(Updated Jan/2023) The lake breeze, the impressive mountains surrounding the city and the beautiful architecture make Lucerne a destination like no other. I can easily say that Lake Lucerne in Switzerland is a destination that has everything to offer, from history to good food, mountains, adventure and fun. The list of what to do in Lucerne is quite long, and it’s not only about things to do and see but it’s about experiences that you can only have there.
Lucerne is famous for its lake, the enchanting Chapel Bridge, and the preserved city walls that once protected the city. Years of history and traditions are kept alive in its old town, lake and mountains. When people ask me if Lucerne is worth visiting, my answer is always a big and loud YES!!! Lucerne, or Luzern as it’s called in German, should be on the top of your bucket list.
After an incredible trip to Lucerne in October – those Autumnal colors were stunning – we are ready to share our tips and experiences. The goal for our Lucerne guide is to inspire you to travel to Lake Lucerne and not only stay in the city but explore the lake and the mountains around.
By now you are probably thinking, but Nat, with so much to do and see in Lake Lucerne, how many days should I spend in Lucerne?
I would suggest staying for at least 4 days in Lucerne. It doesn’t matter if you are planning just a weekend getaway in Lucerne or a big trip in Switzerland, 4 days will give you time to visit the beautiful city, join a cruise on Lake Lucerne, go hiking around Lucerne, and visit the Swiss Alps.
Now let’s get to business. I’m here to talk about what to do in Lucerne, more specifically 21 attractions, experiences and places to visit in Lucerne in 2023. But I’m going beyond that because to make it an unforgettable trip you will need more than just inspiration. After our list of the best things to do in Lucerne, you will find a guide about when and how to travel to Lucerne, best hotels, and how to get around.
Everything you need to know to plan your holiday in Lucerne is right here.
21 Things to do in Lucerne for an unforgettable trip
This guide of what to do in Lucerne has two parts. The first one is about attractions and places to visit in Lucerne city. The second is about things to do near Lucerne and day trips from Lucerne, not all of them, but the most amazing ones.
It’s time to start dreaming of boat trips, mountain peaks and stunning views. Plus good food and one of the best hotels Rob and I have already stayed in.
Are you ready to discover Lucerne’s top attractions and our favorite things to do there?
What to do in Lucerne – attractions and places to visit
1 – Stroll around Lucerne old town
This Swiss city must be explored with time and wide-open eyes. You will find amazing historic buildings with different types of architecture everywhere you look. From timber frame houses to Baroque style, early Renaissance Florentine style, and even Neo-Gothic facades. This mix of designs and history makes Lucerne one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland.
When visiting Lucerne old town, pay attention to the colored facades of the buildings. Most of them have paintings, ornaments, and signs that tell the story of the family that lived there, the type of business they do, or the history of the square itself.
Many of Lucerne`s attractions are located in the old town and near each other. The city is walkable and mostly flat, so put your comfy shoes on and go explore Lucerne`s cobblestone streets during day and night.
The city is divided by Reuss River and one of the best parts of visiting Lucerne is to cross the river over two of Lucerne’s most famous sights, the Chapel Bridge and Spreuer Bridge.
2 – Chapel Bridge in Lucerne old town
Kapellbrücke, which means Chapel Bridge, is Lucerne’s most photographed landmark. The stunning wooden bridge has existed since 1333. Constructed diagonally, the wooden footbridge has a roof where triangular paintings from the 17th century are displayed.
Up to 1993 the bridge was all original, but after a fire, some parts of it had to be restored and a few paintings were damaged. The incident didn’t change its beauty and the Chapel Bridge still holds the title of the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. Undoubtedly one of the top attractions in Lucerne.
3 – Visit the Spreuer Bridge
There are seven bridges connecting Lucerne, but not all of them are as special as the Chapel Bridge and the Spreuerbrücke, Spreuer Bridge in English.
