Unique Experiences in Lucerne & Lucerne’s Unique Attractions

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As I create my Lucerne itineraries for a 1-day visit2-day stay, and 3-day getaway, I’ve discovered 10 attractions and activities that make a trip to Lucerne even more special. Some I found are free to visit, while others are simply beautiful — wanderers would love to see it!

To be precise, five of these activities are different from what typical tourists do. They’re great for travelers on their second time in Lucerne, looking for something new to do. They might also be nice for seasoned travelers aiming to make their trip even more memorable. The other five attractions are for first-time travelers in Lucerne, allowing them to experience what makes Lucerne unique.

To be honest, it’s hard to say which activities are truly unique, as everyone has different experiences, perspectives, and interests that may change over time. My suggestions are all based on my own judgment, even though they may not be unique to everyone. But, surely, if you love taking pictures, learning about history and culture while traveling, and visiting scenic attractions and tranquil places, my suggestions would be great for you.

5 Unique Things To Do In Lucerne

Lucerne, a top destination in Switzerland, attracts many visitors. However, most of them stick to the well-known highlights like the Chapel Bridge, Lion Monument, and Mount Pilatus. These spots are unmissable, but there’s more to Lucerne!

Lucerne offers unique experiences beyond the usual tourist circuit. Sadly, many visitors miss out on these hidden gems. Imagine the memories they could create! So, what can make your Lucerne trip truly special? Check out the activities and attractions below.

1. Visit Mount Bürgenstock

Lucerne is beautiful historic city and home to some incredible structures. The Chapel Bridge, Europe’s oldest wooden covered bridge and the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge, is here. Pilatus Railway, which holds the record as the world’s steepest cogwheel train is also here. But did you know that it is also in Lucerne that you find Europe’s highest exterior elevator? It’s called Hammetschwand Elevator.

Learn more about Hammetschwand Elevator and Mount Bürgenstock

Location: You can find the Hammetschwand Elevator on the Bürgenstock mountain, overlooking Lake Lucerne. If you are on the promenade along the shores of Lake Lucerne near the Hofkirche, it is one of the mountains that you will encounter across the city and lake.

Summary: Visiting the Hammetschwand Elevator is often included in a day trip (with a boat ride) to the Bürgenstock mountain resort. This expansive mountain-top resort offers scenic trails, swimming pools, a spa, bars, and restaurants. The last time I checked, there were 12 restaurants and bars at the Bürgenstock resort, all offering international cuisine.

To reach the Hammetschwand Elevator: hike for 20 to 30 minutes from the resort after arriving at the resort. There is a restaurant/beer garden next to the Hammetschwand Elevator, where you can enjoy refreshments after the hike. Remember to bring cash for ordering food.

What makes visiting the Hammetschwand Elevator or the Bürgenstock resort so delightful is that you can already enjoy your trip while on your way to the mountain. First, you’ll cruise on Lake Lucerne aboard a modern catamaran. Next, you’ll ride on a nostalgic funicular railway.

You can learn more about this trip and book your tickets here.

2. Explore The Villas & Castles Around Lake Lucerne

In terms of architecture, I’m pretty sure that Bern sits on the throne as Switzerland’s most beautiful city. See it for yourself from its landmarks and picture-perfect views. However, one can’t deny Lucerne’s charm. In a way, Lucerne is a destination straight out of a fairytale. The city’s time-transporting landmarks pretty much give that impression: a medieval wall, towers, and a castle.

Yep, Lucerne has a castle! It’s called Meggenhorn Castle, and it’s Lucerne’s hidden gem. Meggenhorn Castle is located outside the city, in the municipality of Meggen (within the municipality of Lucerne). To get there, take a 15-minute bus ride (bus #24) from the Lucerne train station, followed by a 15-minute hike. Not known to many, this castle can make your Lucerne experience unique compared to the usual tourist spots. Here’s what Meggenhorn Castlelooks like:

Meggenhorn Castle in Meggen in the Canton of Lucerne, Switzerland
Meggenhorn Castle in Meggen in the Canton of Lucerne
What to expect in Meggenhorn Castle + Tips for visiting

If you’ve been to the Loire Valley in France, you might find the appearance of Meggenhorn Castle quite familiar. It is because Château Chambord in Loire Valley is the inspiration of Meggenhorn Castle.

