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You have to see this in Lucerne

Published: 06 June 2021

In this part, I deal with my current place of residence, the city of Lucerne, in the heart of Central Switzerland. It's known for its great location on Lake Lucerne and, on a clear day, a fantastic view of the Swiss Alps. At the end of the video you can find out my personal restaurant tips for Lucerne.

Below you will also find the content of the video in text form. More entertaining and richer in images is of course the video with English subtitles.

In this video series, I will introduce you to well-known sights and insider tips from Swiss cities and regions. I would like to show you even more of the beauty of Switzerland.

Chapel Bridge (In German: Kapellbrücke)

Let's start with the city's landmark. The Chapel Bridge with the water tower. The bridge is made of wood, completely covered and was built in the first half of the 14th century as a battlement. At just over 200 metres long, it is the second longest and, at almost 700 years old, the oldest wooden bridge in Europe. Originally, the bridge was even significantly longer. However, it was shortened by the filling of the bank in the middle of the 19th century.

Inside, the bridge under the roof is decorated with numerous triangular pictures. The pictures in this public picture gallery tell of the history of Switzerland, of old Lucerne and of the city's patron saint, St. Leodegar. Unfortunately, most of these pictures and most of the bridge were destroyed in the dramatic fire on the night of 18 August 1993. Only the two bridgeheads and fortunately the water tower could be saved. The fire was probably caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette that fell into a boat below. The bridge was rebuilt in a record time of only 8 months and some of the paintings could be restored. A few of the pictures that could not be restored still remind us of this fire as charred remains. Today, smoking on the bridge and the parking of messengers under this bridge are prohibited.

A distinctive part of the bridge is also the water tower, which was once used alternately as an archive, prison, torture chamber and treasury. Today it houses the clubhouse of the Lucerne Artillery Association and a small souvenir shop in the lower part.

A little insider tip from me. If you follow the course of the river Reus, you will find the Spreuer Bridge nearby. This bridge is much shorter and was built a little later, but has since been preserved and also has more of the historic pictures in the gable. From here you can also take really great pictures of the spectacular Reuss weir.

Lion Monument (In German: Löwendenkmal)

It is one of the most famous monuments in Switzerland. Even the famous writer Mark Twain already philosophised about the Lion Monument, calling it the saddest and most moving piece of stone in the world. The monument commemorates the approximately 1,000 Swiss Guards who served Louis the 16th in Paris and paid for their duty with their lives. With their proverbial lion's courage and unconditional loyalty, they tried to protect the king's life during the storming of his residence during the French Revolution. The Guard was almost completely annihilated. One officer was on home leave at the time, Karl Pfyffer of Altishofen. The death of his comrades pained the Swiss so much for years that he later initiated the construction of the Lion Monument. The mourning lion pays tribute to this selfless hero.

The monument can be admired in a small park in the centre of the city. If there are no tourists around for a short time, you could completely forget that you are in the centre of Lucerne. Directly adjacent to the park is the Glacier Garden. In the Glacier Museum you can learn everything about ice ages and glaciers. After the entertaining visit, a subsequent visit to the mirror labyrinth is worthwhile, especially with children.

Old Town and Fritschi Fountain (In German:Fritschibrunnen)

Winding narrow streets and house facades with picturesque colourful frescoes await you on a stroll through Lucerne's old town. You should therefore not be too distracted by the shop windows when strolling through the city and rather let your gaze wander over the facades of the houses. I was particularly impressed by the frescoes at the Kornmarkt, at the Zunfthaus zu Pfistern and at Sternenplatz at the Restaurant Fritschi.

According to legend, the Lucerne carnival figure "Brother Fritschi" is buried on Kapellplatz. Today, the colourful Fritschi Fountain stands there. The fountain's base shows the Fritschi family and above it are masks from the turn of the last century as well as the banner bearer, who is enthroned at the top. On Kapellplatz, the carnival begins every year on Dirty Thursday (In German: Schmutzigen Donnerstag), which keeps the city in its grip for a week and only ends in the early hours of Ash Wednesday (In German: Aschermittwoch).