Constructed in 1408, the Spreuer Bridge is another wooden roofed bridge in Lucerne. It’s only for pedestrians, and despite not being as famous as the Chapel Bridge, it is also decorated with 56 paintings displaying an interesting and macabre subject: the Dance of Death.
The Spreuer Bridge is located close to the Chapel Bridge, a little bit downstream and it offers amazing views of the city.
4 – Admire the sadness of Lucerne Lion Monument
The Lion Monument in Lucerne holds a sad story but it is still one of the most visited places in the city. The Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen sculpted the Lion of Lucerne in sandstone measuring 10 by 6 meters, it’s bigger than a real size lion.
The dying Lion of Lucerne is a powerful memorial that pays homage to the Swiss guards that died defending the Tuileries in Paris in 1792.
Just a quick note, all the tips we shared so far are free things to do in Lucerne, Switzerland. So if you are traveling to Lucerne on a budget, be sure that there are many ways to see and experience the city without spending much.
Don’t forget to read: Switzerland travel costs and how to save on your trip!
5 – Go back in time at the Glacier Garden
Just beside the Lion Monument is Glacier Garden, Lucerne’s most unusual attraction, at least for me. I never thought of visiting a place that dates back to the Ice Age where fossils of shells and palm leaves prove that 20 million years ago Lucerne was a lot different from today. There is also a mirror maze at the Glacier Garden, in case you want to try another different experience in the city.
6 – Have fun at the Swiss Transport Museum
There are many museums in Lucerne, but no doubt the Verkehrshaus – Swiss Transport Museum is our favorite one. And we are not the only ones to love it, the Transport Museum in Lucerne is the most visited attraction in the city and the queues to get in are quite long.
The first thing you need to know about Lucerne (Swiss?) Transport Museum is that you should buy your ticket online in advance. That will save you a lot of time. Get your Lucerne Swiss Museum of Transport ticket here.
The second thing you need to be aware of is that it takes at least 3 or 4 hours to visit the Lucerne (Swiss?) Museum of Transport. And to make it a half-day activity, you will need to speed through it, not try all the simulators and neither play all the games available. The Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne is an interactive museum and a freaking cool one. Rob and I had a blast playing with cars, planes, helicopters, trains, and even cycling bikes.
The expositions are divided into different buildings and there is a huge open area with an airplane and pieces of a train tunnel. Yes, the museum is huge and it has so much information that one could easily spend the whole day there.
Don’t forget to end your visit with the Swiss Chocolate Adventure and then let me know how it was. We didn’t plan our schedule very well so we missed the chocolate experience, a good reason to go back to Lucerne in 2023.
7 – Go shopping for chocolates and watches
You are in Switzerland, so you must go shopping, or window shopping, for mouth-watering chocolates and expensive watches. We had no intention to buy watches, but chocolates, that we were sure about.
On Hertensteinstrasse street and its surroundings, you will find some of the best chocolatiers and chocolate shops in Lucerne. Look for Läderach, Max Chocolatier, Bachmann and Heini, just to name a few.
For watches head to Grendelstrasse street, it’s just around the corner from the chocolate paradise.
8 – Go to Musegg Wall for a bird’s eyes view of Lucerne
The Musegg Wall and its nine towers date back to the 14th century, they are the remains of the medieval fortification that once protected the city. You can admire them from afar or climb the stairs to walk on the top of the medieval wall and visit the towers. The views from there are worth the effort.
We found the Zyt Tower the most interesting one. It’s a 31 meters high clock tower constructed in 1442. You can walk inside the tower and see the clock’s mechanism and its bells.
9 – Admire the Jesuit Church in Lucerne
The Jesuit Church is one of the most beautiful things to see in Lucerne. It sits peacefully on the banks of the Reuss River and you must admire its facade and interior. Inaugurated in 1677, it’s the first baroque building constructed in Switzerland, making it not only a feast for the eyes but also an important piece of the country’s history, religion and architecture.
