An hour south of Basel is beautiful Luzern (Lucerne), offering captivating mountain views, lake cruises and a picturesque medieval quarter. To the right of the train station, you’re greeted by the striking KKL concert hall; busy Pilatusstrasse is to the left with 100m along it the Sammlung Rosengart gallery with a superb collection of twentieth-century art, notably by Picasso and Klee. The alleyways of the Old Town span both riverbanks, linked by the fourteenth-century Kapellbrücke, a covered wooden bridge rebuilt after a fire in 1993; some of the seventeenth-century paintings fixed to its roof beams have been replaced by facsimiles. Northeast of the Old Town is Löwenplatz, dominated by the absorbing Bourbaki Panorama, a 110m by 10m circular mural, depicting the flight of General Bourbaki’s 87,000-strong army into Switzerland during the Franco-Prussian War. Just off the square is the Löwendenkmal, a dying lion hewn out of a cliff-face to commemorate seven hundred Swiss mercenaries killed by French revolutionaries in 1792.
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You shouldn’t leave Luzern without taking a trip on the lake, Switzerland’s most beautiful and dramatic by far, the thickly wooded slopes rising sheer from the water.
A pleasant 2km stroll east along Luzern’s lakeside (or train, boat, or bus #6/#8/#24) lies the Verkehrshaus. This is the transport museum, a vast complex containing original space capsules, railway locomotives, cable cars and a planetarium.