10 Key Things about Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne – A City of Indescribable Beauty

Lucerne is, inarguably, Switzerland’s most stunning city. Words cannot justify the scenic charm of this place- even Shakespeare would have failed at trying to do so. Just a few pictures of Lucerne’s magnificent lake with snow-capped mountains in the backdrop and the beautiful Chapel Bridge will see you taking the next flight to Switzerland. Unless you are averse to breathtaking scenery, Lucerne would certainly not disappoint! 

10 Key Things about Lucerne, Switzerland

1. History of Lucerne

The history of Lucerne has been influenced heavily by its geographical location in Central Switzerland. The city became a center of commerce probably because of being situated at the lower end of Lake Lucerne. Lucerne attained independence in 1178, which is also said to be the founding year of the city. As a result of being strategically located in the Gotthard trade route, foreign influence was particularly strong. Excellent accessibility of natural monuments in Switzerland made Lucerne an important tourist destination.

The word ‘Lucerne’, many say, has been derived from ‘Luciaria’, an old word for weir-basket. If this is not a myth, Lucerne may have started as a fishermen’s village.

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2. Nightlife of Lucerne

Lucerne is a cool place to hang out with a young crowd, and it is known as the “City of Lights.” Seehotel Hermitage, BLUE, Casineum, Grand Casino, Des Balances Bar, Konzerthaus Schuur, Loft Club and Louis bar are just some of the umpteen options you can choose from.

3. Safety in Lucerne

You need not worry about your safety in Lucerne because of its affable people who love having tourists. The crime level is surprisingly low. You will never feel like you need to check over your shoulder! Having said that, you should always take care of your belongings. In case you run into trouble, the locals and the police will be more than happy to help you.

4. Living Expenses in Lucerne

Switzerland has a reputation for being an expensive place. But in recent years, the difference between Switzerland and other European countries has somewhat reduced.

Living costs in Lucerne are between CHF 1500 (USD 1547) and CHF 1800 (USD 1857) per person per month, depending on your house rent, food preferences and miscellaneous expenditure. Basic utilities for a month for an 85 sq. m. apartment will amount to CHF 106.76 (USD 110.14). The rent of a 1BHK apartment in the city centre would be close to CHF 1633 (USD 1684).  A similar apartment outside the city centre will cost you much less at CHF 850 (USD 378).

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5. Cuisine of Lucerne

All you foodies, get ready to be spoilt for choice in Lucerne when you search for places to dine out with your friends or family. The restaurants in Lucerne bring you the very best of fine dining and budget options in Switzerland. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that you have nothing much to do after finishing off your meal except licking your plates! Soul chicken, Zunfthaus zu Pfistern, The Chügelipastete, Älpler Magronen served with apple sauce, Cheese fondue, Raclette, Rösti, Birchermüesli and Chügelipastete are some of Lucerne’s most famous dishes.

Wirtshaus Galliker restaurant is a favourite of the locals and tourists alike. Always bustling with people, this tiny restaurant with a traditional, homely atmosphere has some of the best food in Lucerne on offer. The Chögelipastetli and veal stake are not to be missed! Château Gütsch, on the other hand, is unbeatable for its grandeur. Its elegant ambience and sumptuous cuisine have to be witnessed to be believed. Reussbad, a beautiful little restaurant, is a fish lover’s heaven. Yearning for coffee? Look no further than Cafe Heini, which serves the best coffee, cakes and the like, in the whole of Switzerland. If you miss out anything made with chocolate in this street side cafe, your trip to this Swiss city will be a waste! Aqua is THE place to go for an evening meal. Located near the lake, its elegance encapsulates you as you enter. The terrace overlooking the lake is a perfect location for enjoying a candle light dinner with your partner.

