Lucerne | A charming city in the heart of Switzerland
Since the New York Times listed Lucerne as one of “52 Places to Go in 2018”, the charming little town on Lake Lucerne is officially no longer a secret. The tourist crowds have been getting bigger every year, especially during the summer months the city centre is flooded with big travel cars. The visitors mainly stop for some pictures are then guided in one of the expensive Swiss watch stores. For most tourists Lucerne remains only a stopover. Then they continue across Switzerland towards the famous Matterhorn or Jungfraujoch.
Lucerne is a very peaceful and picturesque destinations and a longer visit is definitely worth it. Lucerne and its region are excellent destinations for families in all seasons. The nearest ski resort, Engelberg, is only 30 minutes away and easily accessible by train or car. In summer, the region offers a large variety of activities for families. The nearby Alp offers uncountable hiking possibilities and the Lake Lucerne and the many rivers and other lakes in the region have great swimming spot.
Of course, I am not quite objective, since I grew up in Lucerne and carry the city in my heart. But as an insider, I would like to share with you some of my favorite places in Lucerne and the close region. I will be happy to show you some hidden spots and top addresses you wan’t find in any of the usual city guides.
Lucerne is the gateway to the Alps and lies on Lake Lucerne, the 4th largest lake in Switzerland. The river Reuss divides the city into two parts, the Old and New Town. As the name says, the old town is the medieval part of Lucerne with the imposing old town wall, the Museggmauer, in the back part.
We begin our Lucerne walk by crossing the oldest wooden bridge in Europe, the Kappelbrücke. From here you have a beautiful view of the old bourgeois townhouses. Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, the weekly market takes place on the banks of the Reuss where you can buy delicious local specialties. On the other side of the bridge we enter the into the old part of Lucerne. This historic part of Lucerne makes you feel as if you are taking a step back in time. The town hall dating from 1604, the picturesque squares such as the Kornmarkt, Weinmarkt or Hirschenplatz are all surrounded by beautifully decorated old bourgeois houses.
In the northern part of the old town stands the well-preserved town wall “Museggmauer”. The first part of the city wall was built in the 13th century and improved over centuries. The wall with its 9 towers are in amazing condition and 4 of the 9 towers are open for visits during the summer months.
A great address is the Bio farm “Kulturhof” Hinter Musegg (directly behind the Musegg Wall). Children can feed highland cattle, alpacas, mini pigs and pygmy goats and learn about the animals as well as ecological issues.
Kulturhof Hinter Musegg | Diebold-Schilling-Strasse 13 | 6004 Luzern | Switzerland
Museggmauer: more info
Kappelbrücke: more info
Duration: The walk takes about 2-3 hours, depending on how long you stay in the different places.
MUSEUM OF TRANSPORT LUZERN
Another nice walk is the lake promenade along the Lucerne Quai to the Lidowiese (large green park). In Summer it’s the perfect place to spread out a blanket and have a picnic and a swim in Lake Lucerne. Just behind you have the famous Museum of Transport. It is the most visited museum in Switzerland and you need at least one day to see all collections of cars, trains and airplanes. One of our top attraction is the interactive car theater. You can choose your favourite car with the help of a dial button. The car with the majority vote is then theatrically presented to the public together with interesting details and facts. The kids can try out flight simulators, climb into an old Swissair or experiment with a range of different medias … a real try-out paradise!
Duration: The walk takes about 30 – 40 minutes
To get back to the city centre you can take the bus nr. 6 or boat at the station Lido (way back: 20 minutes). You can check the time table here.
If you plan to visit Lucerne in February / March you should definitely schedule your trip during the Lucerne Carnival. It is one of the largest carnival in Switzerland and a great experience for children. People celebrate, laugh and enjoy a wide variety of traditions for a full six days. The dates change every year, so better check the official carnival website
Check out our other tips (restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops…) in the map below:
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