Self-guided Walking Tour of Lucerne (With Maps!)

Self Guided Walking Tour Of Lucerne

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Famed for its meticulously preserved medieval architecture overshadowed by the grandeur of snow-capped Alps, Lucerne stands out as one of Switzerland’s most charming cities. Nestled snugly on the banks of its namesake lake, its vibrant Altstadt (Old Town) is flanked to the north by a 14th-century defensive wall known as Museggmauer (Musegg Wall).

The town’s origins trace back to St. Leodegar Abbey, founded in the year 840 AD, in the region then referred to as Luciaria. The source of this name remains uncertain, potentially linked to the Latin term for pike fish, “lucius,” suggesting a pike fishing location along the Reuss River. However, a more popular explanation associates it with the Latin word “lucerna,” meaning “lantern.”

In 1178, the town gained independence and emerged as a significant hub for trade. It joined the ranks of growing Swiss confederacy towns, attracting newcomers with its allure. In 1798, nine years following the commencement of the French Revolution, the French military entered Switzerland, leading to the downfall of the old confederacy and the establishment of a democratic government.

During the latter half of the 19th century, Lucerne transformed into a sought-after haven for artists, nobility, and prominent figures. In 1866, German composer Richard Wagner settled here, while British Queen Victoria elevated the city’s prominence with her 1868 visit. Renowned American writer Mark Twain further popularized Lucerne through his travel accounts after two visits, in 1878 and 1897.

Lucerne’s reputation as a stylish getaway contributed to its role as one of the pioneering epicenters of modern-style tourism. Several of the city’s most iconic structures originate from this era, including the 1896-built Lucerne Railway Station.

Positioned where the Reuss River exits the lake, Lucerne boasts numerous bridges. The most famous among them is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), Europe’s oldest covered bridge, constructed in 1333. Downriver, another notable bridge stands—the Spreuer Bridge (Spreuerbrücke), completed in 1408.

The dual spire towers of the Church of St. Leodegar, named after the city’s patron saint, perch atop a small hill just above the lakefront. Initially constructed in 735, the current Renaissance-style edifice was raised in 1639.

Another unmissable local gem is the sculpture of a dying lion (the Lion Monument, or Löwendenkmal), situated within a small park adjacent to Löwenplatz.

How to get to Lucerne

By Train: This is the far easiest way to travel through Switzerland. The Luzern (Lucerne) Railway Station is strategically situated in the heart of the city, gracing the shores of the picturesque Lake Lucerne. Train tickets for high-speed and local trains can be purchased from the blue, grey and red ticket machines which are throughout the station.

By Car: Navigating the centre of Lucerne by car can be quite challenging due to its narrow streets, many of which are one-way, pedestrian zones, and the limited availability of parking spaces, which are often expensive and difficult to find. Daytime Camper Parking is reasonably priced and not too far from the city centre.

Blue zone parking: This is limited during the day to one hour and you must use a blue time disc, set to the nearest forthcoming half hour mark. At night it is unlimited till the morning.

White zone Parking: Unless stated otherwise, white zone is paid parking where parking sign states maximum parking time (usually 90 min).

Yellow Zones Parking: These are private or reserved for companies and may only be used by them or their clients and guests.

Guided or Self Guided Tour of Lucerne

While the guide below is all you need for an in-depth exploration of Lucerne, if you want to have a local guide take you I recommend the Private Walking Tour with a Local Guide.

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Torbogen Luzern

Bahnhofplatz is located just outside the train station.

Bahnhofplatz serves as the central transportation hub in Luzern and the entire Central Switzerland region. Positioned in front of the station, this area acts as a launch point for buses connecting various parts of the town. Along the lakeside, an opportunity to embark on a leisurely cruise around Lake Luzern presents itself through boat services. Beneath the square lies the expansive RailCity shopping mall, interconnected with pedestrian walkways that lead to different sections of the town.

The grand stone arch marks the entrance to the historic former train station, originally constructed in the late 19th century, a time when Switzerland and Luzern attracted considerable tourism due to their steam-powered train networks. Tragically, a fire razed the station in 1971, and it was subsequently replaced with a contemporary facility. Presently, the arch discreetly conceals ventilation openings for the sizable underground parking facility underneath. This location has become a popular gathering point for local adolescents and individuals experiencing homelessness during evenings. A visit to the complimentary public restrooms here serves as a stark reminder that while free access to toilets is a blessing for some, it remains a privilege for others.