While Meggenhorn Castle may not be as grand as Château Chambord, it undoubtedly offers better scenery. Perched on the Meggen peninsula, visitors to the castle are rewarded with panoramic views of Lake Lucerne, including Mount Rigi, Bürgenstock, and Pilatus. This makes the castle a beautiful destination, especially on a sunny day. The castle’s stunning appearance, combined with the idyllic lake and mountain views, creates the most paradisiacal scenery you can find in Lucerne.

In addition to the main castle, the Meggenhorn Castle compound also features a neo-gothic chapel, which any architecture enthusiast (like me) would be glad to see. If you have your lover with you during your trip to Lucerne, a stroll through the vineyards and French and English gardens will surely be one of the most romantic moments of your journey in Switzerland.

If you want to visit Meggenhorn Castle, please don’t forget to check the visiting information on the official website of the castle (linked in the sources section of this post). However, the last time I checked, Meggenhorn Castle visitors were free to roam outside the castle all year round.

For a better Swiss countryside experience in Lucerne, try the Lakeside and Villas Private Walking Tour or the Full-Day Castles, Villages & Monasteries Tour. They’ll help you visit Meggenhorn Castle and you’ll also get to visit other idyllic destinations nearby.

3. Join The Night Watchman

Back in school, I wasn’t a big fan of history classes. But everything changed when I started traveling and experiencing history firsthand. To me, history is the story that explains the current state of the world, and I’m fascinated by understanding it.

Are you into historical travel too? If you are, don’t miss out on a tour of Lucerne’s old town. However, before you sign up for any tour, check out the unique and delightfully medieval 1-Hour Historical Tour with the Night Watchman. During this tour, you’ll explore life, art, and law and order in Medieval Lucerne in a very unique way!

What is a night watchman? + info about the tour

Coming from the other side of the world, the Night Watchman was a completely strange person or thing to me.

If you also wonder what or who it is, here’s how I can describe it: During the medieval ages, the night watchman was responsible for patrolling the streets and providing security during the night in towns and cities. Their duties included keeping an eye out for fires, thieves, and other dangers, as well as sounding an alarm in the event of an emergency.

You will recognize the night watchman if you see a person carrying a lantern or torch to light their way, and sometimes wearing a uniform or carrying a weapon to deter crime.

Basically, during the tour, a “medieval” policeman will accompany you to different historical places in the old town. But unlike ordinary walking tours, there’s a twist: it happens at night. And you’ll hear the history of Lucerne delivered in an enthusiastic way. For more details, check out the 1-Hour Historical Tour with the Night Watchman to learn about the itinerary and the topics covered during the tour.

If you’re staying in the city for a few days, joining this tour can maximize your Lucerne trip. Perhaps you’ve spent the day on a cruise in Lake Lucerne, visited a museum, or taken a day trip to Mount Pilatus. Then at night, it’s time to explore the old city with the Night Watchman.

4. Photography Walk

Traveling entails learning, but it is not always necessarily about discovering new pieces of history and introspection. It can also be about improving or learning new skills. For example, there is a photography walking tour in Lucerne, and you know what that means! On that photography walking tour, you’ll have the chance to learn how to take better photos of Lucerne and the Swiss Alps with the help of a professional photographer guide.

View of the houses on Kornmarkt in Lucerne, Switzerland
View of the houses on Kornmarkt
What to expect during Lucerne Photography Walking Tour

The guide will not only take you to the most scenic spots in the city but also provide an opportunity to see the landmarks up close. You’ll experience Lucerne like a local as you explore off-the-beaten-path locations and discover picturesque, lesser-known spots.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced photographer, the professional guide’s expertise will benefit you. It’s an excellent chance to capture Lucerne’s beauty and the Swiss Alps through your camera lens.

During the tour, you’ll also encounter some of Lucerne’s unique sights, including frescoes on the facades of old town houses. Art and architecture enthusiasts will appreciate them! Learn more about the photography walking tour.

5. Discover Swiss Museum of Transport

Lucerne is a city known for its beautiful alpine scenery and historic old town. But did you know that it also boasts a remarkable attraction, unique in the diverse experiences it offers to visitors? That attraction is the Swiss Transport Museum.