Musegg Wall (In German: Museggmauer)

The Musegg Wall is the old city wall which, like the Water Tower and the Chapel Bridge, is a prominent feature of the townscape. The Musegg wall is the second, outer fortification ring on the north side of the city. Of the original 10 towers, 9 are still standing. Two of the towers can even be rented for events, the Nölliturm and the Pulverturm. If you are lucky enough, you can get a glimpse behind the scenes of the old guilds. From 1 April to 1 November inclusive, the four towers: Männliturm, Zytturm, Wachtturm and Schirmerturm can be visited during the day and walked along the city wall.

Particularly worthwhile is the Zytturm, with the oldest clock in the city. The dial with the numbers is so large that the fishermen in the Lucerne lake basin used to be able to read the time without any problems. Inside, you can marvel at the freely visible mechanism of the clock. What is special about it is that the bell belonging to the clock strikes the hour 1 minute before the church clocks in the city of Lucerne. Unfortunately, I do not know why this is so.

By the way, despite its age, the Musegg Wall is full of life and is a habitat for several animal species. Among them are rare breeding birds such as the Eurasian Jackdaw, Common Merganser, Alpine Swift and Common Swift. Bats also use the wall as their daytime and hibernation quarters. Furthermore, wall lizards, wild and honey bees, spiders, snails and a specialised wall flora use the wall as a habitat in different ways.


The circular building used to be a revolving car park and is very close to the Lion Monument. Today, there is a cinema in the basement and a restaurant on the ground floor. But the 360-degree panorama painting on the upper floor is particularly recommendable. It is ten metres high and has a circumference of 112 metres. The painting shows the army of the French general of the same name, Bourbaki, after crossing the border into Switzerland at the end of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71. The viewer is meant to witness how the soldiers were disarmed and cared for by the civilian population. The painting is practically an indictment of the war and a testimony to the first humanitarian actions of the Red Cross. The area in front of the painting has been sculpted, creating a three-dimensional illusion and practically transporting the visitor into the scene of that time.

Swiss Museum of Transport (In German: Verkehrshaus der Schweiz)

If you are unlucky with the weather and visit Lucerne on one of its rainy days, you shouldn't necessarily fret. There is plenty to discover and experience at the Swiss Museum of Transport even in bad weather. Lots of unique exhibits, some of which can be walked on. You can even find a submarine that sailed in Lake Geneva. The interactive museum impresses not only with its exhibits but also with lots of things to touch, try out and interact with. You can easily spend a day here.

If you're not so keen on vehicles and transport, there are plenty of other experiences for bad-weather days in the same building. For those with a sweet tooth, there is plenty to taste and learn about the discovery, origin, production and transport of chocolate in the Swiss Chocolate Adventure. Those who want to reach for the stars should definitely stop by the Planetarium. Film and nature documentary fans will get their money's worth at the IMAX cinema. Technology fans will be happy at Mediaworld. Art lovers can stay on the same grounds and only have to change buildings. With over 300 works, the Hans Erni Museum shows a cross-section of the extensive work of the renowned Swiss painter, graphic artist and sculptor.

Strolling along the lake promenade

On the other hand, if you are lucky with the weather, I recommend buying an ice cream at Amorino, which makes really small works of art, and strolling leisurely along the lake promenade. Instead of rushing from one sight to the next, you can let your mind wander and let the lake and the incomparable Alpine panorama take effect on you. Hopefully you will never get tired of it. Along the lake promenade you will find Lucerne's famous hotels, rich in tradition, and the historic lakeside resort of Lucerne. The floating wooden structure is reminiscent of times gone by, ideal for hopeless romantics.

