Travel Guide Europe Switzerland Lucerne



Luzern 2

Luzern 2

© suann

Lucerne (German: Luzern, Italian: Lucerna) is one of Switzerland's most popular tourist destinations. Located where the Reuss River meets Lake Lucerne, the town is picturesque and boasts a rich history.

Lucerne is in the centre of Switzerland, providing an ideal launching place from which to explore nearby attractions such as Mount Rigi and the Rütli Meadow. The lake, Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus provide a stunning backdrop for the town.

Lucerne itself is split in two by the River Reuss. The city is old, dating back to the 8th century, and the Old Town reflects this long history. The most famous landmark is the Chapel Bridge, a wooden bridge built in the 14th century.




Due to its geographical situation Lucerne was a very important trafic crossroad to the south. Up to the beginning of the 19th century there were no land connections around the lake 'Vierwaldstaetter See' to the Gotthard Pass. So every merchandise and traveller had to transfer to the boats. Which is of course a nice thing for those who have the boats, the storing barns and lodgings.



Sights and Activities

Chapel Bridge



© nikio

Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) is Lucerne's most famous landmark. Constructed in 1333, it is Europe's oldest wooden bridge.
Adjoining it is the Water Tower (Wasserturm), a 140-foot tall brick tower that's been used as a torture chamber, prison, watchtower and treasury. The bridge is covered. Inside, it features paintings by Kaspar Meglinger from the 17th century, depicting events from local history.

Cathedral of St. Leodegar

The Cathedral of St. Leodegar is another prominent landmark in Lucerne, easily recognised by its twin needle towers. The cathedral was originally built in 735, and modified in 1633 with a Renaissance style. The cathedral is known locally as Hofchile, or in German as Hofkirche.

Other attractions

  • Jesuitenkirche
  • The Lion Monument (Löwendenkmal)
  • Swiss Transport Museum
  • Culture and Convention Center Lucerne KKL
  • City wall Museggmauer
  • Ancient wine market Weinmarkt
  • Spreuerbrücke

Nearby attractions

  • Pilgrims church Hergiswald (black 'Loretto'-like Madonna)
  • Monastry Kloster Werthenstein



Events and Festivals

  • Lucerne Festival in Summer (August - September) - The Lucerne festival celebrates the world of music in a festival of sound. Leading performers including orchastras, conductors and soloists come together three times a year for the festival. The Lucerne Festival in summer is the largest of the three festivals and is committed to classic and modern music. Every year this festival has a theme which governs the programming (2012: "Faith"), but there's guaranteed to have internationally renowned performers. Address: Lake Lucerne
  • Lucerne Festival at The Piano (November) - This music festival is devoted entirely to the art of pianism. Classical pianists, famous jazzmen, new and established masters, pianists, organists, and harpsichord players: all come to Lucerne for a week to fill the air with recitals, concertos, and improvisations. Address: Lake Lucerne
  • Lucerne Festival at Easter (March) - This festival focuses on sacred music as it runs for ten days over Easter, finishing with Palm Sunday. Address: Lake Lucerne
  • Lucerne-Carnival (February) - The history of Lucerne's carnival can be traced back over more than 600 years and is in celebration of the figure of Fritschi. His origin and meaning isn't clear but he can be traced back to the 15th Century where he was a symbolic figure. The Fritschi parade takes place on Dirty Thursday (a week before Ash Wednesday) then the Wey Parade is on Carnival Monday. The final evening is on Shrove Tuesday where a monster conert is held. Maskedd balls attract huge crowds and it is a big glittering outdoor party that is held in the alleyways and squares of the old town. It's best known for the musicians donned in strange and fantastic masks while playing their trumpets and tamborines. Bands gegnerally wander the city after the parades playing music. Address: Lake Lucerne Region
  • Blue Balls Festival (Late July) - This annual music festival has featured many international stars e.g. Van Morrison, Tracey Chapman, Jethro Tull, KT Tunstall and Billy Idol. It is a great Swiss musicand arts festival which transforms the lakeside of Lucern into a buzzing cultural bonanza. There are newcomers and young talent who also perform in the music, art, video, film and talks of the festival. Address: KKL Lucerne, The Pavilion and The Schweizerhof Hotel.
  • Lucerne Cheese Festival (October) - This festival is held every year in Lucerne. Cheese producers from central Switzerland offer over 100 different kinds of cheese. There's also a tasting area dedicated to cheese and wine of the Lucerne area.




