Lucerne, Switzerland

By | January 9, 2023

Switzerland is perfectionism in everything: landscapes thought out by nature to the smallest detail, cities “licked” to a shine, standing on the shores of mountain lakes, financial power hidden behind ordinary-looking facades and the luxury of being one of the most prosperous countries in the world. The founders of Lucerne could not have chosen a more ideal place than the Swiss Plateau. The city is surrounded by alpine peaks, reflected in the mirror of the Firwaldstet lake. Its streets, squares and bridges form a harmonious mosaic of half-timbered, baroque and laconic architecture of the Middle Ages. Check getzipcodes for more cities and countries in Europe.

To some, Lucerne will seem cold and too exemplary, others manage to see the beauty of strict cathedrals, others are delighted with the view of the Chapel Bridge immersed in flowers. But absolutely everyone will understand what a solid Swiss foundation is, mixed with respectability, solidity and deliberate modesty, behind which centuries-old traditions, prosperity and unshakable confidence in the future are hidden.

How to get to Lucerne

By plane to Zurich: flights are operated by Aeroflot, Airbaltic, Swiss, UTair, Airberlin and others. A direct flight from both capitals will last just over 3 hours.

Trains run from Zurich Airport (Zurich Flughafen station) to Lucerne every 30 minutes. Travel time is just over an hour. The route is operated by the national railway carrier SBB-CFF-FFS (official site in English). A taxi ride will cost approximately 200 CHF.

The train Lucerne – Interlaken runs every hour (on the road – 1 hour 50 minutes). There are also trains to Bern (1 hour), Lugano (2.5 hours) and Geneva (2 hours 45 minutes). Trains leave for Zurich every hour (50 minutes).

Highway N2 (E9) connects Basel and Lugano, N14 leads to Zurich.

Transport

In Lucerne, passengers are transported by buses and trolleybuses. If you need to go somewhere outside the historic center (which is easy to get around on foot), then you need to take public transport on the square near the Bahnhofplatz railway station.

You will have to seriously fork out for a taxi ride – fares start from 15-20 CHF. At night, on weekends or holidays, the price increases by 10%.

Cyclists in Lucerne are full road users. Bicycle paths are laid throughout the city, parking lots are equipped in different places. In some cases, it is much more convenient to travel by two-wheeled transport than by bus or car. You can rent a bike at Velostation Luzern, located at the railway station (off. site in English), or at Boardlocal bikelocal at Lowenstrasse, 7.

Lucerne Hotels

In Lucerne, the tourist is forced to forget about budget hotels. A modest double room with a tiny window, a bunk bed and a shower right at the head costs from 140 CHF per day, for standard 3 * with very mediocre service you will have to pay more than 200 CHF. For apartments somewhere on the outskirts, they ask for about the same amount (often, as an additional service, they offer free parking in the same building).

In mid-range hotels, the rooms are often quite small, the decor is spartan, and the view from the window is already overkill. For the same money, you can stay in the vicinity of the city (for example, in the communes of Weggis and Vitznau) and get a larger room with a terrace offering a fabulous panorama of the Alps. There are also hostels in Lucerne. In the historical center for a bed in a room for 4-6 people they want 30-70 CHF.

What to bring

The best souvenir from Lucerne is, of course, a Swiss watch. And it is not necessary to be the owner of a fortune in order to buy a high-quality chronometer, although in fairness it should be noted that the acquisition is not from the ordinary. For stylish Swatch, pretentious TAG Heuer and dozens of well-known and not so famous models, they come to the Bucherer store (Schwanenplatz, 5), where the eyes run up from the brilliance and richness of the choice.

Delicious Swiss chocolate is sold in Laderach (Weggisgasse, 1). The selection in the store is fantastic. It’s a pity that tasting is not provided – you need to buy right away, focusing only on the aroma. But cheese is better to take in the markets where local farmers bring their products. At the Luzerner Wochenmarkt, which opens on Tuesdays and Saturdays next to the Kappelbrücke, the assortment is more decent and the goods are fresher than in a supermarket.

