Things to do in LucerneDo the Goldene Rundfahrt Tour, Visit the Swiss Museum of Transport, Walk on the Chapel Bridge, Visit the Glacier Garden, Dine on Lucerne Lake, Walk around the Old Town, Get Clicked against the Lion Monument, Spend time at Bourbaki-Panorama and Attend a Concert at KKL.
Lucerne is a vibrant Swiss city which packs the best of the entire country and therefore, the list of things to do in Lucerne has got to be extensive! When in Lucerne you can do everything from climbing to the peaks of mountains like Pilatus to walking amongst natural potholes created during the last ice age! You can spend your day discovering wooden bridges that date back to the 14th century or visit museums like the Swiss Transport Museum and stand face-to-face with an actual space satellite! Lucerne has a lot to offer, be it art, culture or history!
You can walk into panorama museums with portraits that stretch for 112 metres in width at Bourbaki. Or, you can sit on rooftop bars like the Penthouse and enjoy panoramic views of the city and the lake. Lucerne offers opportunities for adventure activities like skydiving, paragliding and canyoning along with several trails, some of which you can climb with your entire family. Where you can spend checking out the markets, shops and boutiques during the day, the night is definitely dedicated to partying!
You can spend your time playing your luck at the Grand Casino or party till you drop at venues like Roadhouse! From quaint boat rides on lakes to full-blast concerts at KKL, Lucerne is bursting with experience to be had!
Places to Visit and Things to Do in Lucerne
People Also Ask About Lucerne Things To Do
Which are the best things to do in Lucerne?
1. Do the Goldene Rundfahrt Tour
Mount Pilatus is a major peak situated to the south of Lucerne and stands at a staggering height of 2,128 metres above sea level! If you are in Lucerne for the summers, you must definitely do the Goldene Rundfahrt or the Golden Tour.
For the tour, you start on a paddle steamer from Lucerne and then take the world’s steepest cogwheel railway to the mountain. The summit is then accessed by the ‘Dragon Ride’ aerial cableway and once you have enjoyed your days amidst mesmerizing views, you can come down on a gondola cableway.
Location: Mount Pilatus
Price: Starting from 103 CHF or 7,500
Timings: May to October (8:30 AM - 4:30 PM)
2. Visit the Swiss Museum of Transport
The Swiss Museum of Transport has made its place in the top things to do in Lucerne as it is not just a display of Switzerland’s best transportation but is much more than that! The museum is home to Switzerland’s first IMAX theatre, a planetarium, a 1:20,0000 scale photo of Switzerland taken from space and Swiss Chocolate Adventures.
On the transport front, you can expect to encounter one of the country’s earliest trains, cars and aircraft at the museum.
Location: Lidostrasse 5, 6006 Luzern, Switzerland
Price: 26 CHF or Rs. 1,900
Timings: Daily; 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
3. Walk on the Chapel Bridge
The Chapel Bridge is not only the oldest monument of Lucerne but also the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge! The bridge stands on the Reuss river and connects the edges by running diagonally for 200 metres.
The covered wooden bridge dates back to the 14th century and has several portraits on its roof that date back to the 17th century. There are only about 30 paintings that remain after the bridge caught fire in 1993, leading to heavy destruction.
Walking on the bridge is one of the most popular things to do in Lucerne and you can visit a souvenir shop in the basement to buy memorabilia!
Location: Kapellbrücke, 6002 Luzern, Switzerland
4. Visit the Glacier Garden
If you are looking for things off the beaten track, then visiting the Glacier Garden is definitely amongst the top 10 things to do in Lucerne. Glacier Gardens have been made at a natural site which was discovered back in 1872.
The highlights of the place include a group of potholes that were created during the last ice age, some 20,000 years ago. What makes the place even more interesting are the fossils of shellfish and palm fronds found in the area which date back some 20 million years.
This place is believed to be the shore of a subtropical sea that existed millions of years ago. When here, you can also climb the observation tower to enjoy uninterrupted views of Lucerne and the surrounding peaks.
Location: Denkmalstrasse 4, 6006 Luzern, Switzerland
Price: 15 CHF or Rs. 1,100
Timings: Daily; 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
5. Dine on Lucerne Lake
Lucerne Lake is the fourth largest lake in the country and stretches on for miles! You can choose to ride a boat, ferry or steamer and enjoy your day cruising. Depending on the cruise you go for, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset on the waters along with dinner or choose to have breakfast or lunch as you sail.
