This small village is 40Km around the lake from Lucerne. I suspect the main reason for its popularity is the Lowen (Lion) Hotel where many tour bus companies stop due to its cheapness. The village has a very nice church with 50 or so steps up to a small courtyard with views over the whole village. The smell of Lungerne is a wee bit agricultural (for a city boy like me) though the views stunning. A walk around the area takes you to the top of the church steps, down beside the lake and back around below many local homes. It is certainly a nice part of Switzerland.
Lucerne’s oldest public clock is mounted on the historic district’s oldest tower, the Zyt Tower, which was built in 1200AD. It is the middle tower along the Museggmauer (Musegg) Wall, and it can be seen from a great distance. You can see it from several cross-streets in the old town district.
Built in the mid-thirteenth century as a watchtower, the Zyt Tower was renovated to its present shape in 1557, and endowed with an astronomical clock in 1574. The shields below the clock face are those of the eight Swiss cantons (states) at the time of the tower’s construction. From left to right they are: Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Glarus and Zug. As well as the astronomical clock, there’s a host of tiny details on the tower, including, under the archway, a beautiful late-Gothic wavy-haired angel. Just above the upper ledge, you’ll spot a painting of a rat.
Built by Hans Luter in 1535 and placed on the tower in 1574, this astronomical clock always chimes reliably. In fact, in honor of its rich heritage, at the start of each hour this clock is allowed to chime one minute before all the other city clocks. If you happen to be in the tower when it chimes, you’ll find out just how loud it really is!
The medieval wall with its nine towers still guards the historic city of Lucerne and is almost entirely intact. While other cities throughout Switzerland demolished their medieval fortifications during the 19th century, Lucerne was aware of their historic and tourist value and preserved rather than destroyed its medieval heritage.
The Musegg Wall, built in 1386, contains a series of nine towers that are part of the rampart walls that surround the historic part of the city. They span approximately 2,600 feet (800m) and in many places you will find them as part of more modern structures.
During May to October three of the nine towers, Schirmer, Zyt, and Männli, are open to the public and admission is free. Many tourists overlook this historic monument but I think you should make this part of your city walking tour. Not only will you enjoy the architecture, the old paintings on the towers and the ancient clock built in 1535, a view from these towers gives you a panoramic vista of the entire city and the lake. It is a great photo opportunity.
Tsunami? In Lucerne? In the middle of Switzerland? Am I crazy? Well........OK, no. But in doing some research about Lucerne on the Internet I stumbled across a story about this improbable event in central Switzerland.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Europe was gripped in a “Little Ice Age”. It was the coldest period that we know about since the last Ice Age ended. Europe’s winters became colder and the thaws of spring created local and regional flooding. The weather was just plain harsh. This horrible weather just happens to coincide with a lot of religious fervor around reformation and Protestantism that will come into play in this little drama.
Besides having bad weather, in the early morning hours of September 18, 1601 a major earthquake struck Lucerne and a large chunk of its river delta suddenly sank. One of the strongest quakes ever recorded in central Europe, it was maybe a 6.2 in modern measurement. And it resulted in a Tsunami on the River Reuss as it flowed through the heart of Lucern. Houses near the river or on the lake shore were damaged by a 13-foot (4 meter) high wave which smashed through homes and flooded many buildings. Most of these people were asleep and eight lives were lost. One eyewitness to this event reported that the water in the river reversed course six different times over the course of one hour.
The Catholic Church was anxious to exert its control and a disaster like this gave them an opportunity to assert their claims. For example, the flood of 1601 became the occasion for pronouncing a ban on dancing. It heralded a call for communal sobriety in the face of God’s might. And the bridge over the river Reuss was decorated with religious iconography and texts in a bid to reassert the Catholic identity of the city and the power of the Church over nature.
Anyway, scientific data shows that many other earthquakes have struck this area in the past and some probably caused similar Tsunami events. For your sake, I hope this does not happen while you are visiting this beautiful city! :-)
On the City Guide map that every hotel and the Tourist Information center near the train station give out, you can find the Hotel Gutsch in the very upper right hand corner of the Lucerne street layouts, near the blue P mark for parking. You can even see the short little railroad indication for the cable car. It is at Red Identification number 67 on the map.
So staying on the left side of the river, stroll along the river until you get to the Natural History Museum. Cross the street and walk down the left hand side of Baselstrasse. At the intersection of Baselstrasse and the side street called Bruchstrasse look to your left. You will see a yellow house with green shutters. Just above it, on a hill to the left, is a red Victorian looking house with spires. On the right hand side of the yellow house is where the stairs begin if you want to walk up to Chateau Gutsch. The alleyway and stair area is known as Gutschweg.
Or you can walk down Baselstrasse one more block and then turn left on Gibraltarstrasse. Just walk on down to the yellow house with the green shutters on the right -hand side of the street. Turn into Gutschweg and start climbing the stairs. Just a little way up you will go to the right to climb up to the summit.
The cable car station is about a half-block further down Baselstrasse. Look for the signs.
Hotel Gutsch (or Chateau Gutsch as some call it), a castle like hotel with a commanding presence on a hill overlooking the Ruess River and Lucerne, has now closed its doors to business. It has probably been closed for several years and I understand that they are looking for a buyer.
Well, even if you cannot enjoy what other reviewers have described as the "heavenly experience" of staying at the hotel, or of having a dinner or private function at this beautiful location, at least you can still enjoy the view from its verandah!
For 3 Swiss Francs you can take a cable-car that departs every half-hour for the short ride up to the hill summit and to the hotel. That is for a round-trip ride. It is slow and steep but a nice ride nonetheless.
Or one can walk a fairly strenuous, paved but often steep trail up to this marvelous overlook. I took the cable-car up and walked down. It was fun.
At the summit, off the verandah, you will be able to look into the windows and see the furnishings still in place. The dining room table and chairs seem to be waiting for their next guests! Poke around the building and you will find the front entrance being guarded by an old cannon. There are some sleepy lion statues and additional cannon in a side courtyard. Doors to all the buildings are locked but the place just seems to be yearning to come back to life. The exterior paint and trim and signage seem to be in excellent condition.
This is a beautiful and very relaxing place to visit and I urge you to make the effort.
Queen Victoria once visited Lucerne with her entourage, trying to be as incognito as it was possible for her to be. She stayed at this hotel during that visit. It has that kind of class and ambiance!
Total time I spent from starting out to see it and then returning to my hotel was probably only 1.5 hours.
From the train station it is probably about a 15 or 20 minute easy walk to the cable car building at the foot of Baselstrasse, down past the covered Spreuer brücke or Mill Bridge.
as you travelled and make your way out of lucerne ... dont forget to catch the small park and also walk path where you can actually see the lovely lovely flowers planted,.. i just go berserk when i see flowers even a bunch of it.. its a total beauty...
Just northeast of Löwenplatz is one of the highlights of Luzern, the terribly sad Lion Monument. This dying beast draped over his shield, with a broken spear sticking out of his flank, was hewn out of a cliff face in 1821 to commemorate the 700 Swiss mercenaries killed in Paris in 1792. On August 10 that year, French revolutionaries stormed the royal palace, the Tuileries; in the face of the mob, the Swiss palace guards were ordered to lay down their arms by Louis XVI and were subsequently massacred. This would be a movingly tranquil spot, with its foliage and gently rippling pool in front, were it not for the fact that it’s the single most touristed place in the entire city.
The north bank of the Reuss is home to the Old Town’s compact cluster of medieval houses, with Mühlenplatz, Weinmarkt, Hirschenplatz and Kornmarkt forming an ensemble of cobbled, fountained squares ringed by colourful facades. Modern commerce is definitely the motive force of the place these days, and it takes some imagination to conjure up the Middle Ages amidst the welter of shoppers and high-street brand-names.
Any tour of Luzern must begin with the fourteenth-century covered Kapellbrücke, the oldest road bridge in Europe, angled around the octagonal mid-river Wasserturm. In deference to the fact that the city development arose largely from defence of this bridge, its highly distinctive Wasserturm (formerly a lighthouse, a prison, a treasury and today serving as a meeting house) has come to stand as the symbol of Luzern. In the early hours of August 18, 1993, a small boat moored alongside the bridge caught fire and, in one of the most dramatic spectacles in the city’s recent history, the flames rapidly spread to engulf the whole structure. By dawn, virtually the entire bridge had been destroyed, with only the bridgeheads on both banks surviving. The authorities rapidly set about reconstruction, and an identical replacement was completed nine months later – though today it’s still easy to see where the old wood meets the new.
The succession of images shows a grinning skeleton leading kings, gallant princes, lawmen, nuns, merchants, prostitutes, peasants and maidens alike to their inevitable fate. The final panel, predictably enough, shows a majestic Christ vanquishing bony Death.
Busy Löwenstrasse runs south from Löwenplatz to the riverside; just before you reach the Schweizerhofquai, the arrow-straight St-Leodegarstrasse cuts east to broad steps leading up to the Hofkirche (Sat–Thurs 10am–noon & 2–5pm). This grand structure sits on the site of the first monastery of Luzern, which dated from the mid-eighth century and was dedicated to St-Leodegar, or St Leger. The Romanesque church which replaced the monastery in the late twelfth century was burned to the ground on Easter Sunday 1633, the blaze reputedly sparked by the verger’s careless shooting at birds. Only its twin towers escaped, and they survive today either side of a bizarrely incongruous Renaissance gable. The impressive main doors are carved with the two patron saints of Luzern: on the left is St Leger, a French bishop who was blinded with a drill (which he is holding), and on the right is St Maurice, the martyred Roman soldier-saint.
The church is set amidst a lovely Italianate cloister, lined with the graves of Luzerner patrician families (who continue to be buried here to this day). Old houses all around the church still serve as the homes for canons of the parish. Just west of the church is the ancient Rothenburgerhaus, a teetering pile that’s generally held to be one of the oldest wooden townhouses in the country, dating from about 1500. On the slopes north of the church is the old cemetery, now a public park, while about 500m further north on the hilltop is the Capuchin monastery of Wesemlin, founded in 1584 and still functioning as the principal seat of the order in Switzerland.
My favourite walk starts from behind KKL to the yacht port. You walk through a park which doubles as a beach in summer. You can actually walk much further than the yacht port. For those who have enough of tourist sights.
In one of the most colourful and adorned squares, Hirschenplatz (the stag's square), you can find an Argentinian restaurant called Churrasco: look above and you'll see a fresco with a writing - it's the German writer J. Wofgang von Goethe's figure. In this place, which once was a hotel called the Goldener Adler, Goethe spent some time in 1779. I don't think that the place can be visited inside, but it's still a nice curiosity to take a glimpse of.
Well, those of you who know me, know that I love details - and since I had this one picture, which I didn't really know where to put it, I thought, this would be a nice place.
It is not always the big things that you should draw your attention to, but rather the details, that can impress you even more!
Here is a picture of the longest Alpenhorns in the world, one made by the Japanese, Americans, and the longest of them all by the Swiss. This was actually a picture on the wall of the alphorn factory that i took a picture of. I've since forgotten how long they are... but enlarge the photo and look for yourself! I don't know how they get those things around!