WHAT TO DO IN LUCERNE – PLACES TO VISIT AND THINGS TO DO
- 1 WHAT TO DO IN LUCERNE – PLACES TO VISIT AND THINGS TO DO
- 2 MAP OF TOURIST SIGHTS IN LUCERNE
- 3 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN LUCERNE
- 4 BEST LUCERNE TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR ITINERARY
- 5 PIN ME FOR LATER – BEST THINGS TO DO IN LUCERNE
Often I hear that Lucerne is the most beautiful city in Switzerland – I am not sure, I would agree, but I definitely think the region of Lucerne is still somehow beyond amazing. It is one of a kind – I cannot remember any other city nestled in such stunning scenery.
If you are planning your Lucerne itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Lucerne, Switzerland this post is perfect for you.
As a regular visitor of this city (I visited in spring, summer, fall, and winter), I have compiled a list of the best things to do and see in Lucerne.
You can use this post also as an itinerary, as I share tips on how I would spend 1 day in Lucerne, 2 days, or 3 days in Lucerne.
Tip: Switzerland is expensive, so read my top tips to save money on your trip to Switzerland.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.
MAP OF TOURIST SIGHTS IN LUCERNE
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN LUCERNE
Whether you stay one day in Lucerne or two days or three days – you can use this post to plan your itinerary as you´ll also find many travel tips at the end of the post.
Kapellbrücke – Chapel Bridge
Most people head to the Chapel Bridge first – and I recommend doing so, too. The Chapel Bridge is THE most famous tourist sight, and visiting is one of the best things to do in Lucerne. So, even if you have only one day in Lucerne, visit the bridge.
The wooden bridge, constructed in the 14th century that once partly burnt down and was rebuilt again, is a magnet for tourists, and with a convenient location, just a stone‘s throw from the train station, easy to reach.
I love the bridge in the daytime, but even more at night when the lights go on – you have not done real Lucerne sightseeing if you have not been at the bridge.
To me, it t just looks so different than the rest of Lucerne, and being on the bridge looking at the alps feels quite unrealistic. Okay, another smaller but similar bridge is close by. However, Chapel Bridge is still quite unique.
On the bridge, you have to look to the side to see the many restaurants lined up. It is an excellent place to have coffee or lunch/dinner, though Lucerne is very pricey in expensive Switzerland.
If you are on the bridge, you see the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne), one of Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes, and have a great view of the Alps. This is probably also the most romantic place in Lucerne for lovebirds. Check our Guided Tours in Lucerne
The Jesuit Church is located near the Chapel Bridge so that you can get there within minutes. It is a Catholic Church built in the 17th century, is an attraction worthy of seeing even if you are not religious.
I was surprised by its baroque style! I did not expect so much fanciness in Switzerland, and the outside appearance did not give me any clue about its inner beauty.
Despite its beauty, it did not take me long to go through, so it is probably easy to squeeze into your Lucerne itinerary – so make it a stop and do not skip it as it is also one of the best free things to do.
Just a few meters behind the Chapel Bridge and the church, you´ll find Chapel Bridge´s little sister. The Spreuer Bridge is another wooden bridge that is a main tourist attraction in Lucerne.
Here, you´ll also find an exciting series of paintings that date back to the 17th century. While it is less busy and less popular, the views are beautiful from there, and due to its proximity to the Chapel Bridge, it will not take you much time to get there.
With one day in Lucerne, you will have time to visit more “typical” attractions. You could go for a stroll through the old town and see the second most famous sight – the Lion Monument.
The Lion Monument is about a 10-minutes walk from the Chapel Bridge and commemorates Swiss soldiers who died in the 18th century during the French revolution.
If you prefer guided walking tours (so to make sure not to miss one thing), check out the best prices for guided tours in Lucerne.
One of the best (free) things to do is to admire its beautiful architecture. The old town is a typical Swiss old town – with beautiful architecture all around. With a convenient location to the lake and the Chapel Bridge, you cannot miss it, and it is a great place to shop.
If you do a self-guided walking tour, you should also visit the Town Hall, and along the way, you´ll pass some pretty buildings with exciting facades (and I mean seriously pretty buildings). However, half a day in Lucerne is enough to have seen most of the city center.
Lucerne has several museums, but I admit that I mostly skip museums (unless history or politics). If you are into museums, you could check them out or be prepared to discover more of the surroundings, which captivated me from the first second.
Lake Lucerne Promenade
The promenade in the city center is bustling and quite lively, making Lucerne look bigger than it is.