Location: Lake Lucerne
6. Walk around the Old Town
The Old Town of Lucerne is a vibrant place where you will find something to do at practically any time in the day! The town is situated between the river and the city walls that stand intact to this day! You can spend your day walking past gorgeous buildings, visiting historic monuments and walking on scores of old bridges!
You can always take a break from site-seeing by spending your time sipping on excellent Swiss coffee, relishing exquisite fondues or enjoying sit-down meals! The place is packed with some of the city’s best cafes and restaurants.
Location: Old Town, Lucerne
7. Get Clicked against the Lion Monument
The Lion Monument is a fascinating site and a visit to the monument is a must thing-to-do in Lucerne. The monument shows a wounded lion that has been carved entirely out of a stone that forms the side of a cliff.
The lion commemorates all the Swiss soldiers that were wounded or martyred during the French Revolution. Beneath the lion, you can see the names of all the soldiers that participated in the war. The list includes names of the 760 killed and 350 wounded soldiers.
Location: Denkmalstrasse 4, 6002 Luzern, Switzerland
Timings: Open all-day
8. Spend time at Bourbaki-Panorama
The list of things to do in Lucerne is incomplete without the mention of the Bourbaki museum of art. At this museum, you can learn more about the history of the German-French war of 1870 through one of the oldest mediums found in human history, panorama.
The museum is home to 112 metres by 10 metres large painting which depicts the different aspects of the war. You can spend time admiring the art form and educating yourself more about the history of the place.
Location: Löwenpl. 11, 6004 Luzern, Switzerland
Price: 12 CHF or Rs. 877
Timings: Daily, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9. Attend a Concert at KKL
If you want to check out the local music and art scene when in Lucerne, there is no better place to go, than KKL. KKL or the Lucerne Culture and Congress Center is a large hall which has the city's concert hall, convention centre, art museum and a handful of restaurants.
The place is almost always hosting a gig or a concert and is filled with a youthful crowd. So, if you happen to be here during a performance, try not to miss it! Apart from the vibrant music scene, KKL also impresses with its contemporary architecture; therefore, if you are an architecture enthusiast, you must visit the place at least once!
Location: Europaplatz 1, 6005 Luzern, Switzerland
Price: Depends on the concert
Timings: Depends on the concert
What are the things to do in Lucerne at Night?
1. Visit the Grand Casino
Visiting the Grand Casino is one of the top things to do in Lucerne at night if you want to get a taste of the city's vibrant nightlife! The casino is grand in every sense of the word. Not only is it situated on Europe's largest lakefront, offering some spectacular views of the waters, but it also excels in gastronomy and gourmet delights.
You can spend a fun evening at the casino, trying your luck and simply have a great time at one of the city's prime locations.
2. Go Pub Hopping at Roadhouse
When in Europe, you must, at least once, pay a visit to a pub as there is nothing that compares to the experience of downing a drink at an authentic European pub! For this purpose, and for many more, Roadhouse in Lucerne has been dubbed as 'the place to be’ by many!
The pub is open throughout the week and you every night has its own theme. When here, you can enjoy scrumptious pub food, dance to your heart's content and meet locals over a pint!
3. Enjoy a meal with a view at Penthouse
The Penthouse is a rooftop bar in Lucerne that not only promises excellent booze but also some amazing views of the city. You can marvel at the beauty of the city wall or point out different monuments scattered around the city as you listen to the background music and chat away the entire day’s tiredness.
If you truly want to party, then you can visit the place during the weekends and dance to your heart’s content, for free!
4. Attend a Concert in Casineum
If you are in the city during the weekend, this is probably one of the best things to do in Lucerne at night. Every weekend, the Casineum hosts a range of events, from carnivals, DJ parties, fashion shows, you name it! When here, you can spend your time dancing, eating, socialising and having a great time in general!
Which are the best places to enjoy shopping in Lucerne?
This is a popular shopping place in the newer part of the town. At Pilatusstrasse, you can shop at the high-end departmental store, Globus, visit the Casagrande Gift Shop with multiple floors filled with souvenirs or shop for accessories at Bucherer.
The place is filled to the brim with cafes, grocery stores, jewellery stores and fashion boutiques where you can easily spend an entire day shopping to your heart’s content.
2. Old Town
If you want to move away from the shopping malls and enjoy a quintessentially European shopping experience, then you can cross the bridge and head over to the old town. This place has smaller shops that line the street which extends from the Hotel Schweizerhof to the Schwanenplatz. Here, you will find antique shops, shoe stores and clothing boutiques.
There are several farmers markets that crop up around the town, during the weekend. The one at Rathausquai is quite popular and frequented by both the locals and the tourists. Here, you can buy everything from fresh produce of fruits and vegetables to flowers, meat, cheese, fresh pasta and sauces.
