Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
I’ve been so lax in my writing lately. From the new year up until April, I’d only spent 4 weeks in the UK so I really need to catch up with some of the fabulous places that I’ve been to since before Christmas.
One of the most beautiful places I’ve seen is Lucerne, sitting on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. It’s only a tiny town, but it sits on the end of the glittering lake in a beautiful setting with the mountains in the background. I visited Lucerne early April when the snow was still on the tops of the mountains.
Pretty Painted Frescos in the Old Town
Lucerne is a medieval town with ancient buildings around every corner. But what was more awe-inspiring were the abundance of frescoes painted on the façades of the buildings. They were everywhere. I was walking round with my jaw dropped open!
Exquisitely painted mural
One of the most photographed frescoes in Lucerne is the fairy tale house that has a restaurant on the ground floor.
The Fairy Magic House
and here’s a close-up of the top….
A close up of the painted detail
The Old Town Square and its painted buildings
More painted frescoes in the Old Town
What else is there to see and do in Lucerne?
I was staying around Lake Geneva and I went to Lucerne on a day trip. It’s very accessible by train and takes around 2 hours. It’s also near Zurich which is around 45 minutes by train. The train station brings you right into the centre of Lucerne just a short walk from the shops and attractions and, of course, the lake. Just a few yards from the entrance to the station is the Ferry Boat Quay where you can get an old Steamer type boat to other places on the lake.
Hauptbanhof Lucerne with the Ferry Boat Quay on the Lake
The Ferry Boat Quay
The Spreuer Bridge
One of the first things you’ll see when you come out of the train station is the Spreuer Bridge; an old, covered wooden bridge, which also served as part of the medieval city fortifications. It’s at this point that Lake Lucerne joins the Ruess River.
Under the roof of the walkway, there are 67 ancient paintings dating from 1626 to 1635 representing a Dance of Death. Death is represented by the skeleton or the “Grim Reaper” in the pictures. He asks everyone to dance with him, or in other words, to die, and as it shows in the pictures, he doesn’t differentiate between old, young, rich or poor. The series of paintings “Dance of Death” was designed by Lucerne’s chief painter at the time, Kaspar Meglinger.
The Dance of Death Artwork
Kaspar Meglinger’s The Dance of Death
Spruere Bridge across the lake with the mountains in the background
The Lucerne Swans
The Lion Monument
The Lion of Lucerne Monument
Known as the Lion of Lucerne, it’s a very moving sculpture of a mortally wounded lion, which commemorates the Swiss mercenaries who, in the service of Louis XVI King of France, were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution. The inscription “Helvetiorum fidei ac virtruti” means “To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss”. This stone-carved sculpture is 6 mtrs high and 10 mtrs long. There’s a famous quote by Mark Twain, who said the sculpture is “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” It’s a very short walk from the centre of town and is in a beautiful clearing with water and greenery, so definitely worth a visit!
Lucerne is very small so you can walk around it in a day quite easily. There’s a fabulous shopping street with the normal high street shops and loads of little independent type shops, if you prefer something more unique.
Here’s a map of Lucerne: