City Orientation Walk (Self Guided), Lucerne

Lucerne is thought to be one of the prettiest cities in Switzerland. It features beautiful mountain views, amazing historical buildings and a large variety of museums and galleries. Its nightlife scene is active, with plenty of arts centers and music venues around the city. Take this walking tour to explore the very best sights of Lucerne.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Switzerland » Lucerne (See other walking tours in Lucerne)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 18
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 km
Author: doris
1
Lucerne Railway Station

1) Lucerne Railway Station

The Lucerne Railway Station is the main hub of Switzerland's rail network. It serves domestic and international traffic on several rail lines. The station building itself is also notable. Designed by famous architect Santiago Calatrava, it features an amazing entrance hall and an elegant curved roof.

The station is located in a waterfront location on the south side of Lake Lucerne just above the outflow of the Reuss river. Bahnhofplatz occupies the area between the front of the station and the lakefront, and is heavily used by the local buses. The landing stages used by the passenger ships of the Schifffahrtsgesellschaft des Vierwaldstättersees occupy the lakeside of Bahnhofplatz, providing interchange between rail and water transport. An underground shopping mall lies below both the concourse of the railway station and Bahnhofplatz.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Culture and Convention Center

2) Culture and Convention Center

Culture and Convention Center is a new building designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel. It was inaugurated in 1998 with a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Claudio Abbado. It is located close to the Lake Lucerne and East of the Railway Station. From the halls of the Center you can admire the fascinating scenery of Old Town and Lake Luzern. The Center includes an Art Museum, restaurants, many various halls and a large concert hall where many concerts are performed regularly .
3
Modern Art Museum

3) Modern Art Museum (must see)

The museum exhibits some truly great artworks, with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th-century landscape painting and international art from 1960 onwards. The building's plain style and sophisticated use of light provide perfect conditions in which to fully appreciate each masterpiece. Don't miss the eye-catching views of the lake and the city – as well as part of the gallery's interior – from the bridges that connect the two halves of the Museum.

Why You Should Visit:
The modern art collection is at the height of the most important museums in Europe; besides, the building is very well placed.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun: 10am-5pm; Wed: 11am-8pm; Monday closed
4
Rosengart Collection

4) Rosengart Collection (must see)

The Rosengart Collection, formerly the Picasso Museum, is fondly visited by every art lover who comes to Switzerland. The museum's collections include sculptures, photographs and paintings. The best part is the collection entitled "Picasso, photographed by David Douglas Duncan", which features 200 photographs of Picasso himself. There are also many books and documentary films that reveal every detail of Picasso's life.

Why You Should Visit:
An incredible and unmissable collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries!
In no other museum will you will be able to enjoy, with such calm and privacy, Picassos, Klees, Kandinskys and others, including some of the most beautiful Chagall and Matisse paintings.

Tip:
Start with the video on the top floor, showing how the collection came about, and how Angela Rosengart was introduced to art at an early age by her father, an art dealer.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm (Apr–Oct); 11am-5pm (Nov-Mar)
5
Symphony Orchestra

5) Symphony Orchestra

The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the oldest orchestra in Switzerland, has 200 years of history. Due to its great contribution in the cultural life Lucerne is known as a city of music and the orchestra got international success. It also accompanies the performances of the Municipal Theater. Combining tradition and innovation the orchestra offers brilliant classical-romantic repertoire. It also cultivates modern music in its programs.
6
Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche)

6) Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche) (must see)

This impressive church is considered to be the first large baroque style churches ever built in Switzerland. It's located on the south bank of the Reuss river in a triangular area known as Kleinstadt. Special points of interest include the sacristy, the rich stucco work and church relics including the penitential robe of St. Nikolaus von Fluee.

Why You Should Visit:
While it is very pleasing from outside along the river promenade, the rich, unchanged interior in pink and white is what really stands out. It may look closed, but just try the front doors and go on in!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6:30am-6:30pm
7
Chapel Bridge

7) Chapel Bridge (must see)

The Chapel Bridge is a covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss River in the city of Lucerne. Named after the nearby St. Peter's Chapel, the bridge is unique since it contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with most of the centuries-old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world's oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as the city's symbol and as one of Switzerland's main tourist attractions.

The bridge itself was originally built in 1333 as part of Lucerne's fortifications. It linked the old town on the right bank of the Reuss to the new town on the left bank, securing the city from attack from the south (i.e. from the lake). The bridge initially had a length of over 200 metres (660 ft), although due to numerous shortenings throughout the years and river bank replenishments, the bridge now totals only 170 metres (560 ft) in length.

Why You Should Visit:
From the charming farmer's markets along the water's edge to the infamous swans floating across the water, this bridge is dreamy to say the least.
Along its both sides you'll find lush flowers pouring over the edges and artwork every few feet that dates back to the 1600s.

