Lucerne, Switzerland is a beautiful city located on Lake Lucerne. This wonderful metropolis of medieval architecture is a must visit in Northern Europe for its historically preserved city streets and colorful Old Town. Perfect for both the history buffs and the outdoor sports enthusiast, Lucerne is sure to have something for everyone.
When to Visit
Switzerland generally has pretty standard seasonal weather, so the best time to visit Lucerne will mostly depend on what you are looking to do while you are there. But really, anytime is a great time to visit because there will always be something to do or see.
January and February are the heart of winter for Lucerne which means that they are great times to take a trip for winter sports like skiing or snowboarding. Ski lodges will be open during this time and cities will be nice a cozy.
July and August are the heart of summer in Switzerland and great times to take to some of the more intense hiking trails around Lucerne since snow will be melting around the peaks. This time of year can be a great time to explore some of the more high-altitude hikes that are not available during the colder months.
Are you looking for a time to visit with fewer tourists? September is the start of fall in Lucerne and really a great time to visit. Hikes are still available and temperatures will be perfect. March or April could be good times to visit if you are looking to participate in winter sports. But be careful, slopes begin to close in April.
Mount Pilatus is a must visit on my list for Lucerne. This mountain is one of the main peaks that is viewable from the city. Affectionately referred to as the “Dragon Mountain” due to the folklore that surrounds it – namely, that it used to be inhabited by dragons – this peak boasts such a majestic view of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountain range.
Chapel Bridge is a monumental piece of Lucerne history that is still structurally sound to this day. This beautiful and antique bridge that crosses the Reuss is one of the oldest surviving truss bridges still standing. Open to visitors, it is a joy to cross this piece of history.
Lucerne boasts a wonderful Old Town on the right bank of the Reuss. The Old Town is home to lovely painted homes, quaint shops, and cobblestone streets. The main thoroughfare of the town is traffic-free for viewing pleasure. Be sure to check out the Old Town Hall that was built in the early 1600s!
Carved into the side of an old sandstone quarry you will find The Lion Monument. This relief of a dying lion amidst a French and Switzerland-branded shield is a great piece of Lucerne history. This lion holds deep symbolism for Switzerland’s past. Arrive early to miss the crowds!
The Jesuit Church is a stunning piece of architecture that was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Built in a baroque style, it is a gem that you should definitely check out!
Bourbaki Panorama is another stunning piece of history in Lucerne. Painted by Edouard Castres, this panorama painting depicts an important piece of the French-Prussian war. The snowy landscape is shown in a rotunda and is truly lovely.
Foods to Try
The Swiss love their potatoes which makes this first dish no surprise. Rosti, a national dish, is simple and delicious. Made by simply cooking patties of freshly grated potato in butter (with no additives), this dish is simple and to the point.
Raclette is a type of fondue that is served in Lucerne. Made with a hot Swiss cheese, it is commonly served with cold cuts of meat and potatoes and is just divine.
Basler Leckerli is a sweet biscuit that is commonly made in December in Lucerne. The biscuit is made with almonds, hazelnuts, honey, fruit, and Kirsche. Not visiting in December? No worries! You can usually find Basler Leckerli in local bakeries.