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For the leguminous fodder, see alfalfa; for other uses, see Lucerne (disambiguation).
Lucerne - View of Lucerne from the summit of Pilatus
View of Lucerne from the summit of Pilatus
Country Switzerland Coat of Arms of Lucerne
Canton Lucerne
District Lucerne
47°03′N 8°18′E / 47.05°N 8.3°E / 47.05; 8.3Coordinates: 47°03′N 8°18′E / 47.05°N 8.3°E / 47.05; 8.3
Population 76,156 (January 2010)
  - Density 2,622 /km2 (6,792 /sq mi)
Area 29.04 km2 (11.21 sq mi)
Elevation 436 m (1,430 ft)
Postal code 6000
SFOS number 1061
Mayor (list) Urs W. Studer (as of 2008) Ind.
Surrounded by
(view map)
Adligenswil, Ebikon, Emmen, Horw, Kriens, Malters, Meggen, Neuenkirch
Twin towns Bournemouth (United Kingdom), Chicago (United States), Cieszyn (Poland), Guebwiller/Murbach (France), Olomouc (Czech Republic), Potsdam (Germany)
Profile (German), SFSO statistics
Lucerne [zoom] is located in Switzerland
Lucerne [zoom]

Lucerne (French pronunciation: [lysɛʁn]; German: Luzern, IPA: [luːˈtsɛrn]  ( listen); Italian: Lucerna; Romansh: Lucerna) is a city in Switzerland. It is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne and seat of the district with the same name. With a population of 76,156[1], Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland and a focal point of the region. The city's agglomeration consists of 17 municipalities in three cantons with an overall population of nearly 200,000[2].

Due to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee), within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne is traditionally considered first and foremost as a tourist destination. One of the city's famous landmarks is Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first built in the 14th century.




Early history and founding (750–1386)

Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke)

After the fall of the Roman Empire beginning in the 6th century, Germanic Alemannic peoples increased their influence on this area of present day Switzerland. Around 750 the Benedictine Monastery of St. Leodegar was founded, which was later acquired by Murbach Abbey in Alsace in the middle of the 9th century, and by this time the area had become known as Luciaria.[3] In 1178 Lucerne acquired its independence from the jurisdiction of Murbach Abbey, and the founding of the city proper probably occurred this same year. The city gained importance as a strategically located gateway for the growing commerce from the Gotthard trade route.

By 1290 Lucerne became a good-sized, self-sufficient city with about 3000 inhabitants. About this time King Rudolph I von Habsburg gained authority over the Monastery of St. Leodegar and its lands, including Lucerne. The populace did not appreciate the increasing Habsburg influence, and Lucerne allied with neighboring towns to seek independence from Habsburg rule. Along with Lucerne, the three other forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden formed the "eternal" Swiss Confederacy, known as the Eidgenossenschaft, on November 7, 1332. Later the cities Zurich, Zug and Berne joined the alliance. With the help of these additions, the rule of Austria over the area was ended. The issue was settled through Lucerne’s victory over the Habsburgs in the Battle of Sempach in 1386. For Lucerne this victory ignited an era of expansion. The city shortly granted many rights to itself, rights which had been withheld by the Habsburgs until then. By this time the borders of Lucerne approximately matched those of today.

From city to city-state (1386–1520)

In 1415 Lucerne gained Reichsfreiheit from Emperor Sigismund and became a strong member of the Swiss confederacy. The city developed its infrastructure, raised taxes, and appointed its own local officials. The city’s population of 3000 dropped about 40% due to the Black Plague around 1350 and several wars.

In 1419 town records show the first witch trial against a male person.

Swiss-Catholic town (1520–1798)

Lucerne in 1642

Among the growing towns of the confederacy, Lucerne was especially popular in attracting new residents. As the confederacy broke up during Reformation after 1520, most cities became Protestant but Lucerne remained Catholic. After the victory of the Catholics over the Protestants in the Battle at Kappel in 1531, the Catholic towns dominated the confederacy. The future, however, belonged to the Protestant cities like Zurich, Berne and Basel, who defeated the Catholics in the second Villmerg War in 1712. The former prominent position of Lucerne in the confederacy was lost forever. In the 16th and 17th centuries, wars and epidemics became steadily less frequent and as a result the population of the country increased strongly.

Lucerne in 1758

Lucerne was also involved in the Swiss peasant war of 1653.

Century of revolutions (1798–1914)

Conflict at Lucerne, Illustrated London News, 1845.