6. Statistics of Lucerne

With a population of about 80,501 people, Lucerne is the most populated city in Switzerland. The city’s urban area consists of 17 cities and town have an overall population of 2,50,000. Lucerne has an area of 29.1 square kilometers (11.2 sq mi). As of 2013, 25.0% of the population was of foreign descent, of which 19.9% were from Europe, 2.8% from Asia, and the rest were found to be of African and American descent.

35,682 (60%) of Lucerne’s population are Roman Catholics and 9,227 (15.5%) are Protestants, 1,824 individuals (3.07%) are Muslims and 196 individuals (0.33%) are Jewish.

7. Public Transport in Lucerne

Lucerne’s public transport network includes buses and local trains. Lucerne is divided into zones, and tickets have to be bought for travelling in a zone. Tickets are valid in the chosen zones on buses and local trains. Lucerne city is zone number 10. For a visitor to Lucerne, a ticket for zone 10 will suffice as all the famous tourist spots are within this zone. A day pass for zone 10 costs CHF 8 (half-fare CHF 6) while a single ticket valid for 1 hour would cost you CHF 4. These can be purchased at the ticket machines at almost every stop. City transport in Lucerne runs from 05:00 – 00:30. It’s usually easy to get a taxi, even in rush hours. The following is the maximum fare fixed for taxis: CHF 6 for first few kilometres, CHF 3.80/km up to CHF 20, and CHF 3.50/km beyond this.

Pollution: PM10 levels are quite low at 24 PPM. PM2.5 levels are even lower with a value of 16 PPM.

8. Weather of Lucerne

The climate is moderate with no excessive heat, cold or humidity.

Summer: June-August; Average High: 26°C; Average Low: 19°C
Spring: March-May; Average High: 17°C; Average Low: 9°C
Autumn: September-November; Average High: 15°C; Average Low: 8°C
Winter: January-February; Average High: 7°C; Average Low: -2°C

9. Culture of Lucerne

Lucerne is a perfect example of the coming together of tradition and modernity. Lucerne offers music and cultural programmes throughout the year. Try visiting atleast one of Lucerne’s events on classical music, brass bands, blues, jazz, comics/fumetto, theatre, or even better, the Lucerne carnival, and you’ll know why it’s called the city of culture.

Events such as the Lucerne Festival, the Lucerne Blues Festival and the Blue Balls Festival attract music aficionados from all over the world. Other events with fans the world over are the Rowing World Cup and Fumetto comics festival. Lucerne Festival will give you the opportunity to witness music of an extraordinary class. Featuring a different theme each year, the programme offers an astonishingly broad spectrum of music ranging from Mozart to the Modernists. The Lucerne Blues Festival is one of Europe’s most loved blues’ events.

Fumetto is one of Europe’s leading international comic festivals featuring fine art, graphic design and illustration. It runs for 9 days and incorporates around 12 main and 40 satellite exhibitions. Attracting close to 50,000 visitors from across the world, it is one of Lucerne’s largest events.

Lucerne Carnival is also a popular festival, famous for strange characters in amusing masks and costumes parading on the city streets, or rather dancing away to the tunes of carnival musicians blowing their instruments.

10. Places to visit in Lucerne

Things to do in Lucerne: For a small city like Lucerne, there are many way too many tourist spots worth visiting. The Chapel Bridge with the Water Tower is the landmark of Lucerne and is said to be the most photographed monument in the entire country. The Lion monument is a historical site, albeit a reminder of a tragic event. Lukas Ahorn carved this 10m long sculpture of a dying lion on a rock in 1820 to commemorate the death of Swiss soldiers who died while defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Mark Twain once called it the ‘saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world’.10-Key-Things-about-Lucerne-Switzerland-Volaris-Paragliding-1-768x1024 10 Key Things about Lucerne, Switzerland

Museums and Galleries: Greatly loved by kids, the intriguingly interactive Verkehrshaus is deservedly Switzerland’s most famous museum. Along with space rockets, steam locomotives, bicycles and dugout canoes, there are hands-on activities such as flight simulators and broadcasting studios. The museum also houses a planetarium, Switzerland’s largest 3D cinema, and its newest attraction is the Swiss Chocolate Experience- a 20-minute ride that takes its visitors through multimedia exhibits on the origin, history, production and distribution of chocolate, from Ghana to Switzerland, and beyond.