10 – Join a cruise on Lake Lucerne
We have talked a lot about what to do in Lucerne city, so now it’s time to shift our attention to the beautiful Lake Lucerne. One of the main reasons why people travel to Lucerne is to see the lake, but more than seeing it from the city, you must go on a Lake Lucerne cruise. Feeling the breeze on your face while admiring the landscape around is an experience like no other.
There are many ways to cruise Lake Lucerne, from themed cruises to quick boat trips. Below is what you can expect from them and how to book your boat trip on Lake Lucerne.
Lake Lucerne boat cruises
When searching for cruises on Lake Lucerne you will find options from small sailing boats to big boats with panoramic views, and even steamboats. You can also join a food experience, like the Cheese Cruise or Lunch Cruise.
The best way to choose your Lake Lucerne cruise is to consider what type of experience you want to have, your schedule, the prices, and the reviews.
We selected 3 interesting cruises and boat tours on Lake Lucerne for you, have a look and if you like one of them, book it in advance to save your spot and avoid queues.
- 1-Hour Cruise Lake Lucerne on Panoramic Yacht (click here to see all the details)
- 2-Hour Gourmet Lunch Cruise on Lake Lucerne (click here to see all the details)
- Lucerne Walking and Boat Tour: The best Swiss Experience (click here to see all the details)
Lake Lucerne boat trips
Another option is to catch one of the boats that connect the towns around Lake Lucerne. This is a good option if you will be going to one of the villages, hotels by the lake or mountain near Lucerne.
To plan your boat trip check this Lake Lucerne map with piers and timetables, and for the prices click here. You can purchase your ticket at Lake Lucerne’s main pier located right in front of the railway station. If you are boarding in a small pier or in another town, you can pay for your ticket onboard.
At the end of the post we will be talking about traveling to Lucerne and how to get around. We’ll mention the City Pass and the Swiss Travel Pass that gives you free access or discounted prices on boat trips on Lake Lucerne, keep reading.
11 – Be enchanted by the Autumn colors
If you decide to visit Lucerne during Autumn be ready for stunning colors and mild weather. We were there in October and had a blast. The boat ride on Lake Lucerne gave us marvelous views of the mountains covered in yellow, orange and red foliage.
The city was colored too. The promenade by Reuss River and the pristine lake were the perfect spots to sit and relax under the colored trees. Autumn can be a bit rainy, but you have the perks of the Autumnal colors and the city is less crowded with tourists. More information about when to visit Lucerne at the end of this guide.
12 – Get close to Picasso and Kandinsky at Rosengart Collection Lucerne
The Sammlung Rosengart Collection is an art museum that houses many masterpieces of Modernist and Impressionist artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Kandinsky, Joan Miró, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and many others. The pieces, once Angela Rosengart’s private collection, are now displayed to the public and you can admire them by yourself or by joining one of the themed tours offered at the museum.
13 – You must eat cheese fondue in Lucerne
Ok, if you are traveling during summer you can skip this because it’s too hot or you might not find any restaurant serving the delicious melted cheese feast. But if it’s Winter or Autumn, then you must eat cheese fondue in Lucerne.
You will find cheese fondue in almost all the restaurants in Lucerne. They take this Swiss dish so seriously, that during Winter the city has a guide to the best Fondue in Lucerne, describing where, when and how you can enjoy them.
14 – Discover the hidden stories and tastes of Lucerne
Before I start talking about the best day trips from Lucerne, let me tell you that there are many attractions in Lucerne that we didn’t mention and will not mention in this guide. The reason is simple, the list of what to do in Lucerne is big, some of the places need a special explanation and there are many stories that must be told by locals.
That’s why our 14th suggestion of what to see in Lucerne is actually going on a guided tour through the city.
We did a two-hour walking tour and loved it. Our guide Rebecca greeted us at the train station with sweets that are traditional from the city, and from there we started our walk. She took us to the KKL Luzern (Lucerne Culture and Convention Center), the Bourbaki Panorama, explained about the Alpineum Museum and about the interesting architecture of the Rathaus (Lucerne Town Hall). Our Lucerne sightseeing also involved local beers, savored chocolate, Swiss cheeses and wine.