Location: Luzern, Zentralstrasse 1, 6003 Luzern, Switzerland
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Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge)

Chapel Bridge Lucerne Switzerland
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Tony Badwy

Head through the arch of ‘Torbogen Luzern’ away from the train station. Turn left before you get wet in the lake and cross over the Seebrücke (See bridge as See is the German word for lake). You can see the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) in front of you.

To your left on the corner is a post office Crafted by Gustav Gull, a renowned Swiss architect of the late 1800s and early 1900s, this structure was conceived under his guidance. Gustav Gull’s architectural prowess also extended to the Swiss National Museum, positioned just across from Zurich Main Train Station. Constructed in the Neo-Renaissance style, this edifice was conceived during the late 1800s, shortly after the establishment of Switzerland as a contemporary nation. Adorning the upper reaches of the building, you’ll find four allegorical statues that symbolize Post, Telegraph, Shipping, and Railways – representing the duties of the fledgling Confederation.

The Chapel Bridge, an enclosed wooden pedestrian bridge, stretches diagonally across the Reuss River within the confines of Lucerne. Named in honour of the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel, this bridge holds a distinctive attribute: it houses an array of interior paintings that trace back to the 17th century. Although many of these artworks were lost in a fire that consumed much of the centuries-old structure in 1993, extensive restoration efforts ensued. As a result, the Chapel Bridge stands as Europe’s oldest wooden covered bridge and the world’s oldest enduring truss bridge. It bears the dual roles of Lucerne’s emblem and Switzerland’s most renowned tourist draw.

In its inception during 1333, the bridge was a component of Lucerne’s defensive system. It connected the older town on the right bank of the Reuss River to the newer town on the left, providing a shield against potential threats from the south of Lake Lucerne. Originally exceeding 200 meters (660 ft) in length, the bridge has undergone shortening over the years due to various alterations and riverbank adjustments, now measuring 170 meters (560 ft) in length.

Lucerne boasts a peculiarity in that all three of its wooden pedestrian bridges—the 14th-century Hof Bridge (now extinct), the Chapel Bridge, and the 16th-century Spreuer Bridge—incorporated painted interior triangular frames. This artistic element is not present in any other wooden footbridges across Europe. Crafted by the local Catholic painter Hans Heinrich Wagmann during the 17th century, the Chapel Bridge’s paintings depict significant events from Lucerne’s history. Out of the original 147 paintings that adorned the bridge before the 1993 fire, 30 have been meticulously restored.

Tip: Savour its enchanting allure during the nighttime hours, when the city illuminates, swans glide through the waters, flowers add to the ambiance, and a romantic aura pervades. Both riverbanks offer splendid shopping opportunities and an array of exceptional restaurant

Location: Chapel Bridge, Kapellbrücke, Lucerne, Switzerland
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Fritschibrunnen Fern
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Caahlo

At the end of the church, we are heading the a square behind the church. Either walk up the stairs to the back of the church or turn to your right to have a look at the tower, then follow around the building around.

This great square is called Kappellplatz or Chapel Square. Its name comes from St. Peter’s chapel, the oldest church in Lucerne. The building date is uncertain, but we do know that eight centuries ago when the town was organizing the priest of St. Peter’s was appointed as the caretaker of the people. He was Lucerne’s first mayor. Today the chapel offers masses in several languages. The Chapel also gave its name to Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) you just came across.

hapel Square, the inaugural site for Lucerne’s Carnival festivities. While you might have heard of Switzerland’s Carnival reputation being dominated by Basel, I don’t intend to dispute that. My assertion is that Lucerne’s Carnival is a spectacle worth witnessing, and the Luzerners take justifiable pride in it.

