After my trip to Bern, the capital of Switzerland, I took a quick one hour train ride to Lucerne to explore the city for two days.
Lucerne is also a small city where everything is within walking distance! Once I arrived, I headed towards my Airbnb to drop off my bags before exploring the beautiful town. If you’ve never used Airbnb, a website with vacation rentals, I highly recommend it; I’ve used it for many of my travel destinations such as Seattle, Paris, Venice, London, and Dublin just to name a few. What I love about Airbnb is that you can rent out an entire apartment in the city center and it’s usually cheaper than a hotel! The Airbnb I rented in Lucerne was in prime location in the old town.
After dropping my bag off, I walked around the old town to see some of the historic sites. First stop was the Kapellbrücke, the Chapel Bridge, Europe’s oldest wooden covered bridge built in the 14th century. What’s cool about this bridge is that there are triangular paintings added in the 17th century under the eaves of the rooftop. However, in 1993 a fire destroyed part of the bridge along with some of the paintings. The Water Tower, also built in the 14th century, is right next to the bridge.
I walked along the serene lake towards Hofkirche St. Leodegar, the most important church in the city which was built between 1633-1638.
Next, I went to see Löwendenkmal, the Lion Monument which is a sculpture carved out of natural rock in honor of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution.
Gletschergarten, located right next to the Lion Monument, is a museum/park showcasing a glacier garden, a tower, and even has a mirror maze.
My first night in Lucerne I had dinner at Wirtshaus Taube for traditional cuisine.
I ended up ordering a specialty of the city, Lozärner Chögalipaschtetli met Riis ond Gmües, veal chunks with veal dumplings in a puff pastry shell. The Lucerne specialty was most definitely satisfying. Creamy pillowy veal dumplings in a rich sauce encased in flaky golden brown puff pastry served with fresh vegetables and rice. Also the potato rösti with caramelized onions and sausage sounded delicious too! The dessert of cut up pancakes with raisins served with fresh apples and aromatic mint was a nice way to end the meal. However, I do wish the pancake was slightly sweeter, perhaps just by adding more powered sugar on top. Wirtshaus Taube is a great place if you want to try local specialties as well as traditional Swiss food so my overall rating would be a 7.5/10.
The next day I walked to Musegg Wall, the city wall with nine towers. The wall itself was built in the 14th century and the towers followed after. Only four of the towers are open to the public and the Zyt clock tower is the most well known.
My last night I ate at Stern Restaurant, a cute place across the river from my Airbnb. They offer contemporary takes on Swiss cuisine and what makes the restaurant unique is they offer a tapas style menu as well. As an appetizer you can choose up to three different tapas or just order normal sized appetizers. I decided to order the chef’s recommendation of the tapas and a main course.
Instead of choosing the chef’s recommendation of tapas, I wish I decided the three I wanted on my own. The carrot and vanilla soup was my favorite out of the three; it was rich and creamy with a bright flavor and a touch of sweetness from the aromatic vanilla. The essence of spring herbs was a clear soup with little pieces of vegetables with a depth of flavor but I preferred the carrot soup. Lastly, the potato salad was just okay, it lacked some seasoning. The main course was by far my favorite dish of the night. The fish was moist but the skin should have been crunchier. The accompanying sauce of fresh wild garlic was delicious with the fish and fresh vegetables. Now the desserts were a disappointment. The crème brûlée had an eggy off-putting taste and the rhubarb tiramisu had a cream on top that was too thick with no flavor. I think Stern has potential to be better so my overall rating is a 6.5/10.
Lucerne is a perfect destination for a day or two. If I had more time there, I would have done an excursion to some of the most beautiful mountains nearby such as Mount Pilatus or Mount Rigi or even enjoy a nice boat ride on Lake Lucerne. This charming town is not to be missed if you’re traveling in Switzerland!