If you want to learn more about Lucerne’s attractions and history, my suggestion is to look at GetYourGuide website, as there are many interesting tours there. Here are 3 tours in Lucerne that caught my attention:
- 1-Hour Historical Tour in Lucerne with Night Watchman (click here to see all the details)
- Guided City Tour of Lucerne – good for private groups (click here to see all the details)
- Lucerne Chocolate Tasting with Lake Trip and City Tour (click here to see all the details)
Now that you know what to do in Lucerne city and lake, let’s talk about incredible experiences. It’s time to list our favorite day trips from Lucerne, places to visit, and more food.
Day trips from Lucerne – things to do, mountains and lake
Below you will find some well-known attractions in Lake Lucerne enjoyed in a Love and Road style, which means that they probably have a pinch of adventure, stunning scenery and yummy food.
Don’t skip any of the suggestions as one of them is the most beautiful hotels and swimming pools that we have ever seen.
15 – Visit Mount Rigi
Lucerne is surrounded by mountains, and one of them is Mount Rigi that rises from the lake banks to an altitude of 1,798 meters above sea level. Called the Queen of the Mountains, Mt Rigi has impressive views of Lake Lucerne and it offers over 100 km of hiking trails, viewpoints, thermal baths, and snow sports facilities. It doesn’t matter when exactly you’ll travel to Lucerne in 2023, you can enjoy the beauty and wilderness of Mt. Rigi at any time of the year.
We went to Mount Rigi after lunch, spent the afternoon, the night, and the following morning there. At the end, I wished we had stayed longer. So yes, Mount Rigi is worth the visit. You can choose a day trip from Lucerne, or you can spend a night or two there.
How to get to Mt Rigi from Lucerne?
You have many ways to get from Lucerne to Mt Rigi. The easiest ones are listed below.
The first option is to get on a boat from Lucerne pier towards Vitznau pier and from there a cogwheel train (the first of its kind in Europe) to the summit. The cogwheel train leaves from Vitznau station in front of Vitznau pier. This trip from Lucerne to Mt Rigi takes approximately 1,5 hours if you manage to catch the train as soon as you arrive at the station. You can check Mt. Rigi cog rail timetable here and buy the tickets at the train station.
The second option to get to Mt. Rigi is by getting a train + bus from Lucerne to Vitznau or a train from Lucerne to Arth-Goldau. Then from Vitznau or Arth-Goldau stations take the cogwheel train to the summit.
The third option to get from Lucerne to Mt. Rigi is to rent a car in Lucerne and drive to Vitznau or Arth-Goldau stations and from there catch the cogwheel train.
The fourth option is the easiest one. You can go on a day tour from Lucerne to Mount Rigi and have all the transportation and activities organized for you. If you like a good adventure check out this Mount Rigi Guided Hike from Lucerne that is a full day experience with hiking, meals and incredible views included.
If you prefer something easier, this Classic Rigi Round Trip from Lucerne is perfect and covers all the transportation. For a more relaxing experience go for the Mount Rigi Train and Mineral Baths Spa (Entrance Ticket) and enjoy the breathtaking views of Lake Lucerne from a heated swimming pool at the Mineralbad & Spa Rigi Kaltbad.
16 – Wake up with the best mountain views
We decided to spend a night at Mt. Rigi in order to enjoy the sunset and sunrise at the mountain, and I’m so glad we did it. If you want to have the same experience, book a night at one of the hotels on Mt. Rigi and be ready to wake up with the incredible mountain scenery.
We stayed at Kräuter Hotel Edelweiss Rigi, at 1550 meters above sea level. It’s a family-run hotel where tranquility, simplicity, nature and flavors meet. The hotel offers comfy rooms, homemade and locally sourced breakfast, a herbal garden that you can visit, views of the mountain and endless hiking possibilities.
