If you have the ability to walk a decent distance,and climb steps, then Lucerne's 14th-century walls are an absolute must-see. Not only is there a lengthy surviving chunk but they also include several towers (some of which you can access right to the top), the battlements walk has superb views over the city and towards the mountains...and getting there involves a gentle uphill stroll through a remarkably pastoral scene for the middle of a town (complete with grazing cows and alpacas).
I followed Brueggligasse to Museggstrasse, taking the left-hand fork (by a building carved with the date 1689) and passing through the Noelliturm gate. From there I turned tight up the hill, through the field and past the cows and alpacas. I could have climbed the first two towers....the Maennliturm and the Luegislandturm...but decided not to do so. I wanted to walk the battlements, and to do that you must climb the third tower..the Wachtturm.
I was lucky to have a clear, sunny day and the views were simply wonderful. What was even more wonderful was that I reached the Zytturm, which contains the oldest clock in Lucerne, just before midday. And so I was able to stand and gaze over the magnificent scenery wilst all the bells of all the clocks in Lucerne rang out...see video.
The battlement walk ends at Schirmerturm, from where you can walk back down to Museggstrasse and thence to the Altstadt below ..or turn to the left, as I did, and make your way towards the Loewendenkmal (the lion monument).
Although the steps up to the battlements are Medieval-steep they are not very high, and the battlement walk itself is smoothly surfaced. So, if you possibly can, this really is an expedition worth making.
Free to enter, walk is open during normal daylight hours.
For a pleasant little jaunt behind the Alstadt (Old City) portion of Lucerne take the time to traverse the Musegg Wall which was built in 1386 and is almost still totally intact. You will be able to gain access to 3 of the 9 towers and if you want to climb some more inside the towers bring a good pair of shoes. To begin walk west from Weinmarket along the river until you get past the turbines on the Reuss River. This will bring you to the Nolliturm, an old fortified gate. Go through the gate and then head up the stoney walk past an urban farm to gain access to the wall.
The 1st Tower on your walk is the Nolli Tower. This tower was modified in 1901 to admit street traffic (see picture #4). I can't say that I saw 2 cars go through the opening at one time.
The 2nd Tower is the Mannli, "Little Man" Tower which is the first of the accessible towers. This tower is named for the little iron man at the top. Unfortunately I did not take a picture, but most websites of the wall show the Tower.
The 3rd Tower is the Luegisland Tower which has a popular old name, "Look Toward The Land". This tower is the highest of all the towers at 52.6 meters and was probably built prior to the wall before 1300 as a watchtower for the protection of the city.
The 4th Tower is the Heu, "Hay" Tower which besides storing hay in times past also stored gunpowder. Needless to say the combination of the 2 proved to be a disaster in the making and in 1701 a lightning bolt struck the tower igniting the gunpower. The resulting explosion destroyed the original tower and took several lives.
The 5th Tower is the Zyt, "Time" Tower which is also the 2nd accessible tower. The clock was installed in 1535 and it is said that the dial and numbers are large so that the fishermen could tell the time from the lake. The bells ring out from the clock tower 1 minute ahead of any other clock in the city.
The 6th Tower is the Schirmer Tower which is the 3rd accessible tower. It is said that passing through this tower one was passing from the City of Lucerne to the countryside.
The 7th Tower is the Pulver or "Powder" Tower. After the events of 1701 it was decided that the cities gunpowder needed to be kept in two separate towers. Today we call that a contingency plan.
The 8th Tower is the Allenwinden Tower and is not actually above the city anymore due to the recent construction around it.
The 9th Tower is the Dachli Tower, has a pyramid roof and is the shortest of all the towers.
The Wall and Towers have no admission and are open from May to October until dusk.
The Zyt Tower is probably the most visited tower in the city wall complex. The Zyt Tower contains Lucern's oldest clock which was created in Basel, by Hans Luter in 1535. The clock is set to chime one minute before any other clock in the city as part of an old privilege granted to the the clock. Inside the tower you can see the workings of the old clock which still keeps time.
The construction of the tower is unusual. You can see the irregularity of its' construction when walking along the ramparts. The front of the tower looks incomplete with a sudden flat finish compared to the northern side of the tower whoise roof slants aout further and ahs a more tapered shape. (See Picture)
The Museggmauer is an original section of the old city walls, ramparts and towers of the old town of Lucerne. The wall complex, which dates from 1386, consists of nine towers, rampart walkway and high walls. Each of the towers have their own distinct design and construction and visitors can enter some of the towers to enjoy great panoramic views over the city, lake and mountains.
