When I first arrived in Luzern I was just coming off the back of a 4 year stint in Latin America and for the first year I have to say I completely struggled to adapt to life here. I didn't get the system, I hated the rules and regulations, I never understood why everything was ridiculously over priced and expensive and even the native speakers were painful to listen to. However, with a little help and a new found perspective, life here seems to be working out pretty well and below I can tell you why this little city and its surrounding features have kept me engaged for the past two years, but could I honestly live here for the rest of my life?
Luzern attracts nearly 10 million foreign visitors per year and that is without the influx of the local tourists passing through this beautiful city on a daily basis, although Zurich, Basel and Geneva are more populated cities, it is still a busy port of call and has a very metropolitan feel about it.
Being nestled in the centre of Switzerland it seems like everything passes through here and with that being said you do have some of the best access to all of the surrounding scenery that this Alpine country has to offer. With the Swiss all running like clockwork you can't deny they don't have a wonderful transport system here to, it is highly efficient to say the least and from experience the most you will ever be late anywhere is 30 seconds; it's that good.
Not only does Luzern have a great access point to its surroundings, but it can also hold its own with its natural beauty and life style dependent on what you are looking for. It's actually an easy going city and although I am not fond of the winter here, in the summer its like a flower in full bloom, with bars and restaurants bustling along the river Reuss and Vierwaldstattersee (Lake Luzern) the city centre becomes the focal point for shopping for all those looking for a Swiss Army knife, chocolate and cheese.
When you first arrive in Luzern I have no doubt that on your list of things to do here or first port of call is the wonderful and breathtaking Mount Pilatus and at it's highest peak Tomlishorn. Sitting at 2,128 meters (6,983 ft) above Sea level this is the most spectacular view you will get of Luzern in all it's glory and the beauty that surrounds it's 80,000 inhabitants who live here. Not only is Mount Pilatus an adventure to hike up or down with a bottle of Tanqueray gin (which I highly recommend), but you can also take an amazing ride on what is the steepest cogwheel railway in the world from Alpnachstad or jump on a cable car from Kriens.
Secondly the Hammetschwand Elevator built in 1905, yes over one hundred years old and it still holds the record for the highest external elevator in Europe since its construction. Bringing you to the top of Burgenberg and giving you a 360 degree view of Lake Luzern, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Luzern. Not only is the Hammetschwand Elevator an experience on its own, you also have the famous Bergenstock hotel and Resort, as stated on their official website "Its a World of its own" with its four hotels, nine bars and restaurants and a wellness centre you will not be disappointed to take a break here and absorb the wonderful views of Lake Luzern.
Another wonderful place of interest that should be on the list whilst in Luzern is Verkehrshaus der Schweiz (The Swiss Museum of Transport). I found this personally fascinating due to the fact I could be a child for an hour or two whilst enjoying the many features it has here - including the Lindt Boutique chocolate tour, film theatre, planetarium and spectacular car show. This is great for families looking to entertain the minions or if you just want to fill your individual thirst of aviation and navigation, the transport museum offers a little for everyone here so its defiantly worth a look. Check out the Cube.
When in Luzern
Hofkirche St. Leodegar
Bourbaki Panorama Luzern
Museggmauer and Mannliturn
Favourite eats and drinks
Das Weisse Schaf (The White Sheep)
Bierliebe & Friends
Shamrock Irish Pub
Also a worthy visit
Walks and scenery
When in Luzern
Luzern is separated in two parts, the old town which is well known for its medieval architecture, historic sites and commercial shops and the new town, which will give you a delightful modern metropolitan vibe with its bustling cafes, restaurants and bars that are scattered throughout the area.
Below are a few of my favourite places of interest that I have found to be both interesting and beautiful during my time here in Luzern.
Probably the main tourist attraction in the city, the Kapellbrücke (chapel bridge) built in 1333 is the worlds oldest surviving truss bridge and is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. With beautiful 17th century paintings in the interior and spanning along the river Reuss its a must see. Also check out Spreuerbrücke further down the river.
Glacier Gardens -
Go back 20,000 years and you will see what Luzern might of looked like during the last ice age and if you don't want to just look at kettle basins then you have a wonderful museum and viewing tower to keep you occupied. Suggestion: check out the glass maze and the Lion Monument.
Hofkirche St. Leodegar -
Originally a monastery in 735 and being burnt to the ground in 1633 this church has a lot of history seeping from its foundations, defiantly worth taking a look around. Suggestion: Check it out during the Lilu Light Festival Luzern
Bourbaki Panorama Luzern -
I believe this to be one of the gems here in Luzern, not only a library, a cinema and a rotating restaurant or even a night club on Christmas Eve. The biggest highlight is the panoramic art work by Edouard Castres that stretches 112 meters long and 10 meters high. Check out there website for events and some history. https://www.bourbakipanorama.ch
Museggmauer and Mannliturn -
Built in the 14th century to protect the people of Luzern surprisingly this wall and its nine towers are in great condition even with the amount of tourists it attracts during the summer who all want to walk along the wall and check out the clock tower. Well worth a visit.
Modelled on the Church of the Gesú in Rome the Jesuit Church was the first large Baroque church to be built in Switzerland with construction starting in 1666 it is a delightful treat.
Favourite eats and drinks
With so many Restaurants, bars and coffee shops in Luzern you are spoiled for choice as everything is on your doorstep, if you want Mexican, Italian, Thai, Swiss or Argentine cuisine then its all here.
Below is a list of my personal favourite places that I have come to love and would highly recommend.