Lion Monument In Lucerne: How To Visit And What To Expect

Did you know? Lucerne’s Dying Lion Monument was described by Mark Twain as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” I could not disagree when I first saw it, and even more when I learned the story behind the monument.

It’s like the emotion in the face of the lion emanates from anyone who sees it. I am impressed with how it was carved! I believe it will impress you, especially when you see its gigantic size. Believe it or not, the Dying Lion Monument is 10 meters long and 6 meters tall…

For this post, I will share all the interesting things I learned about the Lion Monument. And if you want to visit the Lion Monument in Lucerne, you arrived at the right article. Because this post will help you find, visit, and make your time with the Lion Monument fruitful and productive.

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I hate to sound like a “righteous traveler,” but I think we must at least try something that would benefit ourselves when visiting places, like learning new things, introspecting, widening oneself’s horizons, and so on. Don’t you agree traveling is a way to grow! 🙂

This is why it makes me sad whenever I see people visiting places like Lucerne’s Dying Lion Monument only to take photos and selfies… then leave immediately after they have posted the pictures on their social media accounts only to say, “I’m here in the famous Lion Monument in Lucerne!”

Indeed, the Lion Monument is both a masterpiece and a remarkable landmark—there’s nothing wrong with taking photos.

But at the same time, it is also a memorial where one can discover important pieces of history and learn values for personal growth. Especially since the Lion Monument is a tranquil place—introspecting would be great! 

I think you should not miss the opportunity to be touched by the monument.

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The Dying Lion Represents…

Every monument we built has something to commemorate, either notable people or important events. In the case of the Dying Lion Monument in Lucerne, it commemorates both. As the monument’s name suggests, it does not commemorate a joyful event but a tragic one.

So, what does the Dying Lion Monument remind us of?

The Dying Lion Monument commemorates the Swiss Guards who perished during the French Revolution on 10 August 1792 while protecting the last French Monarch. As the Latin inscriptions of the monument say, it was to remember the loyalty and the bravery of the Swiss Guards.

When you visit, you can notice the Roman numerals also inscribed at the monument: “DCCLX” (760) and “CCCL” (350). They tell the number of Swiss Guards killed and survived during the event, respectively. 

The Dying Lion Monument was commissioned by Karl Pfyffer von Altishofen, one of the Swiss Guards on leave during the August 1792 incident. He is also the author of the book about the Swiss Guards, which gathered sympathy from the public and funding for the said monument.

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Painting Of The Swiss Soldiers (down) and Lion Monument Entrance (up) in Lucerne, Switzerland
Painting Of The Swiss Soldiers (down) and Lion Monument Entrance (up)
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Visiting The Dying Lion In Lucerne

Some people expect so much about the Lion Monument because it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Lucerne. The local tourism office says that more than a million people come to see the monument—and newcomers get really interested in visiting it.

If you are one of these tourists, don’t set your expectations too high. Going to the monument only means visiting a humble park. And in the park, you’ll see the imposing sculpture of the dying lion carved on a rock above a pond. 

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The pond of the Lion Monument In Lucerne, Switzerland
The pond of the Lion Monument
Zoomed in shot of the Lion Monument In Lucerne, Switzerland
Zoomed in shot of the Lion Monument
Zoomed in shot of the Lion Monument's inscriptions In Lucerne, Switzerland
Zoomed in shot of the Lion Monument’s inscriptions
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Most visitors to the Lion Monument usually say they only spent a few minutes in the area, around 15 and 20. However, you can stay for much longer by hanging out or having a small picnic on the benches everywhere in the park. Often the benches have tree cover; thus, sitting down and resting for a while can be nice.

You may want to go to the elevated part of the park to feel more of the tranquility of the place. Often fewer tourists come there. I think you’ll also love the view of the Dying Lion Monument there.

And by the way, there is a free toilet beside the pond. It is located to the right of the pond if you are currently looking at the Lion Monument. 

Do you need more ideas where to go in Lucerne? I can help you with that! You can try reading: 10 Must-See Landmarks In Lucerne (Free Things To Do), 10 Unique Things To Do In Lucerne and Lucerne Is A Beautiful City: 10 Beautiful Things To See. (Links open in a new tab)

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What To Do In the Dying Lion Monument

Appreciating the monument is definitely one of the mandatory things to do in the Dying Lion Monument. It’s the essence of visiting the monument in the first place! However, if you’re wondering what else to do, here are more little things you can try:

1. Learning about the history of the Dying Lion Monument

I know everybody can research the monument ahead of time before visiting. But for a slightly better experience, I suggest learning about the monument on the actual site. I think standing beside the pond and in front of the Dying Lion Monument while you unfold its history is a unique way to visit the monument.

