On this Post, some tips about Lucerne, our home town!! I live here with my family since 2013 and love the city! Lucerne is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland, just on the shore of Lake “Vierwaldstättersee”. The city guest over 1 million visitors from around the world every year.
Canton Lucerne bellows to the German-speaking part of Switzerland, is about 50 km from Zürich (the nearest airport) and 100 km from Bern, Switzerland’s capital. It is a medium-sized city, for Swiss standards, it has around 80.000 inhabitants.
Since the Middle Age, it is part of the vital route that connects the North to the South of Europe, through tunnel St. Gotthard. Because of strategic location, it is one of the main bases for tourists traveling thought the country to set up different itineraries, such as panoramic trains and snow sports.
If you are passing through Lucerne, be sure to visit the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe with over 650 years of history. In 1993, a big fire destroyed part of The Chapel Bridge. One of the peculiarities of the bridge is the paintings of the 17th century, some already restored and tell part of Swiss history.
Next to it is the Water Tower (Wasserturm), built-in 1300, once a prison and used to store the city’s treasure and today it is Switzerland’s most photographed monument.
Near the Jesuit Church, another wooden bridge, built in the 14th century, is the “Spreuerbrücke”. Nowhere in the world will you see a bridge with such morbid paintings than “Dance of Death”, painted by Kaspar Meglinger.
The historic buildings of Lucerne are amazing! Highlight for the Rathaus, built in the first decade of the 16th century in the Renaissance style. We’ve been to an event here, and the interior of the Rathaus is awe-inspiring!
Initially, 30 Towers of the Middle Ages protected Lucerne between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. Today, there are still 13 towers, and we can visit 4 of then during April and November. We’ve visited the “Zytturm”, that means in English “Tower of Time”. The Zytturm is 31m high and was built in 1535 by Hans Luter.
The attraction is for active children + 5 years old, there is no access to strollers and lots of stairs. The view of the city is spectacular!
Beautiful church built-in baroque style, SO worth seeing inside!! Just Beside the historical building is today the State Chancellery.
Another famous attraction in Lucerne is the Löwendenkmal or Lion Monument, built in honor of more than 700 Swiss guards who died during the French Revolution in 1792 serving King Ludwig XVI.
A visit to the Gütsch, hotel restaurant with over 130 years of history, is as well worth it. Although it has never been a proper castle and always been a hotel, Gütsch has a great city view!!
The most important museums in Lucerne are:
– Transport Museum – Verkershaus; (to read our Post, click here)
– Rosengart – with Picasso, Monet, Joan Miro, Renoir and others; this museum offers 5 times a year special guides Tours from Kids to Kids, age 7 to 11.
– KKL Convention and Cultural Center.
Mount Pilatus, link here
Mount Rigi, link Mount Rigi
CabriO Stanserhorn, link here
Another great place to a day trip around Lucerne is the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch, link (in German) Unterwegs im Zyberliland im Entlebuch (DE)
One of the most reliable sites to choose your accommodation in Lucerne is the Hotellerie Suisse (Swiss Hotel Association)
One of the coolest restaurants in Lucerne is the gartenHAUS 1313, a typical Swiss chalet and surprise dinner menu (Lindenstrasse 21, 6015 Lucerne Tel: 041 240 2565)
Another favorite is the Thai Song Pi Nong, which serves delicious dishes. Don’t miss to try the Red Curry with Meat or shrimps.
(Sternenplatz 6, 6004 Luzern Tel: 041 412 1213)
The Stadt Keller serves typical Swiss food and has a folklore show.
(Sternerplatz 3, 6004 Luzern Tel: 041 410 4733)
Another good option is the Foundue Haus (Falkengasse 4, 6004 Luzern Tel: 041 412 3737), also in the center.
The best Italian restaurant in town is the Ristorante Barbatti, Topferstrasse 10, 6004 Luzern.
Family and kids friendly on a budget restaurants you can find at Coop Restaurant (near to the Lion Monument) or Migros Restaurant at Töpferstrasse, Centre.
