Luzern, which is often called the gateway to central Switzerland is sited on Lake Luzern and has an impressive mountainous panorama. It is also often used as a base for the nearby excursion mountains of the Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn. Its medieval Chapel Bridge forms the centre piece of Luzern’s townscape and is considered to be one of the oldest, covered wooden bridges in Europe. A further 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.
How to get to Luzern
By train: The easiest and most common way to get to Luzern is by train. The city has a main train station that is connected to the Swiss railway network, and trains run frequently from major cities such as Zurich, Geneva, and Bern.
By car: You can also drive to Luzern, but keep in mind that the city center is pedestrian-only, and parking is limited and expensive. If you do decide to drive, you can take the A2 highway to reach Luzern.
By bus: There are also several bus services that connect Luzern to nearby towns and cities. For example, the Flixbus runs from Zurich to Luzern, and the Eurolines runs from various European cities to Lucerne.
By air: If you’re coming from further away, the closest international airport to Luzern is in Zurich. From there, you can take a train or bus to Luzern.
Once you arrive in Luzern, you can easily explore the city on foot or by public transport. There are also several boat tours available on Lake Luzern, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and landscapes. Additionally, Lucerne is a great starting point for excursions to nearby attractions such as Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi.
The day before we had to fly out, we moved to Luzern so it would be easier to fly back from Zurich as there was direct train leaving from Luzern to Zurich Flughafen every hour. We checked out our lovely airbnb in the morning and took the train to Luzern. It was a beautiful 2 hour journey along Lake Brienz. Lake Brienz has the same beautiful color like Lake Thun. I felt so lucky we got to see both lakes.
From Luzern train station we walked to Ibis Budget hotel. It was 900m from train station and the walking area was flat. Checked in process in Ibis was swift and we were given free bus card for the 2 days we are staying. I think all Hotels in Luzern are giving the free bus pass. There were also buses passing our hotel to train station and city center. Hotel location was very convenient too, not far from the city center. After dropping our bags in the room we took the bus to see the chapel bridge. We could actually walk but as we got the free bus pass we may as well used the bus.
Popular things to do in Luzern
Visit the Chapel Bridge and water tower
Luzern is especially well-known for its wooden bridges. Today, the Chapel Bridge runs from the New Town on the southern bank of the Reuss to the Rathausquai in the medieval Old Town, zigzagging as it passes the impressive Water Tower. Chapel Bridge is also considered to be Europe’s oldest covered bridge. It was built in 1332 and was originally a part of the city fortifications. The pictorial panels, which were incorporated in the 17th century, contain scenes of Swiss history as well as the Lucerne’s history, including the biographies of the city’s patron saints, St. Leodegar and St. Maurice.
Lucerne’s water tower is a powerful yet attractive construction. This octagonal tower – over 34 meters high (111.5 ft.) – was built around 1300 as part of the city wall and used as an archive, treasury, prison and torture chamber. Today, the middle floor is home to the headquarters of the Lucerne Artillery Association. Meanwhile, a colony of Alpine Swifts has been roosting under the rooftop for decades. When these black and white birds return from their winter home in Africa, they bring springtime back to Lucerne.
Explore Old Town
Lucerne’s Old Town is a charming area with narrow streets, historic buildings, and many shops and cafes. We had a good stroll in the old town and climbed up to the garden where the clock tower was located to see the view of Luzern from above. Locating the garden was tricky because there was no signage and the church gate was locked. We had to walk a bit further from the church to finally saw a path leading to the garden on our left.
Take a boat ride on Lake Luzern
Lake Luzern is a stunning body of water, and taking a boat ride allows visitors to see the area from a different perspective. We skipped the cruise because we have done Lake Thun cruise. Instead we strolled around Lake Luzern. Achita got really excited seeing swans and ducks floating on the lake and she wanted to spend times observing them 😁
Visit the Lion Monument
The Lion Monument is a sculpture carved into a rock face that commemorates the Swiss Guards who died during the French Revolution.
Take a cogwheel train up to Mount Pilatus
Mount Pilatus is a mountain peak near Lucerne that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Alps. Visitors can take a cogwheel train up to the peak.
Visit the Swiss Transport Museum
The Swiss Transport Museum is a fascinating museum that showcases the history of transportation in Switzerland, including trains, planes, and automobiles.
Take a day trip to nearby attractions
Luzern is located near many other attractions such as the Rigi Mountain, the Titlis Mountain, and the Aare Gorge, which are worth a visit.
We came back to hotel when it started to get dark. That was our last night in Swiss and we had to fly home the next day. Luzern was the last city in our 2 weeks summer trip. Overall we only spent 5D4N in Switzerland, too short really. The country is so beautiful and really nice in the summer. I hope we can return one day when Achita is bigger so we can do some hiking.