Tip:
Experience it at night also with the city lights, swans, flowers and vibrant atmosphere. Both banks are full of great shopping and fantastic restaurants.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Rathaus (Town Hall)

8) Rathaus (Town Hall) (must see)

The Rathaus was constructed in 1606 by Anton Isenmann. This town hall has a Renaissance architectural style, with an Emmentaler-style roof. Right above the arcades, you will find the Kornschütte hall, which used to be a major trading venue.

Why You Should Visit:
Part of the city's urban landscape and a beautiful sight as such, its tall clock tower dominating the right bank of Reuss river.
Fits perfectly into the Old Town architectural/historical ensemble, though it may not accessible on the inside.
Makes for a pretty good photo op and close to other attractions such as shops, restaurants and bars.
9
Zunfthaus zu Pfistern (Pfistern Guild Hall)

9) Zunfthaus zu Pfistern (Pfistern Guild Hall)

This is one of Lucerne’s amazing buildings, with extensive decoration in frescoes. Its front elevation has mural of the Pfistern family tree decorated with local coats of arms. The former Guild Hall is now a restaurant serving Swiss specialties.
10
Spreuer Bridge

10) Spreuer Bridge

The Spreuer Bridge (formerly also Mühlenbrücke or Mill Bridge) is a beautiful spot for a walk across the river. This medieval wooden bridge, which was constructed in 1408, has a large number of medieval-style 17th century paintings. These pictures, named “Dance of Death”, depict scenes of plague that beautifully reflect the fragility of human life. The bridge also has a chapel in its center which is consecrated to the Virgin Mary.
11
Dornach House

11) Dornach House

The Dornach House is a charming neo-Gothic style building with Mannerist fresco paintings. Built around 1900, it is dedicated to the Swiss victory in the Battle of Dornach. During this battle in July 1499, the troops of Emperor Maximilian I were decisively beaten by the Old Swiss Confederacy. The war ended with independence of Switzerland from the Roman Empire.
12
Musegg Wall

12) Musegg Wall (must see)

Musegg Wall is a medieval town wall that was built in the 15th century. Visitors flock here for the ancient paths, original architecture and other curiosities, such as the oldest clock in the city. What's more, the top of the wall features some of the most amazing views you can get of the lake, mountains and the river.

Why You Should Visit:
Top-of-the-list tourist attraction, especially if the weather is nice!

Tip:
You can do the full round, starting from the Nölliturm side (be prepared for a short but steep hike up) and then going up onto the city wall for the part that is open to the public (if you are afraid of heights you may need to explore whether that feels right for you) and then make your way back into the city center.
Some of the towers are open to going inside (check for open dates/times as it is a bit seasonal), but have some rather steep stairs, so caution is advised.
13
Zyt Tower

13) Zyt Tower (must see)

One of the Nine Towers of Lucerne, the Zyt Tower offers a great up-close view of the Old Town. Some of its old walls date back to 1386. The tower also features the oldest clock in the city, built by Hans Luter in 1535 and still working. The big clock, which is around 3 to 4 meters tall, has the privilege of chiming the hours one minute before all the other clocks in town.

Why You Should Visit:
If you only climb one of the Lucerne's Nine Towers, this is the one to do.

Tip:
Be there on the hour to watch the inner clock workings as the bells chime.
The attraction is free, and you get to see a number of ancient clocks and mechanisms that are still are active.
14
Bucherer

14) Bucherer (must see)

The Bucherer brand is known both in Switzerland and further afield for its high-quality products. The store has more than 90 years' experience in making high-quality watches. Here you'll find Rolex pieces and other watches as well as a luxurious variety of gemstone and pearl jewelry. The store also has a whole floor of souvenirs with cuckoo clocks, Swiss Army knives, crystals and many other items on sale.

Tip:
If you ask they do negotiate on price around 3% + the VAT refund.
Otherwise, do visit the 3rd floor for last minute souvenirs!

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9am-6:30pm; Sun: 3–6:30pm
15
Church of St. Leodegar

15) Church of St. Leodegar (must see)

The Church of St. Leodegar is the most important church and a landmark in the city of Lucerne. It was built in parts from 1633 to 1639 on the foundation of the Roman basilica which had burnt in 1633. This church was one of the few built north of the Alps during the Thirty Years War and one of the largest and art history rich churches of the German late renaissance period. In 1874 the parish church of St. Leodegar was founded and with that, the church became simultaneously a monastery church and parish church, as it is today.

Why You Should Visit:
The views at the top are majestic overlooking the Old Town and Lake Lucerne.
Inside the church, the details are quite pretty and there are regular organ concerts.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
16
Bourbaki Panorama

16) Bourbaki Panorama (must see)

The Bourbaki Panorama is a circular painting, museum and cultural center in Lucerne and has been a family tourist attraction for 120 years. It is situated in the heart of Lucerne, near the city’s iconic Lion sculpture and its other tourist attraction, the Glacier Garden. The giant panoramic painting located in the circular building that was renovated in 2000 shows the French Armée de l’Est of the General Charles Denis Sauter Bourbaki as it crosses into Switzerland at the end of the Franco-Prussian War from 1870-1871. The painting is 112 meter long and 10 meter high.