In 1798, nine years after the beginning of the French Revolution, the French army marched into Switzerland. The old confederacy collapsed and the government became democratic. The industrial revolution hit Lucerne rather late, and by 1860 only 1.7% of the population worked in industry, which was about a quarter of the countrywide rate at that time. Agriculture, which employed about 40% of the workers, was the main form of economic output in the canton. Nevertheless, industry was attracted to the city from areas around Lucerne. From 1850 to 1913, the population quadrupled and the flow of settlers increased. In 1856 trains first linked the city to Olten and Basel, then Zug and Zurich in 1864 and finally to the south in 1897.

Lucerne today

On June 17, 2007, voters of Lucerne and the adjacent municipality of Littau agreed to a merger in a simultaneously held referendum, becoming effective on January 1, 2010.[4] The combined municipality will have a population of around 76,000, making it the seventh largest city in Switzerland, and will keep the name and coat of arms of the city of Lucerne. The successful referendum is expected to pave the way for negotiations with other neighbouring municipalities in an effort to create a unified city-region, based on the results of a study[5].


A night view of Lucerne across Vierwaldstättersee
Mount Pilatus from Lucerne
The river Reuss in the old part of Lucerne.
Wasserturm and Kapellbrücke - the town's two most famous landmarks

Since the city straddles the Reuss River where it drains the lake, it has a number of bridges. The most famous is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a 204 m (669 ft) long wooden bridge originally built in 1333, although much of it had to be replaced after a fire on August 18, 1993, allegedly caused by a discarded cigarette. Partway across, the bridge runs by the octagonal Water Tower (Wasserturm), a fortification from the 13th century. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Luzern's history. The Bridge with its Tower is the city's most famous landmark.

Downriver, between the Kasernenplatz and the Mühlenplatz, the Spreuerbrücke or Mill Bridge zigzags across the Reuss. Constructed in 1408, it is the oldest covered bridge in Europe and features a series of medieval-style 17th Century plague paintings by Kaspar Meglinger titled Dance of Death. Meglinger's paintings portray various conditions of men and women, priests and warriors, princes and men of learning, the young bride, the devout nun, the lawmaker, the hunter, the miller, even the artist himself, are all depicted at the mercy of Death, with his mocking smile and his ever-changing garb. These paintings, suitable for a Benedictine abbey, are seen by every inhabitant of beautiful Lucerne who crosses the river via the Spreuerbrücke. It has a small chapel in the middle that was added in 1568.

Old Town Lucerne is located just north of the Reuss River, and still has several fine half-timber structures with painted fronts. Remnants of the old town walls exist on the hill above Lucerne, complete with eight tall watch towers. An additional gated tower sits at the base of the hill on the banks of the Reuss River.

The twin needle towers of the Church of St. Leodegar, which was named after the city's patron saint, sit on a small hill just above the lakefront. Originally built in 735, the present structure was erected in 1633 in the late Renaissance style. However, the towers are surviving remnants of an earlier structure. The interior is richly decorated. The church is popularly called the Hofkirche (German) and is known locally as the Hofchile (Swiss-German).

Bertel Thorvaldsen's famous carving of a dying lion (the Lion Monument, or Löwendenkmal) is found in a small park just off Lowenplatz. The carving commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when the mob stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

The Swiss Transport Museum is a large and comprehensive museum exhibiting all forms of transport, including locomotives, automobiles, ships, and aircraft.

The Culture and Convention Center beside the lake in the center of the city was designed by Jean Nouvel. The center has one of the world's leading concert halls, with acoustics by Russell Johnson.


Another view across Lake Lucerne.

Lucerne has an area of 15.8 square kilometers (6.1 sq mi). Of this area, 11.6% is used for agricultural purposes, while 25.8% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 60.4% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (2.2%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).[6] In the 1997 land survey, 25.9% of the total land area was forested. Of the agricultural land, 10.64% is used for farming or pastures, while 0.95% is used for orchards or vine crops. Of the settled areas, 33.19% is covered with buildings, 1.71% is industrial, 0.89% is classed as special developments, 8.04% is parks or greenbelts and 16.53% is transportation infrastructure. Of the unproductive areas, 0.51% is unproductive standing water (ponds or lakes), 1.01% is unproductive flowing water (rivers) and 0.63% is other unproductive land.[7]

