Is Lucerne Worth Visiting: The 15 Reasons Why You Should

Switzerland is undoubtedly the ultimate travel destination for many. It is packed with beautiful mountains, pristine lakes, and preserved medieval cities and towns. Not to mention the scenic train rides that are marvelous works of engineering, as well!

Impressively, Lucerne has all that I’ve mentioned, believe it or not! This is why almost everyone going to Switzerland wants to visit Lucerne.

But is it really worth it to visit Lucerne? Why should you visit Lucerne? Are there any solid reasons why we should visit Lucerne? Find out.

Lucerne, Switzerland

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We all wonder. So I conducted my research. In this blog post, you will see all the things I found that compel people to visit Lucerne. Let’s see if you will like Lucerne, as well.

Before continuing, watch this video first to spark your wanderlust to visit Lucerne!

Reason No. 1: Lucerne is the heart of Switzerland

Lucerne sits in the center of Switzerland. Its perfect location at the heart of the country makes the first reason to visit Lucerne.

Beautiful skyline of Lucerne
The beautiful skyline of Lucerne

It is just forty minutes away from Zurich, an hour away from Bern, and an hour and 30 minutes to Thun. It is the perfect starting location to explore Switzerland, giving you many options in all directions!

Lucerne also has easy access to the most beautiful places in the Swiss Alps. With just one train ride, you can reach Interlaken. Get another train ride, and you’ll arrive at Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen!

Being at the center of Switzerland, Lucerne is in a strategic position to easily visit other idyllic towns and villages in the Swiss Alps. Aside from the towns in the Jungfrau region mentioned earlier, I recommend that you check KanderstegZermatt, and Gruyeres too. 

Reason No. 2: Lucerne has a beautiful location

Lucerne does not only have a strategic location, but it also has a beautiful location. It sits beside Mount Pilatus and Lake Lucerne – and it’s a reason why you should visit Lucerne. Expect not only to see stunning views but also fun activities you will really enjoy!

View of Mount Pilatus and Lake Lucerne
View of Mount Pilatus and Lake Lucerne

Lucerne is the city that will let you enjoy nature. You can walk by the lakeshore and feel relaxed with the gentle waves or hike in the mountain and be awe-struck by the jaw-dropping scenery.

If Lucerne’s location is beautiful, wait until you see the things inside the city. They are truly compelling to see, something not to be missed on your Switzerland trip.

Reason No. 3: Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge)

One of the things that we must not miss seeing in Switzerland is the Chapel Bridge, the icon of Lucerne and the main reason you should visit Lucerne!

Chapel Bridge
Chapel Bridge

It is a covered wooden footbridge with interior paintings fixed on the roof of the bridge. These paintings depict the lives of the people in Lucerne way back 17th century when these paintings were created.

Going to Chapel Bridge crosses three items on your bucket list. First, you will be visiting it is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. Second, you will be setting your feet on the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge. Third, you will be coming across the historical Wasserturm (Water Tower).

Lucerne is one of the five cities near the Swiss Alps, where you can see beautiful scenery and at the same time learn about Swiss culture and history. If you are looking for another city to visit in the Swiss Alps, check out these four other cities (click them to open to a new tab and read later): MontreuxSionBrigThun.

Reason No. 4: Museggmauer (Musegg Wall)

A historical thing to behold, a place of the past you can explore – this is Musegg Wall, another compelling reason why visit Lucerne. It is a place where you can realize your fantasies, either Harry Potter or King Arthur or the Lord of The Rings… The towers, the wall, and the battlement will surely help you visualize life in medieval times.

Towers of Musegg Wall
Towers of Musegg Wall

The Musegg Wall, together with its nine towers, will show you Lucerne’s historic fortification. This fortification looks like a crown hugging the Old town of Lucerne. You might not be able to discern it from the wall, but you can at least see the beautiful townscape of Lucerne by climbing the towers attached to it.

This 800-meter-long wall has been standing for more than 600 years now. It is the best-preserved defensive wall in Switzerland and one of the longest.

Reason no. 5: Zytturm

Zyt is one of the nine towers (Nolli, Mannli, Luegisland, Wacht, Schirmer, Pulver, Allenwinden and Dachli) of Museggmauer. It is actually a clock tower built in the 15th-century, constructed not for defense but for the people in the city. This shall complete your throwback experience when you visit the wall.

Zytturm in Lucerne
Zytturm

In today’s world, where clocks no longer have hands but screens, seeing a clock so big with rotating hands seems to be a strange thing to behold already. It’s just mind-blowing how time itself changed the way we create and read clocks.

Anyway, the Zyt clock tower is an incredible thing to check with its fresco painting seen from the south. The mural was painted way back in 1596, showing two giants holding the face of the clock.

