A fairy-tale city hemmed in by mountains on one of the area’s most beautiful lakes, Lucerne exemplifies Switzerland in a nutshell. Its stirring medieval old town brims with sgraffito- adorned houses, colorful buildings, a covered bridge and a glistening lake complete with swans — along with a sophisticated, grownup vibe that makes you want to be an insider. Myriad mountain trails, water sports options aplenty, a history including the likes of Goethe and Wagner, and heady museums such as the Rosengart Collection establish Lucerne as a destination in itself. But how to spend your evenings?
Most medieval towns had a night watchman, a person mandated with sounding the hours of the night, either calling out the time or trumpeting it on horns or other musical instruments. Immerse in Lucerne’s past with an evening tour led by a bona fide night watchman with GetYourGuide. You’ll start on the Chapel Bridge at the sound of the fire horn, then follow the night watchman on his rounds — learning charming anecdotes all the way.
Love music? Lucerne’s known for it. Listen to some of the best musicians in the world at the Jean Nouvel-designed KKL, Lucerne’s most famous modern landmark. A concert and conference center touted to offer some of the best acoustics in the world, it features nightly events, from symphonies to speeches. Go in September for the month-long Lucerne Festival to enjoy appearances by high-caliber musicians such as Yo Yo Ma.
Lucerne may be small, but in terms of restaurants, bars and clubs, it reigns mighty. Start with a rib-sticking meal at tavern-like Wirsthäus Taube, serving classic Lucerne-style food such as roesti (a potato dish) or meat loaf. Then head out to some of the city’s special places for adult beverages. Try Penthouse Lucerne (a stunning rooftop bar), Art Deco Hotel Montana (with live jazz) or the Shamrock Irish Pub (to mix with expats). Feeling lucky? Spin the roulette wheel at Grand Casino Luzern. LGBTQ+ travelers in Lucerne for the weekend won’t want to miss the spectacular “Frigay” dance party at El Cartel, an über-buzzy club and disco.
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