This post starts a series about my favourite cities in Switzerland. Since all of them are not too big, they are the perfect fit for a one-day-trip. Personally, when I take a day off to explore a new city, I like to do some shopping, have a coffee somewhere and visit historical or cultural landmarks. So this is basically what I put together for the posts of this series, depending on what I found the most see-worthy in each place.
One of the most beautiful Swiss cities is Lucerne (Luzern in German). I had been there as a child once or twice but not very recently and I could not remember anything more than the swans and ducks on the lake so I decided to explore the city at the Vierwaldstättersee once again. Not only does this place have a lot of history, but also it is generally a very vibrant city, full of beautiful old architecture as well as great shopping opportunities.
Everyone has their own preferences of how to spend a sightseeing day in a town of course, but here are a few suggestions of what to see when in Lucerne.
One of the first things you see of Lucerne (at least if you go there by train) is the Kapellbrücke, a bridge over the river Reuss. As the oldest and second-longest covered wooden bridge of Europe I believe it worth to at least walk over it once and enjoy the view to both sides. Also the triangular drawings under the roof of the bridge are fascinating: The pictures of the history of Lucerne and Switzerland were originally intended to remember the people of the importance of a devotional life.
The lion monument
“Helvetiorum fidei ac virtuti” – “To the fidelity and virtue of the Helvetians”: This dedication is written above the dying lion carved into the massive rock wall and begins to explain where this impressive monument comes from. It was built between 1818 and 1821, in honour of 760 Swiss guardians who were defending the palace of the French king Louis XVI and were killed.
I had imagined the monument much smaller and not very formidable but standing before it actually did leave quite an impression. The lion is visited by 1.4 Mio. tourists every year – no wonder since it is one of the most famous memorials of Switzerland.
The old town of Lucerne contains a lot of big, patriarchal houses with colourful, painted fronts. Some of these paintings let us see medieval motives of the Swiss people, others show the one passion of the region: carnival. Lucerne in fact is one of Switzerland’s carnival strongholds. February is the perfect time to visit the city, if you are passionate about carnival too. The facades fortunately decorate the old town all year around.
Based also in Zurich, Bern and Basel: Fizzen is one of my favourite vintage shops. And I have found a store here in Lucerne too! Besides inspiring vintage clothes and accessories, I always find pretty stationery and other unique little things. Have a look!
I hope this post made you curious to explore 🙂
PS: The next post of the swiss-cities-series is coming up next Friday!