Lucerne’s blockbuster cultural attraction is the Sammlung Rosengart. This art gallery showcases the exceptional stash of Angela Rosengart who was one of Picasso’s close friends. Alongside works by the great Spanish artist are paintings and sketches by Miró,  Cézanne, Matisse, Klee, Kandinsky and Monet. Joan Miró’s electric-blue Dancer II and Paul Klee’s childlike X-chen stand out from the rest.

Bellpark is another famous museum. Housed in a 19th century mansion, it showcases photography exhibits along with objects from Switzerland’s rich past. It gives an insight into the Swiss artistic trends of the past, present and future.

Things to do for Kids in Lucerne: Take your kids for a stroll through the old town. While they may not be able to appreciate the beauty of the Old Town to the right measure, they might really enjoy crossing the wooden Chapel Bridge. Not only are the bridges fun to walk across, they are Lucerne’s iconic charms. Buy your kids a scoop of Luzern’s best ice cream from Dieci while you are in the vicinity.

There is a lovely promenade along the lake in Luzern. You may even rent a paddle boat to see around the lake. If your children are sports enthusiasts, take them to Lido which has the largest playground in Luzern, and also the largest beach. It also has an indoor swimming pool and volleyball courts. Needless to say, this is the perfect place to visit on a hot summer day.

Places Nearby Lucerne: As you may have already heard, it is a sin if you leave Switzerland without exploring its mountains. Two mountains very close to Luzern are Rigi and Pilatus. They offer a breathtaking view as well as ample opportunities for adventure sports. Towering to a height of 2100 meter, the snow-capped peak of Mt. Pilatus is a great destination for a day long excursion. Apart from trekking or climbing to reach to the top, you may even hop on to the cogwheel railway and enjoy the stupendous view from the world’s steepest rail route.

Only about one and a half hours from Lucerne, Titlis is one of the most sought-after resorts in the whole of Switzerland. Spread out at a height of some 3020 metres above sea level, Titlis is the highest point in Central Switzerland, and besides offering an outstanding view of the surrounding area, it offers a wide array of activities that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Most highly touted is the Titlis Rotair- a revolving cable car that is undoubtedly the best way to see the perpetually snowy landscape. In case you start feeling hungry, Titlis boasts of another `first’- the highest pizza joint in the world!

The Vierwaldstättersee, or Lake Lucerne, is the kind of excursion that you would like to go for on the first as well as on the last day of your visit. The eloquent mountain scenery and the shimmering water will stay fresh in your mind for as long as you breathe. The lake is picture perfect and all around it, on the shores are pretty little villages and towns. The lake stretches for some 39 km into the heart of the mountain territory, and there are plenty of trips that can be taken using Lucerne as a base. Take a paddle boat or a steam boat and ride away to glory!

Author’s Conclusion: Lucerne is sure to sweep you off your feet the moment you step inside it. It may not be Switzerland’s oldest city, but its residents and visitors vehemently argue that it certainly is the most beautiful one. Those harbouring a love for history will be spellbound by its facades, town squares, narrow streets and historic buildings which give its visitors a free trip to the medieval era.  Just one visit will certainly not satiate your love for this place.

Country Switzerland
City Lucerne
Area 29.04 sq. km.
Population 78,786 (approx.) as of 2012
Demonym Luzerner
Languages German, French, Italian, Romansh
Currency Swiss Frank (1 USD= 0.96 CHF) as of 18th April, 2016
Time Zone Central European Summer Time (UTC +01:00)
Driving Right Hand Traffic, Left Hand driven vehicles
Emergency Police: 117, Fire: 118, Ambulance: 144

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