Susan’s guide to Lucerne

 

Kunstmuseum (mainly Swiss artists from the 1500s to now). Tues to Sunday 10am-5pm Wed 10am-8pm.  Closed Mondays.  Open all public holidays.  Europaplatz (between the train station and the lake)

Rosengart Collection (Impressionist and modern art/ Picasso, Cezanne, Monet, Seurat, etc). April – October daily 10 am – 6 pm/ November – March daily 11 am – 5 pm (open all public holidays). Pilatusstrasse 10 (5 mins walk from train station)

Swiss Transport Museum (Verkehrshaus).  One of largest collections of trains, planes and cars in Europe. Can easily spend 3 hours inside. Daily 10.00-17.00 (until 18.00 in Summer).  To walk, come out of train station and cross bridge to old town, following promenade to the right for thirty minutes/ or 10 minutes on bus 6, 8, 24 to Verkehrshaus stop.

Museum of Swiss History (The Depot).This is more of a collection of artifacts with bar codes.  You get a bar code reader so you can scan and find out the history of the object.  Not a hit with everyone, but definitely different.  Tues-Sun 10.00-17.00. Closed Mondays.  Pfistergasse 24, near the wooden “Spreuerbrücke”. (5 bridges along from main one)

Richard Wagner Museum.  He lived here 1866-72, and the house is filled with his manuscripts and personal items.  The location has a stunning view of the lake. Bus 6, 7, 8 to Wartegg, and 20 minute walk following signs.  Open Tues-Sun 10.00-noon and 14.00-17.00. Closed Mondays.

Three main sites together

1. Gletschergarten (Glacier Garden). Nov-Mar 10.00-17.00. Apr-Oct 9.00-18.00. Admission CHF 15.00. Combined ticket available for Bourbaki Panorama and Gletschergarten

2. Bourbaki Panorama. A massive 112 x 10 metre painting of a scene at the end of the Franco-Prussian War in winter 1871. November – March Monday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. April – October Monday – Sunday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

3. The Lion Monument is beside the Glacier Garden.  This is Switzerland’s answer to the Statue of David. A magnificent and touching sandstone relief in honour of the Swiss Guards who died defending Louis XVI during the French Revolution.  Known as the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world.  April to Oct 9am-6pm/ Nov -Mar 10am-5pm

To get to them from train station, cross bridge and follow waterfront around to the right.  Go left down Zurichstrasse and follow signs.  Or by bus from the main train station take a northbound bus number 1, 2, 19 or 23 to  “Löwenplatz” [Lion Square]. From Löwenplatz turn to the right for a few steps and then left again and follow either Löwengartenstrasse or Denkmalstrasse leading you north to the Alpineum. This takes you to the entrance to the English Garden and the Lion Monument.

 

Lake cruise

Along the waterfront are various public and tourist boats.  A cruise along the sparkling blue lake is always a good idea.

Mount Pilatus

Just 15 minutes outside of Lucerne, if the weather is good, this is a must do.

There are combinations you can do:  on one side of the mountain is an antique funicular.  This creaky little incline train winds up the mountain, through the treeline and opening up to a vista of lake and grassy cliff sides.  It takes 40 mins to get to the top.

On top of Pilatus is the visitor centre, hotel and restaurants.  There are afew walking paths around the top of the mountain, which is disguising an internal Swiss Army Base.  Inside the centre are all your luxuries and a cafe that serves a mean soup or cake.

The other way up or down is via a series of 3 aerial cable cars which drop off at activity areas (a rope park and toboggan run), completing the journey in Kriens.

There is a tourist run where you take the boat from Lucerne, then the funicular, the cable cars down and a local bus from Kriens back to Lucerne.  Allow 4-6 hours for this.