Depending on how much energy you have left, you could walk for hours and take some breaks (and take the bus back to the city center whenever you are tired).
Mount Rigi makes a great half-day trip – especially if you come here on a clear day, you can experience the most fantastic sunset. So, I suggest spending your afternoon and evening at Mount Rigi and end your day here.
Stunning views of Lake Lucerne are just a beautiful reward. Up there are restaurants, a hotel, a spa, and above all, the views are INCREDIBLE.
If you opt out of Mount Rigi and have some time left, you can always hike some parts. The funicular stops along the way, so you do not have to walk all the way, but you can take a shorter hike.
To get up Mount Rigi, you have several options, and I recommend the following route:
You need to get to Vitznau station. You can also get there by bus or drive there yourself. You can park your car in a parking house for about 5€ for 4 hours parking.
The train ride up Mount Rigi takes about 30 minutes. On a clear day, the ride up is already worth it. There is another option to get up, but this is probably the most scenic one. Check out Prices for a Trip to Mount Rigi
THINGS TO DO IN LUCERNE IN 2 DAYS
With two days in Lucerne, it is time to spend more time outdoors.
Start your day with a boat tour on Lake Lucerne. What always makes me stand in awe is that the most beautiful nature surrounds Switzerland´s cities – and so is Lucerne.
While the old town is cute, it is nature that fascinates me in Lucerne. Cruising Lake Lucerne proves that it is rightly called one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland.
Okay, I admit my passion for boat cruises might not be normal – some would say it is ridiculous. BUT, Lake Lucerne is actually beautiful.
My next tip is to spend time on Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee). The color is not as perfect (but still just gorgeous) as it is with other lakes in Switzerland as Lake Brienz (apparently, Switzerland spoils you when it comes to lakes), but a boat cruise should be on your list.
The boat station is next to the train station. You can do different kinds of tours, but I recommend getting a day pass so that you can get out at various stations. If you prefer a panorama sightseeing boat tour in Lucerne, make sure to check out the best prices.
P.S. If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you can use almost all boats in Switzerland – also the boats on Lake Lucerne – without any extra surcharge. Click here to find out more about the Swiss Travel Pass.
Mount Pilatus is quite close to the Lucerne city center. Catch a bus to get there.
On a busy day, you might have to wait in line to catch a cogwheel train to get up. If you like to get up faster, you can also use the cable car to reach the summit – or you can hike. Either way, I definitely recommend visiting Mount Pilatus when in Lucerne.
Mount Pilatus is like a village on a mountain. It takes much longer to get up there (compared to Mount Rigi). There are much more activities to do and more restaurants and cafes at which to sit down.
Everything is just so special up there that you should plan one full day. I will have to write an extra post on my experiences, as I had a fabulous time (disclosure: the weather was excellent on the day of my trip, not too hot, but great and clear, so I had the best views).
Prices depend on how you get to Mount Pilatus (choosing to arrive at the station by boat costs more) and which way you use to get up (in case you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you don’t have to pay for the boat tour).
DIFFERENT TOURS AND TICKETS
Find out more about: A Mount Pilatus trip, including a Lake Lucerne boat trip.
P.S. If you like to have a fancy private Mount Pilatus Tour check out this link.
With two days in Lucerne, you probably will not time to do much more. So, if you stay longer, here are a few more suggestions.
WHAT TO DO IN LUCERNE IN 3 DAYS
With three days in Lucerne, it is time to relax. I have a beautiful spot for you guys.
And if you ask me, the best place to relax in Lucerne is at/in Weggis – it is adorable… I am not sure if it is a village or just whatever, but it is tiny, and if you get off the boat (or drive there by car), you can stroll there and relax. It is one of the most beautiful places in Lucerne – quiet and pure nature.
Do not forget to bring your towel and bathing suit to hop into the water.
There is a lido, and for a small entry fee, you can swim in Lake Lucerne (which is very clear), BUT if you ask me, skip the lido and keep walking (or driving) another kilometer or so and you find the best place to swim in Lake Lucerne.
At the very end of Hertensteinstrasse is a beautiful meadow, including some restrooms, where you can lay down and chill – go swimming, get a tanned, or whatever, and you do not even have to pay for it.
Regardless of the entrance fee, I love that place because it is a hidden gem in Switzerland. And since a friend and I discovered it a few years ago, we always come back there (dogs are allowed). Even on a beautiful sunny day, I have never experienced it crowded!
Scenic Tours (Drive or Walking Tours)
Switzerland is one of the best countries to road trip, and Lucerne’s region is perfect for driving.
