I shared a recap of our time in Zurich the other day and now we’re heading to Lucerne, a little city located on–predictably–Lake Lucerne! It’s known for it’s medieval architecture and the iconic Kapellbrücke “Chapel” Bridge that goes over the point where the lake meets the River Reuss. Having been there twice now, I can confidently say that it’s one of my favorite European cities. The Swiss ones tend to fill a lot of the spots on that list!
As you may recall, we first flew into Zurich, spent one night there, and took a train to Lake Como for two nights the next morning. The plan was to spend Monday afternoon to Thursday morning before our flight in Zurich. I’d been to Lucerne–also known as Luzern–once before and really loved it. It’s a beautiful city with stunning mountain views, and like most of Switzerland, is extremely easy to explore by foot. We wanted to go somewhere close and Lucerne is an expensive, short (45 minute), direct train ride from Zurich’s main station. Plus, I had fond memories of my day trip there with my parents + family friends years before, and really wanted J to experience the city, too.
The day was breezy and overcast–the latter being my favorite time to take photos!–and we pretty much spent the day walking and popping in and out of stores. Something I tried to be better about on this trip was not having everything planned out minute by minute…it’s easier said than done because growing up, all my family vacations included jam packed days with lengthy agendas. Butttt, for the second time (the first being the previous year in Germany), I think I’m getting the hang of it :)
Keeping in mind we were just there for a day (about 10:30am-4pm), here’s what we saw, ate, and did.
SEE / DO
As I said before, my favorite part about Lucerne is how easily walkable it is. There were significantly more tourists than in Zurich but not overwhelmingly so.
Museum of History Lucerne: This museum is exactly what it sounds like: a huge collection of cultural history from the Lucerne region. Admission was free the day we were there and the museum was cool, but it was basically a lot of artifacts jam packed into display cases. It looked like they were doing some reorganizing so things may be a little different and less overwhelming in the future.
The Swiss Museum of Transport is supposed to be awesome, if you have enough time for a longer visit to get your money’s worth! All museums are here–I haven’t been to any because last time I was here, we spent most of our time going up the mountain.
Kapellbrücke “Chapel” Bridge: You can’t miss it! Grab your camera and take a walk across the iconic bridge…don’t forget to look up to see the paintings.
Mount Pilatus: Lucerne is known for Mount Pilatus and many people come to the city solely visit the mountain. I did the trip with my parents years ago and it’s really spectacular. We did Switzerland without a Swiss Pass this time, so making the trip up would have cost us more than we’d bargained for (around $100/person). If you have the opportunity, definitely go up–just note that it’s kind of pricey (but then again, what in Switzerland isn’t?). Next time, we’re vowing to visit multiple mountains and not just take in the view from below, though it’s still pretty stunning as you can see from these photos!
Tissot: You may have noticed me wearing this watch nonstop–I picked it up on our trip! The Tissot store in Lucerne is awesome and their price points cover a huge range, so I’d recommend checking them out if you plan on buying yourself a souvenir timepiece.
Flying Tiger: You may have heard of this Danish store–there’s one in NYC now–but I’d never been and was so excited to stumble upon it in Lucerne. They carry a huge variety of things from art supplies and hair accessories and gift wrapping adornments to kitchen tools and gag gifts…really, the most randomly awesome collection of things!
Butler’s: Why are the coolest stores always abroad?! I wanted to buy everything here but managed to only come out with this adorable glass jar for my roommate. It basically has a bunch of homewares…and they had the cutest gingham cutlery (kinda like this). Seriously, how cool, right?! If I had a checked bag, serious damage would have been done!
Sadly we only had two meals there, but both were worth noting:
La Cucina: We kind of stumbled upon this place thanks to my reliance on Yelp…it was delicious, but way fancier and pricier than I anticipated especially since the lunch menu was a more limited version of what we saw online. Let’s just say we sort of accidentally ordered a $14 bottle of Evian. On the plus side, we were so full we didn’t even eat a full dinner that night after returning to Zurich, but just opted for fruit + cheese + dried meats with crackers in our apartment.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below if you have any questions! It probably goes without saying, but I’d recommend adding Lucerne to your list if you’re planning a trip to Switzerland. Oh, and if you can swing it, Hotel Château Gütsch looks pretty much incredible and I really want to stay there!
All photos by Monica Dutia