For me, the Swiss Transport Museum is a must-see destination for travelers interested in transportation and technology. This museum provides a unique and comprehensive look at the history and evolution of all forms of transportation, from trains and automobiles to ships and aircraft.

Swiss Museum of Transport, Lucerne, Switzerland
Swiss Museum of Transport
What else is to expect in Swiss Transport Museum?

In addition to its impressive collection of vehicles and technology, the museum also features a planetarium and a stunning 1:20,000-scale aerial photograph of Switzerland. The museum is divided into four areas, each with a specific theme: aircraft, cars, trains, and boats. These areas feature a range of exhibits related to transportation, including vintage vehicles, interactive displays, and educational displays.

One of the highlights of the museum is the model of the Saint Gotthard railway, which is absolutely a must-see! In addition to the railway model, visitors will also learn about the role of SBB, the Swiss Federal Trains, in the country’s transportation system.

There is so much to see in the Swiss Transport Museum that half a day is not enough to fully explore everything inside it. In fact, I even think that it transcends the traditional definition of a museum because it offers so much more! You’ll understand why when you visit.

If you are interested in learning more about the Swiss Museum of Transport, you can find a summary of its overall experience and purchase a full day pass at this link.

5 Tourist Attractions Unique To Lucerne

Did you find my handpicked activities in Lucerne unique? Well, before you do any of those, make sure you don’t miss the landmarks and points of interest that make Lucerne a unique destination. Below are the five places/things to do in Lucerne that you can’t find/have anywhere else in Switzerland.

1. Chapel Bridge

The Chapel Bridge is the most famous landmark in Lucerne, renowned for being the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge and Europe’s oldest covered wooden bridge. It is the bridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss River, starting in Bahnhofstrasse and ending at Saint Peter’s Chapel, which the Chapel Bridge is named after.

The Chapel Bridge’s quaint appearance easily reveals why it’s such a unique destination in Switzerland.

Chapel Bridge during the golden hour in Lucerne, Switzerland
Chapel Bridge during the golden hour

There’s so much to discover about the Chapel Bridge, such as the triangular paintings on its gables. If you’re planning a visit, there are specific times of the day or year when it’s even more breathtaking. To learn more, check out my guide for the Chapel Bridge — it’s designed to help you maximize your experience!

2. Lion Monument

A visit to Lucerne is not complete without seeing the Lion Monument. It is another famous landmark in the city and also a meaningful memorial and impressive work of art. If you have traveled to different parts of the world, you may have already seen a copy of the Lion Monument. But even if that is the case, I still think that the Lion Monument in Lucerne is unique in a way.

Zoomed in shot of the Lion Monument In Lucerne, Switzerland
Zoomed in shot of the Lion Monument
The Lion Monument in Lucerne is unique for 2 profound reasons.

The Lion Monument in Lucerne, Switzerland, is a powerful symbol. It honors Swiss soldiers who died protecting the last French King during the French Revolution. The monument’s inscription, ‘Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti,’ means ‘To the Loyalty and Courage of the Swiss.’ This might make you think about your own bravery and loyalty.

The monument itself is a large, impressive piece of art carved into a cliff. It’s unique in Switzerland. The lion is 10 meters long and 6 meters high, with detailed features. The sadness on the lion’s face is very moving. The monument’s peaceful location adds to its specialness. It’s by a quiet pond and surrounded by trees, a perfect place for thoughtful travelers to reflect…

If you want to drop by, here’s everything you need to know before visiting the Lion Monument.

3. Musegg Wall

If you are looking for a truly time-transporting place in Switzerland, the Musegg Wall is the landmark to see. Musegg Wall is a 14th-century fortification that makes Lucerne a unique destination because it is the most preserved medieval wall in all of Switzerland. It was part of the 2-layer city defenses that protected Lucerne from invaders from the north.

View while strolling in Museggmauer Weg in Lucerne, Switzerland
View while strolling in Museggmauer Weg
Impressive things you can expect to see in Musegg Wall

Today, Musegg Wall spans 900 meters from the River Reuss to the eastern portion of the old city, and you can see it gloriously forming the skyline of Lucerne with its nine towers, each having different styles and appearances.

You’ll marvel at some of these towers as they are remarkable examples of medieval military architecture, most especially the Luegisland tower. The roof of this tower, aside from being tall and pointy, has a fascinating irregular form. Its base is square or rectangular, twisting into an octagonal shape.

