Andrea Bailey discovers why historic and beautiful Lucerne has remained popular across the ages.
My first impression of Lucerne, as I alighted from the train, was mingled with trepidation: I was hitting the touristy trail with this one.
The train station was huge, more akin to something you’d find in a metropolis than at a lakeside city, and certainly nothing like the many quaint stations I’d glimpsed on my travels across the Swiss countryside.
However my reservations vanished once I’d dropped off my bags at the hotel, and started to walk the streets of Lucerne: a truly delightful little town!
Given its strategic location between The Alps, nestling at the lower end of Lake Lucerne, the city has understandably become a busy commercial hub. Indeed, it remains one of the top destinations visited in Switzerland today.
The old town – with its meandering streets, busking musicians and little shops – is a great place to start exploring. The number of shops selling Swiss watches is astounding, though for me (a huge chocolate fan) it was the prevalence of specialty chocolate shops that got my heart thumping.
Several bridges over the Reuss River contributes to the picturesque setting; but the most attractive of them all has to be Chapel Bridge, the covered wooden bridge, covered in flowers.
Al fresco restaurants line the river banks, with white-aproned serving staff scurrying around, busy as bees!
I hired a pedal boat and headed out onto the lake, to get a different perspective of Lucerne. Ducks converged at the water’s edge where people fed them bread crumbs.
Emerging from the boat I then boarded the little train-shaped bus for a one-hour tour of the city.
One of the must-see attractions in Lucerne is the Dying Lion monument, the poignant stone sculpture that commemorates the Swiss Guards who were killed during the French Revolution. It is tucked away in a corner of a busy street, and has the atmosphere of a peaceful sanctuary.
Standing in front of the sculpture, my daughter asked me: “Why does the lion look so sad?” The emotion emanating from Lucerne’s most famous monument did feel very real.
As does the history woven into all elements of this beautiful mountain town.
There are several day trips out of Lucerne that are recommended to visitors. Mount Pilatus can be easily viewed from the city centre, and is accessible by boat or bus. Visitor maps can be easily found around the city and hotel staff are well trained in sharing this information with guests.
MOUNTAIN VISITS AND HIKING TRAILS:
– Mount Pilatus
– Mount Titlis
– Mount Rigi
The most famous of Lucerne cuisine, this consists of puff pastry filled with diced veal and mushrooms in a creamy sauce.
A type of local sweet Swiss bread roll made with puff pastry, pears, raisins and figs.
The end of winter is time for the locals to indulge in merriment, as a large outdoor party fills the streets. Giant characters in fantastic costumes make their way through the streets while singing and dancing the night away.
This classical music festival takes place over summer, and is well loved by locals and visitors alike.
Blue Balls Festival
Encompassing the genres of jazz, blues and punk music, this festival fills the lakeside promenade and the Culture and Convention Centre halls with blues lovers.
Visit www.lucernefestival.ch/en for more information.
This piece originally appeared on the Arabian Radio Network’s Dubai Eye website
Andrea Bailey is a Dubai based travel writer. She is also a travel consultant with Travel Counsellors and specializes in cruises, family holidays and honey moons. When she’s not out and about discovering destinations and different cuisines of the world, you would probably find her busy with her 3 daughters and her other passions involving art and music.
As a mosaic artist, she has travelled to Italy and studied ancient Roman techniques of the art form and as a jazz flautist she has had the opportunity of performing across various Dubai venues.