If by the will of fate you have to be in Lucerne before Christmas, then you should definitely look into the Williseger store (Haldenstrasse, 11). They sell magnificent handmade Christmas decorations, gingerbread houses made of matches, music boxes, wooden trinkets and other cute little things.

Clothes, shoes and jewelry of world brands are bought at the RailCity shopping center near the railway station, and every souvenir trifle is bought at Casagrande (Grendelstrasse, 6).

Cuisine and restaurants in Lucerne

The same principle applies to the gastronomic establishments of Lucerne as to hotels – the concept of “budget” here is quite specific. For the amount that visitors pay for lunch, you can go to a restaurant somewhere in Italy or France 2-3 times. But you should pay tribute to the local chefs – the menu is very diverse.

Initially, Swiss cuisine was simple and hearty, as befits a rustic cookery. But as the prosperity of the country grew, the dishes began to become more complex, incorporating French sophistication, Italian variety and German satiety.

The taste of “alplermagronen” returns to the roots – a stew of pasta, onions, potatoes, bacon and cheese, flavored with applesauce. After tasting the meat pie with cream “lucerner zugelipastete”, you forget about food until tomorrow. For dessert, “kirstorte” with the addition of strong tincture is perfect.

Eating together in an ordinary restaurant costs from 80-100 CHF. If you want to finish the meal with a couple of glasses of the simplest wine, then you can safely add another 20 CHF. In search of at least some savings, tourists order ready-made sets for 40-90 CHF without drinks. Relatively inexpensive food is served in pizzerias and Asian restaurants – they will ask for 20-25 CHF for a plate of pasta with salad or a serving of dim sum. At McDonald’s (Pilatusstrasse, 1), Burger King (Zentralstrasse 3) and other eateries, a snack costs 7-15 CHF.

Entertainment and attractions

Merciless time was merciful to Lucerne and left many sights intact. The city has bypassed the destructive wars of the last centuries, which allowed it to develop and eventually become the cultural center of the country.

The Musegg fortress wall and 9 towers that once guarded Lucerne from encroachments of enemies remind of medieval strife and the struggle for power. Created in different eras, they demonstrate the evolution of styles of military-defensive architecture. Some of the buildings can be climbed to see a magnificent panorama of Lucerne in the ring of mountain ranges.

The Chapel Bridge, built in the 14th century and survived a fire in 1993, is the most visited place in the city. The stone water tower dividing the Kappelbrücke into two parts was erected a little earlier. Unfortunately, you can’t get inside it, but you are allowed to go up to the roof.

The touching and expressive monument “The Dying Lion”, carved into the rock, is dedicated to the Swiss guards who died during the events of the French Revolution. It was created by sculptors B. Thorvaldsen and L. Ahorn in 1821.

Without a visit to Mount Pilatus, the impression of Lucerne will be incomplete. A full-fledged resort is organized at its top: a hotel, an amusement park, restaurants, viewing platforms, extreme attractions.

The Museum of Art Lucerne, located in the “space” building of the Center for Culture and Congresses, deserves attention. This masterpiece by the architect J. Nouvel adorned the city in 2000. The Swiss Museum of Transport exhibits models of everything that has ever traveled, flown and sailed. The expositions are organized in an original way, with many interactive components.

Weather

The climate of Lucerne is almost as perfect as its appearance. Here, winter delights with soft snow cover, spring explodes with a bright extravaganza of colors, in summer the greenery of the forests and the heavenly colors of the water merge in harmonious contrast, and autumn flares up with a flame of all shades of red. The city is never too hot or too cold, the seasons smoothly succeed each other.

The most unsuccessful months for a trip are January and February, when there is little sun and the thermometer needle drops to the minimum mark. In April-May, it literally rains every other day. The high season starts in June and ends in October.

Lucerne, Switzerland