I recently chatted about my Viking River Cruise experience and mentioned how I would be spotlighting the various destinations in future posts. For my first feature, it was an easy choice to create a guide on things to do in the charming city of Lucerne, Switzerland.
Nestled amongst the snowcapped mountains on Lake Lucerne, I was fortunate enough to spend 3 days in this city soaking up the panoramic views and medieval architecture. Lucerne is full of culture with its landmarks, restaurants, sightseeing & watch shops – giving you plenty to do!
Old Town: One of the best ways to explore a new city is to just go outside and walk around. Since we booked the trip with Viking Cruises, they organized a walking tour with a guide on our first day. We discovered Old Town boulevard, which lies between the city hall and Chapel Bridge along the river Reuss, where you’ll find plenty of cafes, bars, and shops to browse that will easily fill up your day.
Kapellbrucke*: The Chapel Bridge is one of the main tourist attractions in Lucerne. This 14th-century bridge spans across the Reuss river and is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. Don’t forget to look up as you walk across the bridge and admire the 17th-century paintings – while some of the work is damaged from a 1993 fire, it’s still beautiful to behold!
Cheese fondue: It would be a shame to travel all the way to Switzerland and not enjoy the Swiss cheese. Either ask a local the best place to order fondue or simply pop into a restaurant – trust me, there’s no better pairing then melted cheese, potatoes and bread. Note, it was expensive (around $40 – $50) but definitely worth it.
The Rosengart Collection: Fun fact about me – my minor in college was art history so I’m usually always up for an art museum. The Rosengart Collection was a pleasant surprise that we learned about through our tour guide. It’s a private collection with over 200 important paintings and drawings by more than twenty world famous 19th and 20th-century masters like Cezanne, Monet, Matisse, Picasso, Klee, Miro, and others.
Lion Monument*: Otherwise known as the Lion of Lucerne, this rock relief is only a short walk from Old Town and is a unique and popular monument commemorating the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution. Mark Twain once described the monument as “the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world” in his travelogue in 1880.
Lucerne Station: Our hotel was located near Lucerne Station so whenever we wanted to go into downtown Lucerne we passed by here. Our tour guide actually took us inside and showed us some of the best chocolate shops and how to utilize the train station. This really is the transportation hub of the city with all major road, rail, and other transport facilities passing through here. Definitely worth taking a peek!
Jesuitenkirche*: While I don’t attend church too frequently at home, visiting churches is one of my favorite things to do when I travel, especially in Europe. The European churches have such a rich history and are truly a work of art and this one is no different. In fact, the Lucerne Jesuit Church happens to be the first large baroque church built in Switzerland north of the Alps! We didn’t stay for a service but rather popped in for a quick look and provided an offering.
*Tip – you’ll likely notice expenses are much higher in Switzerland so take advantage with free attractions!
Boat tour on Lake Lucerne: There are many different boat trips available on Lake Lucerne with views of the mountainous landscape. We ended up choosing one that not only had a bar but more importantly (possibly) dropped us off where we could make the journey up to Mt. Rigi!
Mt. Rigi: Known as the Swiss people’s favorite mountain destination, Mt. Rigi offers stunning views of over 13 lakes and the snow-capped Swiss Alps. After we did our boat tour we took the train to the top of the mountain where we stepped into a winter wonderland. I had never seen so much snow in my life – it’s something I’ll definitely cherish.
Buy a Swiss watch: If you’re on a Millennial budget like me, then you might not be able to make this one work but I still think it merits being put on the list. Not only is Switzerland known for their cheese but also their watchmaking abilities. You can purchase from companies like Rolex, Cartier and more if you’re ready to make that leap into luxury. Let me know it is 😉
Welp, that finishes off the list! I hope I was able to add some color to the beautiful city of Lucerne and maybe inspire you to visit!