Some towns beauty is not a function of weather or time. They sustain their charm regardless of the season. Lucerne is like that! Regardless if you have visited before, yet in every season it has an outfit that can enchant you more. However, autumn vibes and colors add to the town’s natural charm. To enhance our autumn experience in Lucerne further, we stayed at Grand Hotel National, a place where history indulges with luxury and charm, just as the image of Lucerne.
Touring Lucerne Timeless Beauty
Wandering through Lucerne, we rediscovered enchanting sites like the Kapellbrücke, or the Chapel Bridge. A historic wooden bridge, that’s a testament to the town’s rich history. The bridge was significantly damaged in a fire in 1993, and lost more than half of its original paintings. Yet, it was excellently restored to look as beautiful as it was.
Next to the Chapel Bridge you won’t miss Lucerne Jesuit Church, the first large Catholic baroque church built in Switzerland. The facade of the church became a landmark of the town. Its interior is also worth a short visit.
Just above old town center, the historic towers and protective walls surrounding Lucerne reflect tales of medieval times. You can climb the clock tower and walk on top of the wall till the next tower (or vice versa). The view from the wall & towers over Lucerne and its lake is stunning.
A short walk away from town center, is the poignant Wounded Lion Monument, carved into the rock face. The handcrafted monument stirred our emotions for the pain it depicts. An everlasting tribute to Swiss Guards who perished during the French Revolution.
On the way to the Lion monument you should pass by the Hofkirch St. Leodegar with its distinctive towers, initially founded in the mid-8th century, by the monastery that also founded Lucerne. It’s a masterpiece from outside and inside and witnessed many face lifting throughout the centuries to reflect different eras.
Promenade Strolls Amidst Autumn Hues
A leisurely walk along the lake promenade, adorned with vibrant autumn trees, offered us a mesmerizing view of Lake Lucerne. The splashes of red, gold, and orange painted a picturesque scene, creating a serene backdrop for our lakeside journey. The promenade is dotted with wooden benches all along to rest and observe the stunning waters of the lake and the boats passing by. The trees line a significant part of the promenade and in autumn they create beautiful colourful shades that are just impressive. There are couple of playgrounds for children to play and enjoy. There is also the Seebad that is usually a hot spot in the summer. You can rent a boat from several places on the promenade, especially opposite to the train station and have a wonderful tour around the lake.
Verkehrshaus: A Journey Through Transport History
Around a 20 minute walk on the promenade away from city center, gets you to the Verkehrhaus, also known as the Swiss Museum of Transport. Our visit to the museum was a trip through time. From horse carriages to outer space exploration, and from submarines to airplanes. The museum showcased the evolution of transportation and communication throughout history. The media and chocolate sections added a distinctive touch to this immersive experience. You can easily spend a full day discovering the different sections of the museum and it will be barely enough. So entertaining and rich that you won’t even realise the passing time. It’s also an amazing outing for families and children who can find numerous aspects and educational games to indulge in.
ChocoWelt: A Chocolate Lover’s Paradise
Indulging our sweet tooth, we ventured into ChocoWelt, the interactive chocolate museum by Aeschbach Chocolatier. It’s a mere 15 min train ride from Lucerne train station to Root. From unraveling the chocolate-making process to crafting our own delectable bars, it was a delightful journey into the world of Swiss chocolate. Both adults and children will have a lot of fun here; tasting, discovering and chocolate making. After all, who does’t love chocolate!
Stanserhorn: A Majestic Ascent
While in Lucerne we embarked on a unique breath-taking experience. The one of a kind Cabrio cable car ride to Stanserhorn! After a ride up the hills in a funicular wooden carriage, we got to the cable car station. The Cabrio cable car has a top open roof platform offering panoramic views. All the way upward & back downward you will be stuck on mesmerizing views of the lake of 4 cantons and its surrounding mountains. It’s recommended to be well dressed and even have a hat and scarf, as the wind and atmosphere on the open air top level can be pretty chilled. A short walk from the top station there will we another standing platform that will make you stunned with the surrounding views. The hiking trails at the summit, some facing the famous Pilatus mountain, left us awestruck, making this journey an unforgettable highlight.
Grand Hotel National: Serenity of the Lake & Charm of Town
Nestled at Lake Lucerne, Grand Hotel National was our home for the long weekend. The hotel charmed us with its spacious suites and lake-facing balconies.
Morning coffee became a ritual with the stunning lake view. Watching the joggers sprint the promenade and the boats touring the lake was an endless entertainment.
The hotel’s proximity to Lucerne’s heart and the train station made exploring the city effortless. The lake was literally at the doorstep of the hotel and the Hofkirch St. Leodegar, and Lion Monuments were a short walk away.
Elegance and Character
The hotel is full of character & that’s what we loved the most about it. A stunning combination of being grandiose and warm at the same time. The hotel’s interior design exuded elegance and refinement. Its famous staircase stands as an architectural marvel. So beautiful that taking the stairs became a daily sport!
Every single space and corner is beautifully furnished and decorated.
The hotel’s various salons, cigar lounge, historic bar, and fancy passages are a testimony of taste and luxury. An amazing reflection of the hotel history that spans over 150 years, while integrating the latest comfort amenities.
Culinary Delights at the Sharing Brasserie Juliette
The Sharing Brasserie Juliette, the hotel’s restaurant, offered a unique concept of shared food indulgence, creating a culinary haven. Its menu is very diverse and offers a sharing portion for almost every culinary suggestion. Seafood platters, carnivore delights, and vegetarian proposals. Our recommendation is to try more of the options in the appetisers sizes, to diversify the culinary experience.
To finish dinner in style, head to the beautiful National Bar adjacent to it. The ambiance is very cosy and the drinks suggestions are creative remakes of the classic cocktails.
The rich breakfast buffet ensured a flavorful start to each day, within a setting that is very beautiful and elegant. Its advisable to allocate considerable time for the breakfast experience as its really indulging. We enjoyed sitting next to the ceiling high windows, while the sun is starting to spread its rays on the colourful glasses.
The restaurant has also a terrace next to the promenade that is open in the afternoon during good weather.
Relaxation at its Best: Spa, Sauna, and Lakeside Lounging
Grand Hotel National’s indoor pool, SPA facilities, and sauna provided a rejuvenating retreat. The terrace of the pool, overlooking the lake, became our preferred spot to unwind on plush chaise lounges, watching boats gracefully sail by.
In Lucerne, our golden autumn getaway at Grand Hotel National became a symphony of experiences. Nature, history, serenity, culinary, all came together creating cherished memories that will linger with us.
It was such a luxurious retreat combining the different aspects we adore, just like autumn combines multiple colors in an awesome image that reflects the endless charm of Lucerne.