Tip:
The Panorama is actually comprised of two levels; the first is a video/slide presentation (plus several artifacts), while the upper level is a spectacular 3D presentation with life-size figures in front of the actual painting. Be sure to study the story in order to understand the situation depicted.
There are nice, clean restrooms but make sure to stop by the desk for a token to gain entrance to them!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
17
Dying Lion of Lucerne

17) Dying Lion of Lucerne (must see)

The Lion Monument is a sculpture designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and hewn in 1820–21 by Lukas Ahorn. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris. 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."

The monument is carved into the cliff face, it measures a staggering ten meters in length and six meters in height. The Lion Monument is dedicated Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti ("To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss"). The dying lion is portrayed impaled by a spear, covering a shield bearing the fleur-de-lis of the French monarchy; beside him is another shield bearing the coat of arms of Switzerland. The inscription below the sculpture lists the names of the officers, and approximate numbers of the soldiers who died (760), and survived (350).

Tip:
Go early or come late as there are plenty of tour groups that visit this beautiful monument.
Very modern "self-cleaning" public restrooms can be found on the hill to the right.
Sight description based on wikipedia
18
Glacier Garden

18) Glacier Garden (must see)

The Glacier Garden is Nature’s own monument, with a park and museum. It is also one of the favorite tourists attraction. Glacial potholes witness the last Ice Age and the fact that Lucerne was once covered by glaciers. Built around a glacial pothole, the museum also displays facts of the town's history.

The first glacial pothole was discovered by Josef Wilhelm Amrein-Troller (1842–1881) on November 2, 1872, during the construction works for a wine cellar. On the 1st May 1873 the Glacier Garden was already open, and the excavations continued until 1876.

Why You Should Visit:
Lots to see including the glacier caves themselves, a historical Swiss house, a fun mirror maze and a tower with views right over the city and towards the mountains.
Good restaurants and coffee shops nearby and next to the Dying Lion monument, which is also worth seeing.

Tip:
Start with the Mirror Maze, or wait until there are fewer people, as the maze loses its charm if there are too many inside.
If you have a Swiss Rail Pass, you get admission to this and many other attractions all over Switzerland.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-6pm (Apr 1 - Oct 31); 10am-5pm (Nov 1 - Mar 31)
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Lucerne, Switzerland

Create Your Own Walk in Lucerne

Create Your Own Walk in Lucerne

Creating your own self-guided walk in Lucerne is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Famous Religious Sights in Lucerne

Famous Religious Sights in Lucerne

Lucerne is a beautiful city, often referred to as the heart of Switzerland. Beautiful churches and other renaissance-era buildings make this a charming city for locals and tourists alike. The spacious, richly decorated interior of the city's churches will enliven your spirit - take our tour to see some of the most famous religious buildings in Lucerne.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km
Lucerne Top Architectural Sights Tour

Lucerne Top Architectural Sights Tour

Due to Lucerne's long religious and cultural history, its architecture is one of the most popular for tourists in all of Switzerland. It boasts several remarkable bridges because of how the city is divided by the Reuss river. Your attention will also be struck by the magnificent churches and historic castles and towers. Take our walking tour to discover the most famous architectural sights in...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 km
Famous Towers Walking Tour, Lucerne

Famous Towers Walking Tour, Lucerne

Lucerne is famous for its large number of spectacular medieval towers. Located around the Musegg Wall area, the towers rise high over the city, giving great panoramic views of Lucerne, the Reuss River and the surrounding mountain scenery. There are a total of nine towers, including one featuring the oldest clock in the city. Take our tour through this fascinating set of towers and get a wonderful...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 km
Jewels of Lucerne Tour

Jewels of Lucerne Tour

Lucerne is an amazing city that sits on the side of Lake Lucerne and is surrounded by beautiful mountains. Sometimes known as "The City of Light", Lucerne is one of Switzerland's key cities. Its long and rich history has bestowed upon it lots of amazing architecture and fascinating stories. Take this walking tour to discover the real jewels of Lucerne.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
Top Museums Tour in Lucerne

Top Museums Tour in Lucerne

Lucerne is traditionally considered the first and foremost tourist destination in all of Switzerland. The city is famous for its pretty historical buildings and fascinating museums. Once here you'll be charmed by Lucerne’s sense of history, culture and tradition. This walking tour will lead you to the most famous museums in the city.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 km
Lucerne Nightlife Walking Tour

Lucerne Nightlife Walking Tour

Lucerne is packed with all kinds of great tourist attractions. And when you're done with all these spectacular sights, the city offers a wide range of options for a great night out. Take our tour to find the most well-known nightspots in Lucerne.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 km