You must be knowing that self walking tour have been one of the most important aspects of our Europe tours. And we urge everyone to explore Europe through similar self walking tours. Since someone said it right – Europe is best explored on foot. You might have already walked with us on our free self planned and self guided walking tour of Florence across the river Arno and yet another one exploring the heart of the renaissance capital. Then there was a walking tour that we took in Venice. And now, we are ready to take you with us on yet another beautiful walking tour – a free Lucerne city walking tour.
This is almost a half day walking tour that we took on the day of our arrival in Lucerne. It is a free walking tour, with a map from our hotel Drei Könige to the important spots of Lucerne city, in order. There is a map at the end of the article to help you visualize. You can as well replace our starting point – our hotel – with your own starting point. And if required, rearrange the stops a little bit to bring them in order. After that, you will be ready to explore the ever enchanting town of Lucerne on foot. Without further delay, let us walk you through the most important stops as we took to our free Lucerne city walking tour.
Jesuit Church is the first large baroque church built in Switzerland north of the Alps. Since, this was the spot nearest to our hotel, we decided to start our free Lucerne city walking tour from here. Walking just 5 minutes from our hotel, we arrived at the Jesuit Church. The church boasts of beautiful architecture both from outside and inside. And the premises are huge and you can see other buildings nearby where those in the service of the Church must be residing. There is a beautiful fountain in a lawn near the Church where we refilled our water bottles before embarking further on our free Lucerne city walking tour.
Banks of Lake Lucerne
From Jesuit Church, we started walking towards our next stop – Chapel Bridge. But, first we approached the banks of Lake Lucerne, just before the Chapel bridge. There are steps here that lead to the lake. And we sat on these steps. Our little one was immediately captivated by the ducks and swans that were enjoying the pristine lake. The beautiful blue water was producing small waves. And we could clearly see through the water to the bed of the lake and the brown rocks and pebbles lying there. A couple of families came around and fed the ducks and swans some bread. While we watched the scenic beauty of Lucerne across the lake, absolutely captivated by it’s charm.
When we were ready to get back on our feet after some time, the little one was not at all ready. She wanted to sit on those banks till eternity and watch the ducks and swans hypnotically 😀 . It took quiet some effort to make her leave the beautiful bank and walk towards the Chapel bridge itself to cross the lake. We vowed to return back here some day towards evening. Because we were sure when the street lights come up at night, and they produce a reflection into the lake, it will be a scene to behold. And we were absolutely right. We did return here on our last day in Lucerne. And we must have been disappointed had we missed the scene that we saw.
Walking further, we arrived at the Chapel bridge. It is an old wooden bridge across lake Lucerne that has been preserved well along with it’s rustic charm. When you are in Lucerne, you have got to walk across this bridge at least once. Don’t forget to stop in the middle of the bridge and admire the scenic beauty that lies on both the sides of the bridge. Indeed, Switzerland has been created by the Almighty with the most exotic resources that he had at hand. Walking slowly through the Chapel bridge, admiring the beauty of the surroundings and stopping once in a while to rest our foot, we proceeded further on our free Lucerne city walking tour, to arrive at the other end of the Lake.
The largest, bluest, and most pristine lake that I have ever seen in my life so far is what I can say to define Lake Lucerne. Dotted with ducks and swans, it is so crystal clear that you can see till the bottom of the lake. Although narrow in the middle of the town, it tends to quickly get wider as you walk further along it’s bank. There are several boats, yacht and cruise ships available to explore the lake. Although we couldn’t get on one this time, we are sure to return here and get on one soon. You can take daily and weekly pass to the boats as well. And then you can hop on and off the pretty island towns that surround lake Lucerne.
Old Town walls (Museggmauer)
After crossing through the Chapel Bridge, we continued further on our free Lucerne walking tour. Now, we navigated through some narrow lanes, to arrive at the main market of Lucerne. These markets are marked with all kind of shops from grocery to lifestyle. We lost our friend google here. So, we stopped at a few shops to ask for directions to the old town walls . Finally, we arrived at the foot of the old town walls. There is a beautifully landscaped garden developed here. And we did rest our feet a bit in this garden, sitting on the rustic benches for a while. As we started ascending the slope of the garden, we got the first glimpse of the city of Lucerne in front of us.
From here, you can see far and wide. You can see the breadth of the vast , beautiful, blue lake lucerne and the city of Lucerne spreading behind it. On the foothills of the swiss Alps that are decorated with snow laden peaks that almost touch the clouds. The beauty that spread in front of us was truly captivating. After standing here for several long moments, we walked further towards the clock tower that also has steps to climb on to the old wall. The walls are further up. You can see even farther from here.
From here, we walked along the old walls, sinking in the beauty of the old town spread on one side. And a beautiful garden that spread on the other side of the wall. Finally, we arrived at the second tower. We took the steps here to get down to the garden. And back to the roads. The views from here are simply unparalleled.
