Luzern is a small beautiful city, which is also called the gateway to central Switzerland. Initially, I was sceptical since I never heard about Luzern before but after researching and asking on a few forums, I decided to make it my weekend getaway. Luzern has everything that you expect from a Swiss city. It has lakes, river, hills, places for trekking, intact architectural history. In my opinion, it is a suitable place for anyone. 🙂
Away from the hustle bustle of a big urban city like Zurich, I found Luzern to be very gorgeous with spectacular scenic views. A lot of people visits Luzern to go to Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus. I took a train from Zurich to Luzern late afternoon. It was a 40 mins train ride, which cost 25 euros. It was little expensive but worth it. Throughout the journey, there is a beautiful scenic view of Lake Zurich and another lake at Zug.
It was raining in Luzern and was quite cold. Between the crowd of the weekend, I made my way to a small village Emmen. Thankfully I found a Swiss host there. ☺ Since it was raining, I couldn’t do much that evening just a walk and a nice dinner in the neighbourhood. But the house I was staying in had spectacular views of Mount Pilatus. There is a legendary story of a dragon who kept the people of nearby villages safe from the Romans. Knowing about a city from a local has its own charm and you can’t get that from staying in any luxury hotel.
Next day after a hearty breakfast, I took a bus back to Luzern. My first stop was a castle turned into a beautiful boutique hotel, The Gutch. You have to take their private cabin to reach the top. People like me who can’t afford to stay at such a place can go there for the top view of the city, some coffee and beautiful captures. I would highly recommend this place for its views.
9 Towers of Luzern:
After getting down, I walked towards to the famous 9 towers of Luzern. I couldn’t finish more than 3; it is indeed tiring due to old and steep steps. The first one, which is just across the road – The Nölli Tower, is a cylindrical stone tower situated on the banks of the Reuss River, which was built in 1513.
The second one was Little Man Tower (Männliturm); it is a 33-meter high tower and got its name from the little iron man that stands on its top. This figure holding a flag is quite iconic and a lot of people climb to see it.
The third one Luegisland Tower, which is approximately 700 years old. Its height of 52.6 meters makes it the tallest of the nine towers. Luegisland name means “Look toward the land”, and it is also known as Countryside Viewpoint Tower. Look out for the weathercock, which stands atop its roof. One of the towers was rebuilt after getting destroyed by the lightning which also killed few locals due to flying stones. Another tower consists of the oldest clock built in 1535, which is still working.
Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge):
Then I crossed the iconic and one of the most photographed structures in Switzerland – Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), built in 1333. It has quite a lot of paintings inside it. It is a wooden footbridge, which is also wheelchair accessible. The tower in the bridge, which was once used as a prison and torture cell, is closed to the public. It also houses beautiful souvenirs shops.
It was a beautiful sunny day with a lot of people walking in the sunshine. I decided to spend some time by the lake Luzern. To adore its stunning views and charm. The good thing about such smallish places is even if you do not do touristy stuff and just be by yourself; you can enjoy the day passing by. It was already noon so before visiting other places I decided to eat. There are a lot of budget (according to Swiss standards) cafes and bakeries around. I zeroed on Bachmann and bought some stuff to eat. This is a bakery chain, which has outlets around the city. There are many other places in the underground area of the train station to choose from. I must say – it was difficult to choose what to eat with such a pretty sight. I settled for a cold vegan salad, unicorn cupcake and a pear preserved delicacy along with some Swiss chocolates for later. I also ended up eating a hefty ice cream by the lake, which took me a good 30 mins to finish. I was a little guilty but content! 😛
Lion Monument of Luzern:
After all this munching (read hogging), I went to the old town area. My first stop was the famous Lion monument of Luzern. This monument of a dying lion is dedicated to the honour of the Swiss soldiers who died during the French revolution. It is quite a beautiful but sad structure with a dying lion, which has a spear piercing his body. Mark Twain described the Lion of Luzern as the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world. It is a must visit place to admire the beauty of the sculpture. It has some paintings as well as depicting how it must have been during the French revolution.
After this, I paid a visit to the Hof church, which is the main cathedral of the city and holds a prominent importance during the Renaissance as a cultural bridge between the Middle Ages and the modern history. It has twin towers built in 1170 and beautiful interiors. You would need to climb up a few stairs to get to the entrance. The Gothic architecture of the twin towers tells the German influence in this beautiful church in the old town.
There are other notable places which I didn’t do in the old town like – Jesuit Church, Franciscan Church, Townhall and a museum. While in the town, you can enjoy Swiss cheese fondue, some nice desserts and some coffee. The squares are magnificent and this area is comparatively quite then the rest of the city. By the time I was done with another round of eating and souvenir shopping, the clock was ticking my bus time. This small city with beautiful places in every corner had me itching for more until I return for some more experiences.