Before the merger, Littau had an area of 13.3 square kilometers (5.1 sq mi). Of this area, 52.3% is used for agricultural purposes, while 21.1% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 24.8% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (1.7%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).[6] In the 1997 land survey, 21.08% of the total land area was forested. Of the agricultural land, 49.17% is used for farming or pastures, while 3.16% is used for orchards or vine crops. Of the settled areas, 10.47% is covered with buildings, 4.29% is industrial, 1.96% is classed as special developments, 2.33% is parks or greenbelts and 5.8% is transportation infrastructure. Of the unproductive areas, 1.66% is unproductive flowing water (rivers) and 0.08% is other unproductive land.[7]

Following the merger in January 2010, the newly expanded city of Lucerne had an area (excluding lakes) of 29.1 square kilometers (11.2 sq mi). Including lakes the total area was 37.4 square kilometers (14.4 sq mi). Of the non-lake area, 47.7% was settled, 28.0% was agricultural, 22.3% was forested and 2.1% was unproductive.[8]


Lucerne has a population (as of 2007) of 58,381, of which 19.0% are foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 1.2%. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (84.5%), with Italian being second most common ( 2.7%) and Serbo-Croatian being third ( 2.5%).

The age distribution in Lucerne is; 8,454 people or 14.3% of the population is 0–19 years old. 18,772 people or 31.7% are 20–39 years old, and 19,239 people or 32.5% are 40–64 years old. The senior population distribution is 8,463 people or 14.3% are 65–79 years old, 3,570 or 6% are 80–89 years old and 725 people or 1.2% of the population are 90+ years old.[7]

The entire Swiss population is generally well educated. In Lucerne about 73.6% of the population (between age 25-64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either University or a Fachhochschule).

As of 2000 there are 30,586 households, of which 15,452 households (or about 50.5%) contain only a single individual. 853 or about 2.8% are large households, with at least five members.[7] As of 2000 there were 5,707 inhabited buildings in the municipality, of which 4,050 were built only as housing, and 1,657 were mixed use buildings. There were 1,152 single family homes, 348 double family homes, and 2,550 multi-family homes in the municipality. Most homes were either two (787) or three (1,468) story structures. There were only 74 single story buildings and 1,721 four or more story buildings.[7]

The historical population is given in the following table:[3]

year population
1445 ca.3,500
1654 ca. 4,000
1700 ca. 4,000
1784 4,235
1798 4,314
1850 10,068
1870 14,400
1888 20,314
1900 29,255
1910 39,339
1930 47,066
1950 60,526
1970 69,879
1990 61,034
2000 59,496
2010 75,000Projected


In the 2007 election the most popular party was the SPS which received 22.6% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the FDP (19.3%) and the SVP (18.6%).[6]


The city grew up around Sankt Leodegar Abbey, founded in 840 AD, and remained strongly Roman Catholic into the 21st Century. In 1850, 96.9% of the population was Catholic, in 1900 it was 81.9% and in 1950 it was still 72.3%. In the 2000 census the religious membership of Lucerne was; 35,682 (60%) were Roman Catholic, and 9,227 (15.5%) were Protestant, with an additional 1,979 (3.33%) that were of some other Christian faith. There are 196 individuals (0.33% of the population) who are Jewish. There are 1,824 individuals (3.07% of the population) who are Muslim. Of the rest; there were 1,073 (1.8%) individuals who belong to another religion, 6,310 (10.61%) who do not belong to any organized religion, 3,205 (5.39%) who did not answer the question.[7]

Culture and Entertainment


Since plans for the new culture and convention center arose in the late 1980s, Lucerne has found a balance between the so-called established culture and alternative culture. A consensus was reached that culminated in a culture compromise (Kulturkompromiss). The established culture comprises the Culture and Congress Centre (KKL), the city theater (Luzerner Theater) and, in a broader sense, smaller establishments such as Kleintheater, founded by Lucerne native and comedian Emil Steinberger, or Stadtkeller, a music restaurant in the city's old town. KKL houses a concert hall as well as the Museum of Art Lucerne (Kunstmuseum Luzern).

Alternative culture took place mostly in the premises of a former tube factory, which became known as Boa. Other localities for alternative culture have since emerged in the same quarter as Boa. In the beginning, Boa staged various plays, but concerts became more and more common; this new use was disparate with the development of apartment buildings on nearby lots of land. Due to possible noise pollution, Boa was closed and a replacement in a less heavily inhabited area is currently under construction. Critics claimed though, that the new establishment would not meet the requirements for alternative culture.


