Located in the German speaking part of central Switzerland, photogenic Lucerne is one of the country’s most visited destinations. Sprawling along the shores of Lake Lucerne, the city commands spectacular views of the Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps.
The iconic Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) built in 1333 on the Reuss river is a great place to start exploring Lucerne. One of the oldest covered wooden bridges in Europe, Kapellbrücke is rather well-preserved apart from a portion that was damaged by fire in 1993. Under its roof, you can see a series of 17th-century paintings telling Lucerne’s story. Another beautiful, albeit less famous, is the 15th century Spreuer Bridge (Spreuerbrücke) that feature colourful plague paintings dating back to the 1600s.
Spend a few hours wondering around the pretty pedestrian Old Town (Altstadt), which has a several half-timber buildings with painted facades and picturesque squares.
Old City Walls built in 1386 remain virtually intact with three of watch towers (Schirmer, Zyt and Männli), which are open to the public offering magnificent views over the old town and lake. The oldest clock in Lucerne on the Zyt tower has 'First Strike rights' by local law and so strike every hour one minute before all other clocks in the city.
Make sure you check out the 17th century Jesuit Church St. Franz Xaver (Jesuitenkirche), one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in Switzerland that nowadays hosts classical music concerts. All year around Lucerne is filled up with sounds of music as many festivals take place here. Summer Night Festival (Luzernfest) in August, Lucerne Festival with concert series of classical music, Lucerne Blues Festival, the World Band Festival in September and many other.
During summer months, you can hop on a steam boat for a cruise or go for a refreshing dip in Lake Lucerne at a few clean well-organized beaches. The Ufschötti has neat lawns and ice cream kiosks, at the Strandbad you can enjoy the diving platforms, play table-tennis, volleyball and mini-golf.
Photos via Flickr by: Patrik M. Loeff, Carlos Garcia, Patrick Nouhailler.