Getting to the hotel is easy peasy, the cog railway that runs from Vitznau to Mt. Rigi Kulm stops in front of it. Just tell the train operator where you are going and they will call you at your station.
17 – Dine at an award-winning restaurant that cooks only local products
There are many award-winning restaurants in Lucerne, but Gourmet Restaurant Regina Montium is special for many reasons.
First of all, it uses only sustainable ingredients and products that come exclusively from Switzerland or from the restaurant´s vegetable and herb gardens. The kitchen works with seasonal products, using traditional recipes in a modern and natural way. And of course, it’s a Michelin awarded restaurant.
The 9-course surprise menu is an experience rather than just a dinner. You will use all your senses to savor the food. Our menu included fried herbs with smoked ricotta dip, kohlrabi with pickled dandelion buds, poached egg yolks with dried pike caviar, venison and fermented pine needles, and other incredible ingredients and combinations that I had never imagined could taste so good.
The restaurant is located at the Kräuter Hotel Edelweiss Rigi, completing the unforgettable experience at Mount Rigi. The restaurant and the hotel are very praised by locals and travelers, so if you want to delight yourself with this food experience book your table at Gourmet Restaurant Regina Montium in advance.
18 – Go hiking on Mount Rigi or Mount Pilatus
Lucerne is a playground for hikers of any level. So pack your hiking boots, or a good pair of runners, and venture yourself on one of the many trails on Mt. Rigi or Mt Pilatus. Both are great options for day trips from Lucerne.
We did a morning hike from Kräuter Hotel Edelweiss Rigi to Mt. Rigi Summit and back, around 7 km in 1,5 hours. It was an easy walk, with some steep ascents but the trail was all paved. On our way up the fog was dense and it was very cold, but as soon as we arrived at the top, the sky cleared up and we had the best views of Lake Lucerne. Breathtaking!
A quick note: put on some warm clothes, a hat and be prepared for strong winds. The information about how to get to Mount Rigi and the tours available are mentioned on topic 15.
You can also go on a day trip from Lucerne to Mount Pilatus. We didn’t explore this stunning mountain, but we researched a bit to give you the right information. Mount Pilatus is an impressive mountain overlooking Lucerne city and its summit is at 2,128 meters above sea level.
How to get to Mt. Pilatus from Lucerne?
There are two options to go from Lucerne to Mount Pilatus. The first one is taking a train or a boat to Alpnachstad (a nearby village), and from there the cogwheel train (the steepest cogwheel railway in the world). The second is to get a bus to Kriens, Lucerne’s neighborhood (the bus n.1 goes there), and from Kriens the cable car to Mt Pilatus summit.
You can go there by yourself or join one of the day tours from Lucerne to Mt Pilatus. This tour Mt. Pilatus by Cable Car and Cogwheel Train & Lake Cruise gives you the whole experience (boat, gondola ride, cogwheel train + views) and it has great reviews.
19 – Sleep at one of the most exclusive and beautiful hotels in Switzerland
They say we should keep the best for last, and this is true about our 19th suggestion of what to do in Lucerne. Can you imagine yourself in an infinity pool admiring the sunset over Lake Lucerne? Or waking up with in-room breakfast while watching the sun slowly rising behind the mountain peaks? If you said yes, then book a night (two or more) at Park Hotel Vitznau.
Undoubtedly, this was one of the best hotels we´ve ever stayed at. Hands down to the impeccable service, the lovely staff, the artistic rooms and the infinity pool that merges with Lake Lucerne.
Park Hotel Vitznau is located in a huge property that looks like a fairytale palace overlooking Lake Lucerne. It sits at the foot of Mt Rigi, close to Vitznau pier and cog railway station. If you are looking for a luxury stay and one of the best hotels on Lake Lucerne, this is the “palace” to be.