Weinmarkt hosts a handicrafts market on every first Saturday of the month, every year, from April to December. If you are in Lucerne around the time, do make sure to visit the place for some exquisite souvenirs and knick-knacks sold at the market.
5. Hirschenplatz’ Christmas Market
This market crops up on the lower ground floor of the Hirschenplatz train station, only in the month of December. If you happen to be here around the time, check out the market for its vibrant displays, several pop-up shops and kiosks selling everything from jewellery, clothes, footwear to confectionary goods!
6. Burgerstrasse Flea Market
If you love bringing home flea market finds, then you must visit the flea market at Burgerstrasse. This is a monthly market which is set up on the first Wednesday of every month, from March to December. When at the market, you can shop for everything from clothes, toys, ornaments, spices and sweets.
Which are the must-visit museums in Lucerne?
1. Glacier Garden
This garden can be best described as the ‘garden of frozen time’ as it has been created around elements that date back to the last ice age! The garden has natural potholes that were created due to the alternating periods of hot and cold in the Earth’s history.
When here, you can also spot fossilized palm fronds in the potholes which offer invaluable information about the planet’s history.
2. Bourbaki Panorama
The Bourbaki museum holds an impressive collection of panorama paintings, the largest reaching 112 metres in width! The entire collection of the museum is themed around the time when 87,000 french soldiers fled to Switzerland in the year 1871.
3. Kunstmuseum Luzern
This is an art museum which is located on the top floor of the Culture and Convention Center Lucerne. The impressive building of the museum was designed by the Parisian architect Jean Nouvel and puts on display rotating exhibits that deal with works of modern art. You can expect to see international pieces of art belonging to the 19th and 20th century.
4. Richard Wagner Museum
What was once the country manor of the celebrated composer Richard Wagner, has been converted into a museum about the personal and public history of the celebrity. You can choose to take a guided tour around the well-preserved house and learn more about the inspirations and family life of Wagner.
5. Transport Museum
The transport museum in Lucerne has a host of interesting aspects to it, from different modes of transport to forms of communication. The displays include locomotives from Switzerland’s first railway company, the most powerful electric engine from the 1930s, several automobiles and aircraft and a satellite too!
The many fun displays which also include a chocolate-themed adventure, a planetarium and a large-format cinema amongst others make it Switzerland's most popular museum.
Which are the best Adventure Activities to do in Lucerne?
1. Paragliding over Lake Lucerne
You can choose to paraglide over the beautiful, shimmering waters of Lake Lucerne. You can choose to go for shorter flights that last for around 15-20 minutes or if you are feeling adventurous, you can take the longer flights that can go up to 3 hours in length!
If you are in Central Switzerland, tandem paragliding is one of the best things to do in Lucerne, as you can enjoy views of the Swiss Alps and of the mammoth lake!
2. Hiking Mt. Rigi
The Lake Lucerne region is dotted with several trails which offer panoramic views of the mountains, water and the sky! The loop that starts from Rigi Kaltbad and goes through Kaenzeli to Rigi Kulm and Chaeserenholz before coming back to Rigi Kloesterli is one such route.
The trail runs through high peaks with 360-degree views, old dairy farms and centuries-old chapels that have sat nestled in the picturesque hills for a very long time!
3. Skydive over Lucerne
When in Lucerne, you can fly to the height of 4,000 metres above Lake Lucerne and then take a dive right towards the Earth! You can do this through tandem skydiving where you are strapped to a flying expert that takes care of your safety and offers instructions as you take in the sensation of free-falling and then flying!
The views from the top are truly spectacular as you get to watch the Alps and the lake from a bird's-eye view!
Canyoning is a relatively new adventure sport in which you get to make your way through gorges and canyons with special gear strapped to your body. A typical canyoning trail can include anything and everything from cliff-jumping, rappelling, rock climbing, swimming and sliding through waterfalls.
When in Lucerne, you can go on the canyoning tour through the gorges found along the Kleine Schlieren near Alpnach or the incredibly deep Grosse Melchaa gorge.
How can I reach Lucerne?
If you are planning to fly into Lucerne from an international destination, you can fly to Zurich. The Zurich airport is at a distance of around 55 kilometres from Lucerne and takes around an hour to travel by road.
On the other hand, if you are flying from a domestic location, you can also fly to Berne Airport. The Berne Airport lies at a distance of 123 kilometres from Lucerne and takes around one and a half hours to travel the distance.
