10 Notable Landmarks in Lucerne (Free to Visit Attractions)


Nestled in the foothills of the Swiss Alps and adjacent to a lake, Lucerne had my expectations soaring. And you know what? It didn’t disappoint. It even went above and beyond my expectations! Lucerne offers more than just stunning natural scenery. It’s filled with beautiful things and unique experiences. From the historical triangular gable paintings to a museum that houses all sorts of transportation vehicles, there’s plenty to see and visit.

Especially if you’re a bit of a wanderer, Lucerne should have you doing cartwheels of excitement! This city boasts beautiful, picturesque landmarks that you can visit for free — the perfect destinations for explorers! Surely, the ones you’ll find in Old Town Lucerne are not to be missed on a walking tour of the city. There are historical sites dating back to the medieval ages, world-renowned monuments, and simple houses all adorned with murals.

Here’s what’s exciting: I also discovered a ‘fairytale-like’ landmark outside the city but still in Lucerne (canton) that I think you’d love to visit. It’s a romantic castle with sweeping views of the lake. Architecturally, I find this castle more charming than (but not as picture-perfect as) Oberhofen Castle and Thun Castle in Lake Thun. Are you curious already? Alright, let’s start introducing you to the beautiful landmarks in Lucerne!

Good to know: I’ve added some tips for each landmark — helpful whether you’re planning a 1-day visit, a 2-day stay, or a 3-day getaway in Lucerne.

1. Lucerne Station

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Zeitgeist Archway Lucerne
Zeitgeist Archway Lucerne
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Did you know that upon arriving by train, you can already see a beautiful landmark in Lucerne? It should be visible immediately after you emerge from the train station via the escalator. However, its beauty only becomes obvious after you walk across it and view its northern facade. This landmark is called Torbogen Luzern.

Learn more about Torbogen Luzern

So, what is Torbogen Luzern all about? Also known as the Lucerne Archway, it is the remnant of Lucerne’s magnificent late 19th-century railway station that was destroyed by fire in 1971. It used to serve as the main entrance to the old train station.

In photos, it may seem small, but in reality, it’s huge! I estimate it to be more than 36 meters or 120 feet tall. Its size and imposing neoclassical architecture serve as a welcome message to every visitor, suggesting that there’s more to see in Lucerne: “Explore the city and discover more beautiful places!”

I particularly liked its three beautiful keystones and the reliefs that embellish the facade. With how they look with the entire structure, Torbogen Luzern is undoubtedly one of the best places in Lucerne to take selfies for photo souvenirs.

The most notable feature of Torbogen Luzern is the Zeitgeist. This is the sculpture on top of the arch, created by Richard Kissling. I am unsure of the message Richard Kissling intended his sculpture to convey. However, I do know that the term Zeitgeist is a German word that translates to the spirit of the times or the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.

2. Chapel Bridge

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Why do I like Lucerne as a tourist destination? Its famous landmarks and the city’s points of interest are all within walking distance of each other. Want an example? Suppose you’re at Lucerne Archway (the train station). From there, the Chapel Bridge, Lucerne’s most famous landmark, is less than a 5-minute walk away. In fact, you can spot the Chapel Bridge just a few steps from Lucerne Archway! Here’s everything you need to know about the Chapel Bridge.

Interesting things about the Chapel Bridge

Specifically, the Chapel Bridge is the second bridge across the Reuss River, following Seebrücke from Lake Lucerne. This bridge spans 204 meters (670 feet) diagonally across the Reuss River, connecting Bahnhofstrasse and Rathausquai. Honestly, the Chapel Bridge is a reason why you should visit Lucerne. Check out the 5 things you need to know about this landmark below.

  • It’s the most iconic landmark of Lucerne and a cultural treasure, dating back to the early 14th century.
  • The Chapel Bridge is the world’s oldest truss bridge!
  • This bridge is also the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe.
  • The Chapel Bridge is more than just a bridge. It’s like a gallery of Lucerne’s history, painted on the triangular masterpieces on the bridge’s roof trusses.
  • Lastly, it’s incredibly picturesque, with a medieval tower called the Water Tower.

3. Rathaus

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View of Rathaus from Rathaussteg or Reuss River in Lucerne, Switzerland
View of Rathaus from Rathaussteg
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Once you reach the Chapel Bridge, I bet you’d agree that the view of the houses along the Reuss River is an architectural feast for the eyes. Beautiful buildings stand on both of its banks. I suggest going to Seebrücke for the most panoramic views of the old city and the Reuss River. Once you’re in Seebrücke and start marveling at the skyline of old town Lucerne, a building that will capture your attention is Lucerne’s Town Hall or Rathaus. Its clock tower dominates the view when looking at the right side of the river.

