An Afternoon in Lucerne

We departed on October 25 from Chur, Switzerland on the 11:16 am train to Lucerne and arrived at 1:25 pm. The train route headed northwest toward Zurich then turned southwest to Lucerne. Scenes of verdant fields with snow-capped mountains in the distance kept us gazing out the windows the entire trip. Even the towns along the route were captivating with their painted buildings and fall foliage.


The countryside between Chur and Lucerne


Town of Walenstadt


The Swiss countryside from the train

We knew Hotel Waldstatterhof in Lucerne, where we had a reservation, was located right across from the railway station. I wasn’t sure, however, which exit to take out of the station to get us headed in the right direction. It can be quite a long distance to walk all the way around a large train station. (I’ve done this!) Fortunately for us, I got to talking to a friendly, helpful ex-pat American on the train who took us under her wing and didn’t leave us until we found our hotel.


Hotel Waldstatterhof, Lucerne

Our room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived but Jim needed to rest his back so we sat in the lobby for awhile. When we got to our room, we were pleased with our accommodations.



After a brief respite, we took off to explore Lucerne on foot in the warm autumn sunshine. Outside the railway station a short distance from our hotel, we walked through the welcome gate to Lucerne.


From there, we headed straight for the Chapel Bridge to cross the River Reuss into Old Town. Constructed in 1333 as part of the city’s fortifications, this wooden pedestrian bridge was named for nearby St. Peter’s Chapel.



That handsome fellow on the bridge is my husband, Jim

The painted triangular panels in the gables above the walkway depicting Swiss history and legend were added in the 17th century.


Jim on Chapel Bridge

The adjacent Water Tower, also built around 1300, never held water but rather was used as a prison, a torture chamber, treasury, and archive. Incidentally, it’s Switzerland’s most photographed landmark.


Water Tower


Laura in Old Town with the Water Tower, Chapel Bridge, Mt. Pilatus, and Jesuit Church

Without a doubt, Lucerne is all about the lake. Framed by the Alps, Lake Lucerne is the centerpiece of this lovely city, offering boat tours and swimming, or simply a stroll to enjoy the view.


Lake Lucerne


View of the mountains that frame Lake Lucerne

After a brief look at the lake, we moved on because we wanted to get to the Lion Monument. On our way, we passed Hof Church, also known as the Church of St. Leodegar, the main Roman Catholic cathedral in the city which was built from 1633-1639.


Hof Church


Streetscape on our way to the Lion Monument

The famous “Dying Lion of Lucerne” commemorates the Swiss mercenary soldiers who died in 1792 defending the Tuileries Palace in Paris during the French Revolution. American author, Mark Twain, referred to the monument as “the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world.”


Selfie in front of the Lion Monument


Monument and pond


Close-up of the Dying Lion of Lucerne


Shop near the Lion Monument


St. Matthew Church, the first Protestant church in Lucerne


Unicorn fountain

I especially liked the painted buildings like the one below which we saw throughout the old medieval area. Supposedly, you can tell what the building was used for by their murals but I wasn’t much good at guessing. Maybe you can figure this one out.



Old Town Hall (Rathaus) Clock Tower

I always try to research local foods and the beautifully painted building below was my pick to try Swiss fondue. When Jim saw the price was 35€ to dip bread cubes into melted cheese, he objected and we had one of those quick spousal disagreements. Pouting, I taught him a lesson by refusing to eat there once he relented. (You know what I’m talking about, right?)


Zunfthausrestaurant Pfistern

Instead, we wandered back to Lake Lucerne where we decided against the boat ride since we would soon be on a boat for eight days for a river cruise. We strolled along the lake, we sat and people-watched, and I took many more photos. We especially enjoyed watching the swans and listened to a small child laugh delightedly while a swan ducked into the water.


Lake Lucerne



Another view of Lake Lucerne with Mt. Pilatus in the background

Although we could have spent much more time exploring Lucerne, we decided to cross the river back to our hotel in search of dinner. Weather permitting, we planned to take the train to Mt. Titlis early the following morning so we wanted to make an early night of it. As it turned out, I did have fondue for dinner… and it didn’t cost 35€. (It was only 22€.)


Laura enjoying Swiss fondue


Jim had the special of the day

Mt. Titlis the following day was incredible. Check back to find out more.



Based on events from October 2017.

Categories: Europe, Switzerland, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “An Afternoon in Lucerne

  1. What a beautiful post!! Love all the lovely photographs and am reliving our time in Switzerland ! That unicorn is unexpected and fabulous!

    • Thanks, Beth Ann. I’m glad to take you on a walk down memory lane. The unicorn was unexpected and fabulous to us, too!

  2. Deb and Dan Waldstein

    Excellent, as always, commentary. Great to have clear skies. Your All’s photos are especially impressive.
    Glad you got your fondue.

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Glad got my fondue, too. We also enjoyed other Swiss dishes later on so stay tuned!

  3. Chuck Simonis

    Laura, When you write I feel like I am there. Thanks

  4. I was looking forward to read about your trip to Lucerne. Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed your time here! 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for this post . This is really helpful.

  6. Hello!
    Your trip looks beautiful!
    We are driving from Freiburg Germany to Italy on what maybe a once in a lifetime trip. It looks like we could leave Freiburg in the morning, be to Lucerne by lunch. Would 5-6 hours be enough to see the bridge and the lion (by the way a sister lion sculpture is right down the road and it still be a peaceful unrushed afternoon?
    We would probably eat lunch in Lucerne but not supper and head toward Italy about 5 pm. Just trying to decide if it’s worth a stopover night or more a pass through afternoon, especially since it wasn’t in original plans- I am a sucker for bridges and happened upon this one 🙂
    Also that might put us driving through the mountains in the dark and that’s one reason I thought to stay the night.
    Thank you!

    • Yes, you can easily see the bridge and the lion in one afternoon without rushing. It’s a lovely walk from the bridge along Lake Lucerne, then to the lion which will allow you to enjoy more of Old Town. We spent only one day in Lucerne as a staging point to see Mt. Titlis but it’s such a lovely town we would have stayed longer if we’d had more time. We traveled by train so I have no idea how the roads would be after dark. You really can’t go wrong with Lucerne. Give it as much or as little time as you have but I would say it’s not to be missed! Thanks for contacting me, bringing back such good memories of Switzerland. Enjoy your trip of a lifetime! (Aren’t they all?)

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