Nestled at the heart of the square is the Carnival Fountain, a relatively recent addition from the early 20th century. However, the origins of the carnival legend trace back much further, dating to the 15th century. Can you spot the gentleman sporting a crimson hat on the fountain? His name is Brother Fritschi, and it is said that his final resting place is beneath this very fountain. While a medieval graveyard exists nearby, the certainty of Brother Fritschi’s grave remains elusive. Yet, historical records confirm that this burial ground was designated for unmarried women, laborers tending to farms, orphaned children, and strangers. It’s possible that it encompasses a farmer from the mid-1400s. Legend recounts that whenever this farmer visited the town, he brought mirth and libations. Upon his passing, he left funds to one of the guilds, with the stipulation that wine be served to the less fortunate during the Carnival. To this day, the guilds continue to honour his wish.

The Fritschi parade, tracing its origins to the 15th century, marks the commencement of the Carnival Season. The procession features a life-sized straw effigy of Fritschi, escorted by various guilds and clubs, with drummers and pipers leading the way and soldiers with substantial beards and armour following suit. This parade not only heralds the onset of the Lenten Season but also commemorates a historical military triumph.

Location: Fritschibrunnen, Kapellplatz, Lucerne, Switzerland
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CC BY-SA 4.0 / Aniacra

We will head north up Hans-Holbein-Gasse to Sternenplatz or Star Square. this picturesque square with amazingly beautiful murals on the buildings around. The square’s star-like shape, first described in the 17th Century, is thought to have given the Sternplatz its name. Follow the road around to the left and walk down Schlossergasse. At the small square with the well turn left, then first right into Kapellgasse. You soon come to Kornmarkt.

The origins of the Kornmarkt trace back to 1356, and true to its name, it functioned as the central grain market of the city until the 19th century. Notably, the ground floor of the Town Hall began serving as a storage space for grain starting from 1438, while the upper sections of the building transitioned into a functioning Town Hall in 1447.

In all of Lucern’s Old Town squares – Kornmarkt, Hirschenplatz, and Weinmarkt – you will find intricate painted facades vividly portray a range of themes, spanning from the art of beer-brewing to the realm of medicine.

Location: Kornmarkt, Lucerne, Switzerland
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Dornacher House Hirschenplatz

Leave diagonally opposite the Town Hall clock tower, turn first right to reach Hirschenplatz.

Search for the edifice distinguished by the sign of the stag. This plaza derives its name from the former Hirschen Hotel, the term “Hirschen” translating to “stag.” Interestingly, despite this name association, historical records reveal that the square originally served as a marketplace for pigs. Furthermore, the section in the southwestern corner earned the moniker “sweet corner.”

The Little Goose-Man Fountain, also known as Gänsemännchenbrunnen was made in 1891. Goldsmith Carl BossardBrunner had a reproduction of the original Little Goose-Man sculpture from the German Museum in Nuremberg, crafted by Pankraz Labenwolf in 1530. This replica, created by Heinrich Viktor Segesser, was then erected in Hirschenplatz. The tale of the Gooseman follows a similar narrative, culminating in the same outcome: his wife sends him to town to sell geese, and upon returning, his hands and pockets are empty, yet his spirits are filled with cheer.

The square also has Dornach House, a Neo-Gothic structure in predominantly white, hosts a mannerist fresco. This artwork vividly captures the 1499 Battle of Dornach, the final conflict between Switzerland and the Holy Roman Empire, celebrating the Swiss victory over Emperor Maximilian I’s forces. Despite significant odds – 6,000 Swiss against 16,000 Roman Empire soldiers – they achieved victory, showcasing their unwavering determination.

Location: Hirschenplatz, Lucerne, Switzerland
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Weinmarkt Lucerne)
CC BY-SA 3.0 / trolvag

Walk to the square to the right of the Dornach House.

Despite its name, this square originally served as a fish market before gaining fame for its association with wine. It’s worth recalling that Lucerne’s roots extend back to being a fishing village before rising to prominence along the Gotthard Trade Route. The square’s strategic location, coupled with its alleyways seamlessly connecting to the river, made it an ideal spot for a fish market. Moreover, both the butchers’ and fishermen’s guildhalls found their place here, as evident from the guild signs that can be spotted in the surroundings.

