TOP DAY TOURS FROM LUCERNE
Are you staying in Lucerne and wondering about the best day trips from Lucerne? Then this post is for you as I share my travel tips about the best Lucerne day tours.
Lucerne (or Luzern in German) is one of the prettiest places in Switzerland, but it also makes a good base if you stay in Switzerland for a few days to explore the nearby towns and villages. So, after exploring Lucerne itself make sure to go on a few day trips and explore the exceptionally stunning places around Lucerne.
GENERAL TIPS FOR LUCERNE DAY TRIPS
The city of Lucerne is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Switzerland. If you road trip Switzerland you don’t need to have one base – but when you train travel, Lucerne can be a fantastic base, and from there you can do day trips by train or car.
- You will find Lucerne, about an hour south of Zurich by car/train, right next to gorgeous Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee).
- Lucerne has a train station and you can get to many of the places mentioned here by train.
- The fastest train connection is often via Bern – but those trains are honestly pretty boring. If you are not in a rush and have the time, try to avoid them and take the slower trains that offer better scenery to watch. You can relax and enjoy the ride and the view.
- Check out the best places to stay in Lucerne.
- TIP: A Swiss Travel Pass might be perfect for you especially if you travel by train. The initial price is quite high, but you can use buses and trains without any costs, can do unlimited boat cruises on Lake Lucerne, enjoy a 50% discount on Mount Pilatus and Mount Titlis, and get free entry to many museums in Lucerne. And you get to use the cogwheel train up to Mount Rigi for free with the Swiss Travel Pass in 2022. Check out the Swiss Travel Pass here and see, if it’s worth it for you.
WHERE TO STAY
Lucerne has a very high density of great hotels. Unfortunately, accommodation is not cheap in Lucerne. Budget hotels also cost quite a fortune (at least during the high season which means from July to early September and in December). I have stayed in several hotels in Lucerne, and here are some tips.
- Luxury Hotels in Lucerne: Schweizerhof Luzern is a lovely luxury hotel in Lucerne. It is a beautiful and fun 5* hotel located at Lake Lucerne’s shores and a few hundred meters from the old town and main tourist attractions. Check out rates here.
- Mid-Range Hotels in Lucerne: Hotel des Alpes is a nice 3-star hotel in the city center (and it comes with great views) – from there, you are ready to explore the city within minutes. Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Hotel des Alpes.
- Budget Hotels in Lucerne: The Bed & Breakfast -Neustadt offers single and double rooms (with an occupancy of 4 people maximum). Some rooms have a shared bathroom, and some have a private one. Click here to find the best rates for your stay at B&B.
- If you are still unsure where to stay in Lucerne, you can check out my full accommodation guide on the best places to stay in Lucerne here.
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Here are the best day trips from Lucerne…and if you are looking for general Switzerland travel tips, click here.
Lucerne Day Trip to Interlaken
From Lucerne, you can easily visit Interlaken, which is one of the most popular places to visit in Switzerland. While the town of Interlaken is not rich in attractions, it is the location that makes it so breathtaking and a great day trip from Lucerne.
Interlaken is situated in a slim stretch of the valley between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. It is surrounded by the Swiss Alps, dense forests, and meadows – making it a natural beauty. There is so much to do in Interlaken, so you have to decide what you want to see. I suggest getting up Harderkulm in the summer months – it is a mountain that offers some fantastic views of both lakes and the Alps. You can either hike up or take the funicular to the top.
After that, do a boat cruise on one of the lakes (the picture above is from Lake Thun) and enjoy the views from the water.
If you want to be more active and enjoy some more adventurous things, you can also go paragliding as Interlaken is very popular for outdoor sports, and it is not uncommon to see lots of paragliders in the town center – it is just the thing to do. Find out more about things to do in Interlaken.
TIP: If you take the train to Interlaken, make sure to take the Luzern-Interlaken Express. The train ride is about two hours but an experience in itself – it is one of the most scenic train rides you can take – passing some of the prettiest lakes along the ride makes it worth it!
Lucerne Day Trip to Engelberg and Mount Titlis
Mount Titlis is one of the most famous mountains in Switzerland. It also boasts the world’s first revolving cable car. It is one of the most popular day trips from Lucerne.
From Lucerne, it is easy to reach the lovely town of Engelberg and get on top of Mount Titlis.
Mount Titlis is very popular for winter sports, like skiing and snowboarding. In the summer, hiking is the thing to do. You should also see the Titlis Cliff Walk, a suspension bridge that is 500 meters above the ground.