Rathaus more info + sightseeing tips

If you want to photograph Lucerne’s Rathaus or admire its architecture, I recommend going to Rathaussteg and Kornmarkt. Rathaussteg provides leading lines to Rathaus, which are perfect for photography. In Kornmarkt, you’ll see the gorgeous facade of Rathaus and its tower.

Aside from the eye-catching, bell-shaped red roof and colorful clock of Lucerne’s Rathaus, you must also check out its elaborate door in Renaissance style. You can find it in Kornmarkt, beside the base of the clock tower. The door of the Rathaus is truly beautiful.

The door features two reliefs of lions that hold the coat of arms of Lucerne on top, intricate Corinthian columns, a well-crafted woodwork, and a golden doorknob that resembles a platypus. Based on the “1603” inscriptions on the door, I can say that Lucerne’s Rathaus was built in the early 1600s. Additionally, you’ll find symbols on the door. I believe the relief of the two women depicts justice (the one holding the sword and scales) and prosperity (the sculpture with a pail of water and a bowl)

4. Jesuit Church

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Let’s say you are currently in Rathaussteg, and you are having one of the loveliest strolls in Lucerne, taking photos of Rathaus. If you turn around, you’ll see another beautiful landmark—it’s called the Jesuit Church. If you’re also an architecture enthusiast like me, your quest for the most intricate architectural masterpiece in Lucerne ends in the Jesuit Church. It’s not pretty much apparent from its facade and exteriors, but once you enter, you’ll agree! See more photos of the Jesuit Church’s interiors here.

What’s there to see in Jesuit Church? (Very short summary)

The interiors of the Jesuit Church emanate elegance. It is a mix of Baroque and Rococo architecture, but the latter will take your breath away. The white, gold, and brown colors inside the church reflect heavenly grace you won’t regret seeing! Comparing the Jesuit Church to the famous churches in Europe, it’s slightly outmatched. Nevertheless, the rococo stucco works of the Jesuit Church are a captivating spectacle—especially the ones on the eight chapels of the church.

I also have to mention the cycle of paintings on the ceiling of the Jesuit Church’s main hall. They beautifully connect the imposing altar and the ornate organ at the back of the church, telling stories about the parish’s patron saint, Saint Francis Xavier.

5. Spreuer Bridge

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If you walk west from the Jesuit Church through Reusssteg, you’ll arrive at the Spreuer Bridge in approximately 5 minutes. Like the Chapel Bridge, Spreuer Bridge is a covered wooden bridge unique to Lucerne. Spreuer, or the Chaff bridge, is the shorter version of the Chapel Bridge; one of the three bridges that connect the two parts of the old city divided by the Reuss River. (The third bridge is called the Court Bridge, dismantled in the 19th century).

Fascinating things inside the Spreuer Bridge + photo spots

Aside from the water tower and length, the main difference between the Spreuer Bridge and the Chapel Bridge is the artworks under their roof. The paintings on the Spreuer Bridge form a Danse Macabre cycle, while the ones on the Chapel Bridge mainly depict the history of Lucerne and Switzerland. According to my sources, the cycle of painting in the Spreuer Bridge is the largest known example of its kind.

But wait, what’s Danse Macabre? Dance Macabre, also known as the Dance of Death, is a medieval allegory represented in art, literature, and music. It is typically depicted as a skeleton or a personification of death leading a procession of people from all walks of life, including kings, popes, and peasants, to their graves. The allegory serves to remind people of the inevitability of death and the futility of earthly pursuits and social distinctions in the face of mortality.

Surely, it will also feel like you’re visiting a gallery as you stroll on the Spreuer Bridge because of these paintings. There’s a twist, though. You can also find a cute chapel in the middle of the Spreuer Bridge. The small chapel, flanked by beautiful woodcraft, has a stained glass window with an artwork of Mary and figurines of some biblical characters. Perhaps, if you’re Catholic like me, you can spend a moment in prayer for a wish (more travels!).

If you are looking for a spot to photograph the Spreuer Bridge, head to the northern entrance of the bridge. Capture the bridge with the Hotel Château Gütschin the background—it should look even more beautiful at night when the buildings are illuminated.

Spreuer Bridge and its small wooden chapel in Lucerne, Switzerland
Spreuer Bridge and its small wooden chapel

6. Musegg Wall

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From the Spreuer Bridge, you can spot another landmark in Lucerne looking west. This landmark is called the Musegg Wall. It’s Lucerne’s medieval city fortification, dating back to the 14th century. For some, Musegg Wall is the hidden gem tourist attraction in Lucerne. No wonder why, because of its location in the northernmost part of the old city. Here’s everything you need to know before visiting Musegg Wall.