Jodelling festival 2008

Every year, towards the end of winter, Carnival (Fasnacht) breaks out in the streets, alleyways and squares of the old town. This is a glittering outdoor party, where chaos and merriness reign and nothing is as it normally is. Strange characters in fantastic masks and costumes make their way through the alleyways, while carnival bands (Guggenmusigen) blow their instruments in joyful cacophony and thousands of bizarrely clad people sing and dance away the winter. Lucerne Carnival starts every year on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday with a big bang. There are big parades on Dirty Thursday and the following Monday, called Fat Monday, which attract tens of thousands of people. Lucerne's Carnival ends with a crowning finish on Fat Tuesday evening with a tremendous parade of big bands, lights and lanterns. After the parade, all the bands wander through the city playing joyful music.

The city hosts various renowned festivals throughout the year. The Lucerne Festival for classical music takes place in summer. Its orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, is hand-picked from some of the finest instrumentalists in the world. In July, the Blue Balls Festival brings jazz, blues and funk music to the lake promenade and halls of the Culture and Convention Center. The Lucerne Blues Festival is another musical festival which usually takes place in November. Since spring 2004, Lucerne has hosted the Festival Rose d'Or for television entertainment. And in April, the well-established comics festival Fumetto attracts an international audience.

Being the cultural center of a rather rural region, Lucerne regularly holds different folklore festivals, such as Lucerne Cheese Festival, held annually. In 2004, Lucerne was the focus of Swiss Wrestling fans when it had hosted the Swiss Wrestling and Alpine festival (Eidgenössisches Schwing- und Älplerfest), which takes place every three years in a different location. A national music festival (Eidgenössiches Musikfest) attracted marching bands from all parts of Switzerland in 2006. In summer 2008, the jodelling festival (Eidgenössisches Jodlerfest) is expected to have similar impact.


Lucerne has an unemployment rate of 3%. As of 2005, there were 134 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 21 businesses involved in this sector. 5568 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 416 businesses in this sector. 47628 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 3773 businesses in this sector.[6] As of 2000 51.7% of the population of the municipality were employed in some capacity. At the same time, females made up 47.9% of the workforce.[7]



There are several football (soccer) clubs throughout the city. The most successful one is FC Luzern which is playing in Switzerland's premier league (Swiss Super League). The club plays its home matches at Allmend stadium, an outdated 13.000-capacity field in the south of the city. There are plans for a modern football arena combined with an indoor swimming pool and public sports facilities. The complex is not expected to be ready before 2009.

In the past, Lucerne also produced national successes in men's handball and women's volleyball.

Having a long tradition of equestrian sports, Lucerne has co-hosted CSIO Switzerland, an international equestrian show jumping event, until it left entirely for St. Gallen in 2006. Since then, the Lucerne Equestrian Masters took its place. There is also an annual horse racing event, usually taking place in August.

Lucerne annually hosts the final leg of the Rowing World Cup on Rotsee Lake, and has hosted numerous World Rowing Championships, among others the first ever in 1962. Lucerne was also bidding for the 2011 issue but failed.

The city also provides facilities for ice-hockey, figure-skating, golf, swimming, basketball, rugby, skateboarding, climbing and more.


Main railway station

Lucerne boasts a developed and well-run transport network, with the main operator, VBL, running both buses and trolleybuses in the city. Other operators, such as Auto AG Rothenburg, provide bus services to neighbouring towns and villages. Lucerne station enjoys excellent links to the rest of Switzerland via rail services operated by SBB and Zentralbahn.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Lucerne is twinned with the following towns:


Lucerne has an average of 138.1 days of rain per year and on average receives 1,171 mm (46.1 in) of precipitation. The wettest month is June during which time Lucerne receives an average of 153 mm (6 in) of precipitation. During this month there is precipitation for an average of 14.2 days. The driest month of the year is February with an average of 61 mm (2.4 in) of precipitation over 14.2 days.[9]

Climate data for Luzern
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 2.6
Daily mean °C (°F) -0.2
Average low °C (°F) -3.1
Precipitation mm (inches) 64
Avg. precipitation days 10.6 10.2 11.9 12.8 14.1 14.2 12.6 13.1 9.1 8.6 10.3 10.6 138.1
Source: MeteoSchweiz [9] 8 May 2009

