A City Stay In Lovely Lucerne

As the most populated city in central Switzerland, Lucerne (or sometimes Luzern) is a must see for any visitors working their way through the country.

Since we were traveling using the Swiss Train Pass, we stayed at the Waldstaetterhof, a comfortable three-star hotel located only steps away from the main train station. Since we were only shelling out for an entry category room, I did find it to be fairly small, even with a narrow Juliet Balcony, but the rooms were clean and the staff was friendly. Upon check-in, we were given a free Luzern pass and instructions as to how to access the city’s free wifi. You heard me- this city has free wifi.

As the Lucerne Pass was folded in to our Swiss Pass, we didn’t have much use for it, but it’s a generous perk for guests.

We did, however, make extensive use of the free walking map offered by the hotel. Luzern’s Old Town is tiny and entirely walkable. Most attractions can be reached within a half hour or so, though busses are also available for use.

The most famous of these attractions is, of course, Lucerne’s covered bridge, Kapellbrücke, or Chapel Bridge. The wooden footbridge crosses the river Reuss and its particularly unique for the beautiful paintings throughout its interior. The bridge’s tower now hosts a combination gift shop and armory display. It’s also, I’m fairly sure, hiding one of the city’s free wifi routers. The service was stronger there! I noticed!

My very favorite attraction was the Lion Monument. The rock relief in the shape of a wounded lion commemorates the members of the Swiss Guard were killed during the French Revolution. The enormous stone lion is set into a cliff face directly off of a small pond. The rain while we were visiting made it especially somber and beautiful.

For those in search of the best view of the city, look no further than Musegg Wall- the old city fortifications. Three of the towers (possibly now four) are available to climb- including the Zytturm, which houses a clock that famously has “first chime rights” and rings out a minute before every other clock in the city. There’s not a ton of English signage in the towers or the ramparts, but the view alone makes it worth the climb.

With the city nestled on the shore of the beautiful Lake Lucerne, it makes for a popular boating destination in the summer and there are ferries (included in the Swiss Pass!) available for travelers looking for an inexpensive lake excursion.

Lucerne also has a pretty spectacular Museum of Transportation- and after a few days of traveling on Switzerland’s public transportation, I can easily say that I’m a huge fan.

For those looking for more nature during their trip, Lucerne is also a popular launching point for visits to the nearby mountains of Mt. Titlis, Mt. Pilatus and Mt. Rigi. Since the trip to Mt. Rigi was completely covered by our Swiss Pass, and neither of us were in the mood for a rainy museum day, we decided to make our way over to the mountain just to check it out.

We took a ferry and a train to the peak of the mountain, but by the time we made it, the whole thing was completely obscured by clouds! Disappointing, but not unexpected with the weather. Despite this setback, we still had a great time exploring the area and we still saw some pretty incredible views on our way over. Plus, we had the great pleasure of running for the ferry and being told by an operator that we were on Swiss time now, and that we needed “to be a little more hurry up”.

Yeah, that phrase is never leaving my vernacular.

The funny thing about our trip to Switzerland was that it was incredibly crowded with tourists for the first half of our stay. We figured, you know, that’s nice- people love Switzerland! On day two of our stay in Lucerne, however, all of the tourists disappeared!

As it turned out, the company Jeunesse Global had sponsored an incredible rewards trip for twelve-thousand of its employees. The group was so large that it was split into three groups of 4,000 visitors and had to coordinate with the tourism board and local authorities to be managed. Apparently the company had only anticipated a total of 3,000 recipients, but you’ve got to admire them for sticking to their promises.

In any case- the departure of the group mid-stay in Lucerne made for such an interesting contrast before and after the crowds and it was a pretty unique event to experience even from an outsider’s perspective.

6 thoughts on “A City Stay In Lovely Lucerne

  1. Thank for sharing this very interesting report. I visited Luzern in the summer after hiking the Swiss Camino and really loved it. On the next stretch of the Camino a few weeks later I took the ferry from Luzern to Brunnen, a wonderful boat trip! But I never made it up the Rigi, so I will have to return…

    1. Everywhere in Switzerland is so lovely- I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time no matter where you go!

      I have a few posts about different cities in Switzerland- hopefully you’ll find some useful information if you want to check them out as well!

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