The first city to join the Swiss Confederation, today Lucerne is a lovely small city with a thriving tourism industry, owing mainly to its status as a gateway to Central Switzerland. The city is a centre of Swiss history and legend.
Best Time to Travel
Lucerne is a year round destination with different attractions drawing visitors at all times. Here’s a monthly break up to help you plan your trip better:
June to September: This is the peak season when the weather is pleasant and Lucerne is full of tourists. The gateway to central Switzerland, Lucerne’s proximity to the Alps ensures that it is cool even in summers, particularly in the evenings. The temperature ranges somewhere between 12°C and 24°C from June to August and dips by a few degrees in September. This is a great time to explore the outdoors and even go for hiking or biking tours. July and August are the busiest months and also the most expensive, so it’s best to make all your bookings well in advance. Remember to pack in warm clothes even in summer.
October till May: October is considered to be off season in Lucerne, which means it’s a good time to look for cheap travel deals. November till mid-April is the skiing season when skiing enthusiasts from across the world come here to indulge in winter activities in the surrounding mountains. The temperature in October ranges between 6°C to 14°C and goes into minus degrees until February. Temperature starts rising relatively from March to May, but it’s still cold. February-March is also the time for the carnival festival in Lucerne.
The punctuality of trains in Switzerland is legendary. You can almost set your watch to the departure times. The train network is fast, reliable and extensive. For getting around in Switzerland, trains are your best option - from Lucerne there are connections to all the major Swiss cities at least once an hour. The state-owned train company is called SBB. For time tables refer to www.sbb.ch.
Here are some companies if you want to order a taxi:
RFTaxi, (+41) 41 320 18 18, www.rftaxi.ch
takes credit cards.
McTaxi, (+41) 76 577 66 55, www.mctaxi.ch
Taxi Hess, (+41) 41 310 10 10, www.hesstaxi.ch
The ridesharing service Uber also operates in Lucerne. You can order your ride over an app on your smartphone. Fares usually are significantly cheaper than standard taxi fares (initial fee 3-6Sfr, 1.80 - 3.60Sfr per kilometre, 0.30 - 0.60Sfr per minute).
Getting around town by bicycle is popular in Lucerne, and when the weather nice it's a good option for visitors too.
nextbike - bike-sharing.
All you need to rent a car in Switzerland is a credit card, an ID and a valid licence. Some companies do however also require a minimum age and minimum driving experience.
Today Lucerne’s attractions provides plenty of opportunities for tourists to add their own praise.Richard Wagner Museum
Richard Wagner was a famous 19th century German composer, known for his operas, particularly the four-part The Rings of Nibelungun. Perhaps even more famous is his Bridal Chorus from the opera Lohengrin that is played as the bride walks down the aisle. Wagner lived on Lake Lucerne for six years where he composed other important operas. Visitors can learn about his life and music through memorabilia at the Richard Wagner Museum that is located on his country estate, Tribechen. The museum is closed December to April and on Mondays.
Musegg Wall gives travelers a chance to walk on history while, at the same time, enjoying panoramic views of Lucerne. The wall, an important part of Lucerne’s fortifications, was built in the 13th century and is largely intact today. Musegg Wall has nine towers, though only a few are accessible these days. Perhaps the most famous open tower is Zyt; it contains the oldest clock in Lucerne. This 1536 clock isn’t just any clock, however. It rings on the hour one minute before all the other city clocks can ring. Views from the accessible towers are pretty fantastic, too.
Hofkirche, or the Court Church of St. Leodegar, is the main cathedral in Lucerne. It was founded as a Benedictine monastery in the eighth century, with the monks later founding Lucerne. Fire destroyed the original church in 1633; a few religious objects, the towers and St. Mary’s altar, with a panel dating back to 1500, are about all that remains of that church. Gilt statues adorn the white stone interior of the replacement church. Ornate and plain pews represent where the rich and poor worshipped separately. Hofkirche is the most important Renaissance church in Switzerland.
Lake Lucerne is surrounded by mountains, but few are more spectacular than Mount Rigi. The “queen of the mountains.” Is known as a massif because it was formed when the earth’s crust moved. Visitors give it high marks for its stunning beauty, but warn to only visit it on a clear day. Mount Rigi is unique because it sits on three lakes: Lucerne, Zug and Lauerz. A cogwheel train is a popular way to reach the top of this 1,797.5-meter (5,897-foot) high peak, but visitors can also get there via a gondola and cable car. Mount Rigi offers hiking in the summer and snow sports in the winter.
The medieval Chapel Bridge, or rather its replacement, is probably the most photographed site in Lucerne. The landmark bridge was built in the 14th century and, until it burned in 1993, was considered the oldest wooden bridge in Europe. The bridge was promptly rebuilt and is as picturesque as ever. The restored bridge features more than 100 pictures of Lucerne life in the 17th century hanging from the rafters. These pictures also include patron saints. The covered bridge crosses the River Reuss diagonally. Named for nearby St. Peter’s Chapel, the bridge also is known as Kapellbrücke.
What to Do
Explore the Old Town.
One of the main reasons that Lucerne attracts so many travellers is its small but remarkably preserved old town. You can get lost (for a few minutes anyhow) in its maze of streets, passages, and squares, admiring the many and varied murals painted on what seems like every other building.
Watch football ie soccer at FC Luzen, who play in the Super League, the top tier of Swiss football. Their home ground is Swissporarena, capacity 17,000, at 91 Horwerstrasse, 1 km south of city centre next to the Trade Centre.
Ascend Mount Pilatus
A famous mountain overlooking the city of Lucerne. Its peak can be reached by the world's steepest cogwheel railway from Alpnachstad (not operating in wintertime) and all-year-round by cable-car in three sections from Kriens (10 minutes by trolley bus no. 1 from Lucerne as far as 'Linde'). This trip is definitely a must and gives you a good impression of a wild and rocky peak with a marvelous view to the "real" Alps. Of course you can walk to the top on foot, which takes at least 4 hours from Kriens. A pleasant alternative is to walk down to Kriens from the bottom of the middle cable-car section. In addition to hiking, there are several other activities, including a suspension rope park and a 1,350 m long toboggan (both at the second stop of the cable-car from Kriens).
Ascend Mount Rigi
A famous mountain overlooking the city of Lucerne. Its peak can be reached by a cogwheel railway from Vitznau and Arth-Goldau and by cable-car from Weggis. Vitznau and Weggis can easily be reached by boat. The peak can be reached by foot from everywhere in around 4-5 hours.
Take a boat tour
Take a boat tour on the lake Lucerne with the traditional steamboats.
Paraglide from Pilatus and Rigi
Paragliding down from the majestic mountains surrounding Lake Lucerne is a unique experience. Tandem paragliding is possible all year round with pilots certified by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) of Switzerland.
Rent a bicycle
Lucerne has an excellent bicycle Network. Rent a bicycle at the train station in lucerne and explore the city and the suburbs or make a day trip on the national bicycle network (http://www.veloland.ch/en/veloland.html).