The central tower (Zyt) contains the oldest clock in Lucerne and you can see the inner workings of the clock as you climb the steep wooden stairs to the top. The clock is set to chime one minute before any of the other clocks in the city!
My favourite tower is the second last tower (Mannliturm) the western end of the walls which has an open roof where you can enjoy stunning views out over the city, lake and across to Mount Pilatus. The last tower in the city wall complex is constructed over the road and directly overlooks the Reuss River.
The towers and ramparts are free to enter but close at 18.00.
Take a walk up the hill to Museggmauer, that is the wall or fortress of the city built 500 years ago and it haven’t changed much since then ;-)
It is a nice place for picnic if the weather is good and good view of the city landscape from there.
The walk up to the walls was a bit steep. Once you get there, the tour through the towers and walking along the wall is really cool. I was very impressed with the well preserved towers and you are able to go into them and get to the top of each. To the north, the view of the valley is very good, as well as looking back down toward the Vierwaldstattersee, Lake Lucerne. There is a small museum up there also worth going through
Museggmauer is the medieval townwall that was built in the 15th century and a large part of it still looks the same as in these old times. You may take a walk along the ancient paths, that were used by the knights when defending the town and you may even step up most of the old towers freely and without restrictions during the day. Musegg-Mauer with its towers is also a great place to enjoy a panorama-view of Luzerne and its surrounding mountain-scenery. There is a total of 9 towers, one of them has the oldest clock of Luzern.
What would a medieval city be without its walls? Luzern has some towers among the walls that are open for exploration. The views over the city are memorable. Some of these towers have a lot of steps, so it may not be for the feint of heart. The towers are over 500 years old. Underneath the towers are some walking paths. If you think it might rain, refuge can be found in the towers.
I climbed the Museggwall twice in one day while in Lucerne.
I exited my hotel and turned right out of the door and passed the school (I believe an all-girls school) on the left and before a tower and entryway, I climbed up a steep flight of stairs on the right side of the road, only about 50-100 meters from the hotel door.
On the top of the stairs I turned left up the hill and came across the back of the wall and the gardens/playing field next to it.
I entered the entrance to the wall and climbed up onto the catwalk and walked along the length of the wall, climbing up the three towers accessable to tourists.
All three towers are unique and the 2nd tower has the oldest clock in Lucerne from about 1505 and it is allowed to chime one min. before all other clocks in town. You are easily able to see the pendulam and weights that run the clock mechanisms which is very interesting to see.
The third tower is closest to the river and the top is an observation platform which gives you great views of the town, lake and surrounding mountains.
The city of Lucerne is surrounded by hills and mountains. In the north part of the city are remains of the walls built in the 15th century. It is possible to walk on the walls path and to climb some of the nine towers from which there's a fantastic view of the city and of the lake.
A part of the rampart walls built in 1386. The Wall almost entirely intact. Three towers are open to the public : Schirmer, Zyt and Mannli. The oldest city clock built by Hans Luter in 1535 is on the Zyt tower, This clock is privileged to chime every hour one minute before all the other city clocks.
There's a list of the nine tower part of the Luzern's fortification :
To see more of the Museggmauer follow this link :
The Battlement Walk
A short (but steep) walk from North from the city centre will bring you to the old city walls.
Although you can only walk three sections of the walls, and enter two of the towers, the views from them are very good. Also, one of the towers has a working clock, which you can see all the inner workings of.
The old city wall, built around 1300, is facinating. With the original towers that loom over the city like sentinals, it creates a feeling of stepping back in time. It is truly a majestic looking site, and makes you wonder what life was like back then. There are a few of the towers that you can go into and walk on the wall during the summer time.
The Musegg walls at the back of the town really should not be missed not only for the peace and quiet away from the bustling town but for the stunning views you can get from the the top of this tower...take time to climb up, its well worth it even if it is a bit steep.
Built in 1386, the reamaining section of the old city walls is still very much intact. There are about 8 towers on the ramparts, with three that are open to the public and one of these, the Zyt tower, contains a clock built in Basel in 1385. It still keeps time and is, apparently, set to strike the hour one minute ahead of the other clocks in the city, as some sort of ancient privilege. Don't set your watch by this clock.