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Lion Monument

The “Lion of Lucerne” combines art, history and natural beauty into Switzerland’s most beloved historic monument.

With its picturesque setting and historical significance, the Lion Monument of Lucerne (also called Löwendenkmal) is one of Europe’s most famous sculptures. In many ways, the monument represents European unity; though it sits in Switzerland, it was designed by famous Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, and constructed by German mason Lukas Ahorn.

The Lion Monument was erected in 1821 to honor Swiss Guards who were killed during the French Revolution. In 1792, rioting crowds broke into Tuileries Palace. Swiss mercenaries tried to defend the royal family, but 760 soldiers were killed during the battle. One Swiss officer from Lucerne was on leave at the time; when he heard of the massacre, he felt compelled to construct a memorial in his home city to honor his fallen comrades. 

Tucked into a sandstone rock face, the sculpture is famous for its heartbreaking realism. Spanning nearly 32 feet (10 meters) in length, it features a lion dying upon a bed of shields and spears. An inscription above the big cat reads “Helvetiorum fedei ac Virtuti," which means "To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss.” Author Mark Twain famously proclaimed the Lion Monument to be “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

The Lion of Lucerne is a 15-minute walk from Old Town. Signs throughout Lucerne guide visitors to the monument. Make sure to bring your camera. When you see the picturesque waterfront setting, you’ll understand why the sculpture is so famous. If you want to avoid crowds, make sure to get there early in the day. Admission is free.

After enjoying the Lion Monument, explore other nearby attractions. Just steps from the statue is the Glacier Garden, a dramatic landscape of rock and subtropical flora. This natural wonder is covered with botanical gardens and makes for a perfect place to take an afternoon stroll.


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Best Lodging Options Near Lion Monument

See all 532 Properties near Lion Monument
Hotel Des Balances $165
Hotel Des Balances

Hotel Des Balances

Weinmarkt, Lucerne, LU
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in the heart of Lucerne, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Lucerne Town Hall and Chapel Bridge. KKL Lucerne and Lion Monument are also within 15 minutes. Lucerne Station is 7 minutes by foot and Werftestrasse Luzern Station is 14 minutes.

    Altstadt Hotel Magic Luzern $93
    Altstadt Hotel Magic Luzern

    Altstadt Hotel Magic Luzern

    Brandgässli 1, Lucerne, LU
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in the heart of Lucerne, this hotel is steps from Lucerne Town Hall and Chapel Bridge. KKL Lucerne and Lion Monument are also within 15 minutes. Lucerne Station is 6 minutes by foot and Werftestrasse Luzern Station is 12 minutes.

      Grand Hotel National $318
      Grand Hotel National

      Grand Hotel National

      Haldenstrasse 4, Lucerne, LU
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in the heart of Lucerne, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Grand Casino Lucerne and Lion Monument. Chapel Bridge and KKL Lucerne are also within 15 minutes. Lucerne Station is 10 minutes by foot and Werftestrasse Luzern Station is 16 minutes.

        PARK by Continental Hotel $148
        PARK by Continental Hotel

        PARK by Continental Hotel

        Morgartenstrasse 13, Lucerne
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in the heart of Lucerne, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of St. James Way and KKL Lucerne. Chapel Bridge and Lion Monument are also within 1 mi (2 km). Lucerne Station is only a 4-minute walk and Werftestrasse Luzern Station is 7 minutes.

          Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern $313
          Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern

          Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern

          Schweizerhofquai, Lucerne, LU
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in the heart of Lucerne, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Hertensteinstrasse, Chapel Bridge, and KKL Lucerne. Lion Monument and Swiss Transportation Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km). Lucerne Station is 6 minutes by foot and Werftestrasse Luzern Station is 12 minutes.

            Ameron Luzern Hotel Flora $147
            Ameron Luzern Hotel Flora

            Ameron Luzern Hotel Flora

            Seidenhofstrasse 5, Lucerne, LU
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in the heart of Lucerne, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Jesuit Church, Chapel Bridge, and KKL Lucerne. Lion Monument and Swiss Transportation Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km). Lucerne Station is only a 4-minute walk and Werftestrasse Luzern Station is 10 minutes.

              Penthouse by Art Deco Hotel Montana $483
              Penthouse by Art Deco Hotel Montana

              Penthouse by Art Deco Hotel Montana

              Adligenswilerstrasse 22, Lucerne
                 
                5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in the heart of Lucerne, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Grand Casino Lucerne and Lion Monument. Chapel Bridge and KKL Lucerne are also within 1 mi (2 km). Lucerne Station is 15 minutes by foot and Werftestrasse Luzern Station is 22 minutes.

                ibis Styles Luzern $113
                ibis Styles Luzern

                ibis Styles Luzern

                Friedenstrasse 8, Lucerne, LU
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Lucerne, this hotel is steps from Loewenplatz and Lion Monument. Chapel Bridge and KKL Lucerne are also within 15 minutes. Lucerne Station is 11 minutes by foot and Werftestrasse Luzern Station is 17 minutes.