Luzern, Switzerland’s Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. While it was partially destroyed in a fire in ’93, the bridge shows off its surviving 17th century paintings above the walkway, that detail events of the city’s history. [OC]

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    1. I’m about to be living in Luzern for about six months, any and every tip you have is appreciated. (Context- semester of an exchange program for law there then hopefully a summer job)

      1. Awesome! I’ll try to give as much as I can your way.

        **Living**

        – Groceries will be pricey. Get a crockpot and go shopping for a week’s worth of food. Coop and Migros are both perfectly decent supermarkets.

        – Public transport is also on the pricey side, especially for inter-city distances. I strongly recommend a Halbtax card: 50% off all public transport for the year, and the card costs 185 CHF.

        – Be sure to get out there for the weekends. It’s tempting to stay in but living in Switzerland gives you a rare opportunity to go and see a lot of one of the world’s prettiest nations.

        **Sightseeing and tourism**

        – Luzern itself is great but you’ll run out of stuff to see in the city after seeing its main highlights (Löwendenkmal, Kapellbrücke, the churches, the medieval wall and towers, Verkehrshaus). There’s a handful of cozy little cafés though, so keep an eye out for tips on Tripadvisor.

        – Around Luzern’s vicinity there is lots to see. Rigi and Pilatus are both worth taking a train up (Rigibahn from Vitznau, Pilatusbahn from Alpnach) and walking down. A lot of little villages around the Vierwaldstättersee/Lake Lucerne are worth a visit, and the Rütli is probably Switzerland’s most important place in national folklore.

        – Skiing is great in the area. Engelberg, Stoos, Melchsee-Frutt, and Hasliberg are probably my faves.

        – Further out you’ll find lots more, all easily reachable by train. Be sure to see Bern, for instance.

        P.S. I dare you to try to find the Zen temple in the forests of Mt. Rigi!

        1. For grocery shopping try the new German ones like Aldi and Lidl, they are cheaper than Coop and Migros

        2. Don’t forget you can combine the halb-tax with the supersaver on the SBB app and sometimes knock the price down to 25% of the cost for select trains.

    2. Nice! I’m planning on doing a day trip there (I know, it’s not enough time), so what are the top sights you’d recommend?

      1. I’d recommend you pass by the bridge in the pic above, hop inside the Jesuitenkirche (Jesuit Church) right by it, then take a ferry boat to Vitznau and take a train up Mt. Rigi! That’s a lovely daytrip. You could then still go check out the medieval wall and Lion’s Memorial after coming back.

  1. I have walked that bridge 3x, in 1999, 2000, and 2001. How I wish I could return to Switzerland someday soon!

    1. It sure is a lovely country. I’d be happy to move back but I don’t feel it’s the best place to be as a yuppie because of the lacking social scene (loving Amsterdam for that!).

      Did you get to explore much of Luzern?

  2. Everyone seems to be excited about Switzerland here on Reddit. Is nobody shocked about the costs there?

    1. It’s all relative. The average Swiss makes 90k per year, so that’s why they can afford to pay $15 for a bottle of water.

          1. 34k chf is median?thats bullshit. I have friends that work at fast food places and bars that make almost double that.thats just under 3000/month? iv had many discussions with swiss friends(and foreigners) about costs of living here. We have always came up with the number 3500chf as the minimum that is even possible to live here without living in a cardboard box and eating out of a dumpster. just me and my wifes basic expenses(insurances,food,rent,gas,utilities,car tax stuff) is close to 5000.even for just 1 of us it doesn’t cut in half,more like 4000. 3000/month as median would mean most of the country is basically living in poverty. hell just walking around any town and counting the cars driving by that are more than 3 years old will tell you those numbers are bullshit.
            EDIT: after talking for a few friends now and asking them the “normal”wages here, the lowest paid swiss friend i have is making 28chf/hour doing contruction work.he was making 25/hr working at a bar.they all said 25 is the lowest wage you will ever find doing anything.they told me there is no offical minimum wage but 25 is like a unofficial minimum wage

          2. Count in people not working 100%, differences across the country (especially in rural regions) and it doesn’t seem too crazy. It is more realistic to me than the notion of 90k being below the average income at any rate.

          3. The only way those numbers make sense is like you said. It counts people working less than 100%( because there spouse makes alot or they have savings) . Also including people on pensions and people who just dont want/cant work on some kind of assistance.