Lucerne is very well-connected to the Swiss Railway Network. You can reach Lucerne from Zurich via the express train in less than 50 minutes! If you are travelling from Bern, the train journey takes around an hour and a half. Interlaken and Lucerne also have excellent interconnectivity with hourly trains running between the two cities.
Swiss roads are a delight to drive upon. If you are travelling from Zurich, you can take the N14 highway and if you are coming from Bern, then you will be taking route number 10.
What is the best time to visit Lucerne?
The best time to visit Lucerne is from June to September. The weather remains pleasant and mostly clear during these months. Since Lucerne falls in the Central region of Switzerland, the early mornings and evenings tend to get cool, allowing you to enjoy some hot coffee and melted cheese fondues.
What is famous in Lucerne?
- Walking on the iconic Chapel Bridge
- Visiting the Lion Monument
- Spending a day at the Swiss Museum of Transport
- Exploring the Glacier Garden
- Taking the railway and cable car to the top of Mount Pilatus
- Shopping in the Old Town
Which is better, Lucerne or Interlaken?
Lucerne is a much larger city than Interlaken and therefore offers many more activities, both indoors and outdoors. Lucerne has far more monuments including old bridges, chapels and mansions along with having some truly contemporary buildings like the KKL Lucerne and the Bourbaki Panorama. Lucerne also has many more museums, shops, restaurants, bars and hotels than Interlaken, making it a much more happening place.
What is Lucerne known for?
Lucerne is known as the home to its landmark Chapel Bridge which was constructed back in the 14th century. Lucerne is often referred to as the pocket-size version of Switzerland, as it packs the history, art, culture and innovation of the country in itself. Lucerne is also famously named after Switzerland’s fourth-largest lake, Lake Lucerne which forms the waterscape of the region.
How safe is Lucerne?
The only type of crime that you should be protected against, at all times, when in Lucerne is the petty crimes like pickpocketing. Otherwise, the city is generally considered safe, even for single travellers at night. There are no such no-go areas and you can wander around freely.
How expensive is Lucerne Switzerland?
You can expect to spend around CHF 1,000 per person per week when in Lucerne. This includes flight tickets, accommodation, food and other entertainment. You can always bring down the costs by preparing food for yourself, choosing hostels instead of a hotel and making reservations ahead of time.
Is Lucerne worth visiting?
Yes, Lucerne is definitely worth visiting and offers the best of Switzerland just in one city. By simply ticking off all things on the list of top 10 things to do in Lucerne, you would have experienced adventure, breathtaking natural beauty, rich and diverse culture and brilliant architecture!
How do I get from Lucerne to Pilatus?
Getting to the top of Mount Pilatus has to be one of the top 10 things to do in Lucerne. You can take a boat from Lucerne to Alpnachstad which will offer you spectacular views of the lake. After getting off at Alpnachstad, you can get on the cogwheel train to the top of Pilatus. Coming back from Pilatus to Lucerne is equally exciting as you get to take a cable car to Fräkmüntegg and then take a gondola down to Kriens.
What is there to do in Lucerne for free?
The list of free things to do in Lucerne is long and includes things like:
- Walking across the iconic Chapel Bridge
- Visiting the Lion monument
- Exploring the old town centre
- Enjoy views of the lakes and town from the Nine Towers
- Go for a hike along the lakeshore
How many days do you need in Lucerne?
Three to four days should be enough for Lucerne. You can plan your days to include nature exploration and/or sightseeing and then you can visit one of the many pubs, restaurants and casinos of Lucerne to have a lively evening. You can easily spend a day or two just exploring the old town and then maybe keep a day aside for Mount Pilatus.
What are the essential items that one must pack while travelling to Lucerne?
- A pair of comfortable walking shoes as Lucerne, like most European cities, asks for a lot of walking around
- A light jacket for the evenings if you are travelling in summer
- A heavy jacket with proper head coverage if you are travelling in winter
- A pair of warm gloves and thick socks for the cold season
- A pair of hiking boots if you plan to go on hikes
- A raincoat for the drizzly days as it rains frequently in the region
- A thick coat to wear over you formal attire
- A pair of smart casuals if you plan to go for fine dining, etc.
- Enough CHF in-hand or an international credit or debit card (Euro is not accepted anywhere in Switzerland)
- A hat to cover your head if it gets sunny during the afternoons
- A good SPF sunscreen to protect your skin against the sun
- Sunglasses for the protection of your eyes
- Several layers of clothing so that you can peel off or put on clothes throughout the day, according to the changing temperatures
- A few summer dresses if you plan to visit during peak summer months
- A reusable water bottle which you can refill at one of the many public water fountains