Progressing into the early 1900s, Lucerne witnessed an increase in shopping and tourism. Consequently, the decision was made to renovate the old town, leading to the square’s renaming as “Weinmarkt” or “Wine Market.” This period of revitalization also witnessed the restoration of numerous murals and the addition of new ones. Notably, the verdant building at the far end of the square features a painting from 1928 depicting the wedding at Cana, where Christ performed the renowned wine miracle. This painting serves as a reminder of both wine commerce and the religious festivals that once graced the square. For nearly two centuries, the Passion of Christ was dramatically re-enacted here during the Easter Season, spanning two days with each performance lasting 12 hours.

The central fountain in the Platz pays homage to St. Morris, a soldier who holds the distinction of being one of Lucerne’s patron saints. Interestingly, another Swiss town, Saint Moritz, shares his name. The original fountain is now housed within the history museum. The fountains in this region draw their water from Mount Pilatus, with ultraviolet treatment employed to eliminate germs. Regular cleaning and maintenance ensure their impeccable condition. Many of these fountains are over three centuries old and once served as the primary water source for numerous citizens at the time of their construction.
Past the fountain stands the historic courthouse and town hall, a structure transformed into the Des Balances Hotel since 1836, consistently maintaining its esteemed reputation. The façade that faces the river mirrors the allure of a Venetian Palace. Conversely, the side adorned with frescoes, which now meets your gaze, was executed in the distinctive style of Hans Holbein. Holbein, celebrated as a luminary of the Northern Renaissance, is perhaps most famed for his portrait of Henry VIII.

Adorning the edifice, you’ll spot the words “Hotel Waage” positioned above the entrance. This hotel bore the earlier appellation “Waage,” which translates to “scales,” a tribute to the erstwhile courthouse that once graced this location. In the same way that murals were an emblem of prestige, a multicolored tile roof held similar significance. This very building made a pronounced statement through both its roof and façade.

Outside, on the left, stands a Linden tree, a symbol traditionally associated with justice. The penalty bench was situated in front of this Linden Tree, and it was under its boughs that justice was meted out until the early 1800s.

Location: Weinmarkt, Lucerne, Switzerland
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Rathaus (Town Hall)

Rathaus, Luzern
CC BY-SA 3.0 / WES1947

Leave the square at the south west corner and folloe the road the the left. Turn right to get to the river and walk back the way you came with the river on your right. You soon come to the front of the Rathaus.

The Lucerne Town Hall, commonly referred to as Rathaus, stands as a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance architectural style, captivating many as one of the most exquisite historical edifices in Lucerne. The commencement of Rathaus’s construction dates back to 1602, and the project reached completion in 1606. This remarkable creation was crafted under the design prowess of architect Anton Isenmann.

Positioned at the heart of the Old Town, Rathaus graces the banks of the River Reuss, offering splendid photo opportunities to visitors who seek a splendid vantage point for capturing the charm of the Chapel Bridge. This experience is particularly enchanting on Tuesdays and Saturdays between 6 AM and 1 PM, when market stalls come alive, inviting tourists to browse and shop while basking in the architectural splendor.

Within the Rathaus, visitors will uncover an exhibition hall and a concert venue. As they navigate towards the dovecote, they’ll have the chance to marvel at paintings and coffered ceilings that hail from times long past. Nestled in the Rathaus attic, the dovecote offers a unique opportunity for visitors to observe and feed the resident birds, accompanied by an exhibition that delves into the history of the Rathaus doves.

Location: Rathaus Stadt Luzern, Kornmarkt, Luzern, Switzerland
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Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche)

Jesuitenkirche Jesuit Church Lucerne

Head across the bridge and turn right to reach the Jesuit Church.

The Lucerne Jesuit Church stands as a Catholic place of worship in Lucerne. Notably, it holds the distinction of being the initial grand Baroque church erected in Switzerland north of the Alps.

Founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1534, the Jesuit order actively engaged in the Counter-Reformation, a Catholic response to the emergence of Protestantism. The divide brought about by Protestant reformers like Zwingli in Zurich and Calvin in Geneva fragmented Switzerland, which was predominantly Catholic. In reaction to this, the Jesuits were summoned to Lucerne by the city’s council in 1573, with the purpose of establishing an educational institution.

Ludwig Pfyffer, Lucerne’s mayor, extended annual financial backing to the Jesuits from his personal resources. The Jesuit College of Lucerne took root in 1577 within the Ritter Palace, a structure originally erected in 1557 as a dwelling for Mayor Lux Ritter.

