Switzerland hosts some of the most diverse cities in it's country and no two are alike. Form Zurich to Geneva, each city will have its own vibe. Lucerne, Switzerland was one of a kind. It felt as if industrial met modern met old world Swiss architecture. Lucerne is located in the north-central part of Switzerland and is part of the German-speaking portion. Located next to the stunning Lake Lucerne and between many well known mountains like Mount Pilatus and Rigi, the city is a great base for exploring the region.
The most famous landmark in this city is the Chapel Bridge that is lined with stunning bouquets of flowers that I cannot even begin to imagine how they upkeep. The Reuss River flows under right into Lake Lucerne. The city hosts a wide variety of old Jesuit churches that are famous in that region lining the old part of the city.
Another famous site is the dying Lion Monument that is carved into a huge stone wall found in a small park. The carving is a commemoration to the Swiss Guards who were killed in the French Revolution in 1792. The carving is well known for being described by Mark Twain as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."
Lucerne offers a few days of adventures but most of the adventures in my opinion lay outside of the city along the beautiful terrain surrounding the lake. For two days in Lucerne, I would suggest spending the first day doing the walking tour that takes you to every site in the city. If walking at a decent pace, the tour can be easily done in under 5 hours. We showed up by train at 1:00, dropped our bags and finished the tour by 5:00. The highlight is getting to walk the old fort wall that boasts the nine old watch towers which make for a good view.
The second day I would spend walking the town and enjoying the culture and the many modern shops. In part 2 on Lucerne, there will be more detail on a great excursion outside of the city.
Also, be prepared to spend a decent price on a basic meal. Dinners run on average at around sixty Swiss francs a person, and a grande iced coffee from Starbucks is a hefty 8 dollars. You can beat prices by going to the famous grocery market called the "Coop," but trust me the sandwiches will get old fast.
Overall Lucerne is a great city to enjoy for a few days and makes for a great launchpad for a number of worthwhile activities just outside of town. Stay tuned for Part 2 which will give you an awesome day itinerary for one of the most stunning hikes in the region.