See also


  1. ^ Annual Population Figures, 2009 (PDF) (German, French) Swiss Federal Statistical Office. Retrieved on August 31, 2009.
  2. ^ List of agglomerations and isolated cities in Switzerland, 2000 (Microsoft Excel) (German) Swiss Federal Statistical Office. Retrieved on August 30, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Lucerne in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  4. ^ (2009) Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz, Mutationsmeldungen 2009 / Répertoire officiel des communes de Suisse, Mutations 2009 / Elenco ufficiale dei Comuni della Svizzera, Mutazione 2009 . Federal Statistical Office. Docket 3161. (Report). Retrieved on 6 March 2010.
  5. ^ Grundlagenstudie 'Starke Stadtregion Luzern'PDF (3.50 MiB) January 4, 2007 (German)
  6. ^ a b c d Swiss Federal Statistical Office accessed 20-Aug-2009
  7. ^ a b c d e f g LUSTAT Lucerne Cantonal Statistics (German) accessed 12 August 2009
  8. ^ Statistical Portrait accessed 9 March 2010
  9. ^ a b "Temperature and Precipitation Average Values-Table, 1961-1990" (in German, French, Italian). Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology - MeteoSwiss. Retrieved 8 May 2009. , the weather station elevation is 454 meters above sea level.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Lucerne article)

From Wikitravel

Lucerne (Luzern in Swiss-German) [1] is a beautiful small city in the heartland of Switzerland, across the lake from Altdorf, where legend has it William Tell shot an apple off of his son's head. In addition to being a fine place to visit in and of itself Lucerne is a great base from which to explore famous Swiss sites such as Mount Rigi and the Rütli Meadow.

Mnt. Pilatus and the covered bridge in Lucerne
Mnt. Pilatus and the covered bridge in Lucerne


The first city to join the Swiss Confederation, today Lucerne is a lovely small city with a thriving tourism industry, owing mainly to its status as a gateway to Central Switzerland. The city became a center of Swiss history and legend, and is the setting for the most memorable part of the William Tell legend (the bit with the boy and the apple).

Tourism in Lucerne has a distinguished history dating from the mid 19th century, with Mark Twain among them. In "A Tramp Abroad" he recalls the nascent souvenir business, and other budding examples of the tourism trade.

The commerce of Lucerne consists mainly in gimcrackery of the souvenir sort; the shops are packed with Alpine crystals, photographs of scenery, and wooden and ivory carvings. I will not conceal the fact that miniature figures of the Lion of Lucerne are to be had in them. Millions of them. -- Mark Twain

Get in

By train

Thanks to its central location Lucerne can be reached easily from nearly every other city in Switzerland using the Swiss Federal Railway [2]. There are hourly trains from Olten and Zurich Airport and half-hourly trains from Zurich, and a direct train every other hour from Berne, although departure times are more frequent with connections.

The "Zentralbahn" branch of the Swiss Federal Railway provides also hourly trains between Interlaken and Luzern during daytime.

By bus

From Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina [3]

By boat

Lucerne sits at the north end of the Vierwaldstättersee, one of the busiest waterways in Switzerland, for travel information from Schwyz, Flüelen, Weggis, and outbound points see the schedule at the Schifffahrt Vierwaldstättersee [4].

Get around

Able-bodied travellers will find Lucerne a complete joy to get around in on foot. The Old-Town is tiny, and most other interesting sites are within 20 minutes or so walk, there is also a city bus system [5], as well as assistance for disabled visitors on request from Mobility International Switzerland [6]. The Lido beach and the Swiss Transport Museum are a bit further out and can be reached by bus or by one of several boats per hour from just in front of the central railway station.

Lucerne also makes a very good base for discovering the rest of Central Switzerland, using the Swiss Federal Railway [7], the Schifffahrt Vierwaldstättersee [8], or any one of several private rail or boat companies.

Bicycles are available for rent at the central railway station, at ticket window 21 on the lower level. For 31 CHF per day, you can rent a 24-speed, sturdily-built bike with a baggage clamp. Electric bikes are also available. Bike pick-up and drop-off are around the left side of the train station, at a kiosk across the street from the Swiss Post building. Bike lanes are present on most secondary streets, and Lucerne drivers are generally aware of and polite towards bicyclists.

By bus

Lucerne has an efficient bus network: Verkehrsbetriebe Luzern [9] (German only). It covers the city and the suburbs.

