the hills, lake and country side makes Lucerne the good place to explore. 

Lucerne is an ancient town with strikingly modern sensibilities and is stunning and deservedly popular since the likes of Goethe, Queen Victoria and Wagner savoured its views in the 19th century. Legend has it that an angel with a light showed the first settlers where to build a chapel in Lucerne, and today it still has amazing grace and thanks to its attractions – The attractive shopping offer, the beautiful lakeside setting and the nearby excursion mountains of the Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn. With a population of just below 85,000 people, not only makes it a great place to live but a great place for visitors to come and enjoy this beautiful seaside town of Lucerne.

Lucerne is waiting to be discovered.

View of Lake Lucerne with mountainous backdrop

Why Go?

While travelling around European countries, Lucerne was on the list of one of the places I wanted to visit. Yes, when dreaming about an idyllic European town, Lucerne is just what comes to mind. Ideally, Lucerne is accessible from all parts of the country and beyond and there is so many reasons why I am visiting this small charming city of Lucerne, surrounded by spectacular view of the hills, lake and country side. Lucerne is an ancient town awash in history, with strikingly modern sensibilities. 

Complete with gable paintings, the covered, medieval Chapel Bridge forms the centrepiece of Lucerne’s townscape and is considered to be one of Europe’s oldest covered bridges, including the landmark of the town is the Museggmauer, a wall which, with the exception only of one of its towers, has been preserved in its original, well-fortified state. The decorated fresco-adorned historic houses line the streets and the picturesque town squares and ethereal beauty is also home to the cutting-edge – the futuristic Culture and Convention Centre (KKL), a concert hall and art gallery.

Lucerne is a city of town squares and churches but its the Lucerne’s pedestrian-friendly walking streets which are filled with unique and fashionable shops and boutiques that I admire. It has a multitude of open-air cafes and restaurants that dazzle any foodie. The glorious architecture all set against the sensational backdrop of the Swiss Alps makes Lucerne the perfect place to base my stay and at the same time I wanted to refuel and relax in a lovely intimate Swiss town.

Getting there?

Getting to this region is accessible in all directions by road and train. Lucerne is located 68 kilometres from Zurich and the nearest major airport to Lucerne is in Zurich and takes about 45 minutes train ride to Lucerne. It is best to fly into Zurich and either take a train ride or rent a car from the airport to Lucerne.. Since I was travelling around Europe by car, my entire road trip was built around flexibility and time.  

Where to stay?

There are various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget ranging from resorts, backpacker, holiday houses, apartments, B&Bs to luxury hotels and apartments.  I stayed at the delightful Hotel Europe. This hotel may not be the number one luxury hotel in Lucerne, nor pretending to be one but it has been in the business since 1870s. It offers an unforgettable experience on affordable prices. This hotel is located in the heart of the city just steps away from the waterfront of Lake Lucerne. It is a short walk to the the heart of Lucerne’s vibrant life – lake promenade, waterfront cafes and restaurants, Lucerne’s main shopping facilities, casino, museums, arts and galleries. The interior and exterior of the hotel combines a grand past with a touch of contemporary outlook and is distinguish by its subtle elegance. The guest-rooms facing the lake have incredible stunning views of the city, lake and mountains which I certainly took advantage of.  It was the ideal introduction to the area and Lucerne’s life.

View of the hotel with own balcony
Views from the hotel leading to the lake and mountains

Popular Attractions

Located in the Swiss Alps south of Zurich, Lucerne lies waiting to be discovered and is ideally easily accessible from all parts of the country and beyond. After spending few days in this beautiful and stunning city tucked away in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne is an ideal starting point for many excursions to the highlights of Central Switzerland. It is a city of town squares and churches. With a combination of nature and city, Lucerne is home to many iconic buildings and popular attractions. There is no shortage of things to do, which this city offers and there is plenty to do, even if you have limited time or staying for few days. Whether your visiting for culture and history or simply to eat and enjoy yourself (as one does on holidays), Lucerne has it all.

Staying few days in Lucerne, my daily routine were fully scheduled with tours booked for every single day to see some of the best and populars attractions in Lucerne. 

Mount Pilatus

My day began in Lucerne with a trip up one of Lucerne’s regional mountains, the Pilatus or the Rigi –  the queen of mountains and down by aerial cable-car. It is a must do thing when visiting the area and the experience is unforgettable. This is definitely a perfect tour for nature lovers and wonderful way to enjoy the natural beauty of Switzerland. Mt Pilatus is a mountain massif, made of several peaks overlooking Lucerne. The top of the mountain can be reach with the Pilatus Railway and it is the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, from Alpnachstad. Mt Pilatus is considered to be the icon of the city and getting to this place is an adventure in itself. Riding on the world’s steepest cogwheel railway that only operates between May and November was terrific and terrifying experience at the same time. In experiencing this spectacular beauty of the Swiss Alps, the views were mind blowing, the nature was beautiful. I get to see the mountain goats to Swiss cows, brilliant wildflowers and incredible mountain scapes my eyes were not be at a loss for amazing optics. Taking a ride up on the gondola was pretty crazy as we climb up approximately 7000 feet but it was overly nerve wracking for me. Once, we reach the top, the views were profoundly unimaginable. This was definitely the highlight of my Swiss experience. It felt like, I was almost reaching up to the clouds and on top of the world. This is an experience I will never forget.

