It is easy to see why Lucerne is so popular with tourists. It is a small city with approximately 80,000 inhabitants, so it looks more like a village, and it is set in the middle of some of Switzerland’s most beautiful countryside. Lake Lucerne is famously tranquil and a popular spot on sunny weekends. Around the city, the Swiss hills and mountains offer everything from gentle hiking to advanced skiing–and the views over the city are beyond description. The city itself is charmingly Alpine, with cobbled streets, red rooftops, and wooden bridges, while the elaborate churches and crumbling monasteries hark to the city’s importance in early Christianity.
Location: In the heart of Switzerland
Lucerne is positioned in the middle of Central Switzerland, making it an obvious centre for transportation and infrastructure. It is home to the Swiss Museum of Transport, which showcases the history of trains, trams, and automobiles in the country, and unsurprisingly, the city is very well connected with the rest of the country, as well as Germany to the north and France to the west.
Business: Low tax attracts international companies
Lucerne has some of the lowest rates of corporate tax and personal tax in the whole of Europe, and land rent is comparatively cheap. As a result, it has become a popular location for large businesses, which flock to the city to take advantage of the cheap rates. Tourism also plays a big role in the city’s economy in every season of the year.
Culture: Art at its heart
In the early 1980s, Lucerne decided to invest in the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre (KKL), which promotes the classic arts as well as the alternative. Lucerne’s culture scene is incredibly diverse–from the futuristic sounds of the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra to the cultural throwback of the Fasnacht, a seemingly chaotic outdoor carnival that heralds the end of winter.
Activities: Organised sport versus wild exercise
Lucerne has a grand sporting history, seeing global success in show jumping, horseracing, handball, football, volleyball, and rowing. For those who prefer their activities to be a little less organised, try wild swimming in Lucerne Lake, or skiing down the nearby Mount Pilatus in the winter months. Photographers find lovely motifs on every corner, amongst many the city’s landmark, the wooden Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) with the water tower.