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Best Lucerne Day Trips

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 trips.

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 exceptional stunning places around Lucerne.

Here are the best day trips from Lucerne, Switzerland. Where to go near Lucerne
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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.

  • Located about an hour south of Zurich by car and right next to gorgeous Lake Lucerne.
  • 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, 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.

Old town in Lucerne in winter
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WHERE TO STAY IN LUCERNE

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.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

Here are the best day trips from Lucerne…and if you are looking for general Switzerland travel tips, click here.

Day Trip to Interlaken From Lucerne

From Lucerne, you can easily visit Interlaken. Interlaken is one of the most popular places to visit in Switzerland. While the town is not rich in attractions, it is the location that makes it so breathtaking and a great day trip from Lucerne.

Best things to see at Lake Thun, boat tour Lake Thun
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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. With one day in Interlaken, you have to decide on what you want to see. I suggest getting up Harderkulm in the summer months, which is a mountain that offers some fantastic views if you hike up (it takes about 2-3 hours) of both lakes and the mountains. 

You can also take a boat trip on one of the lakes (the picture above is from Lake Thun) and enjoy the views from the water. 

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. 

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!

Day Trip to Engelberg and Mount Titlis From Lucerne

From Lucerne, it is easy to reach the lovely town of Engelberg and get on top of Mount Titlis.

Ice Cave at Mount Titlis in Switzerland
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Mount Titlis is one of the most famous mountains in Switzerland. It also boasts the world’s first revolving cable car.

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 go to Zurich. Located in the northeast part of Switzerland, Zurich is one of the country’s main cities. 

Switzerland best areas to stay
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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 the 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.

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Colorful Montreux- it is all about flowers, the promenade and Lake Geneva
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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.

Day Trip to Mount Pilatus From Lucerne

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.

Mount Pilatus with the Swiss Travel Pass
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Switzerland what to visit
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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 are 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.

Day Tour to Lauterbrunnen From Lucerne

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.

Green fields and famous touristic town with high waterfall in background,Lauterbrunnen,Bernese Oberland,Switzerland,Europe
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@shutterstock

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!

View of the Sphinx Observatory on Jungfraujoch, one of the highest observatories in the world located at the Jungfrau railway station, Bernese Overland, Switzerland. @shutterstock
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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 – that 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.

Best day trips from Lucerne
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Bern is a great day trip from Lucerne
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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 is 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 up Mount Rigi - a must-do activity in Lucerne
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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.

Switzerland in winter, best sunset Mount Rigi
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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.

Lucerne with the Chapel Bridge, Jesuit Church and Mount Pilatus
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The Old Town is another place you should see and the wall from the 14th century that 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!

Safe Travels, Arzo
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