During Fasnacht the paintings on the bridge are covered by paintings promoting the various bands.
During Fasnacht the paintings on the bridge are covered by paintings promoting the various bands.
  • The Chapel Bridge, The Chapel Bridge is in some kind the landmark of Lucerne and its said to be the oldest woodbridge of Europe. The Bridge is made with wood and was built in 14th century as a protection for the city. It's amusing walking over it as you can see about 100 pictures of 12th century city life and Swiss history. Join one of the walking tours going around! Unfortunately the bridge burned down on 18th August 1993. Within a few months it was rebuilt. The tower used as oubliette is still in original condition. Walk over it in a 3D Model: [10]
  • Alpineum [11]
  • Bourbaki Panorama [12]
  • The Glacier Garden [13]
  • The Swiss Transport Museum [14], Lido beach (the first stop for boats leaving from the central train station, preferably reached by bus). With its large collection of trains, planes, automobiles, and motorcycles this museum of means of transport is a great place to spend an afternoon. If you get tired of the real train engines you can check out the model railroad or the miniature working steam train. The air section also features several space travel exhibits, including an un-used project Mercury capsule. Basic admission is 32 Chf. for adults, 21 Chf for children 6-16, and free for younger kids.
  • The old city wall
  • Lucerne Art Museum [15]
  • The Picasso Museum [16] Arriving uninvited at Picasso’s villa “California”, LIFE’s WWII photo correspondent David Douglas Duncan was unsure of his reception. Luckily he, and his camera, were welcomed by Picasso and his family, and over the years produced an intimate portrait of the artist’s day-to-day life. 200 of these photographs, presented alongside a collection of late Picassos donated by Angela and Siegfried Rosengart, are displayed in the Am-Rhyn-Haus, a 17th century building worth seeing in its own right. Picasso’s living room was his studio, and domestic scenes -- a ballet lesson, Picasso drawing with his children, or wrapping himself in the cape and hat of his native Spain -- play out within the backdrop of some of his most famous works. Go twice. One more thing: the missing photos are on the wall above the stairwell. Furrengasse 21, CH-6004. Tel 041 410 17 73. Apr - Oct, open daily 10 to 6. Nov - Mar, 11 to 5.
  • The Rosengart Collection (Sammlung Rosengart) [17], Pilatusstrasse 10, tel: +41 41 220 16 60 ( April-October: every day, 10 AM-6 PM; November-March: every day, 11 AM-5 PM. Well over 200 works by 23 artists of early modernism, including 125 works of Paul Klee and about 50 by Pablo Picasso. Also works by Cézanne, Chagall, Miró, Pissarro, among others. Admission CHF 15 (CHF 8 for students, children 7-16 years).
  • The Richard Wagner Museum [18]
  • The KKL (Kunst- und Kongresshaus Luzern [19], The KKL is a spectacular building that contains several concert halls and the Lucerne Art Museum. It was designed by Jean Nouvel. Its major concert hall ("La salle blanche") is famous for its acoustics, and world class orchestras can be heard regularly. It hosts the lucerne music festival [20]
  • The Lion Monument (German: Löwendenkmal). or the Lion of Lucerne, is a sculpture in Lucerne, Switzerland, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, France. The American writer Mark Twain (1835–1910) praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."  edit
A marching band parading to exactly where they feel like parading
A marching band parading to exactly where they feel like parading
  • Fasnacht Some cities of Switzerland including Lucerne and Basel celebrate a rousing carnival just before lent each year. The version celebrated here is famous for its chaotic "march any direction you like" street parades of the so called Guugemusig (band of wind instruments and drummer, typical to the carneval of Central Switzerland) and elaborate masks. The carneval week of Lucerne starts on the Fat Tuesday and ends at Ash Wednesday. The programm in short: Fat Tuesday, Urknall (a loud bang) at 5am is the official beginning, music on the streets all the day in the city, mask parade from 2pm along the lake, music on the steets in the evening; Friday to Sunday music and masksparades in all the towns and villages of the region; Güdis Monday, second Urknall at 6am, rest dito Fat Tuesday; Thursday big street concert in the hole old town and surroundings, end of the official carneval at midnight... but it continue in the bars until morning of Ash Wednesday. As with carnival elsewhere the exact date on the calendar is variable according to the phase of the moon. You find the date of the next Fat Tuesday (SchuDo, Schmutziger Donnerstag) here: [21]. If you won't be recognised as a tourist, put on some colorful clothes ;) Most of the people are dressed in colors or in masks. In the last years, the cities of Zurich and Berne started to copy Central Switzerlands carneval. At the moment mood and music isn't half as good as in Lucerne.
  • The Golden Round-Trip [22]
  • Explore the Old Town One of the main reasons that Lucerne attracts so many travelers is its small but remarkably preserved old town. You can get lost (for a few minutes anyhow) in its maze of streets, passages, and squares, admiring the many and varied murals painted on what seems like every other building. A nice short walk on the Museggmauer starts at the Schirmer-Turm, walk up the road near Jazzkantine, open only at daytime.
  • Ascend Mount Pilatus [23] - a famous mountain overlooking the city of Lucerne. Its peak can be reached by the world's steepest cogwheel railway from Alpnachstad (not operating in wintertime) and all-year-round by cable-car in three sections from Kriens (10 minutes by trolley bus no. 1 from Lucerne as far as 'Linde'). This trip is definitely a must and gives you a good impression of a wild and rocky peak with a marvelous view to the "real" Alps. Of course you can walk to the top on foot, which takes at least 4 hours from Kriens. A pleasant alternative is to walk down to Kriens from the bottom of the middle cable-car section. In addition to hiking, there are several other activities, including a suspension rope park and a 1,350 m long toboggan (both at the second stop of the cable-car from Kriens). Even if you don't plan to hike, allow for at least three hours to spend on Pilatus.
  • Take a boat tour [24] from Lucerne to Alpnachstad or back when you go to Mt Pilatus.
  • Take a guided tour [25]