Reason no. 6: Meggenhorn Castle

If you have realized your medieval stories fantasies from Musegg Wall, it is time to make the fairy tales you watched during your childhood come to life. Lucerne has Meggenhorn Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Switzerland. It is another good reason why you should visit Lucerne.

Meggenhorn Castle
Meggenhorn Castle

Not only Meggenhorn Castle is magical, but it also has scenic views from its site. Perched on a hillside on a peninsula south of Lucerne, Meggenhorn castle will let you see the panoramic view of the town, lake, and mountains.

It is a romantic place to be, so don’t forget to bring your special someone here! Actually, Musegg Castle has a museum and a beautiful vineyard. There, you can stroll around with your love and tell all the sincerest most heartfelt words you’re keeping inside.

By the way, you must check the castles from MontreuxBrigSion, and Thun too! These big towns or cities are also the nearest cities in the Swiss Alps. They both have interesting and historical structures similar to Lucerne.

Reason no. 7: Lido Luzern

Indeed, the lake would give you tons of activities. One of them is, of course, playing and relaxing in the water. Lucerne has a lakefront facility called Lido Luzern, offering you a pool and a beach where you can hang out and get a fantastic vacation!

It is a fun activity, especially when it is sunny! People say it is bliss to be there, observing the snow-capped mountains afar (including Mount Pilatus), with ice cream and coffees served fresh by the resort’s cafes.

It’s definitely a paradise. See the animals like swans and seagulls splash around, and steamboats cruise flap the Swiss flag in the breeze. Overall it is ideal for family trips or vacations.

Reason no. 8: Mount Pilatus

If you can see Mount Pilatus from the beach, you also have to see the beach from Mount Pilatus. The view from the top is panoramic – another reason why you should visit Lucerne.

Pilatus Railway in Mount Pilatus
Pilatus Railway in Mount Pilatus

You don’t have to hike to the top of the 2000-meter-plus Mount Pilatus just to see the jaw-dropping views. Going up the mountain is fun. Actually, it is another check on your bucket list!

Actually, you’re not only going to have fun, but you’ll be thrilled, as well. It’s all because you’ll be riding Pilatus Railway going to the summit, the steepest rack railway in the world! It has an average gradient of 35% and a maximum of 48%. Breathtaking!

Traveling for a week or more in Switzerland? Save a lot of money using the Swiss Travel Pass (click here to learn more). With it, you can have an unlimited ride on public transportation (Bus, Trains, and Boats) and free entry to more than 500+ museums in the country. Cable cars, funicular, and cogwheel train rides are discounted by 50%. IMPORTANT: before you buy a Swiss Travel Pass, check first where it is valid or where it applies 50% on STP’s official website.

Reason no. 9: Frakigaudi toboggan run

If you think the fun ends after climbing Mount Pilatus using the steepest railway and seeing the panoramic views from the top, you are wrong. Because there, near the top of Mount Pilatus, another reason why you must visit Lucerne awaits.

Frakigaudi Am Pilatus (toboggan run) is waiting for you there at the height of Mount Pilatus. From the top, you will travel down the mountain, 1350 meters down the slope. Encounter steep turns, enter dragon holes, and fly over two inbuilt jumps! As you slide down, you can see dramatic views of the alps. The whole toboggan run will make you feel like flying, swerving in the wind.

In fact, if you try Frakigaudi Am Pilatus, you’ll be crossing another item on your bucket list. Because it is the longest summer toboggan run in Switzerland! You just have to be there in the summer to try this super fun activity.

Reason no. 10: Hammetschwand Elevator

Continue checking items to your bucket list in Lucerne! Check out Hammetschwand Elevator in Burgenstock plateau across the lake. Absolutely, it would be your reason why you will recommend Lucerne to your friends.

View from Hammetschwand Elevator overlooking Lucerne
View from Hammetschwand Elevator overlooking Lucerne

Hammetschwand is the highest exterior elevator in Europe, and it will give you stunning views of the town, lake, and mount Pilatus from a whole new perspective. And if it is foggy down below, ride the elevator. You will see a stunning heavenly sea of clouds from above there in Hammetschwand.

The top station is situated at 1132 meters above sea level. The elevator will send you to the highest station at a speed of 3 meters per second. That’s incredibly fast. It is one of the fastest in the world.

Reason no. 11: Laderach Chocolatier Suisse

Activities in Lucerne are “absolutely” fun things to do and a reason we should visit Lucerne. Yet, eating sweets is enjoyable in Lucerne too! Of course, it’s Switzerland! But, here in Lucerne, you can find one of the branches of Laderach Chocolatier Suisse. A chocolate paradise.

