Recipe for a gorgeous Swiss city: take a cobalt lake ringed by mountains of myth, add a medieval old town and sprinkle with covered bridges, sunny plazas, candy coloured houses and waterfront promenades. Lucerne is bright, beautiful and has been little Miss Popular since the 19th century.
- Switzerland’s answer to Braveheart, a man called William Tell, was supposed to have lived in Lucerne.
- Almost all supermarkets and bakeries are closed on a Sunday so make sure you stock up the day before if you want to have a picnic or are on a budget.
- In Lucerne, Switzerland, you can hire an evil clown to stalk your child for a week before their birthday, and on that day, he will smash a cake into your child’s face. It's true, it's a tradition!
1. Lion Monument
The Lion Monument was erected to comemorate the Swiss Guards in 1792, who lost their lives trying to protect King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. Over 700 guards died trying to protect the Palace of Versailles without knowing that the Royal Family had actually fled the grounds. The monument itself is a giant lion carved out of a rock wall at the end of town. The American Author Mark Twain said the Lion Monument was “the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world.”
2. Lake Lucerne
Surrounded by magic mountains and the town of Lucerne, Lake Lucerne is a very scenic and photogenic landscape. There are plenty of things to do on the lake such as boat cruises, trips on board a historic paddle wheel steamer, hiring paddle boats, swimming or just taking it all in and a few photographs.
3. Kapellbrücke / Chapel Bridge
The Kapellbrücke is an old wooden footbridge spanning across the River Reuss in the Old Town of Lucerne. Today it is the most photographed sight in town with beautiful flower boxes hanging from the sides. There are also many paintings up high in the roof of the bridge that date back to the 17th century, but unfortunately a lot of them were destroyed along with half of the bridge when someone tried to put a cigarette out on it in 1993.
4. Swiss Transport Museum
Even though it may be a little pricey, the Swiss Transport Museum is Lucerne’s most visited museum and for good reason. The museum showcases details the history of transport with over 4000 models on display. There is a planetarium and theatre showing various exhibitions regularly.
5. Golden Round Trip
It is worth taking a day out of Lucerne to embark on the famous Golden Round Trip where you will witness some spectacular scenery. The Golden Round Trip is a package you can buy from most accommodation points or information centres and is a half day or whole day trip involving a boat ride across Lake Lucerne, then jumping aboard the world’s steepest cogwheel railway up to the to reach the top of Mt Pilatus at 2132 metres high. After doing some walking and having lunch at the top you can take the aerial cableway and panorama gondola back down to the bottom making a fabulous day out.
1. Fondue House
Hankering for a good fondue whilst in Switzerland? The Fondue House is all things fondue, with everything fondue like on the menu. You can try either the cheese, bourguignonne (meats in oil), chinoise (meats in broth) and chocolate fondues with sides of bread, potatoes, and many sauces, or why not go a combo and get all three!
The Stadtkeller located in the heart of Old Town is a perfect sit down set menu venue with a traditional Swiss folklore show. The Swiss cuisine is wonderful but the real magic is the show of various Swiss traditions such as yodelling, Swiss Alpine horn blowing and flag throwing.
3. Restaurant Neustadt
A favourite amongst locals, Restaurant Neustadt is a down to earth restaurant with fair prices and good size portions. A favourite is the cordon bleu with chips and salad. There is also pizza available, and on Saturday nights they have a gourmet style menu.
4. Grottino 1313
Grottino 1313 is a stylish venue that is a great place to escape the herd of tourists in other restaurants. The menu features unique dishes like the chestnut soup with figs, creative pasta dishes, meats cooked over an open fire and delicious desserts.
5. Wirtshaus Galliker
Wirtshaus Galliker is an old Swiss tavern that has been operating for over 150 years and run by the Galliker family, using their recipes that have been passed down through the generations. This is a great place to try traditional Swiss food such as rosti and chügelipastete – veal with a creamy mushroom sauce served in puff pastry.
Gewerbehalle is an alternative bar in a cosy setting lit by candlelight upstairs and a small intimate club room downstairs offering different programmes such as swing electro to hip hop, open mic nights and DJs.
2. Schüür Konzerthaus
This concert house is housed in an old wooden barn not too far from the main train station. Upstairs of the barn they hold concerts whilst downstairs there is a bar where DJ’s play some nights, other nights there’s salsa dancing. There is also a garden out the back which is a nice place to hang out if the weather is a bit warm on those long summer nights.
3. Down Town
Down Town is a rock bar that’s been around in Old Town for years. The bar is open quite late and is renowned as the place where people go when everything else closes. There are rock DJs playing each night so if a smoky bar is your scene, you’ll love this place.
Located in a former porn cinema still with its red velvet curtains, Madeleine is that little piece of New York style located in Lucerne. The bar hosts concerts occasionally and DJ’s on the weekends.
5. Klub Kegelbahn
Klub Kegelbahn is house in a former bowling alley and located in the new party section of town. A great place to go for socializing and to listen to various music from jazz, northern soul, dub or electronic beats.
Click the coloured pins to find out how to get here
Top tip from a fellow Busabout passenger was to grab a baguette, some cheese and a good book and chill at the lake."