Lucerne's summers from June to early September see highs of 20-25 °C, with nights between 10 °C and 15 °C. Winters from December to March are mostly above zero during the day and just below at night.



Getting There

By Plane

It's best to fly to Zurich (ZRH). There you have regular trains (about 1 hour) to Lucerne every 30 minutes. There is also a direct connection from Geneva-Airport (GVA), which takes about 3 hours with the train (every 60 minutes).

By Train

Swiss Railways has regular connections to many cities and towns throughout Switzerland. There are hourly trains from Olten and Zurich Airport and half-hourly trains from Zurich, and a direct train every hour from Bern. The "Zentralbahn" branch of the Swiss Federal Railway provides also hourly trains between Interlaken and Luzern during daytime.

By Car

You have some parking possibilities in the city-centre, for example theCentral Station Parking or the "Schweizerhof"-Parking. Attention: these parking possibilities are expensive, you'd rather take the very good public transport to get to Lucerne.

By Bus

You have good connections to Lucerne from the agglo by bus. With agglo is meant: Ebikon, Buchrain, Kriens, Horw, Emmenbrücke, Adligenswil. For timetables check the ssb-site.

By Boat

Lucerne sits at the north end of the Vierwaldstättersee. There are connections to/from Schwyz, Flüelen, Weggis and other places. Check the Schifffahrt Vierwaldstättersee website.



Getting Around

By Car

Getting around by car is not recomended. If you like to go further (for example to the Rigi or Pilatus or visit other cities like Bern oder Zurich), a car is a possibility.

By Public Transport

Buses travel around the city. For visiting the Lion Monument, take bus N° 1 until "Löwenplatz". For visiting the swiss museum of transport, take bus N° 6/8 until "Verkehrshaus". Up to the Château Gütsch, there is a little cable-car near the "Kasernenplatz".

By Foot

The Old Town is small and most place can easily be reached by foot.




There are lots of restaurants located in Lucerne. You have free choice - typical Swiss-dishes, Italian, European, Asian/Indian food etc. You will find it all. Restaurants can be expensive, especially in the evening.




Keep Connected


Switzerland has a high rate of people with their own internet connection and computers, so internet cafes are not as common compared to other countries and compared to the past. But still you will be able to find a computer in the main cities and tourist areas, also at libraries, video rental shops, train stations or tourist information places. Wifi is widely available, though sometimes at a cost. A growing number of hotels, restaurants, coffee bars and fastfood joints now offer free wifi.


See also: International Telephone Calls

Switzerland's country code is 41 and the emergency phone numbers are 117 (police), 118 (fire department) and 144 (emergency rescue service/ambulance). Swiss phone numbers consist of the area code and a local phone number. The area code has three digits and starts with a zero, such as 022 for Geneva. The local phone number has usually 7 digits, but there are numbers with only 5 or 6 digits.

If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands - they usually cost around 10-40 CHF and are obtainable in the shops of the mobile service providers Swisscom, Orange or Sunrise in most cities. Mobile network coverage is close to 100% by area, even in the mountainous, non-populated areas. There are also a lot of cheap prepaid cards for local calls from other providers. The prepaid cards of the big supermarket chains Migros and Coop for example cost around 20 CHF and include already 15 CHF airtime. The cheapest prepaid card for calls within Switzerland is Aldi Mobile. The cheapest prepaid card for international communication is Yallo. The prepaid cards can be bought online (30 CHF with 30 CHF airtime inclusive), in most post offices (29 CHF with 20 CHF airtime inclusive) or Sunrise shops (20 CHF with 20 CHF airtime inclusive).


Swiss Post is the national postal service of Switzerland and has fast and reliable services. For more information about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally, they have a very useful Price Calculator. Domestically, there is priority mail (arriving the following day) and economy mail which takes 2-3 days to be send within Switzerland. Stamps can be bought at the post offices or from shops and kiosks that also sell postcards. In general, post offices are open from 8:00am to noon and 2:00pm to 5:00 or 6:00pm, with a lunchbreak in between. Opening times on Saturdays are usually only during mornings. Larger cities and central post offices might keep longer hours and skp the lunchbreak. If you want to send packages internationally, you might also consider international courier companies like TNT, DHL or UPS.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 47.045656
  • Longitude: 8.308236

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