Interesting things + what to expect in visiting Musegg Wall

You should visit Musegg Wall because it’s a great example of the Swiss Medieval fortification that still stands today. Actually, it’s also the longest remaining intact wall in Switzerland. Like most medieval walls, Musegg Wall also has its towers. Originally, it had 10 towers, but now, only 9 remain.

At the same time, I recommend not missing Musegg Wall because it’s the most accessible place (during non-winter months) to see some panoramic views of the old city, mountains, and Lake Lucerne. How? By climbing its towers and walking along the ramparts.

For me, the best parts of Musegg Wall are Männliturm and Zytturm. You can climb both to enjoy overlooking views of the city. Männliturm is the only tower with a roof deck—it’s a nice place to observe the surroundings. On the other hand, Zytturm is the most elaborate because of its large mural and gigantic clock.

You can even step inside the Zytturm to see exhibits of different clock mechanisms. Anyway, if you walk the entire length of Musegg Wall from Nölliturm (the tower beside River Reuss), you’ll end up on the northeastern side of Lucerne’s old town. It’s where you can see more landmarks in Lucerne, such as the Lion Monument and the Hofkirche (Church of Saint Leodegar).

If you are currently on the Spreuer Bridge, you may need to walk for about seven minutes to reach the first tower of Musegg Wall.

7. Lion Monument

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Lion Monument in Lucerne, Switzerland
Lion Monument
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For history lovers, the Lion Monument is the landmark you should prioritize. As a memorial, it holds immense historical value that one can discover in Lucerne. Also known as the Lion of Lucerne, it is a massive sculpture carved out of sandstone rock in the early 19th century. It depicts a lion lying on its side with a solemn expression on its face.

The Lion of Lucerne is also a memorial to the Swiss soldiers who died during the French Revolution. It offers a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by these brave soldiers. With the appearance of the lion and the message it holds, many consider it one of the most moving and powerful monuments in Switzerland. Even Mark Twain agrees with it in his book, “A Tramp Abroad.” Learn more about Lion Monument (+visiting tips) here.

8. Church of Saint Leodegar

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With its pointed twin spires dominating the skyline of Lucerne over the lake, it’s the Church of Saint Leodegar that you’ll surely notice when sightseeing around Lake Lucerne. I believe the Church of Saint Leodegar is also one of the most picturesque landmarks in Lucerne due to its imposing facade. This church’s facade combines Gothic and German Renaissance styles, making it uniquely elegant. Discover the interesting details of the Church of Saint Leodegar here.

Summary of a visit to the Church of Saint Leodegar

By the way, what is the Church of Saint Leodegar? In simplest words, the Hofkirche, as it is also known, serves as the Catholic parish church of Lucerne. Its long history and appearance contribute to its significance in the city’s history, religion, and architecture.

The Church of Saint Leodegar is located at the edge of the old city to the east. It is easy to find, especially near SchweizerhofquaiSeebrücke, or any other place with a view of Lake Lucerne. Once you spot the church’s spires dominating the skyline, you can easily follow their direction to locate the church.

When I checked out the Church of Saint Leodegar, I found the main portal particularly interesting. Visitors are greeted with a stunning display of woodwork, sculptures, and classical elaborative elements on the columns. The relief and ornamentation around the door are a true feast for the eyes.

While the Church of Saint Leodegar may not be as stunning as other famous churches, I still think it’s worth a quick visit for its artwork, beautiful organ, and impressive altars.

9. Houses in Old Town Lucerne

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At this point, I have mentioned all the major landmarks in Lucerne’s old town. However, there are more buildings that you need to see! These are the houses in the old town Lucerne, and I consider them the gems we can discover during a trip to Lucerne. What makes the houses in Lucerne’s old town special? It’s their elaborate facades, adorned with murals and paintings. I believe these murals are called Lüftlmalerei, an alpine tradition of painting house facades with pictures depicting the owner’s occupation or favorite saints.

Details + location of the beautiful houses in Lucerne

Where can you find these beautiful houses in Lucerne’s old town? Generally, they are located in the old city squares like Weinmarkt, Hirschenplatz, and Sternenplatz (you can find Google Maps links in the sources section).

In Weinmarkt, there’s a house with murals depicting the Biblical scene of the Wedding Feast at Cana. Above the wedding painting, angels play violins and other musical instruments. (If you know the exact meaning, please share it in the comments section—thank you!)

Also in Weinmarkt, near the fountain, you’ll find a brown house whose mural depicts the Temptation of Eve. It’s filled with smaller details, including dragons and other symbolism.

Hirschenplatz, on the other hand, boasts five houses with facades adorned in Lüftlmalerei. The two most notable buildings are to the south and east of the square.

The first house features paintings depicting great soldiers, patriots, and knights. The second house showcases murals with intricate columns and beams of classical architecture. Additionally, the second house displays faces of wise and strong men, along with cute baby angels holding diamond rings.