The tourism office has placed interpretation panels beside the gate where you can find details about the Dying Lion Monument. They have a QR code, which will show you the monument’s information in different languages if you scan it with your mobile phone.

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Panel board beside the pond of the Dying Lion Monument in Lucerne, Switzerland
Panel board beside the pond of the Dying Lion Monument
Panel at the entrance of the Dying Lion Monument in Lucerne, Switzerland
Panel at the entrance of the Dying Lion Monument
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The last time I checked, I saw panel boards beside the pond. They contain some explanation of the different symbolisms depicted by the monument. You will also see pictures of the events in the past relating to the recruitment of mercenaries for the service of the French king.

2. Contemplate the message that the Dying Lion Monument tells us.

As mentioned in the beginning, we should always aim to grow when we travel. Contemplating Swiss soldiers’ bravery and loyalty can be one of the things you can do for self-improvement. We can ask ourselves, what can we do to be heroes of our own country, community, or family? 

3. Take photos!

Even though there’s nothing much to see in the Dying Lion Monument, you can still find good photo opportunities in the park where the monument is. 

One of them is the pond which reflects the sculpture of the lion on its surface. You can take advantage of the pond for awesome photos of the monument.

4. Visit the Glacier Garden.

Going to the Lion Monument is hitting two birds with one stone. You can immediately visit the Glacier Garden right after seeing the monument. Its entrance is also in the park where the Lion Monument is.

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Entrance to the Glacier Garden from the Dying Lion Monument in Lucerne, Switzerland
Entrance to the Glacier Garden from the Dying Lion Monument
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In a nutshell, the Glacier Garden is a museum where you can find some glacial potholes, fossils, and things about Lucerne and glaciers. The most interesting things I found inside it are the 9.5-meter deep pothole and a diorama of Lucerne from the year 1792.

You can learn more about the Glacier Garden on their official website, linked at the end of this post.

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Where Is The Dying Lion Monument

Are you planning or now coming to the Lion Monument? If you are wondering where it is…

The Dying Lion Monument is along Denkmalstrasse (street) outside the old city of Lucerne. It is also located northeast of the medieval city center, together with other museums and art galleries like the Diorama of the Alps, Bourbaki Panorama Lucerne, and Spiegelmuseum.

If you prefer to locate it using Google Maps, you can check the link at the end of this post to see its exact location.

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How Do You Get To The Dying Lion Monument

Going to the Dying Lion Monument shouldn’t be a problem! It’s very simple to reach whether you prefer public transportation or walk, especially if you are already in Lucerne’s old city. 

Let’s say you are now in the old city (or in the landmarks/tourist attractions mentioned below). You can go straight to the Lion Monument on foot. Walking time is 15 to 20 minutes or less. 

  1. Train Station — 14 minutes
  2. Zytturm — 10 minutes
  3. Town hall — 11 minutes
  4. Chapel Bridge — 10 minutes
  5. Jesuit Church — 15 minutes

If you don’t prefer walking to the Lion Monument, you may ride the buses (#1, #19, N1). They have a stop in Wesemlinrain and Löwenplatz, which is very close to the monument. Walking time from these bus stops to the Lion Monument is only 1 to 2 minutes or less.

The Dying Lion Monument is only one of the tourist attractions which you must see when in Lucerne. I also recommend Chapel Bridge, the Church of Saint Leodegar (Hofkirche), Jesuit Church, Mount Pilatus, and Musegg Wall. Check them out! (Links open in a new tab)

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When To Visit The Dying Lion Monument

The Lion Monument is open 24 hours a day, so you may visit whenever you want. 

However, if you want a better visiting experience, I suggest going to the monument at off-peak hours. It’s better to be visited when it’s peaceful and quiet so you can contemplate the history and values it commemorates.

If you plan to visit Switzerland or Lucerne during autumn, make sure to put the Lion Monument on your itinerary. The park where the monument looks magical with fall foliage during autumn! You’ll love taking photos of the monument during this time.

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Sources: Dying Lion of Lucerne

Learn more about the Lion Monument of Lucerne from the websites I sourced facts and information for this post. I added the links that will also help you visit the monument.

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