Welcome to Lucerne
Lucerne was named, according to legend, when a fisherman saw a light glowing on Mount Pilatus, and believed it to be an angel. If celestial beings were planning a holiday from trumpeting and harp-playing, it seems entirely likely that they would have picked the wide shores of this lake, where the air is as pure as an nun's thoughts, and the mountains stand guard like ancient disciples. Most places described as ‘beautiful’ fail to live up to expectations. Here, there is nothing to prevent superlatives crowding forth, like swans at the water’s edge. And Lake Lucerne is the focus of the town, its soft water rippling like spilled bales of silk, ice-white boats sliding peacefully across its broad expanse. “I do not know of a more beautiful spot in this world,” said composer Richard Wagner, who wrote his opera Tristan and Isolde in a house near the lakeside, firmly adding, “nobody will get me out of here again.”
Few could argue- the mountains form a protective ring about the town, their chartreuse slopes, shaded by dense pines in Summer, becoming vast monoliths of ice and snow in Winter. So sheer are the drops that most can only be traversed by cable car; silhouettes passing over the trees like regimented swarms of insects, their windows glittering wings in the sunlight. For while in Lucerne, clouds can mass within seconds, blanketing the mountains and lowering over the lake, they pass just as swiftly, leaving the neat buildings and bridges as clean and bright as a child’s book illustration.
Though Lucerne is full of tourists, they are easily absorbed amongst the old buildings, the wooden bridges, and the elegant restaurants which line the waterfront. The town functions as efficiently as any clichéd Swiss watch, with modern hotels, gleaming shops and swift public transport, yet it retains the enchantment of a fairytale, its 13th century octagonal watchtower and the shrines and hanging baskets marking out the way across the covered, crooked Chapel Bridge. Just an hour spent strolling on the shores of the lake is a long drink of water for the soul.
The Lion Of Lucerne
Hotel Pilatus Kulm
A Tramp Abroad- Mark Twain
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (partly filmed on Mount Pilatus)
The Siegfried Idyll- Wagner, (composed in Lucerne)
The currency is Swiss Francs, and currently, the exchange rate is 1.5 CHF. This means that prices are high- if budget is an issue, order wine by the glass, rather than the bottle, and be sure to ask for a menu which lists prices.
It's easy to walk around Lucerne, though there are plenty of efficient buses and taxis. The bus station is by the train station, opposite the lakeshore.
Things do run on time in Switzerland, and officials tend to stick to the rules- so make sure you always have the correct tickets for your boat trip or excursion to hand.
The cable cars are safe and exhilarating- but if you dislike heights, be warned that on Mount Pilatus, the drop from the summit is almost 3000 feet. There is also a cogwheel train, which may be a more relaxing option.
Dress for changeable weather- while the sun can be blazing by the lake, in the mountains, the temperature may plummet, so be prepared.
German is largely spoken, but the majority of hotel staff speak excellent English, and most good restaurants have an English version of the menu.
Buy a Lucerne card- from 19 CHF for 24 hours, it offers unlimited travel on public transport in the city and a 50% discount on major attractions including the Glacier Garden, Museum of Art and Transport Museum.
Getting AroundPublic Transport: Boats can be taken from the front of the central railway station to reach the Swiss Transport Museum or Lido beach, while the Verkehrsbetriebe Luzern is the bus service that runs regularly through the town, where tickets are priced at around 2€ per single journey. The central bus station is outside the main railway station, located at: Central Station (HBF) Main Entrance Bahnhofplatz, Luzern LU 6003.
Bike: The central railway station offers bicycles for 31 CHF a day – you drop them back off at the station at the end of your allotted time.
Car: Parking in Lucerne is expensive in private lots, and hotels tend to cater privately. The Parkhaus Luzern Zentrum is a hotel car park that offers public parking for a lower price than most others, at 32 SFR for two days.
A LuzernCard can be bought for 37.50 CHF, which grants you 72 hours of free public transport and half-price museum visits, among other discounted attractions. They can be bought online from Swisspass. Purchase either a Swiss Pass or a LuzernCard, as it grants you free access to the boats on Lake Geneva and Lake Lucerne; two of Switzerland’s highlights. A day should be devoted to one lake, visiting other neighbouring towns.
Lucerne (Luzern) Tourist Information Centre
6002 Lucerne, Switzerland
Phone:- 41 227 17 17