The suites and apartments are divided into themes. The corridors that connect them are galleries filled with paintings and adornments that make walking in the hotel a journey through art, music and sensations.
We stayed at the Les Fables Junior Suite at the Verlinde Gallery, and oh boy, I wish we could stay there FOREVER! The room has a lake view that you can admire from your super comfy bed or the living area, a huge bathroom and a bathtub with Molton Brown amenities. On top of that, Claude Verlinde’s paintings add a surreal dream-like feeling to the room.
If you manage to leave your suite (what I found hard to do) you can enjoy the infinity pool, the jacuzzi and the outstanding spa. Don’t forget to sunbathe at the hotel garden, swim at Lake Lucerne and enjoy the awe-inspiring views.
After sunset, it will be time to wine & dine at one of the hotel’s awarded restaurants. And before going to bed, place your order for an in-room breakfast and wake up to the sunrise and delicious waffles.
Have a look at the rooms and book your suite at Park Hotel Vitznau here!
20 – Fusion Food at Lake Lucerne
Let’s talk about gourmet food in Lucerne. It’s time to go on a surprise journey where European cuisine meets Asian flavors and the result is a delightful menu.
Think of duck, oysters, and Vietnamese Pho mixed with brussels sprouts, mushrooms, rice crisps and tuna. Followed by fresh matcha flavored dessert, crowned with a piece of indulgent chocolate. Our dinner was an explosion of flavors and textures presented in delicate dishes to be shared between us. I can say that our food experience at Prisma Restaurant was beyond expectation.
The restaurant is located at Park Hotel Vitznau, and it makes your stay there even more special. Prisma Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star and 16 GaultMillau points, with such references you know that your dinner will be extraordinary, so book your table in advance.
21 – Go on a day trip to Mount Titlis
We left Mount Titlis as our last suggestion of places to visit in Lucerne because it was the last attraction we visited. It was the perfect experience to end our Lucerne itinerary, see the snow and say goodbye to the Swiss Alpine Peaks.
Mount Titlis is worth visiting for many reasons. For its Alpine scenery. Because it’s a glacier, so there will be snow for you to admire and slide on no matter the season you go in. And because you can see and do many things over there, such as winter sports, tobogganing, summer hiking, mountain biking, ziplining, and more.
Mt Titlis summit is at 3,238 meters above sea level and to get there you will board the first rotating cable car in the world.
At the top of Mt. Titlis, you can walk on the 100 meters long suspended bridge that gives you the feeling of flying over the peaks. It looks scary, but it’s amazing. After the cliff walk, you can visit the illuminated glacier cave or enjoy the views while having a hot chocolate or a beer. I have done all that and strongly recommend it.
How to get to Mount Titlis from Lucerne?
To get to Mount Titlis you will need to take a train from Lucerne to Engelberg, it’s a 45 minutes journey. From Engelberg train station you can walk or take a free shuttle bus to Titlis valley station (cable car station). I walked and it took me less than 10 minutes, but if you are carrying skis then the shuttle might be a better option.
You can buy your ticket at the Titlis valley station and from there choose the route you want to take (straight to the summit or stopping at other stations). Check Mt. Titlis timetables here and the prices here. Another option is to buy your Mount Titlis ticket in advance, get it here!
Don’t forget to buy your Travel Insurance!
Heymondo, and SafetyWing are great options. Just click on the name of the company and book your insurance now. If you need more information, read our Travel Insurance Guide here.
We are done with our list of the best things to do in Lucerne in 2023, and I’m sure that by now you want to pack your bags and go as soon as you can. But before saying goodbye, we have a few important travel tips to share.
It’s time for our Lucerne travel guide. Tips about the best time to travel to Lucerne, how to get there, how to get around, and best places to stay in Lucerne. We start with the best hotels in Lucerne and then we move to the practical stuff. Read carefully and start planning your Lucerne holiday now.