          4. *NEIN!* **A lot** not ‘alot’! (Pierces /u/Euro-Canuck with icy stare)

          5. I was half joking when i said 90k on low end. But i dont think i was far off..i would seriously assuming 50-60 being on low end and 75-80 being average. I think the offical numbers are decieving as switzerland is a “special case” as far as wages. I think its something like almost all “normal ” working people are in the neighborhood of 100-120k and then theres alot of non-100% working /pensioners/students that are making 40-50k(by choice) and it skews the numbers. If you want to work 100% and make north of 80-90k here its very very doable and anyone making less its by choice.

    2. 3 years ago when i moved here(basel). my wife came first and i came a few months after. she picked me up at the airport late at night and next day when i woke up in the morning she had left 300chf cash on the table with a note saying how to get to supermarket and here is some cash so i can pick up “a few things” if i need.. i remember wondering why the hell would she leave 300chf!! ..until i made it to a supermarket and my head almost exploded! i spent half the 300 and filled 1 shopping bag.. it took me a while to adjust my thinking and just stop looking at prices when shopping. now we have B permits and do all our shopping in germany(tax back)

        1. Seriously, what is this, amateur hour? 😛

          Everyone goes to Marktkauf in Dreiländereck or Hieber’s in Weil am Rhein. Or to France, there’s excellent food at Géant in Saint Louis.

          1. Marktkauf got 40% more expensive after the 8 tram line extended, go to E Leclerc in Saint Louis for good food.

        2. dude,i was describing my first day in switzerland and the shock of the prices. of course we do 99% of our shopping in germany and france!

      1. Can I get an ELI5 as to why this is? Cuz when I was there as a tourist in 2016 the Swiss franc and the US dollar were of equal value. Or at least that’s what I was told.

        1. Because the high living standard costs a lot of money. Plus the dollar and Euro being about at parity means the Swiss franc is actually extremely strong. Mainly due to the EU’s and US‘s policy of decade long devaluing of their currencies in the aftermath of the financial crisis. I remember paying 1.68CHF for 1€. Those days are gone (causing a lot of problems for tourism actually).

          Although, I am from the Lucerne area and it‘s become a lot more touristic actually. It‘s just that these days it‘s mainly Asians that stay for (half) a day while 15 years ago there were a lot of people from Europe and the US that spent some time in the city. Still a very quiet and peaceful region to explore though. Most daily visitors spend their time in the shopping area of the old town and that‘s it.

        2. Short answer…”most people” that have a professional job make a ridiculous amount of money compared to most countries.so everything in the country is ridiculously expensive. Evens out

        3. Quick example of what i dealt with today. Oil for my car. Here 5L is 130chf .5min away in germany and france its 40-50euro . 1chf=1euro=1$ roughly

    3. The $90 lunch we expected, but I’ll never forget the massive line of cars we sat in thinking it was border control only to find out it was Swiss locals filling up at a German gas station.

      1. Just found it to be completely boring. Once you saw the bridge and Lion Monument, aside from Pilatus there wasn’t much to do. Walked the whole thing and it didn’t really have any redeeming features to it.

        Anyone’s time is better spent in the mountains than Lucerne

        1. Totally agree. It’s like the city of dull stability, somehow.

          Is this the bridge in which death appears in every painting? Because I quite liked that.

        2. maybe you didnt know where to go? lucerne is my wife and I’s favorite place in switzerland to go for a weekend,or just a friday night for dinner,shopping,partys at night,and of course night at the casino. but its defiantly not cheap

          1. What could I have missed ?

            I’m not saying it’s a terrible place but Reddit seems a little more in love with it than what I think it is

        3. I can attest to this accuracy. Once you see the main 3/4 sights there is nothing else to do.

          Head to the mountains or go for a cruise!

          1. the Lake cruise from Lucerne to Alpnachstad is by far the best way to get to the cogwheel railway for Pilatus. You get to watch the city behind you, then look up at quirky Swiss houses built onto steep hillsides above you. It’s like sailing on Konstanz, but quieter and less Wagnerian. Also, the stewards practically force cold beer onto you, and keep the refills coming.

        4. I live here and I’m always amazed at the plaudits.

          Mind you, it’s like this subreddit is rigged by the Swiss tourist board or something. It’s got some incredible landscapes, but so has a lot of places, but everyday we get 1+ top posts from switzerland. I don’t get it

          1. It’s just easy to take good pics of pretty places and whore them for karma 😉

        5. My first time there, my group and I walked along the lakeshore and the river banks at sunset. We bought beers in the shop under the Hbf, watched swans, and wandered. We sat on the steps by the river – between the two main bridges – and listened to a dorky American student play his guitar for Swiss girls. We all just chatted and felt the spring breeze as we drank and watched the city. The sun set, and the lights of all the buildings across the river (above where the farmer’s market is held) lit up the sky. It was magical, and I’ll never forget it.