If you take the Ice Flyer chair lift, you will have some breathtaking views. It will take you up to the slopes in winter or over glaciers in summer.
Another great sight for your day trip is Trübsee, a glacial lake that would be an excellent spot for a picnic. For more adventure and excitement, you can visit Titlis Adventure Park or the zipline. Or you could spend a few hours mountain biking.
Check out ticket prices and more here.
- It takes about 40 minutes if you drive, and a train ride takes about 45 minutes as well to get to Engelberg. From there, you need to take the gondola up.
Day Trip to Zurich From Lucerne
One of the easiest day trips from Lucerne is to Zurich. Located in the northeast part of Switzerland, Zurich is one of the country’s main cities.
I love Zurich because of its proximity to Lake Zurich. This is one of the best places to visit, especially in the spring, summer, and early fall. The water is clean and clear, and it’s perfect for taking a swim.
Or, if you prefer staying dry, take a boat tour up to the other side, to Rapperswil. It’s lovely along the lake, with cafes great for when you want to take a break and relax. There are often live musical performances on warm summer days.
If you are on a budget, the best thing you can do is sit at the lake, have a drink, listen to some music, and enjoy the weather.
Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world, is another place to visit. And you can see the house mountain of the city of Zurich – Uetliberg Mountain – which can be reached within just a few minutes from the city center.
- You can get to Zurich within 50 minutes – by train or car.
- I have a more detailed post on Zurich for you here.
Day Trip to Montreux From Lucerne
Another charming town to visit on a day trip from Lucerne is Montreux at Lake Geneva.The town itself does not have that much to do or see but is located by Lake Geneva and boasts a promenade bursting with colorful flowers. Montreux is famous for its jazz festival, though, so you will see many musically-themed décors around town, such as music notes and sculptures along the promenade.
You might also notice the Freddie Mercury statue – the late lead singer of the rock band Queen. There is an exhibition that you can see at the band’s recording studio. You might also want to visit the famous Chateau de Chillon, a medieval fortress right on Lake Geneva banks. Inside, you will find a chapel with 14th-century murals.
While not the biggest town in Switzerland, it is perfect for a day trip. Montreux is just the right size to discover in one day.
- Here is my Montreux guide.
- By car it takes about two hours to get to Montreux, it takes longer (almost 3 hours) by train.
Lucerne Day Trip to Mount Pilatus
Mount Pilatus is a mountain very close to Lucerne, so this makes another easy day trip. Mount Pilatus is one of the best mountain peaks in Switzerland – you do not even have to hike to enjoy some incredible views.
To get up the mountain, take the cable car or ride up on the cogwheel train, which is an experience in itself.
Once you ascend Mount Pilatus, there is lots to do. If you are visiting in the winter, enjoy some of the many winter activities, like skiing and snowboarding. If you are arriving in the warmer months, then you can look into paragliding and hiking.
Mount Pilatus offers gorgeous views of this central part of Switzerland – if you love the outdoors, this is a day trip you won’t want to miss.
- Prices depend on how you get to Mount Pilatus. Choosing to arrive at the station by boat costs more. In case you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you don’t have to pay for the boat tour (on Lake Lucerne) and get a discount on the cogwheel/cable car.
- Find out more about prices for day tours.
Lucerne Day Tour to Lauterbrunnen
This mountain village in the Swiss Alps is another excellent day tour from Luzern. It is actually one of the most famous places around for lovers of the outdoors.
And I don’t mean just the run-of-the-mill outdoorsy people – I mean the adrenaline junkies who do crazy things, like paragliding and base jumping. If those are your sports, then Lauterbrunnen is the place for you.
Waterfalls are also pretty common in Lauterbrunnen – there are 72 of them. The most famous of these waterfalls is Staubbach Falls, which you can watch descend over Lauterbrunnen Valley’s cliffs. Trummelbach Falls is also a treat, as it is located underground. You have to pay entry, but it’s extraordinary and worth a visit.
This area is also great for hiking – as you can see, outdoor lovers will just adore this tiny village. Check out my Lauterbrunnen post for more information.
But if you are not into that kind of things – I am surely not into base jumping – you can visit the Schilthorn summit, featured in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. You can take the cable car that goes from the village of Stechelberg to Schilthorn Mountain for views over the Bernese Alps. Here is my detailed guide for a trip to Schilthorn Mountain.