Zytturm is another impressive tower of the Musegg Wall. It is a beautifully mural-decorated clock tower that houses an exhibition about different clock mechanisms.

If you wish, you can climb some of these towers and walk along the ramparts of the Musegg Wall to take in some scenic views. The scenery from the Musegg Wall includes overlooking sights of the old city, Lake Lucerne, and the surrounding mountains.

Here’s everything you need to learn about visiting Musegg Wall.

4. Mount Pilatus (Golden/Silver Round Trip)

Visiting Lucerne, you come to the city closest to one of Switzerland’s most beautiful mountains. This mountain is called Mount Pilatus, and it’s a fantastic day trip destination from Lucerne. The scenery from Mount Pilatus is absolutely splendid – you’ll marvel at the varying landscape of Switzerland from its summit. A 360-degree panorama of the Swiss Alps plus the Swiss Central Plateau awaits you there. And, of course, there’s the overlooking view of Lucerne and Lake Lucerne!

The view from Pilatus Railway in Lucerne, Switzerland
The view from Pilatus Railway
How does the experience of visiting Mount Pilatus differ from visiting other mountains in Switzerland? 

Besides the unique scenery that all mountains offer, what sets Mount Pilatus apart are the routes to and from its peak. Specifically, the Mount Pilatus-Lucerne round trip, known as the Golden Round Trip and Silver Round Trip.

Unlike other mountain destinations in Switzerland, these ‘round trips’ involve a variety of transportation methods – a cable car, a cogwheel train, and a boat. These were designed not just to transport people to the summit of Mount Pilatus, but also to provide awe-inspiring and memorable experiences.

For me, the highlights of the Golden Round Trip are the summit and the Pilatus railway. Fun fact – did you know that the Pilatus railway is the world’s steepest cogwheel train, with an incredible maximum gradient of 48%? The combination of the screeching metal sounds and breathtaking views will likely make this one of your favorite parts of the round trip too.

Here’s a guide to help you get the most out of your visit to Mount Pilatus, should you choose to go.

5. Old Town Lucerne

The old town of Lucerne is unique by itself, at least when compared to other city centers in Switzerland. How? It’s because of the big and small charming details that Lucerne has. A few of the beautiful things you can find in the old town of Lucerne are the mural-adorned houses in the town squares. I think they are called Lüftlmalerei. As far as I know, Lucerne’s old town has the most houses decorated with this artwork in all of Switzerland.

Luftlmalerei in Weinmarkt, Lucerne, Switzerland
Luftlmalerei in Weinmarkt

By the way, what is a Lüftlmalerei? It is a folk art originated in southern Germany that depicts scenes from folk tales and legends, religious themes, and historical events. The murals may also feature images of animals, plants, and other natural elements.

People believe these murals are thought to bring good luck and protection (if a saint is depicted) to the houses they adorn. They’re a spectacular cultural discovery you can have in Lucerne. My Map of Old Town Lucerne should show you exactly where these beautiful murals are.

More Information

So, that’s all! That’s my list of unique things to do in Lucerne. You can learn more about Lucerne and some of its points of interest mentioned in my list from these links:

Well, well, well! I can’t contain my excitement for your upcoming trip to Lucerne! I hope it turns out to be a truly unforgettable experience. If you’re planning to stay in the city and haven’t found a place yet, I’d like to recommend my partner’s booking website. It offers some of the best hotel deals in Europe, with affordable rates and perks like cancellable bookings that you’ll surely find useful. Please note that this is an affiliate link, which means I may earn a commission if you book through this link. But don’t worry, there’s no additional cost to you. Think of it as your way of supporting WanderInEurope, allowing me to continue writing helpful posts like this one. Thank you for your support!

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Still piecing together your Swiss adventure? If Lucerne is on your radar, I’ve got just the ticket! Check out my meticulously planned 4-day Swiss escapade, tailor-made for an extended weekend in the heart of Switzerland.

I’ve got another itinerary up my sleeve, though, perfect for a week-long immersion in the country, with a focus on the enchanting Bernese Oberland. This includes visits to captivating destinations near Lucerne like the historic city of Bern, the breathtaking Jungfrau Region, the charming town of Thun, and the serene Lake Thun. The best part? You can effortlessly weave this itinerary into your existing plans post your Lucerne visit.

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