Famous as “The most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world” , the lion monument is yet another must visit when in Lucerne. Following our maps, we arrived at a gated small garden. And across a small pond lies the monument. It depicts a weak, wounded, dying lion from a battlefield. The expression on the face of the lion is utterly mournful. There is a great significance of the dying lion that can be understood by the story behind it.
It was built by a Danish artist Bertel Thorvaldsen in the memory of the brave Swiss guards that once guarded most of the royal families of Europe. And were brutally wiped out by an attack of the french revolutionaries. The words inscribed on the monument say “Helvetiorum fedei ac Virtuti” which translate to “To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss”. Below this, the names of the soldiers are inscribed along with the number of those who died and those who survived. There is something else to be noted here. The cut out of the stone in which the lion lies is shaped like a pig. It is said, the creators of the monument did it out of anger on the authorities who didn’t pay him as promised upon completion of the monument. This is what he thought of the authorities !!
Gletschergarten or Glacier Garden
Just besides the Lion Monument lies the Glacier Garden. There is a way to step into the garden right from the premises of the Lion Monument. This will be the next stop on our free Lucerne city walking tour. The Glacier Garden was found in 1872. It consists of glacial potholes that date back to ice age era. Around these significant remnants of the ancient past, a lush green beautiful park has been developed. Since the area is highly frequented by curious people and interested scientists a lot.
Church of St. Leodegar
The Church of St. Leodegar lies on the same side of Lake Lucerne as the Lion Monument. So, this is the next suitable spot on the walking tour, before we head back across the lake. There was a Roman Basillica at the place where the church stands as of today. But it got burnt down in 1633. Thereafter the Roman catholic church was built over it’s foundations, in parts, from 1633 to 1639 AD. Finally, the parish church of St. Leodegar was founded in 1874. Thereafter it became a monastery church and parish church. The architecture of the church is very beautiful. So, this forms another must see place when in Lucerne.
Other side of Lake Lucerne
Here I talk about the side of the lake that lies on the same side as the Lion Mountain, Hofkirche and the old town walls. As we left Hofkirche, we walked back along the banks of lake Lucerne before crossing the bridge to the other side. This side of the bridge is lined with beautiful open restaurants that include sitting besides the bank of the lake. And some open vegetable and fruit markets. We did buy some fries from one of the pubs on the banks and some fruits from a fruit stall. What particularly attracted our attention on the fruit stall was the pack of colorful eggs. They were colored in such beautiful hues that we couldn’t help but notice them 🙂 . Having done our grocery shopping, we decided to cross the lake and arrive at the final stop on our free Lucerne city walking tour.
Sammlung Rosengart Museum
The most famous museum of art in Lucerne, Sammalung Rosengart forms the last spot of this free Lucerne city walking tour. It has a vast collection of art that has been formed over a period of time. The most famous ones among the collections being those of Picasso and Klee. These artwork include 132 watercolors, drawings and paintings by Klee only. Then hundred more paintings from Picasso’s era. The collection also includes work of several other artists including Monet, Cézanne, Vuillard, Bonnard, Matisse, Braque, Léger, Miró and Chagall. All these artists were highly instrumental in converting the classical paintings into abstractions. And that is where the journey of abstraction art began.
Map of the free Lucerne city walking tour
PS: While we spent 4 beautiful days in Switzerland, based out of Lucerne. There are so many other enchanting and beautiful destinations in this country to explore. We do intend to cover them on our next trip. In the meanwhile, you can read : Where all to go in Switzerland.
Tips on taking free Lucerne city walking tour
- Carry a refill water bottle with you. There are plenty of fountains all across from where you can refill it with drinking water. Tap water is also drinkable in Switzerland. So, no worries there.
- Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking to be done. Lucerne is a pedestrian friendly town, so, no worries there.
- Take it slow. Walk a little and then rest a little. Chew on some snacks, drink water.
- You can as well get public washrooms in the vicinity of Hofkirche or the campus of Lion Monument.
- Do walk up to the old wall. But the stairs are steep. So, be careful.
- This walking tour takes nearly 4-5 hours.
- We visited in April and it started getting really chilly towards the evening. So, do provision for adequate winter wear depending on when you are planning to visit here.
- If possible, you can dine by the lake side as you complete the Lucerne city walking tour and head back to your destination.
- This is the official link to the Lucerne tourism website. You can also download a guide map to the city from here.
- Zurich is the nearest airport to Lucerne. However, the town is well connected across Europe through euro rails. We arrived here from Venice.
- English is well understood in Lucerne
- Swiss Francs are the main currency of the town. Although, euros might be accepted at few outlets, they will charge you the same number of Euros as the price in Swiss Francs.
- Finally, if you are on this walking tour with a toddler, don’t forget to take your stroller along. It will be so much easier to walk across on the tour.