The shopping in Luzern has improved somewhat since Mark Twain's visit. You'll find several good department stores with acceptable prices for most items, as well as pricy specialty shops.

  • Bucherer - The flagship store of Switzerland's best known watch and high-end jewelery dealer
  • Luzern's old town is full of shops - especially clothing
  1. Treibhaus Luzern [26], they have fine food. 2 menus each day (menu Chf 13, students Chf 7), snacks, donuts and very fine coffee. There are concerts at night.
  2. Migros or Coop. Migros and Coop are huge supermarket chains with a lot of budget products. There is a small Migros and a bigger Coop at the train station, near the tourist office, perfect to buy something to eat if you arrive or leave Lucerne. There are other Migros around, ask the people. Farther there are Migros and Coop Restaurants self-service restaurants.
  • Mövenpick Restaurant Grendelstr. 19, Tel. +41-41-4105222, Fax +41-41-4104437. International dish, very good service. They even have an English menu.
  • Restaurant Schwan
  • Restaurant Bodu, exquisite French Cuisine.
  • Jazzkantine [27], quite small but comfortable bar. They have a stage in the basement. Sometimes there are jazzists playing (4 to 8 times a month). In the same building is the local jazz school, so it's a kind of student bar.
  • Löwengraben,
  • Mr. Pickwick's Pub
  • Gracie Kelly's Irish Pub
  • Opus
  • Parterre
  • Treibhaus Luzern [28], Small but cool alternative Club. They have cheap food (2 menus each day) too.
  • Schüür
  • Sedel [29], the place where punk rock goes on. In the 80s it was the place the youth rebellion went on. Unfortunately it lost a bit of its idealism, nevertheless it's still the club of mothers don't want to let go their kids. Today there are a lot of concerts from Ska to Britpop to Postrock to Gothic. The building is an old women jail and was converted to music practice rooms for bands in the 80s. There are about 60 bands rocking and practicing their sets. So, if you'll here some noise somewhere in it, just knock at the door an come for a jam session.
  • Rathaus, Simply the best beer you will ever have in your life. Brewed only at this small restaurant/brewery. Get the specialty beer. You will not be disappointed.
  • Bar 58, Nice neighborhood bar on Klosterstrasse.
  • Bar 59, Newly opened by the former owners of Bar 58, larger and has live music venues as well but still has a neighborhood bar feel - on Industriestrasse, hidden in the basement of a warehouse looking building.


For its size, there are quite a few places to stay in Lucerne, in all price ranges.