If you still have some energy left after your time at the lake and have a car, you can drive around Lake Lucerne though it is not a typical tourist attraction. The drive from Weggis to Vitznau – and back to Lucerne – is one of Switzerland’s most scenic drives, so it is not a surprise that it is also part of Switzerland’s Grand Tour.
The Axenstrasse (picture taken from a boat) is another great street to drive along. I even walked the road once (don´t ask me why), and the views are just incredible. Plan in some time so you can stop and soak in great views. If you ask me: road tripping in Lucerne is one of the very, very, very best things to do.
If you have a day pass for the boat, you can get to Flüelen, which is on the other end of Lake Lucerne, and enjoy more boat riding. If the weather is good, this will be like time in heaven.
Have more time in Lucerne? Then I suggest this for your Lucerne itinerary.
Musegg Walls & its Towers
The Musegg Wall and its nine towers are part of Lucerne’s historic fortifications. Nowadays, you can visit the walls and stroll its towers (9 in total) and enjoy the city’s fantastic views, River Reuss, and Lucerne´s bay.
However, it is only open from April to the end of October, so you enjoy the views only in these months.
MORE LUCERNE ATTRACTION TO SEE IN 4 DAYS
If you have four days in Lucerne, I suggest a day trip to Mount Titlis.
To enjoy a day at Mount Titlis, I would plan a full day or at least 8 hours for these activities. It is a great place to visit at any time of the year. Hop on a train at Lucerne train station and head to Engelberg train station.
The train ride gets scenic towards the end, and from the train station, you can either walk to the Mount Titlis cable car station or take the free bus shuttle.
And then, there is a lot to do at Mount Titlis. You can go skiing, snowboarding, snowshoe hiking, sledding, and more (in the winter). And in summer, you´ll also find plenty of activities (like hiking, etc.).
You can also walk in the Glacier Cave (a 150-meter-long walkway below the glacier’s surface) or enjoy a walk over the Titlis Cliff Walk (a suspension bridge that is 3,041 meters above sea level).
Tip: You will get a discount with your Swiss Travel Pass.
BEST LUCERNE TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR ITINERARY
After finding out about the best spots in Lucerne, here is some important travel information for Lucerne.
Security Tips for Solo Female Traveler
I visited Lucerne with female friends and myself (and my dog), and I absolutely loved it. It is safe for solo (female) travelers, and with your eyes open, you should feel safe, too. I did not have to take any precautions but tend to be a bit careful all the time. All these recommendations can be done as a solo female traveler in Lucerne without any problem.
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 high season). 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, I stayed for two nights. 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.
Mid-Range Hotels in Lucerne: Hotel des Alps is a lovely 3-star hotel in the city center (and it comes with great views). However, it is not only about the views. The restaurant downstairs offers breakfast (with a view), and from there, you are ready to explore the city within minutes.
So, I think there is no better 3-star hotel with a better location in Lucerne than this hotel. 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.
TIP: The best option is to look for Airbnb accommodation if you are on a budget. The prices are slightly better, so this might be another option. Are you a first-time Airbnb user? Save on your next stay with Airbnb.
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.
How to Get Around
I sometimes travel by car and sometimes I use public transportation in Lucerne.
Though I normally love road tripping in Switzerland, I should add that parking in cities and Lucerne is difficult and extremely expensive. You can use all public transportation in Lucerne (and Switzerland) with a Swiss Travel Pass.
If you get to Lucerne by car and use the hotel parking, you might get charged about 25€ a night in the city center (I was charged 60 Swiss Francs for 2 nights). There might be free parking premises in some hotels, but parking is in general tricky here.
Public transportation in Lucerne is great and it gives you the chance to book a room outside the city and get around easily.
Where to Eat
Lucerne has some really nice restaurants, and as a vegetarian, it was one of the few places I always found enough options. Mostly, I get takeaway food and sit by the lake, but there are restaurants for all tastes and price ranges (p.s. no super duper cheap food, though).
If you get the chance to dine at Galerie Schweizerhof Restaurant. It has great views and reasonable prices for good food!
PIN ME FOR LATER – BEST THINGS TO DO IN LUCERNE
I hope you will have a wonderful trip and enjoy the best things to do in Lucerne (or Luzern in German). So, whether you want to spend time in a city (or town) or spend time in nature – in Lucerne, you can do both easily, and I am sure you will be amazed by its beauty.
Find out more about the best places to stay in Switzerland
Read my 7-day itinerary for Switzerland