- Getting to Lauterbrunnen from Lucerne is time-confusing. But it is a very scenic train ride and so worth it. First, take the Luzern – Interlaken Express which takes about 2 hours and passes some of the most stunning lakes. Then take a train from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen which takes another 20 minutes.
Day Trip to Jungfraujoch From Lucerne
One of Lucerne’s most popular day tours is to Jungfraujoch.. People love it here because it is the highest train station in Europe at 3,500 meters above sea level – so you can imagine the views!
Getting to Jungfraujoch is time-consuming but an experience in itself. You can take the train or the Eiger Express (a gondola), depending on where you are coming from. But once you are up there, you will see what all the fuss is about.
There is an actual Ice Palace, which is worth seeing. Also, with that elevation, you will be rewarded with an incredible panorama of scenery, including the Aletsch Glacier – which will likely take your breath away.
If you enjoy winter sports, then you’re in luck because there is always snow in Jungfraujoch. Even in the summer, you can enjoy your favorite winter activities, since the snow is guaranteed.
- This will be a long day, but it is doable as a day trip from Lucerne. Get to Grindelwald Terminal from Lucerne- This takes about 2,5 hours. At Grindelwald Terminal take the Eiger Express which saves you time to get up to Jungfraujoch and then enjoy the rest of the day at Jungfraujoch.
- Check out my Jungfraujoch guide.
Day Trip to Bern From Lucerne
Bern makes one of the best day trips from Lucerne. This city is Switzerland’s capital, but it is different from any other capital I have seen and worth exploring.
Built in the 12th century, you’ll notice that the Old Town of Bern has a lot of medieval architecture that dates back to its origins. It has also been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take some time to stroll through this historic area before heading to the next attraction.
Bern is right off the Aare River, so you can stroll along the banks, taking in the views. You can also stop at the Rose Garden, a beautiful park that looks out over the river and old town, offering stunning views, especially on clear days.
To get a little closer to nature, check out the Bear Pit. This is a designated area across from the river where a bear family lives, and you can observe them from afar. The bear is the symbol of the city, by the way, hence the bear park.
For some political and historical sights, check out the 15th-century cathedral and the Parliament building and the 13th-century French church, and the medieval tower known as the Zytglogge from the same time period.
- It takes about 90 minutes to get to Bern by train, and slightly longer to get there by car.
- Check out my Bern guide here.
Mount Rigi Day Trip From Lucerne
Lucerne is surrounded by incredible nature – and Mount Rigi is another beautiful mountain to visit.
Getting there from Lucerne is very easy. Get on a boat or bus and get to Vitznau – from there, take the cogwheel train or hike up Mount Rigi. The views are absolutely gorgeous.
If you want to combine a lovely mountain excursion, you could combine it with some wellness (there is a spa at the top of Mount Rigi). The sunset here is breathtaking (on a clear day) – this alone is worth visiting Mount Rigi on a day trip from Lucerne.
So if you get here, come later in the day so you can watch the sunset, and since it is easier to get to Mount Rigi than to Mount Pilatus, you don’t need a full day if you take the cogwheel train.
- Good news: if you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you can boats, buses, and even the cogwheel train for free. If not, check out prices here (including entrance to the spa), or check out classic Rigi Round Trips from Lucerne here.
Travel Tips for Lucerne
Beautiful Lucerne! Though there are many fun days trips from Lucerne to take, also take your time to look around and explore Lucerne itself. With one day in Lucerne, you can see all the lovely landmarks of this medieval village that sits between mountains, overlooking Lake Lucerne.
There are many attractions to see, such as the Chapel Bridge, an iconic covered bridge from the 14th century that winds its way from the Old Town to the Reuss River’s right bank. It is also covered in murals.
The Old Town is another place you should see and the wall from the 14th-century borders it. If you like nature, stroll along beautiful Lake Lucerne – one of the prettiest lakes in all of Switzerland. Take a boat tour, where you can relax and take in some incredible sights from the water.
See a beautiful sunset from Vitznau, and from there, take the funicular to Mount Rigi. Enjoy the ride up, and you will see one of the best sunset views.
There are many great towns around Lucerne, but don’t forget to enjoy the town’s beauty itself. It has a lot to offer. Here are more travel tips for Lucerne.
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to visit beautiful places just near Lucerne, and you have found out more about fun day trips from Lucerne. While the city is gorgeous, the above-mentioned Lucerne day tours will help you discover more of Switzerland’s beauty!