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Lucerne (Luzern) tourist attractions, activities, sightseeing, travel guide.

Luzern tourist infoLucerne tourist attractions Luzern transport info

Lucerne Switzerland

If you want to enjoy the best scenery you should look from the towers in the medieval part of the town. These towers were built between 1350 and 1408 and each one has a unique style. They are 9 as a whole, called the Museggturme, but climbing is allowed on only 3 of them. You can visit them free from May till October and also walk on the old city walls.

The Bourbaki Panorama

This is the most successful replication of bloodshed from the 19th century which supported the neutral role of Switzerland and provided opportunities for testing the newly-formed Red Cross. It is in honour of a moment from the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) – the fleeting of the French army of General Charles Bourbaki from France into Switzerland in order to escape from the Germans. In Switzerland the exhausted and dying French were disarmed and housed all over the country in order to recover and rest. This is probably the most humanitarian act in the history of Switzerland and it surely deserved to be painted as a panorama. The painting was completed in 1881, but significantly shortened and abandoned in a while. Until 2003 the place was rebuilt and a museum was opened. You should know however, that you will constantly hear recorded gunshots and cries there.

Gletschergaten (Glacier Garden)

Gletschergaten Glacier Garden

The place used to be a glacier bed during the ice age and the ice made deep holes in the sandstone. The 32 holes were cleared in 1872 and some of them are 9 meters wide and almost that deep. There is also a museum which exhibits a map of the Alps from the 18th century, some prehistoric animals and plants and a short film can be watched.

Picasso Museum

In this 3-floored museum you can see some original works of Pablo Picasso. They include paintings, drawings, ceramics and others from the last twenty years of the life of the artist. When Lucerne had its 800th anniversary, Siegfried and Angela Rosengart gave the artworks as a gift. Some of them include Woman and Dog Playing (1953), Woman Dressing Her Hair (1954), The Studio (1955), Woman with a Hat (1961) and more. The building which houses the museum, called Am-Rhyn-Haus, was built in 1618 in Renaissance style by Walthard Am-Rhyn. He was the mayor of the town and his family owned the building until 1946.
You can also see there 200 of the most popular photographs of David Douglas Duncan, who world-known for his astonishing photographs of World War II and who also made a lot of photographs of Picasso.

Verkenrshaus der Schweiz (Swiss Transport Museum)
This is a unique and very popular place in Europe. It is situated after the Haldenstrasse cable-car station and can be reached by bus. There you can see every existing form of transportation, including cars, ships, spacecrafts and railway cars. There can be seen the oldest steamboat in Switzerland – the Riga (1847). There is a model of a train, crossing the Gotthard Pass and even a ride, called the Gotthard Tunnel Show.
In the same building there is also the Longines Planetarium where you can observe the constellations, a solar and moon eclipse and more. Also next to the museum there is the Hans Erni House where you can see his artworks.

Richard Wagner Museum

Wagner used to live and create here for several years (1866 – 1872) and his Die Meistersinger was composed here. His museum is situated in Tribschen (on the outskirts of Lucerne, where he lived) and displays original scores and memorabilia, including letters and pictures and some old musical instruments.


Side Trips
Lake Lucerne is a popular place for its beauty and clear waters and attracts many tourists and poets. All around it there are old-looking villages and everything in the area can be reached by a steamer or a mountain train. If you have a Eurail or InterRail pass you may ride the boats without charge. The trains can lift you to more than 3 000meters above the sea level.

Mount Pilatus

Pilatus Kulm

Pilatus-Kulm is a peak at 2 100 meters elevation only 15 kilometers away from Lucerne. In medieval times the mount was said to be the home of the ghost of Pontius Pilate and from fear of him no one was allowed to go up there. Even after the ascension was allowed, very few people had the courage to climb the mount. But Queen Victoria did it in 1868 and this became a very popular trip since then.
From May till November, when the weather is fine, there is an open cog railway from Alpnachstad, at the end of the lake to Mount Pilatus. Alpnachstad can be reached by a steamer along the gorgeous lake (90 minutes).

Rigi is yet another mount, only 15 kilometers away from Lucerne, which reveals great views from the top. The panorama from Rigi is quite different from the one from Mount Pilatus and even more beautiful. Rigi is 1 680 meters high and very famous, but be sure to visit it when the weather is fine and clear. Many people call it the island mountain as it is surrounded by the lakes Lucerne, Zug and Lauerz. You can reach the mount by a cog railway or a cableway.

Rigi Mount Lucerne

Dietschiberg is located at 619 meters elevation and offers probably the best view of Lucerne, its belonging lakes, Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi. You can reach it by a half an hour trip with a cable car from Haldenstrasse in Lucerne.

Gutsch is a mountain plateau which can be easily and fastly reached and also offers a great view. It is on the Gütsch, a 514 meters elevation and from it you can see the town, the lakes around it and the Alps. It is reachable via funicular from Baselstrasse and the trip takes only ten minutes.

Mount Titlis is often reached from the resort Engelberg and is the highest place from which you can see the central part of Switzerland. The top itself is always covered in snow and you can visit an ice cave or a glacier trail. The viewing point is located at 2 970 meters elevation and offers a breath taking view of Jungfrau, Matterhorn and even Zurich and Basel when the weather is good. There is a ski track open throughout the whole year, a ski lift and 2 restaurants.

Mount Titlis

Special Events
Lucerne International Music Festival, Aug - Sep (annual), Kultur und Kongresszentrum
The music festival in Lucerne is as popular throughout Europe as the ones in Salzburg and Edinburgh. Every year it becomes a gathering point for many world-famous musicians, plus performances by the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras. The most important orchestral concerts can be seen in the new concert hall in the impressive Cultural and Congress Centre.

Lucerne Blues Festival, Nov (annual), Casino
This festival lasts for a week in the Casino of Lucerne at Vierwaldstättersee. It is conducted ever since 1995 in a beautiful place around the Rigi and Pilatus Mountains.

Fumetto International Comic Festival, Mar - Apr (annual), Lucerne
Every year numerous comic fans gather in Lucerne to become part of the biggest festival for cartoonists and comic-drawers. At different places all over the town you can see exhibitions or participate in different events and competitions.
Other interesting events include Blue Balls Festival - July (annual) and Circus Knie Tour - July - August (annual)