The construction of the associated church was initiated in 1667. By 1673, the primary exterior and façade of the church had been completed. The consecration of the church took place in 1677, even though the interior was not yet fully furnished. Various side altars remained absent, and the central altar itself was only put in place four years later, owing to financial constraints. The onion-domed towers reached completion in 1893. In the mid-18th century, the vault underwent redecoration. The inner chapel houses the original vestments of Brother Klaus, a revered Swiss patron.

Presently, while the church presents an appealing exterior along the river promenade, it’s the lavish, unaltered interior adorned in shades of pink and white that truly captivates. Entry is free, and upon stepping inside, visitors are treated to one of Switzerland’s most breath-taking churches.

Visiting Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche): Opening Hours: daily: 6:30am-6:30pm

Location: Jesuitenkirche, Bahnhofstrasse, Lucerne, Switzerland | Website
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Ritterscher Palace

Ritter’scher Palast
CC BY-SA 3.0 / WES1947

Right next to the Jesuit Church, the Ritterscher Palace.

The Ritterscher Palace, presently housing the cantonal administration, draws in aficionados of art and history. One of its attractions is Jakob von Will’s “Dance Macabre,” an artwork of seven pictures and 23 scenes displayed in the top-floor corridor. These scenes encapsulate encounters between different social strata and death.

Once owned by Luc (Lucius) Ritter, a captain in the French King’s Regiment in Northern Italy, the palace came into being after his elevation to the leadership of Lucerne upon returning home. Eager to underscore his societal stature, he commissioned a Renaissance palazzo in the style of Florence. The renowned Italian architect Giovanni Lynzo directed the creation of the Ritterscher Palace, although he faced a grim fate, being condemned to death for heresy during its construction. Ritter himself passed away shortly thereafter. The town council oversaw the completion of the building, which was subsequently occupied by the newly arrived Jesuits starting from 1557. This remarkable structure presently serves as the seat of the cantonal parliament.

Should you be visiting during office hours, the elegant courtyard situated at the heart of the palace is open for your exploration.

Location: Government Buildings of Canton Lucerne Bahnhofstrasse 15 6003 Luzern Switzerland
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Historisches Museum Luzern

Luzern Historisches Museum
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Aniacra

Carry on up Bahnhofstrasse and turn first right to head back to the river. At the river walk along it with the river to your right.

The museum houses objects from the history of the city and canton of Lucerne , alongside items looted from various battles, such as the coat of mail of Duke Leopold von Habsburg , who fell in the Battle of Sempach. Various objects from everyday life can also be seen, as well as costumes from the Angélique Sophie Panchaud de Bottens collection, formerly in the Utenberg Costume Museum.

The building was built in 1567/1568 as a arsenal for the city and the state of Lucerne. It fulfilled this task until 1983. After three years of renovation, it was handed over to the public in 1986 as a historical museum.

Location: Historisches Museum Luzern, Pfistergasse, Lucerne, Switzerland | Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m | Price: Adults: CHF 10.00 | Website
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Luzern Spreuerbrücke
CC BY-SA 3.0 / ermell

Walk between the river and the museum to reach the Spreuerbrücke.

The Spreuer Bridge, an enclosed wooden footbridge, commences at Mills Square in the old town and extends to Pfister Alley. It’s also referred to as the Mills Bridge, and it attracts numerous tourists seeking to admire its splendid architecture and the captivating interior paintings.

The bridge’s original incarnation was constructed during the 13th century, yet it met destruction in 1566 due to a flood. Swift reconstruction followed, accompanied by the incorporation of the remarkable paintings. These paintings notably depict the Dance of Death, a prominent motif from the late Middle Ages.

Between 1616 and 1637, Kaspar Meglinger led the creation of the 67 paintings. These artworks frequently include details about the donors, such as their names and family crests. Some even boast portraits of the benefactors. Today, 45 of these paintings have persevered. The artistic treasures adorning the Spreuer Bridge have also earned it the moniker “The Dance of Death Bridge.”

Visitors are cordially invited to stroll along the pedestrian bridge at any time, but the true magnificence of the paintings is most vividly appreciated under the natural illumination of daylight.

