Where to go when - Winter
21520 · By Sukie Chapman
Discover the world in winter and step into a snow-globe world of seasonal beauty.Read more
The German-speaking city is the gateway to central Switzerland, situated on the shores of Lake Lucerne at the foot of the Swiss Alps. The Canton of Lucerne's capital is set in an impressive location, offering spectacular mountainous views overlooking the surrounding landscape with Mount Pilatus, Rigi and the Alps in the distance. With its ornate churches, cobbled streets, Kapellbrücke and charming Old Town, Lucerne offers traditional culture in the heart of Switzerland.
In the Middle Ages Lucerne was a small fishing village that developed and flourished due to international cultural trade. It remained a small medieval town until the end of the 18th century when Switzerland began to attract tourists, boosting Lucerne's economy.
Lucerne's Old Town is situated north of the River Reuss and is rich in history. Its decorated houses with frescoes line the picturesque town squares in the car-free old town, with several half-timber structures and painted buildings as well as remnants of the old town walls. The Jesuit church dating from the 17th century is regarded as Switzerland's first baroque building and the twin towers of the Hofkirche form an integral part of the townscape.
Lucerne's famous landmark is the Kapellbrücke (Chapel) Bridge, separating Lucerne's Old and New Town. The oldest wooden bridge in Europe, built in the 14th century, it was constructed to help protect the city of Lucerne against attacks. Inside, a series of paintings from the 17th century display the city's history. Many of these were destroyed in the 1993 fire; although the bridge was quickly reconstructed in 1994 some of the damage remains today.
Adjoining the bridge is the water tower, which has served as a prison, torture chamber, watchtower and treasury. The Tourist Information Centre is only minutes' walk from Chapel Bridge.
The Lion Monument
In 1821 Bertel Thorvaldsen designed this impressive monument carved out of natural rock to commemorate the death of the Swiss heroes during the attack on Tuileriers Palace in Paris 1792, during the French Revolution.