In January 2010 we spent two nights and one day in Lucerne in mid-winter on our way between Paris and Venice.
Things to Do in One Day in Lucerne
The first thing we did in Lucerne was walk down to the lake and across Chapel Bridge. This covered bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in Lucerne and dates back to the 14th Century. The ceiling of the bridge used to be covered with murals however the bridge was extensively damaged by fire in 1993 and many of the murals destroyed. It was rebuilt a few months later.
The Lion Monument
Another famous landmark of Lucerne is the Lion Monument. This beautiful sculpture is carved into stone and we found it to be very moving. It commemorates the death of Swiss Guards from Lucerne who were killed during the French Revolution of 1792.
The old town of Lucerne is a charming mix of cobbled streets, small squares and historic buildings which now house boutiques and restaurants. The old town is very small and easily walkable.
Although the weather was overcast and a little misty in Lucerne, we decided to take the trip up Mt Pilatus. We took the steep cog railway half way up, then changed to the cable car. The views over Lucerne and the lake were magnificent. On the way down there are a couple of options. You can take the cable car and cog railway to the bottom, or you can take the cable car halfway down and in winter toboggan the rest of the way, or in summer walk down.
Accommodation – Hotel Alpha
Lucerne is a popular tourist destination in Switzerland so as were arriving by train at night, we booked our accommodation in advance.
Hotels in Lucerne are generally expensive however we found excellent value for money accommodation at Hotel Alpha (Zähringerstrasse 24, 6003 Luzern).
Hotel Alpha was located a good 10 minute walk from the train station and town centre. However when we arrived at night with lots of luggage, it was more convenient to take a taxi for the short ride to the hotel.
The hotel was very comfortable – clean, modern and simply furnished – an Ikea look. We had hard floors instead of carpet and the rooms were warm and cosy with big windows and plenty of natural light.
There were two lounge rooms for common use and a dining room on the ground floor where a continental breakfast was served – this was included in the room rate. Hotel Alpha is in a pretty neighbourhood. Overnight there was fresh snow and this added to the charm of the street.