By the time you enter, you will be welcomed by the soothing chocolate fragrance. There are shelves and tables of chocolate bars emitting an alluring smell. They go straight to your head, and they say: “Common buy and eat me; I’m the best chocolate your taste buds will ever sense!”

However, the store is in a touristy area so expect that it could be very crowded. The staff will you pretty fast, by the way, some reviews said. Just don’t go here very hungry, or these chocolates will eat your budget away.

Reason no. 12: Churches

If you have Christian faith, eating (see the previous section) and having fun will not only be your reason why visit Lucerne. There are beautiful churches in Lucerne you can admire, at the same time, where you can pray to be thankful for all your blessings.

Interiors of the Jesuit Church in Lucerne
Interiors of the Jesuit Church in Lucerne

There are three notable churches in Lucerne:

  • Franciscan Church – See the majestic interiors and the beautiful pipe organ.
  • Jesuit Church – See the first “large” Baroque church built in the early 16th-century in Switzerland, located north of the Alps.
  • Hofkirche St. Leodegar – See the most important example of a church building from Switzerland’s Renaissance period.

If you’re not Catholic, these churches are still a place to see. The interiors and architecture are impressive. Sometimes there are concerts inside the churches. Overall, visiting the churches will be an excellent way to learn about the culture that shaped Lucerne and Europe in general.

Reason no. 13: Museums

If you’re with your family, a fan of art, or a history bug, you must visit Lucerne. There are no fewer than 15 museums in Lucerne which you can explore. One of them is the Sammlung Rosengart which exhibits the works of the famous Picasso.

If you feel that you need to see more artwork, there’s Kunstmuseum Luzern to see. It is a museum containing 500 years of Swiss art. Basically, everything that’s between today and Renaissance – they’re essentially in Kunstmuseum Luzern.

But if it is something “cool” that you’re looking for, the Swiss Museum of Transport is the place to be. See exhibitions of all forms of transport from cars to trains to ships and even aircraft! It’s one of the exciting contrasts you’ll see in Lucerne.

Reason no. 14: Lion Monument

One reason why many want to visit Europe is that they want to experience its rich history. In Europe, history is not only written in books. Figuratively and literally, history is embedded in every corner of the continent. And in Lucerne, you’ll find traces of history that’s really set on a rock.

Autumn colors in Lion Monument, Lucerne
Autumn colors in Lion Monument

The memorial is called The Lion Monument, or the Lion of Lucerne. It is a sculpture carved out of a wall created by Bertel Thorvaldsen. He hewed the monument in the 1820s to commemorate the Swiss Guards massacred during the French Revolution in 1792.

The Lion Monument in Lucerne depicts a giant dying lion, ten meters long and six meters in height. It is found at the east end of the medieval town, situated above a pond.

Reason no. 15: Old Town

Finally, the Old Town of Lucerne. For me, it is the ultimate reason why you should visit Lucerne. It is not only historical but photogenic as well. This part of the city is full of medieval structures built beside the lake. Really, it’s the part of town that will deplete your camera’s storage.

Afternoon at Old Town Lucerne
Afternoon at Old Town Lucerne

Here are a few of the structures that are really worth checking out here in Old Town Lucerne: Lucerne Railway Station, Ritter Palace, Jesuit Church, Chapel Bridge, Rathaus (Town Hall), Pfistern Guild Hall, Dornach House, St. Matthew Church, and Church of St. Leodegar.

However, the most iconic of them is the Chapel Bridge and the Town Hall. The Town Hall really caught my attention, though. It is a picture-perfect structure that sits elegantly on the right bank of the Reuss River. It highlights Renaissance architecture and Emmentaler-style roofs.

Conclusion: Is Lucerne Worth Visiting?

Lucerne is indeed beautiful, especially because of its old town and intact walls that transport visitors back into medieval times. Aside from the historical sites, Lucerne has panoramic destinations, bucket list adventure activities, and a good location that make it worth visiting. Ultimately, Lucerne is a city packed with interesting stories to discover; wanderers will absolutely love to visit Lucerne!

I created another article to help you decide how many days you should visit Lucerne. Here, I listed all the best things to do in Lucerne together with the time needed to enjoy each. At the end of the post, there are sample itineraries you can use as a reference when you visit Lucerne.

READ: How Many Days in Lucerne: Will 1, 2, or 3 days be enough?

Need help in planning your trip to Switzerland? I prepared a 3-day, 7-day, 10-day, 14-day Switzerland Itinerary to guide you. I discussed each destination to visit (things to do, how long to stay, map, and other tips). Check it out!

Discover more places in Switzerland aside from Lucerne: Swiss Countryside, Swiss Alps & Why It is Special, Cities Nearest To Swiss Alps

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Lucerne, Switzerland

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