  • Lion Lodge Luzern [30], Zurichstrasse 57, +41 (0) 41 410 01 44, The Backpackers in the heart of Lucerne. Next to Lion Monument, Old Town and shoppingcenter. Free kitchen facilities and bed sheets. 3 large verandas.
  • Backpackers Lucerne [31], Alpenquai 42, +41 (0) 41 360 04 20, fax: +41 (0) 41 360 04 42, Dormitory: Chf. 28.00 pers/night Double Room: Chf. 34.00 pers/night (Sheets included), no curfew, no lockout, no membership, Phone them as they don't accept e-mail booking. Free kitchen facilities. It's a very nice place, clean, close to the lake and closer to the old town than the youth hostel Lucerne. A lot of clubs (Treibhaus, Schüür, Boa) are just around.
  • Youthhostel Lucerne [32].
  • Private rooms, ask for them at the tourist information +41 (0) 41 227 17 17
  • Hotel des Alpes, Rathausquai 5, +41 (41) 410 58 25 (, fax: +41 (41) 410 74 51), [33]. Facing the lake, and overlooking the chapel bridge, this clean well-run establishment offers excellent views including Mount Pilatus. Some of the rooms have balconies, with very large, but semi-private, balconies on the first floor which might be just the thing if you are with a group. Single room starts at CHF 128 per night including breakfast.  edit
  • Hotel Pickwick, Rathausquai 6, +41 (41) 410 59 27 (, fax: +41 (41) 410 51 08), [34].  edit
  • The Bed + Breakfast, Taubenhausstrasse 34, +41 (41) 310 15 14 (, fax: +41 (41) 310 15 40), [35]. A nice bed & breakfast about a 15 minute walk from the train station or quick ride on bus #1. Single starts at CHF 80. Friendly and helpful staff.  edit
  • NH Luzern, Friedenstrasse, 8, +41.41.4183333 [36]. The NH Luzern is only ten minutes from the Exit A2 Luzern Zentrum or Luzern Süd. After the exit, follow the direction Vehrkehrshaus/Ebikon. The train station is only 10 minutes by foot from the hotel and 5 minutes by bus (bus number 1).
  • Cascada, Bundesplatz 18, CH-6003, (, fax: +41 (0)41 226 80 00). Member of Swiss Quality Hotels International. Located 500m from the train station. Single room from 197CHF, double room from 324CHF (Rates of march 2009).
  • Monopol, Pilatusstrasse 1, CH-6003, (, fax: +41 (0)41 226 43 44). Member of Swiss Quality Hotels International. Located right opposite the railway station. The famous Chapel Bridge is reachable within only 2 minutes by foot. Single room from 230CHF, double room from 270CHF (Rates of low season 2009).
  • Waldstätterhof, Zentralstrasse 4, CH-6003, (, fax: +41 (0)41 227 12 72). Member of Swiss Quality Hotels International. Located 100m from the railway station directly in the city center. Single room from 129CHF, double room from 184CHF (Rates of low season 2009).
  • Grand Hotel National, Haldenstrasse 4, +41 (41) 419 09 09 (, fax: +41 (41) 419 09 10), [37]. César Ritz was hotel manager of the Grand Hotel. A single room starts at CHF 300 per room per night.  edit
  • Hotel Schweizerhof, Schweizerhofquai 3a, +41 (41) 410 04 10 (, fax: +41 (41) 410 29 71), [38].  edit
  • Palace Luzern, Haldenstrasse 10, +41 (41) 416 16 16 (, fax: +41 (41) 416 10 00), [39]. The hotel is a haven of hospitality which combines old world charm with the most modern comforts. The ambience is one of stylish elegance  edit
  • The Hotel, Sempacherstrasse 14, +41 (41) 226 86 86 (, fax: +41 (41) 226 86 90), [40]. Billing itself as a boutique hotel, with interior design by the French architect Jean Nouvele, "The Hotel" is as posh as it gets just about anywhere. The theme is classic French with an Indochinese touch which suggests an easy-beats/spy film soundtrack  edit
  • Art-Deco Hotel Montana [41], Adligenswilerstrasse 22, ++41 41 4190000, fax: ++41 41 4190001. The Hotel Montana is a bit down the price and posh scale from "The Hotel". Some might prefer it though for it's architecture (surprise! art-deco), and the commanding views of the lake, and mountains. Double rooms with a lake view start at 250Chf.

Stay safe

Lucerne is a very safe place, safer even than most of the other cities of Switzerland. That said, it is a heavily touristed destination, and where there are tourists there are pickpockets, con artists, and other sorts of folks up to no good. As with everyplace else keep your passport and other valuables where people can't get to them.

  • Mount Pilatus [42]
  • Mount Rigi [43]
  • Guides Lucerne [44]
  • LucerneGuide [45]
  • Mount Titlis
  • Schwyz
  • Zug
  • Felsenweg at Mount Bürgenstock, not very tall, but you get a beautiful view over the Mittelland and its lakes, best in the morning or evening after rainfall; go there by boat (Lucerne-Kehrsiten) and funiculaire or 1.5h walk, by train and bus (Lucerne-Stansstad-Bürgenstock), by bicycle 1.5h up and 0.5h back ;)
  • Mount Lopper, not touristic, but also beautiful view, also best in the morning or evening, only a very short trip from Lucerne; by train to Stansstad (15min), walk back over the bridge and up to the white chapell, follow this only way, always direction west (direction Pilatus), after 1.5h you'll get to a lookout, follow the way, at the crossing you go down to Hergiswil and by train back to Lucerne (10min)
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun


  1. Lucerne (city)

This German entry was created from the translations listed at Lucerne. It may be less reliable than other entries, and may be missing parts of speech or additional senses. Please also see Luzern in the German Wiktionary. This notice will be removed when the entry is checked. (more information) August 2009


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