Location: Spreuer Bridge, Spreuerbrücke, Lucerne, Switzerland
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Museggmauer (Musegg Wall)

Musegg Wall
CC BY-SA 3.0 / WES1947

Head up Brüggligasse which runs parallel to the river. When you pass Nölliturm, the first defensive tower turn right up the slope the the wall on your right.

The historical city wall once formed a vital part of Lucerne’s defensive structure. Presently, the Musegg Wall stands as a captivating vestige of the past, offering both intimate exploration and distant admiration.

Constructed during the 13th century, the wall and its nine towers originally comprised an inner and outer ring. Remarkably preserved, it ranks among the longest-surviving defensive walls in the nation. Those inclined to walk alongside the nine towers have the liberty to do so at any hour, as these towers are illuminated by floodlights during the night. However, only four of them are accessible to the public: Mannli, Zyt, Wacht, and Schirmer.

Mannli, signifying “little man,” stands as the second tower along the ascending ridge. It once served military purposes until the conclusion of World War II, after which it was made accessible to the general public. The Wacht Tower, also known as the Heu Tower, was originally employed for gunpowder storage. Following a lightning strike in 1701 that triggered an explosion, the tower was reconstructed. Zyt Tower, a clock tower, features the Leodegar Bell that chimes the hour preceding the city’s church clocks. As for Schirmer Tower, it once guarded the city gate.

From April to November, Musegg Wall and four of its nine towers welcome visitors between 8 AM and 7 PM, providing a remarkable opportunity to engage with Lucerne’s historical legacy.

Location: Museggmauer Auf Musegg 6004 Luzern Switzerland | Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. between 1 April and 1 November | Website
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Gletschergarten (Glacier Garden)

Gletschergarten, Luzern, LU, Schweiz. Glacier Garden, Lucerne, LU, Switzerland.
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Leiju

Pass under Schirmerturm tower and walk to the bottom of the hill. Walk along Museggstrasse until you reach Zürichstrasse then turn left. Walk along Zürichstrasse and turn left after you see The Crown of Lucerne restaurant. When you get to little lane the Gletschergarten (Glacier Garden) is to your right.

The Glacier Garden serves as a premier destination for those eager to delve into the intricacies of ice age glaciers. Visitors are guided through the museum and its gardens, where they can engage with the Rock Adventure Trail—an immersive experience allowing them to traverse through the rock formations, witnessing their formation during the Ice Age.

Housed within a traditional Swiss dwelling, the museum boasts an 18th-century mountain relief map, renowned as the world’s oldest of its kind. An interactive relief map of Switzerland also enriches the experience. Following the museum exploration, visitors can delight in the Mirror Maze. Crafted from 90 mirrors, this 19th-century labyrinth offers a delightful and captivating diversion.

An Observation Tower offers sweeping panoramas of Lucerne, allowing visitors to relish in the stunning vistas. Additionally, the park features ideal spots for relaxation or indulging in an outdoor picnic.

The Glacier Garden welcomes guests every day, from 10 am to 6 pm during the summer months, and from 10 am to 5 pm in the winter season.

Location: Gletschergarten Luzern, Denkmalstrasse, Lucerne, Switzerland | Hours: April 1 to October 31 (sommer season) daily 10 am to 6 pmNovember 1 to March 31 (winter season) daily 10 am to 5 pm | Price: Adults: CHF22 | Website
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Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument)

Löwendenkmal Lion Monument
Free Art License / A.Savin

The Gletschergarten (Glacier Garden) is right next door to the Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument).

The Lion Monument, also known as the Lion of Lucerne, stands as a rock relief in Lucerne, erected in 1820 to honour the memory of the Swiss Guards who tragically lost their lives in 1792 during the French Revolution’s tumultuous events. This monument holds a place among Switzerland’s most renowned landmarks, drawing approximately 1.4 million tourists each year.

Throughout the early 17th century, a contingent of Swiss Guards had been a part of the Royal Army of France. The tragedy unfolded on August 10th, 1792, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace. Amid the chaos, conflict erupted spontaneously after the royal family had been escorted from the palace to find refuge with the Legislative Assembly. In the ensuing struggle, the Swiss Guards, hampered by dwindling ammunition and outnumbered by the revolutionaries, were ultimately overpowered.