Many of the SNG's excursion boats depart from the lake promenade and especially from the KKL on the opposite side. In addition to really nice round trips, you can also enjoy event or theme trips here. Whether it's a wine tasting, a mystery dinner, breakfast or a classic fondue or raclette party. While it's slowly getting dark outside, you can feast on a fine fondue or raclette inside during the ride. Perfect in winter, but you should definitely book in advance.

Court Church and Jesuit Church (In German: Hofkirche und Jesuitenkirche)

The Hofkirche is probably the most important church for the city population of Lucerne and houses something very special. As early as the 8th century, a small monastery stood on the site of the Hofkirche. Today it is an impressive building steeped in history, which is characterised by a mix of the most diverse architectural styles. In 1633, the church was destroyed in a fire; only the two imposing towers of the church remained.

The treasury of the Court Church contains very old and important sacred pieces. The painting of the treasury room in the Art Deco style is unique in Switzerland. Also unique, the Fernwerk of the Great Court Organ has a special effect register with the so-called rain machine. Since I am a complete layman musically and can hardly explain this in my own words. So I'll just read the description to you. It is a wooden drum that is driven in a circle by an organ wind. The drum is lined with sheet metal. Inside the drum are metal balls that strike the sheet metal wall of the drum via baffles. The rain machine, together with low pedal stops, makes it possible to produce "avalanches of sound" up to and including "organ thunderstorms". This effect of the organ is said to be absolutely unique.

Visible from afar, situated directly on the Reuss River and radiantly beautiful, is the Jesuit Church. The interior is very bright and friendly. Looking at the church today, it is hard to imagine that the Jesuit Church had to manage without its characteristic onion domes for a very long time. It was not until the end of the 19th century, 200 years after the completion of the church, that what had been missed was made up for, financed by a raffle.

Mount Pilatus

Lucerne's local mountain is always worth a trip. The ride up may not be cheap, but the view and, in good weather, the panoramic view, make up for it. Those who take the way up from the Alpnachstad valley station also use the steepest cogwheel railway in the world. Before there is another outcry, cogwheel railway not cableway or funicular. The rack-and-pinion railway is part of the "Golden Tour" popular with tourists. In addition to the ride on the cogwheel railway, this also includes a ride on the aerial cableway and panorama gondola on Mount Pilatus and a boat trip on Lake Lucerne.

Lucerne residents, however, are less likely to travel to the summit of their beloved local mountain. Locals tend to get off at the Krienseregg stations or at the Fräkmüntegg middle station and use the area around Mount Pilatus for a nice hike and barbecue. For one thing, this is less crowded and much cheaper. At the first station, Krienseregg, there is a large playground for children, with PILU-Land. For the adults, there are barbecue areas and picnic spots. At the middle station Fräkmüntegg, a summer toboggan run, a treetop path, the Dragon Glider and a rope park offer more opportunities for action.

My personal tips

As promised at the beginning of the video, here are my personal tips. In my opinion, the most beautiful view in Lucerne is from Dietschiberg. A little below the Schlössli Utenberg, a path leads up to this spot.

At the end of this episode, I'll give you 3 personal restaurant tips for Lucerne. My favourite Italian restaurant is Al Forno in Kriens. The players from SC Kriens and FC Luzern also like it there. My favourite dish there is Penne Fachinetti. In winter, nothing beats a fondue in the outdoor area directly on the Reuss, under the Egg, at the Zunfthaus zu Pfistern. Very romantic and a huge selection of different fondues. Don't worry, you won't get too cold there. For the necessary warmth, you get blankets and cosy warm cherry stone sacks. For me, by far the best restaurant with always outstanding service is the Bolero. Here you can get tapas, fajitas and paellas of your choice. For me, a visit there is always a highlight and the anticipation brightens up my whole day.

Closing words

As usual, you will certainly find more tips in the comments on YouTube. As always, I'm looking forward to hearing your opinions and personal tips.

If you have any other sights and insider tips, please write them in the comments. If you liked the video, you can support me by liking and subscribing to YouTube.

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