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Things to do in Lucerne

Things to do in  Lucerne

Welcome to Lucerne

Pretty Lucerne attracts visitors from across the globe with its medieval architecture, covered bridges, and colorful homes lining the Reuss River. Take advantage of a private or small-group tour to find the best paragliding and rafting in summer months, and excellent skiing and snowboarding in winter. Within Lucerne, take a walking tour through the Old Town, where you’ll explore the Water Tower, St. Peter’s Chapel next to Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke), and Kapellplatz (town square), while your guide brings Lucerne’s history to life. Capture shots of the city on a photography tour; relax on a Lake Lucerne sightseeing boat cruise; or sample Switzerland’s famous flavors on a chocolate and cheese tasting tour. Using Lucerne as a base, take a guided day trip to explore soaring peaks in the Swiss Alps, such as Jungfraujoch, Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Rigi, or Mt. Titlis; and discover famous landmarks such as the Gotthard Massif, Grimsel Pass, the Rhone Glacier, and Schöllenen Gorge. Or travel with your guide to Bern, Grindelwald, and Interlaken, and ride the traditional cogwheel train up the Kleine Scheidegg mountain pass. You’ll get a great view of the Eiger North Face. Take to the slopes, relax in Alpine meadows, or tackle powerful currents on river-rafting tours.

Top 15 attractions in Lucerne

Lucerne (Luzern)

Situated on the shores of sparkling Lake Lucerne, at the base of Mount Pilatus, the city of Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s most scenic destinations and a popular basecamp for exploring the Swiss Alps. Visit to see the city’s historic medieval center, then head into the mountains for hiking, cycling, and winter sports adventures.More

Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee)

Located at the heart of Bernese Oberland and surrounded by the famous peaks of Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus, Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee) is one of Central Switzerland’s most photographed natural wonders and the country’s fourth largest lake. Whether you’re soaring overhead in a cable car, cruising the lake itself, or visiting waterfront villages such as Weggis and Gersau, Lake Lucerne is mesmerizing from all angles.More

Lucerne Old Town

Set on the left bank of the River Reuss, the Lucerne Old Town is encircled by medieval walls and watchtowers and connected to the right bank by two covered wooden bridges: Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) and Spreuer Bridge (Spreuerbrücke). The narrow streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site are lined with half-timbered houses and 15th-century buildings.More

Mount Rigi

Nicknamed the “Queen of the Mountains,” Mount Rigi has long captured the hearts of writers like Mark Twain and painters like JMW Turner. Encircled by a trio of lakes—Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, and Lake Lauerz—and adjacent to the neighboring peaks of Mount Pilatus and Brunnistock, Mount Rigi is the enduring postcard star of Central Switzerland.More

Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke)

The oldest covered bridge in Europe, Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke) has spanned the river Reuss in Lucerne since the Middle Ages. Decorated with paintings along the interior, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Switzerland.More

Pilatus Railways (Pilatus Bahnen)

With its network of cable cars and cogwheel railways traversing the snow-clad slopes of the mighty Mount Pilatus, Pilatus Railways (Pilatus Bahnen) provides the link between the lakeside resort of Lucerne and the 7,000-foot (2,133-meter) summit.More


Set in an alpine valley at the foot of Titlis, Engelberg, the “Mountain of Angels,” is one of Central Switzerland’s most scenic villages. Founded in 1120 by Benedictine monks, Engelberg is renowned for its historic monastery and offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities.More

Lion Monument (Löwendenkmal)

Carved into the low cliff face on the outskirts of the Old Town of Lucerne, the Lion Monument is the city’s most distinctive landmark. Described by Mark Twain as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world,” the giant sandstone sculpture depicts a dying lion resting in a shaded nook above a shimmering pond.More

Mt. Titlis

Reaching 10,626 feet (3,239 meters) above sea level, Mt. Titlis is Central Switzerland’s highest peak and probably its finest vantage point. The mountain has a cutting-edge transportation system—including, most famously a revolving cable car that turns 360 degrees during the ride to the top station at 9,908 feet (3,020 meters). Those lucky enough to be inside the car are graced with stunning panoramic views of Alpine peaks, sheer rock faces, and an icy crevasse-cracked glacier.More


Towering 13,025 feet (3,970 meters) above the town of Grindelwald, Eiger (German for ogre) is one of Switzerland’s most recognizable and fearsome mountains. Scaling the near-vertical north face is a notoriously challenging feat, one that has claimed a number of lives since the first successful ascent in 1938.More

Swiss Museum of Transport (Verkehrshaus der Schweiz)