Approximately 760 of these valiant Swiss Guards who defended the Tuileries met their demise during the fighting or suffered massacres after surrendering. An estimated two hundred more died in captivity due to their injuries or fell victim to the September Massacres that followed.

Carved into the rock face, the monument spans an impressive ten meters in length and six meters in height. It stands as a tribute to “the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss.” The portrayal of a dying lion impaled by a spear, shielding a crest adorned with the emblem of the French monarchy, is accompanied by another shield bearing the coat of arms of Switzerland.

Mark Twain aptly described the sculpture of the wounded lion as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

Location: Lion Monument, Denkmalstrasse, Lucerne, Switzerland
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Bourbaki Panorama

Bourbaki Panorama
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Leiju

As you come out of the entrance of the Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument) park turn to your left and you can see the Bourbaki Panorama.

The Bourbaki Panorama stands as a colossal panoramic painting that serves as a tribute to the internment of around 87,000 French Bourbaki soldiers, who sought refuge in Switzerland after traversing from Prussia during the severe winter of 1871. Edouard Castres, the artist behind this creation, had first-hand experience of this event, having witnessed the horrors of war as a Red Cross worker.

This event transpired within the context of the Franco-Prussian War. General Charles Bourbaki’s French troops sought sanctuary in Switzerland, beset by starvation and disease. The Swiss military extended their assistance by providing shelter during the harsh winter months.

Spanning an immense canvas measuring 112 by 10 meters, the Bourbaki Panorama is often credited as an inspiration for the concept of 360-degree filming and virtual reality, owing to its expansive dimensions and shape. Visitors are welcome to explore this significant artwork at the museum throughout the week.

Visiting Bourbaki Panorama: Opening at 10 am year-round, the museum’s closing hours are 5 pm from November to March, and 6 pm from April to October.

Pro tip: The Bourbaki Panorama comprises two levels: the first featuring a video/slide presentation alongside several artefacts, while the upper level showcases a captivating 3D presentation with life-sized figures positioned before the actual painting. It’s advisable to acquaint oneself with the narrative to fully grasp the depicted situation.

Location: Bourbaki Panorama Lucerne, Löwenplatz, Lucerne, Switzerland | Hours: April to October daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. November to March daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m | Price: Adult CHF 15.00 | Website
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Hofkirche St. Leodegar

Hofkirche St. Leodegar

Walk behind the Bourbaki Panorama along Weystrasse. When you get to the juction you shoudl be able to see the twin spires of the Hofkirche head towards them along St. Leodegarstrasse.

On your right is the Rothenburgerhaus, dating back to around 1500, is probably the most ancient wooden house in a Swiss town. While most wooden houses in Swiss towns fell prey to fires and were replaced by stone buildings, Rothenburger house was built at a privileged site near Hof Church, separated well from downtown Lucerne. Famous local chronicler Diebold Schilling lived, wrote and illustrated his chronicle here.

The Church of St. Leodegar, a Roman Catholic church from the 17th century, was finished in 1639. However, the church’s history dates back to the 8th century.

Previously, an ancient church named Monastarium Luciaria stood where the Church of St. Leodegar is now situated. Constructed around 735 or 736 AE, it enjoyed many years of patronage. Regrettably, this building was consumed by fire in 1633, leaving only two Romanesque towers intact.

The Church of St. Leodegar is often viewed as the premier example of Renaissance architecture in a church in Switzerland. It’s also renowned for its organ, crafted in 1640. When first built, this organ boasted the tallest and heaviest pipe globally. Subsequent extensions were made in 1862 and again in the 1970s, leading to its current size of 7,374 pipes and 111 registers.

Those keen on exploring the Church of St. Leodegar can do so on weekdays between 8 am to noon and 2 pm to 5 pm.

Location: Hofkirche St. Leodegar, Sankt Leodegarstrasse, Lucerne, Switzerland | Hours: Mon - Fri 9am - 12pm & 2pm - 4.30pm | Website
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From St. Leodegarstrasse walk down the cobbled path and turn left to get to the lake. Walk with the lake on your left, cross the bridge until you are back where your started.

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