Want to see more? Head to Sternenplatz! There, you’ll find Restaurant Fritschi’s building adorned with modern artwork depicting fairytales, witches, clowns, and even a plant with a face.

But that’s not all—another elaborate house in Sternenplatz has a facade with a picture of a rich family in the middle. Just below the family image, you’ll see kids or people representing different personalities. One plays a musical instrument, another proudly holds the flag of Lucerne and Switzerland, and so on.

Strolling through Lucerne’s old town feels like stumbling upon an open children’s book, especially in the squares I just mentioned. But beyond the houses, don’t miss the chance to explore some establishments in Lucerne’s old city. My top recommendations are Hotel des Balances and Pfistern Restaurant.

Hotel des Balances boasts a facade adorned with murals depicting classical architectural elements—it’s truly one of the most spectacular buildings in Lucerne’s old town. As for Pfistern Restaurant, its walls are filled with paintings of plants, each bearing the coat of arms of different groups in Switzerland. It’s superb creativity. While I’m not entirely sure if they’re cantonal coats of arms, they’re definitely worth admiring!

10. Meggenhorn Castle

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I’ll complete this list of beautiful landmarks in Lucerne with Meggenhorn Castle. It’s a castle located in Meggen, a municipality within the district of Lucerne. Based on its fairytale appearance, I consider it the most “magical landmark” you can visit during your trip to Lucerne. Meggenhorn Castle is also the most idyllic among the places and landmarks in Lucerne that I previously enumerated. Situated almost on the tip of a peninsula on Lake Lucerne, its idyllic setting will undoubtedly make you feel calm and relaxed.

Why visit Meggenhorn Castle + How to visit

Here are three compelling reasons why you’d want to visit Meggenhorn Castle:

  1. Scenic Views. By visiting Meggenhorn Castle, you’ll be rewarded with a 180° view of Lake Lucerne, which includes Mount Pilatus, Mount Rigi, and the city of Lucerne. Find a spot on the red bench, sit back, and enjoy the vistas of the city and mountains. It’s a perfect place to find inner peace!
  2. Romantic Ambiance. The castle and its surroundings exude romance. If you’re traveling with your partner, consider strolling through the French garden, which complements the castle’s neo-Renaissance style. Alternatively, explore the English garden near the castle’s 19th-century neo-Gothic chapel.
  3. Photo Opportunities. Meggenhorn Castle offers abundant photo opportunities, especially on sunny days. Explore hiking trails through the vineyards or take the path to Känzeli Meggenhorn. Along the way, you’ll encounter chalets, barns, animals, covered lookouts, and stunning perspectives of the castle and chapel against the backdrop of Lake Lucerne.

Feel free to linger in the castle’s garden and open areas. If you’re curious to learn more about Meggenhorn Castle and explore its interior, consider joining one of the tours offered by the castle’s staff. As of my last check, tours are available only on Sundays, from April to October. For the latest information, visit the official website of Meggenhorn Castle on the resources section of this post.

Reaching Meggenhorn Castle takes longer than any other landmarks in Lucerne on this list. After a bus ride (bus #24) to Meggen (Lerchenbühl Station) from Lucerne central station, you’ll need to hike for about 10 to 15 minutes. That’s nearly 30 minutes of travel time from the city.

Beautiful Landmarks in Lucerne Resources

For the precise location of these landmarks in Lucerne, you can refer to my map of Old Town Lucerne or use the links to Google Maps and official websites provided below.

  1. Bridges in Lucerne
  2. Spreuer Bridge (Wikipedia)
  3. Kanzeli Meggenhorn (Google Map)
  4. Schloss Meggenhorn (official website)
  5. Weinmarkt (Google Maps)
  6. Hirschenplatz (Google Maps)
  7. Sternenplatz (Google Maps)

Hey there! I hope you find my post about Lucerne’s beautiful landmarks helpful. If you’re planning to visit Lucerne soon and haven’t secured a place to stay yet, please check out my partner’s hotel search and booking website. It offers amazing hotel deals (usually at lower prices) and includes perks such as free cancellations. I believe you’ll find it great! Keep in mind that this is an affiliate link, which means I may earn a small commission when you book through it. The best part? There’s no extra cost to you. Consider it your donation to WanderInEurope, allowing me to write more helpful posts like this. Thank you for your support!

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If you’re interested in beautiful landmarks in Switzerland, aside from Lucerne, you also have to visit Bern. It’s home to eye-catching landmarks like the BundeshausBern Cathedral, and Zytglogge. Actually, the capital of Switzerland is an architectural marvel — the entirety of its old city! Here’s a 4-day Switzerland itinerary, focused on exploring Bern and Lucerne. On the other hand, my 6-day Switzerland itinerary focuses on all the unforgettable experiences and destinations in Bern and Bernese Oberland.

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