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When I travel, I always love to get to higher grounds in order to get an overview and a feel of the place I’m visiting. Sometimes I choose an obvious observation tower, but I also like to hunt around for the secret gems that aren’t that obvious and noticeable. So here it is, a locals guide to the best spots in and around when sightseeing in Lucerne, so you can get that view and the photos you always dreamed of.
Lucerne Sightseeing on the Musegg Wall
As usual, most tourists choose the path of least resistance on their Lucerne sightseeing trip and stay near the waterfront of the city. They shop in one of the many tourist shops and stock up on chocolate and watches or do a quick walk around the old town. Then they get on a tourbus and race off to the next attraction somewhere. Only few people know, that only a short hike up a hill separates them from a magnificent view of the city, Lake Lucerne and the mountains in the distance. The old city fortifications, called the Musegg Wall, were built back in the 14th Century to protect the city from foreign invaders. Of the nine towers still standing, four are open to the public and can be visited and climbed during the summer months (for free!). So enjoy a walk on the old battlements, clamber up the old towers and enjoy the view, with almost no one else around. I also really like this location when there is a festival or fireworks going on in town!
A Great View over Lucerne at the Hotel Montana
This might sound like blatant advertising, and I swear those guys did not pay me to say that, but that Hotel really offers one of the best views in town. The Montana Hotel is situated on a hillside in Lucerne and is furnished in the stunning art deco style. It is actually very pretty to visit, even if you’re not there for the view. Apart from the apparently fabulous cuisine (I admit, I haven’t tried it, I’m too poor), they also have an amazing terrace where one can dine or just get a drink after trudging around Lucerne sightseeing. Switzerland is extremely expensive for visitors, but I think you might still be able to get a coffee there without maxing out your credit card and enjoy the sunset. And it is worth it: While enjoying your 6 Frank coffee, you will see the snow covered alps in the distance, imposing Mount Pilatus, blue Lake Lucerne and the city spreading out beneath you.
High Above the City at Chateau Gütsch
So this is a tricky one. The Chateau Gütsch is, just as the French name suggests, a castle which is situated on a hill above the city of Lucerne. Just like the Hotel Montana, it offers a beautiful terrace overlooking the town, however from the opposite direction. Although the castle looks like it has just been plucked out of a fairy tale, it is not the home of Cinderella, like some visitors assume, but it actually used to be an exclusive hotel and restaurant. Exactly, used to be. Ever since a Russian Oligarch bought it back in 2007, then ran into some financial problems and eventually got arrested for stirring up some political unrest over there in Russia, the Gütsch has been closed down. Since there usually is some staff around you can still try to sweet talk your way into a visit, it worked for me. One can just hope that this sleeping beauty wakes up from her slumber soon.