          But people can experience wonder in almost any situation, I suppose.

      1. Great to hear my opinion backed up by a local

        I don’t enjoy shitting on places but it kinda is what it is…

    1. I think that says a lot about the rest of Switzerland, not that luzern is lame, because I was quite whelmed

    2. Yep, this picture is way cooler than ANYTHING in lucerne. Wish I would have spent the extra time in lauterbrunnen, rather than stopping in Lucerne.

    3. Where in Switzerland would you recommend alternatively? We’ll be going in December and we are trying to narrow it down a little.

  3. my first trip to explore switzerland after moving here was to Lucerne,been there 10 or so times now and always walk the bridge, perfect place for a romantic weekend. I love the painting on this bridge,the skeletons in the paintings are…interesting..

  4. It’s a beautiful bridge, in an absolutely picturesque setting. You will notice though that the 17th century paintings mostly depict people either on trial or being beheaded.

    1. Yeah, in summer there is an incredible amount of huge spiders there! No wonder it almost burned down in 1993.

    2. Omg did we see them?! I have never seen more spiders in one place in my life. And so active too. As we approached for pictures on a rainy night I noticed that the trees around the bridge had strange leaves that would appear to move but there was no wind… yep, Infested with spiders too. We noped out of there right away and tried to flee only to notice that all adjacent buildings had their walls covered in spiders too. Going up and down… crawling everywhere… out of a nightmare…

        1. Only Lucerne. And it seems they hang out predominantly by the old part of town. If you go around the more modern buildings there are not as many. Also remember to close your windows at night. I read a review of a lady who left her hotel window open and came back to find dozens in the ceiling.

  5. iirc this was (or at least seems like) a setting for a scene in Game of Thrones. exterior shot of bridge with CGI, then interior of very crowded market.

      1. Every time I research “best European city to spend Christmas” there’s always predominantly articles about the best Christmas markets. I don’t get it. Is it more than shopping for trinkets?

        1. It’s also about food that they scam you with because they pretend not to understand that you asked for 200g and not 600g. Depending on the country the mulled wine is tasty and great value as one cup can be pretty strong. Truthfully, it just looks great. I’ve only been to about 7 but they were all fun. It’s more about the city itself and the comfort food of each respective countries being served in various restaurants and at homes. Of course, I’m about the biggest fan of Christmas a non-religious person can be.

          1. Do you recommend any cities in particular? Have you ever been in Zurich for Christmas?

          2. No. I highly recommend Krakow. Cheap as shit, friendly people, walkable, beautiful. In fact everywhere in Central Europe was great. Once you get out of the Euro things plummet in price. Budapest was cheap and more lively. Even Prague was cheap. We had an air bnb that was a loft right off the train. Washer and Dryer, full kitchen, the hosts baked us an amazing apple dessert before they left for our stay, all for $40 a night Canadian. The city is gorgeous. The only bad part was the train broke down for freezing rain for the first time in decades or something. Lucky us. It was a long walk home. For sure try out Krakow and Budapest. The baths in the early winter are perfect and no crowds. And the portions are huge. Just go off the tourist roads and one of the many side streets and we found an all chocolate bar in the basement of a building and a few blocks from there a place where nobody spoke English and we got a massive turkey plate of comfort food for like $3. For the portions the food there was cheaper than Thailand if you don’t stick to the main drag.

            Vienna was a price shock the likes I’ve never seen outside London or San Fran. Even Singapore was cheaper. Paris much more so. Our Air bnb in Vienna was still good though at about $65 a night for 2. And if I’m honest, you are safe in Istanbul. It’s a cheap flight from these cities and no tourists in October-December. It’s a great city, European in feel with old Islamic stuff thrown in. We stayed at the Stray Cat Hostel and it was great. The hosts even arranged for a early morning cab to the ER when I got sick and according to my gf, we paid a good price for it (Which never happens in Istanbul).

            Once you get to Budapest or something, the bus is cheap and easy to take. It’s about 2 hours from city to city.

  6. I walked across this bridge in 1989. I remember those wood panels above the walkway depicting the tale of William Tell.

  7. The picture I took of that bridge from the balcony of my hotel in 2002 is framed and hanging on my office wall 5 feet away from me, right now.

  8. The oldest wooden covered bridge in Liechtenstein connects to Switzerland over the Rhein from Vaduz. It’s a nice short walk across but watch out for horse shit.

  9. Oh, now thats cheating. Just posting a pic of luzern and instantly get thousands of upvotes is too easy. Luzern’s just too beautiful!

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