How I Got There
I travelled to Lucerne from San Marino with a few stops along the way. My first train was back to Bologna for 10 euros and took 1 hour. From Bologna I went to Milan for 43 euros.
This train was also 1 hour. I stopped in Milan for lunch before purchasing tickets to Lucerne for 88 euros, with one change in Lugano. The train to Lugano from Milan took 1 hour 20 minutes and from Lugano to Lucerne was roughly 2.5 hours.
My total journey time was about 6 hours, but with the sightseeing stops along the way, it seemed like nothing. I could travel the train around Europe forever! There is so much beauty to be seen from the train and it’s really nice just watching the world pass by as I’m on my way to my next destination.
The hotel I stayed at is in a very central location and is within walking distance to all of the center cities major attractions. The hotel is an ancient prison that has been renovated to a modern hotel. The hotel has 60 different prison cells offering single, double, and family rooms with a private bathroom. The library, offering a large amount of crime novels, is also bookable as a hotel room. Attached to the hotel is a Japanese restaurant called Izakaya Nozomi. The hotel staff is only on site from 7AM to 11PM. After that, I had to use my room key to enter the building. The only real big downfall to the hotel is that the rooms are very small, but I should’ve expected that for it being a jail cell.
The prison was opened as the region’s first real prison in 1862. Until that time, most of the convicts were locked up in monasteries or towers. This new prison provided 55 cells, five of them especially for women. The prison closed in 1998 and was transformed into the hotel in 2018.
Lucerne Town Hall
This Renaissance-style building is worth visiting especially for the lively atmosphere of the surrounding marketplace.
The Kapelbrucke is a covered wooden footbridge spanning the River Reuss diagonally. Named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel, the bridge is unique in containing a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with a larger part of the centuries-old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Chapel Bridge is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as the city’s symbol and as one of Switzerland’s main tourist attractions.
Lucerne’s Jesuit Church is the first large baroque church built in Switzerland north of the alps. It is an expression of the Catholic Church’s 17th century struggle to regain spiritual leadership in the counter-reformation. Lucerne sees itself as the capital of the Catholic fraction of Switzerland in pre-modern times. Today, Jesuit Church is a major tourist attraction and serves as a concert hall while it has become almost irrelevant to local church life from a religious point of view.
The Spreuer Bridge is one of the two covered wooden footbridges in the city.
The water spike is a needle dam, which is designed to maintain the level of flow of a river through the use of thin “needles” of wood. The needles are leaned against a solid frame and are not intended to be water-tight. Individual needles can be added or removed by hand to constrict the flow of the river.
The Musegg Wall is part of the town fortification system. From April through October, you can walk along the wall to get a better view of the city. Since I went in December, I could only wall along the wall from below.
The Lion Monument, or the Lion of Lucerne, is a rock relief designed by Bertel Thorvaldesen and hewn in 1820 by Lukas Ahorn. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris. It is one of the most famous monuments in Switzerland, visited annually by 1.4 million tourists. In 2006, it was placed under Swiss monument protection. Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally wounded lion as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”
Since I was only in Lucerne for a day and it was super foggy, I did not get to experience much of the beauty that I saw when doing my research. One thing that I would do if I went back would be the Hammetschwant Lift, which is the highest exterior elevator in Europe. It connects a rock path overlooking Lake Lucerne.
I would also go to Hedegg Castle, Meggenhorn Castle, or take a cruise on the lake if it were warm enough.