Accommodation in Lucerne, Switzerland
We already mentioned two of the best hotels in Lucerne with a view, the Kräuter Hotel Edelweiss Rigi for a mountain stay, and the Park Hotel Vitznau as one of the best hotels in Lake Lucerne. Now we will talk about hotels in Lucerne with a central location, and I have good suggestions for you.
We stayed at two hotels in Lucerne, Hotel Anker and Hotel Waldstätterhof. Our favorite one? It’s hard to choose as they are very different from each other, but we liked both of them.
Here is a little review about them so you know what to expect when booking one of these hotels in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The hotel dècor is AMAZING. It’s modern, full of colors, arts, and it has surprising details in every corner. Don’t forget to check out the bathroom and the photo booth in the basement.
The rooms are bright with comfy beds, great showers and nice decoration. We stayed in a Standard Room, and we found it a bit small, especially if you are traveling with more than one suitcase. I suggest booking one of the beautiful Superior Rooms if you want or need more space.
The delicious breakfast, included in the room rate, is served at the uber cool hotel restaurant that also serves great drinks and meals from lunch to dinner. Worth eating there even if you are not staying at the hotel.
Hotel Anker´s location is perfect for exploring Lucerne on foot, it’s located in a historical building only 700 meters walking distance from Lucerne train station.
Have a look at the rates and book your room at Anker Hotel here!
If you are looking for hotels near Lucerne train station you just found the perfect place. Location is Hotel Waldstaetterhof´s best asset, less than 200 meters from Lucerne train station. The hotel has a more business atmosphere, with modern and comfy rooms, and a good restaurant that serves freshly baked croissants for breakfast and cheese fondue for dinner.
We stayed at the Premium Double Room and we had so much space. A huge bed, a desk to work on, a cozy sofa and tea and coffee facilities. And although it’s located in the heart of the city, our room was very quiet.
If you are planning to arrive in Lucerne late at night or will need to catch an early morning train, Hotel Waldstaetterhof has the perfect location and comfort.
Check the rates and book your room at Hotel Waldstaetterhof here!
The two hotels we stayed at are among the best 3-star hotels in Lucerne. So if you are looking for cheap hotels in Lucerne that offer comfort, good location and breakfast, these two are great value for money.
If you want a 5-star hotel in Lucerne, then have a look at Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern. It’s one of the luxury hotels in Lucerne that offers lake views and it’s only 10 minutes from the train station.
There are also great options for 4-star hotels in Lucerne. Check out Hotel des Balances by the Reuss River in Lucerne old town, or the modern and sophisticated Hotel Astoria. You can also book a room in a castle, Château Gütsch is one of the most unique hotels in Lucerne. Click on the name of the hotels to see the rooms and rates.
For those who are looking for budget options and cheap accommodation in Lucerne, hostels might be the best option. One of the best hostels in Lucerne is Ahostel Luzern. It’s an adults-only hostel that offers private rooms with a shared bathroom, free wifi, and a communal kitchen. The hostel is only 2km away from Chapel Bridge.
Another option is to rent an apartment in Lucerne via Airbnb. There are plenty of options, from apartments in Lucerne city, by the lake, or even in the mountains.
If you are in doubt about where to stay in Lucerne, my suggestion is to keep searching on Booking.com, read all the reviews and choose the hotel that suits your style and budget.
Now that you know the best places to stay in Lucerne for any budget, let’s move to our Lucerne travel tips.
When is the best time to visit Lucerne?
It’s hard to say when is the best time to visit Lucerne, as anytime is a good time to visit Lake Lucerne. Just keep in mind that each season will give you a different experience. As Lucerne weather changes, the activities and things to do in Lake Lucerne also change, and some attractions might be closed due to weather conditions.
From June to September is the high season, the weather is hot, the city and lake are packed with tourists, you will need to book everything in advance and prices tend to be higher. Summer months are perfect for outdoor activities in the mountains, Alps and lake.
We visited Lucerne in October and got sunny and rainy days with comfortable temperatures.