Every 2 years, the most important event in the summer of Lucerne is the Luzernerfest. From Friday to Sunday, part of the city is closed to traffic and several stages with live music are scattered throughout the center. Around 10 pm there is a fireworks show. The main bars of the city, set up their Stands with electronic music and various Food Trucks.
The party is free, the sale of Pins by CHF 10.- is donated to charity associations.
For kids, there a super area with games and toys, face painting and t-shirts painting, climbing tower and gifts.
Every 30 minutes, we can have a free boat trip across the lake, from the KKL to the Grand National Hotel or do pedal boat, highlight for kids.
Several summers events such as Open Air Cinema at the Lake; Lucerne Marathon; Blue Balls, Lucerne Festival, Latin Riviera in Weggis and Street Food Festival rocks the most loved season of the year in Lucerne.
At Lido you will find: a sandy beach by the lake, two swimming pools, restaurants, a beautiful and huge playground.
Entry fee CHF 8.- for adults and children CHF3.- Stand Up Paddle for rent for CHF15.- per hour.
Lake Sempach: this is for sure, our favorite place in the summer! The Lake of Sempach is much smaller than that of Lucerne and has crystal clear water, great for Stand Up Paddle.
The Strandbad in the town of Sursee is a secluded, lakeside area with restaurant, playground and a shallow area of the lake which is fenced for children.
Entrance CHF 5.- for adults and children CHF3.- Sursee is 20 min by car/train from Lucerne.
From April until October there is also the City Train Tour, we did and liked a lot!
Departs from Hotel Schweizerhof (at the lake’s edge) and lasts 40min. Adults CHF12.- and children from 5 to 15 years CHF5.-
In the first weeks of October, the scent of caramelized almonds in the air sends us directly to childhood The “Chilbi” a tradition in Lucerne, like other swiss towns too!
Another Tipp in Fall is visiting the Gütsch Castle or the Aeschbach Chocolatier in Root, 10 minutes by train from Lucerne.
In December, an excellent Programm for adults and children is the ice skating rink in front of the KKL and the Christmas Market.
The Carnival of Lucerne is one of the most famous in Switzerland, followed by Basel. It starts on Thursday at 5:00 am, the so-called Schmutzig Donnerstag (dirty Thursday)
Groups called Guggenmusik pass through the old town of Lucerne cheering the revelers and warming the winter! On Friday and Saturday Carnival also has Guggenmusik parade in Lucerne.
Park Konservatorium Dreilingen
One of our favorites, the Konservatorium Dreilingen (Dreilingenstrasse 93, 6006 Lucerne) is such a beautiful place to take the kids. In addition to an incredible view of the city, this place is perfect for picnicking to the sound of diverse musical instruments played by the students, specialized in classical and choral music.
It is the largest park in the city, with 35,000 m² and its palaces built-in English garden style, from the eighteenth century. Marble sculptures and a cave complete the beauty of the place. This place belonged to a family, was donated to Lucerne in 1929, and from 1952 as a conservatory of music. Since 1999 he is part of the University of Music of Lucerne.
Being located on a hill, it has a privileged view of the Alps and hardly receives tourists, most of the visitors are local and school groups. Update 2019: unfortunately, this place was sold, and the University will be transferred from here.
Located in the Rothenburg district, at 10min from the center, this park has Mini Steam, and Electric Locomotives are the highlights of this place. Each train ride costs CHF3.00
(Bertiswilstrasse 40, 6023 Rothenburg Tel: 041 280 3434 www.chaernsmatt.ch )
A subsidiary of the legendary Ace Café of London, which began its history in 1949, the place is a meeting point for lovers of motorcycles, vintage cars, and Rock and Roll.
The Bar has several events throughout the year, with encounters of various car and motorcycle brands, antique classics and relics. Live shows are also part of the program.
To eat Burger, Onion Rings and Classic Hot Dogs.