Lucerne: self-guided walking tour of one of Switzerland’s most visited cities

When you start browsing Pinterest for inspiration for a trip to Switzerland, you’ll find that your trip isn’t complete unless you spend at least one day in Lucerne. Set against a backdrop of majestic mountains and the crystal clear Vierwaldstättersee lake (Lake Lucerne), Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s most visited cities. So in this post, I’ll share with you my tips on the must-see sites and attractions in Lucerne, including the Kapellbrücke, Rathaus, Spreuerbrücke, Museggmauer Fortification, the Lion Monument, and more. You can use this post to plan your itinerary as you’ll also find many travel tips at the end of the post.

Arrival

Lucerne is easily accessible by train. When you leave the station, you’ll be right in the city center and the most famous landmark, the Kapellbrücke, is a stone’s throw away. If you come here by car, I recommend parking at the Löwencenter shopping center (Zürichstrasse 5) on a weekday, or the parking house at the train station (Bahnhofparking P3).

Lucerne Visitor Card

When you stay at a hotel in Lucerne, you will receive a FREE Lucerne Visitor Card, which is valid for up to 14 days of your stay. This card entitles you to free use of the buses and trains in Zone 10 of the city network (which will take you, for example, to Kriens, the starting point for the cable car to Pilatus). With this card, you also get, for example, a 30% discount on the Titlis Bergbahnen and a 20% discount on guided tours of Lucerne, the Rigi Bahnen, the Stoosbahnen, or the CabriO-Stanserhorn-Bahn. All other discounts can be found here.

Walking tour of Lucerne Switzerland

If you only have a few hours in Lucerne, you should focus on walking around the city center and the lake area. On the map, you will find all the important points connected to form a pleasant walk that will help you discover the main attractions of Lucerne.

The Lion Monument

If you’ve parked at the Löwencenter, it’s only a few steps to the memorial, which is located in a small park just off Löwenplatz. The ten-metre lion was carved into the rock in memory of the more than 800 Swiss soldiers who gave their lives in defence of King Louis XVI during the French Revolution (during the storming of the Tuileries in 1792).

The Musegg Wall

The Museggmauer and its nine towers are part of the historic fortifications of Lucerne. 4 towers (Schirmerturm, Zytturm, Wachtturm, and Mannliturm) are open to the public. The Zytturm tower houses the oldest clock in Lucerne, dating back to 1535, which strikes the hour one minute earlier than any other clock in the city! This is one of the best viewpoints in Lucerne. On a clear day, you can see all of Lucerne, the mountains and of course Lake Lucerne from here.

Spreuer bridge

From the last tower on the fortification, you walk along the Brüggligasse to the covered wooden bridge Spreuerbrücke. It was first built in 1408 and later rebuilt in 1568 after it was destroyed by a storm. The triangular panels feature a series of paintings by Caspar Meglinger called the Dance of Death.

Jesuit church

The dominant landmark of the waterfront on the south bank of the Reuss river is the Jesuit church. This Catholic church, the first Baroque church built in Switzerland north of the Alps, is beautiful inside and out and worth a visit even if you are not religious.

Lucerne old town

From the Jesuit church, go back a bit and cross the bridge to the north bank of the Reuss river. You’ll find yourself in the most impressive part of town. Here you’ll find Mühlenplatz, Weinmarkt, Hirschenplatz and Kornmarkt squares, all decorated with fountains and lined with colourful facades of medieval houses.

Rathausquai

Don’t forget to relax a little while walking around the city. The restaurants and cafés on the banks of the River Reuss at Rathausquai are ideal for this.

The Chapel bridge

Like the Matterhorn in Zermatt, the Chapel bridge in Lucerne is a symbol of the city. It was built in 1360 and is named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel. It is the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe. It was rebuilt after a fire in August 1993. The fire also destroyed most of the 17th century triangular panels depicting scenes from the city’s history. The bridge is dominated by the octagonal Wasserturm water tower. This tower has changed its purpose many times: it has served as a prison and torture chamber to the city archives and the local treasury.

Lake Promenade

The less than half-hour walk that takes you from the city center around the lakeshore to the Lido swimming area or the Verkehrshaus transport museum is definitely worth it. The views are incredible.

Day trips from Lucerne

The perfect weekend in Lucerne? One day to explore the city, the other in the surrounding mountains. With the Lucerne Visitor Card you get discounts on cable cars or museums, so why not take advantage of them?

Verkehrshaus Transport Museum

Switzerland’s most visited museum – what to say more! It is the place to learn about the history of road, rail, water, and air transport and space travel. There’s a lot to see (and, more importantly, experience!) here. And it doesn’t matter what age you are – young and old alike will enjoy it.

Mt. Titlis

Take a ride on the Rotair – the world’s first rotating cable car. It turns 360 degrees during the five-minute journey to the top of Klein Titlis.

Mt. Pilatus

The “Dragon Mountain” can be reached either by the steepest cogwheel train in the world or by the “Dragon Ride” cable car. On the way, you can stop at the Fräkmüntegg Rope Park, which offers many attractions.

Stanserhorn

The Stanserhorn can be reached by cable car, which is unique in the world. Opened in 2012, it offers the experience of riding on the open-top terrace. From here you will have a spectacular view of the Vierwaldstättersee lake and the surrounding peaks.

Stoos

Another unique experience – a trip on the steepest cable car in the world, which has a gradient of 110% (47.7º). This will take you to the mountain village of Stoos, which has about 150 permanent inhabitants. From here you can go even higher up to the top of Fronalpstock.

Bürgenstock

From Lucerne, you can get here by a special ferry, which is operated directly by Resort Bürgenstock. A technical highlight is the Hammetschwand lift – the highest external lift in Europe.

Aeschbach Chocolatier

Aeschbach Chocolatier is a family-owned company. Now in its third generation (since 1972) produces chocolate specialties according to its own original recipes. ChocoWelt – the chocolate world – can be found on the premises of its factory in the town of Root near Lucerne.

Hiking in the Emmental: to the Trachselwald castle
Heuberg – a stunning viewpoint high above Lake Oeschinesee

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