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Lucerne in Switzerland - A unique experience

In co-operation with Switzerland Tourism

We have now visited Lucerne in Switzerland, and this is a city we really fell in love with! Besides being characterised by its beautiful old wooden bridges, the city is surrounded by beautiful mountains and lakes. We made our way to the top of Mount Pilatus, using the world's steepest rack-and-pinion railway.


Lucerne in Switzerland

Lucerne is a city in central Switzerland, right next to Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee). We had no expectations when we came to this city, but we immediately fell in love with the beautiful houses, the old footbridges and the dramatic surroundings with both lake and alpine peaks.

Bro i Luzern
Luzern Switzerland

There are of course a lot of tourists in Lucerne, especially Americans and Asians, but it still doesn't feel crowded. At Schwanenplatz you'll also see a lot of swans.

Luzern svanar
Yoga i Luzern
Afternoon yoga in Lucerne

The old wooden bridges in Lucerne

The footbridges over the River Reuss in Lucerne are very special. Originally there were three wooden footbridges, but since one was demolished in the 19th century, only two remain, the Kapellbrücke and the Spreuerbrücke. The bridges were built in the 13th and 14th centuries, and the oldest of them is also the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe.

Luzern bro

Unfortunately, much of this bridge, the Kapellbrücke, was destroyed in a dramatic fire in 1993. The bridge has been rebuilt using old techniques, but the paintings that burned are gone forever.

Broar målningar Luzern
Some of the paintings on Kapellbrücke survived the fire

On the Kapellbrücke, original paintings remain at the beginning and end of the bridge. On the Spreuerbrücke, all the paintings remain. Feel free to check them out if you come here, and see how death in each painting brings different people, by attracting an attribute belonging to their profession ...

Vid Spreuerbrücke i Luzern i Schweiz
Spreuerbrücke in Lucerne, Switzerland

Another special feature of the river that runs through Lucerne is the system for regulating water levels. The system, built in the 19th century, consists of special wooden sticks (known as 'needles') that can be adjusted to control the flow of water through the city.

Nivåreglerare Luzern
The system for controlling the river's water was constructed in the 19th century.

Dinner at a French restaurant

After looking around the city, we had dinner at a French restaurant called Brasserie Bodu. This is a restaurant that we can highly recommend if you come to Lucerne!

The atmosphere is cosy and the food was fantastic. We ordered a seafood stew with different types of fish, prawns, vongole mussels and scallops. Yummy!

Fransk restaurang Luzern
Fisk- och skaldjursgratäng
In the house behind me is the French restaurant, and also a traditional Swiss restaurant.

Boat trip on Lake Lucerne

The next day we took the opportunity to look around Lucerne. We did the tour called "The Golden Tour". You start with a 1.5 hour boat ride from Lucerne to Alpnachstad, where you take a train (!) up to the top of Mount Pilatus. On the way down, you take a cable car to Kriens, and from there a bus back to Lucerne.

Båt på Luzernsjön
Lovely boat trip between Lucerne and Alpnachstad

Mount Pilatus - train up and cable car down

Taking the train up to Mount Pilatus is an amazing experience! The train runs on a 4.6 km long narrow gauge rack railway, which has a 48 (!) per cent gradient at the steepest points. The Pilatusbahn was built in 1889 and electrified in 1937. The maximum speed upwards is 12 km/h and the train journey takes about 40 minutes.
Luzern berget Pilatus

The train takes you up to Pilatus Kulm, at a height of 2132 metres above sea level. From here you have a great view of the mountains and lakes, and you can also see all the tough (crazy?) people climbing the mountain on foot or perhaps by bike.

Berget Pilatus
Schweiz berget Pilatur
Luzern berget Pilatus

We had lunch at the restaurant at Pilatus Kulm, and decided to try something Swiss. There must be something else than raclette and cheese fonduewe reasoned. 

So what was it? Well, it was a puff pastry dish "Lucerne style" with veal, pork, rice and peas. Really good!

Schweizisk mat

After walking around and getting our fill of the surroundings, which in itself is not easy, it was time to go down on the cable car. I am not yet completely cured of my fear of cable cars, but going down is easier than going up, for some reason.

Linbana Schweiz

On the way down with the cable car (or up if you take it in the other direction) you can stop at an intermediate station. Here you'll find a high-altitude course, a smaller and easier high-altitude course for children, tents hanging between trees (!) that you can sleep in, and a restaurant.

Höghöjdsbana Schweiz

Video from Lucerne

Peter has put together a film about Lucerne. Please check it out!

TCS Camping Sempach

We stayed two nights at TCS Camping Sempach outside Lucerne. We have now stayed at three TCS campsites in Switzerland and all have been really good. Among other things, all have had a good solution for WiFi that we could use for three devices at no extra cost. Very practical for us, and good in a country like Switzerland where you cannot use your own internet.

Camping Sempach Luzern

Camping Sempach is a large and well-maintained campsite, nicely situated next to a lake. Bicycles can be hired and if you want to visit Lucerne you can walk or cycle to the railway station (15 minutes walk or 7 minutes by bike). From here the train runs between the campsite and the city three times an hour. The campsite is also known for its beautiful sunsets over the water.

More to see and do in Switzerland

There is of course much more to see and experience around Switzerland. Below you will find lots of reports with tips and inspiration.

All our top tips about Switzerland. Click on the image!

Facts about Lucerne

  • Country: Switzerland
  • District: City of Lucerne
  • Canton: Cantons of Lucerne
  • Residents: 81 000 (2018)
  • Location: The city is located on Lake Lucerne, in central Switzerland.
  • Industries: Trade, industry and tourism

History of Lucerne

  • Founding: Lucerne developed around the monastery of St Leodegar, founded in 740. The city gained city rights around 1178.
  • 16th century: Lucerne was the centre of the Catholic Counter-Reformation in Switzerland.
  • 18th century: In 1798, Lucerne became part of the Helvetic Republic.

Travelling to Lucerne

  • Flight: There are several different flight connections to Switzerland, including Zurich.
  • Car: It takes just over 40 minutes to drive from Zurich, and 1 hour and 15 minutes to drive from Bern.

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