Lion of Lucerne

I took time to visit this carved lion which has a significant piece of history attached to it which is worth knowing. This is the most amazing sculpture I had ever seen. This figure of a dying lion which was hewn from the face of rock in remembrance of the heroic death of Swiss guards killed during an attack on the Tuileries in 1972 is one of the best-known monuments in Switzerland. Somehow, the sculpture manage to capture the lion’s sadness. It shows that the Lion of Lucerne is a sad, touching tribute to Swiss Soldiers who tried to protect the royal family during the French Revolution. This stone sculpture was created in the 18th century to honour the death of Swiss and it is widely regarded as one of the most moving and poignant sculptures in the world.

Lake Lucerne

Staying in the heart of the town, Lake Lucerne was just steps away from the front of the hotel. Taking a boat ride around the lake was something I couldn’t go by. It was time to discover famous alpine views without breaking on this Lake Lucerne sightseeing cruise. This lake is the country’s fourth largest lake. Without a doubt, this is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland. The 2-hour boat ride amidst the snow capped serene mountains was a unique experience. The boat will stop at different places so you can experience the stunning view. This way, we were able to see the old town, rich people’s houses and the stunning beauty of the landscape along the lake side.

The boat rides offers Lucerne visitors many way to enjoy its fjord-like beauty with mountains that descent right to the shoreline. This lake, especially is scenic on either a pretty summer day or a winter night. It is a great way to relax on the afternoon cruise with a glass of wine and cheese platters which kept coming was something that no-visitors should miss and not forgetting the scenic beauty along the way.

Chapel Bridge

Taking things at slow pace on this particular day and not far from the hotel was the Old Town and Chapel Bridge. I took a stroll along the paved footpath beside the Lake Lucerne with nicely manicured plants which gave me great appreciation of the place and a whole sense of warm charming of the city. This medieval wonderful wooden Bridge not far from the railway station is probably the most photographed monument of Lucerne. It may just look like any ordinary bridge in the city but with an understanding of the history, this landmark bridge was built in the 14th century, until it burned in 1993. It was considered the oldest wooden bridge in whole of Europe. This bridge was promptly rebuilt and is a picturesque as ever. This wonderful wooden bridge, decorated with lots of flower boxes and a stone tower, is just the perfect place in Lucerne and perfect place to get amazing pictures. With beautiful flowers blossomed on the bridge, it really looks very beautiful and is wonderful to stroll along the bridge. The restored bridge also features more than 100 pictures of Lucerne life in the 17th century hanging from the rafters. It is absolutely amazing to see both at night and day.

Day of Leisure

Come to the end of my recent trip to Lucerne and following the hectic days of sightseeing tours, it was time to get down on my knees and go shopping. Leaving Lucerne without shopping means there is something wrong with you. This city is definitely a shoppers paradise for any visitors from clothing to watches and there is always something for your taste. I end up at one of my favourite watch shop – Bucherer. I had read reviews that Bucherer’s had great customer service and that definitely turned out to be true. Swiss made watches are renowned for its quality and elegance dating back centuries. I certainly walked away being a happy customer.

Exploring the area

It was entirely possible for me to get around and visit many attractions and places in this area with the help of public transport. However, my recommendation would be to hire a car or do a self-drive tour and explore the area on your own time. Driving in this area is straightforward as long as you keep your wits about you. When visiting new areas, be aware of no-drive zones and one-way streets. Sometimes, you will save yourself a few headaches when it comes to parking or driving around places to locate the area, it is best to go on a tour and get away with less stress. 

Staying for few days here made it possible for me to have the time and see more of the area during my visit. To fully enjoy your stay in this area and to make the most of the region’s attractions, I’d recommend staying right in the main centre of the area. This way, you don’t have to fight the traffic from locals on their daily commute and you get to sample the beautiful countryside.  Staying in the city area meant, I get to find tons of fantastic restaurants, cafes and shops to keep me busy. As I love watching people and fine eating, I end up eating at one of the busy and fine venue on the waterfront. It was a wonderful place for people-watching with a glass of Swiss wine or a cup of cappuccino in the morning. I was totally impressed and flabbergast with everything. 

From what I have seen and done, Lucerne is absolutely a stunning city to visit, thanks to the surrounding mountains and the glistering lake borders it. This beautiful city has a great number of great views and picture-perfect sceneries but it has a delightful medieval quarter which adds to the charming feel. Walking through winding alleys of the old town weaving their way along the backs of the river that runs through the centre and strolling along the waterfront in the sun is simply heavenly. This city is packed with historic architecture and museums and with the surrounding region boasts natural attractions like Mt Rigi and of course, Lake Lucerne. The city’s attractions has provided plenty of opportunities to me, added to my own praise.

ABOUT ME


ic.golina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

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