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  • Candace Ahlfinger

Day Trip to Lucerne, Switzerland

Lake Lucerne

Our Basel hotel’s location across the street from the train station was important since we arrived by train and then took the train to Lucerne (Luzern) for a great day trip. Lucerne, a walkable city, is an iconic place bursting with year-round beauty. As we exited the train station, we immediately saw Lake Lucerne to our right, the Reuss River to our left, and the Seebrucke Bridge ahead of us.

Chapel Bridge

We strolled to the Chapel Bridge, with many stops to take advantage of the great photo ops. The Chapel Bridge, built in the 1300s as part of the town’s fortifications, burned in 1993. (We were fortunate enough to have seen it many years ago before that happened.) Thankfully, the bridge has been lovingly rebuilt including reproductions of the 1600’s paintings that tell the history of Lucerne. (Some of the original paintings were being restored at the time of the fire and have once again taken their rightful place on the bridge.)


Chapel Bridge

Across the bridge is the Rathaus (City Hall) that was built in the 1600s. A stroll along the Reuss River is a must. Whether the weather is sunny, rainy, snowy, or foggy, this walk is picturesque. (Of course, there are many options along the way for coffee or food.)

We crossed the Reuss again at the Mill Bridge, built in the 1500s, which is also adorned with paintings.

Jesuit Church

We stopped for a visit to the Jesuit Church, a Baroque Catholic church whose ornate decorations stand in sharp contrast to the simplicity of Protestant churches in Zurich and Bern. (You can probably plan better and not recross the river multiple times, but the walk is short and the Milld Bridge and Chapel Bridge are both must-sees.)



Next up—back again across the river—was the Mühlenplatz and then the Weinmarkt, where wine was originally sold. The façades are colorfully decorated with paintings including the wedding in Cana where Jesus turned water into wine—very appropriate for the wine market area.

The Lion Monument

You can take a tram or walk to get to Lowenplatz where we saw the heart-rending statue of the lion carved in 1821. The lion has tears pouring from his eyes, the result of the broken off spear embedded in his side. The lion was sculpted in memory of the more than 600 Swiss Guards who were killed or massacred by revolutionaries while guarding King Louis XVI in 1792. (The king and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were later killed.)


Lake Lucerne

Next, we headed back to the lake. Here, you can take a ferry or, as we did, simply stroll around the lakeshore enjoying the scenic view of the Alps. And, all too soon, it was time to hop back on the train and travel back to Basel. There are many other great things to do in this area, but our time was short. With more time, I would suggest going up one of the nearby mountains such as Mount Pilatus or Mount Titlis. (We had traveled up Mount Pilatus on our first visit many years ago and still talk about it.) There are also many excellent museums—more than enough to fill several days and give time to relax and enjoy the scenery. A day trip is just enough to make you want to go back for more!

Follow our Viking River Cruise from Basel to Amsterdam by clicking here.

To see our info for our stay in Basel, Switzerland, click here.

Our Zurich experience is at this link.

For information about our time in Grindelwald and Bern, click here.

For info on our visit to Zermatt, Switzerland, click here.

Two Days in Amsterdam, click here.

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Chapel Bridge

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