When you visit Luzern, be sure to allow time to just take a stroll and enjoy the sights of the city. As in nearly all European cities, the place of interest is the Old Town (Altstadt). Concrete and glass looks the same all over the world. It is the centuries old architecture and the character of the old town that defines your lasting memories.
In Luzern, the old town begins with crossing the Chapel Bridge. Originally but in 1333 this wooden bridge spans the Reuss River diagonally (why diagonally is not clear). The bridge was substantially destroyed by fire in 1993, which unfortunately burned a large part of the collection if 17th century paintings that decorated the covered bridge. The bridge has been subsequently repaired making it the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe and the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge.
Once you cross the Chapel Bridge (after photo stops and time to admire the decorative flower boxes along the way) it is hard to get far past the water front restaurants that just beg for you to sit and enjoy. We did it twice! Once fancy and once on a budget. However if you can drag yourself past the restaurants, you will be rewarded with stores such as Bucherer with several floors of the very best time pieces including Bucherer of course. Across the road you will find a chocolatier to die for. When you see a wall that is a huge waterfall of flowing chocolate you can be forgiven for thinking you are at Willy Wonkas.
Stroll on along following the river and you’ll be tempted by a very classy hotel and bar offering amazing ice cream treats. Go ahead – you will walk it off anyway! After your ice cream sundae (if you are weak like us) you continue walking you will come across Schmocker Souvenirs. Check out the range of cuckoo clocks as well as diverse souvenirs.
Take a break from shopping (and eating) to stroll up to another Luzern icon – the dying lion. Carved directly into the cliff face the sculpture is 10 metres by 6 metres and commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred during the French Revolution when the revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris. The Dying Lion is impaled by a spear covering a shield with the fleur-de-lis of the French monarchy. Beside him is another shield with the coat of arms of Switzerland.
From the monument, walk back toward the river. Visit the wood carving shop and if you are looking for watches, jewelry, Swiss Army knives or high end cuckoo clocks visit Juwelia. Continue strolling back along the river and run the gauntlet of the riverside restaurants before crossing the bridge back toward the main railway station.