From November to mid-April is the skiing season. You can stay in the city and go to the mountains, or choose a hotel near the ski resorts. The region is busy during Winter, but Lucerne city itself is not that much.
If you want to witness something very unique, book your trip for February and join the famous carnival in Lucerne. In April and May the weather starts getting hot, you might face some rain in April but it’s manageable.
How to get to Lucerne, Switzerland
Lucerne is located in central Switzerland, on the German-speaking side of the country. It’s the capital of the Canton Lucerne (the region that has the same name as the city and lake).
You can get to Lucerne by train, bus, car or flying to Lucerne’s nearest airport.
The closest airport to Lucerne is Zurich International Airport that is also the largest airport in the country, a great hub for international and European airlines. Use Skyscanner or Kiwi.com to find the best flights to Zurich airport.
There are direct trains from Zurich airport to Lucerne station, the trip takes approximately one hour, and the train runs every 30 minutes. Or you can catch a train from the airport to Zurich train station and then from there another train to Lucerne.
The train ticket from Zurich to Lucerne can be purchased either at the station or online. OMIO is an option to search for the timetables and book your trip in advance.
Depending on the departure point, you can travel to Lucerne by train or bus. You can find buses and trains to Lucerne departing from Italy, France, Austria and Germany. Take a look at the routes, timetables and prices here. Traveling to Lucerne by bus is a good option for those traveling to Lucerne on a budget.
If you are planning to travel to Lucerne and other Swiss destinations, I recommend buying the Swiss Travel Pass. It’s the best way to travel in the country, as the pass includes all the train trips between cities, boats, public transportation in over 90 cities, cable cars, cogwheel trains, and even free entrance in museums and attractions. It’s a money-saving option that makes your trip a hassle-free experience.
Many of the top things to do in Lucerne mentioned on this guide are attractions included on the Swiss Travel Pass, such as the cogwheel and cable car at Mount Rigi, the boat cruise on Lake Lucerne, the Rosengart Collection and the Bourbaki Panorama. The Swiss Travel Pass holders also get a 50% discount on the Swiss Transport Museum entrance and on the ticket for Mount Tillis.
There are two types of pass. You can buy the Swiss Travel Pass for consecutive days (for 3, 4, 8, or 15 days – 2nd or 1st class). This is a good option for travelers that will use the pass for trains trips and activities every day.
Or you can buy the Swiss Travel Pass Flex (for 3, 4, 8, or 15 days – 2nd or 1st class). You can use this one on non-consecutive days. This gives you the freedom to travel at a more relaxed pace, staying longer in each destination and using the Swiss Travel Pass whenever you need.
Another good thing about the Swiss Travel Pass is that you can have your tickets on your mobile and plan your train rides using the app.
How to get around Lucerne
Lucerne is a walkable city, and if you choose a central hotel, you might only need to use public transportation to get to the Swiss Transport Museum.
When you book a hotel in Lucerne you receive a Visitor Card that gives you free use of trains and busses within zone 10 for the length of your stay. The Visitor Card also gives you access to free wifi and discounts for cable cars, mountain railways, museums, and even for some boat trips on Lake Lucerne. You will receive the Visitor Card when doing the hotel check-in.
Another option is to use the Swiss Travel Pass that covers all the trains and buses in Lucerne.
That’s a wrap! Our list of what to do in Lucerne turned into a comprehensive travel guide. I wrote more than I expected, but that shows how much we liked this gorgeous city and how many awesome things you can do, see and visit in the Lucerne region.
Hope this guide helps you to plan your Lucerne vacation in 2023 and enjoy the best of the city, lake and mountains.
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2 thoughts on “What to do in Lucerne in 2023 – The ultimate travel guide”
Very informative indeed! Lot of tips for a 5 night stay in Lucerne in August that we are planning. Thank you
We are so happy to hear that our article was useful and inspiring. We hope you have a great time in Lucerne!
Nat & Rob