The Swiss Museum of Transport (Verkehrshaus der Schweiz) is dedicated to the past, present, and future of transport and mobility on land, at sea, in the air and even outer space. More than 3,000 displays bear witness to a moving history in the truest sense of the word and show the inventions and deeds of explorers and inventors.More

Mt. Stanserhorn CabriO Cable Car

Mt. Stanserhorn’s CabriO cable car is the first in the world to boast a roofless upper deck, bringing you closer to the Swiss landscape. Breathe in fresh Alpine air as you ascend to the 6,227-foot (1,898-meter) summit and enjoy panoramic views of the mountain towns, lakes, and meadows below.More


The Hofkirche (also known as the Church of St. Leodegar) in Lucerne is a mainly 17th-century structure, with two distinctive towers that belonged to an older building on the site. This Roman Catholic Church is one of the most important examples of Renaissance architecture in Switzerland.More

Culture and Congress Centre (KKL)

The Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre, referred to as KKL by the locals, is the work of the French architect Jean Nouvel. It has an extraordinary presence among the more traditional buildings of Lucerne, especially due to the modern square shape and the enormous flat roof overhanging Europe Square. This floating roof, sometimes called the magic roof, soon became a symbol of the city and is definitely the building’s most prominent feature. Also remarkable is the successful fusion of nature and construction. The Culture and Congress Centre almost merges with the adjoining water of Lake Lucerne and not only do the aluminum plates covering the surface reflect the light and ripples in the waves but the water also flows into the building itself and separates the KKL into its three parts. One part of the structure houses smaller halls and meeting rooms, offices as well as a bistro and an art museum, while the versatile middle part called the Lucerne Hall is the venue for bigger events, shows and conventions.The Culture and Congress Centre’s main feature and the third part of the building is the huge concert hall. It has a lining made of maple wood, reminiscent of a violin case, but is popularly referred to as “Salle Blanche” due to the isolating side walls made out of gleaming white plaster reliefs. The blue ceiling is reminiscent of the starry night sky and the five floors beneath it, capable of holding 1,840 spectators, are furnished with plenty of pine, cherry and maple wood. The concert hall was mainly built for classical concerts and thus, meets the highest acoustic demands, allowing for absolute silence in which sounds from the quietest pianissimo to the loudest fortissimo can develop. But among all the culture and music, don't forget to climb to the roof-top terrace for an incredible view over the city and Lake Lucerne.More

Lucerne Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche Luzern)

Along the banks of the Reuss River in Lucerne, Jesuit Church is the most magnificent Baroque church in Switzerland. While it no longer serves a role in local church and religious life, the church is a major tourist attraction for its beautiful Rococo interior, marble stucco nave, and ceiling paintings. It often serves as a concert venue.More
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How to Spend 2 Days in Lucerne

How to Spend 2 Days in Lucerne

Top activities in Lucerne

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A local’s pocket guide to Lucerne

Mark Bolan

Mark lived and worked in Lucerne for 5+ years, making the most of everything Switzerland had to offer, from fondue and skiing to quick lunchtime dips in the lake.

The first thing you should do in Lucerne is...

check out the Kapellbrücke, Europe's oldest covered bridge and a true symbol of the city. You’ll quickly see why it’s the most photographed landmark in Lucerne.

A perfect Saturday in Lucerne...

includes brunch close to Kapellbrücke, a stroll beside the lake, and a visit to the old town’s chocolate shops and bakeries. Don’t miss the Löwendenkmal, an impressive lion sculpture carved into the rock.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the view from Mount Pilatus, a truly stunning and unmissable alpine vista. Take a short train ride or tour from the city and then ride the cable car to the top.

To discover the "real" Lucerne...

visit in late February or March when the city turns into one big festival site for a unique local carnival known as Fastnacht.

For the best view of the city...

walk or take the short funicular ride to Château Gütsch, which sits high above the city, for an amazing view of the city, the lake, and the mountains.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking Lucerne’s all just cheese and chocolate, when it’s actually a small but cosmopolitan university city with lots of great restaurants and bars.

People Also Ask

What is Lucerne known for?

Lucerne is best known for its lake, mountain, and medieval Old Town, which can be seen on one tour. The Old Town standout feature is Chapel Bridge, a picturesque wooden walkway over the Reuss that is the city symbol. Other highlights include the Culture and Congress Centre and Swiss Museum of Transport.

Is one day enough for Lucerne?

Yes. You can do Lucerne in a day. Start early on an Old Town walking tour, then set sail across the lake toward the house mountain. Take the world's steepest cogwheel train to Pilatus Kulm, and head back down via aerial cableway. Back in town, have fondue at a lakeside restaurant.

Do they speak English in Lucerne?

Yes. English is widely spoken in Lucerne, particularly in places frequented by tourists. You'll have no trouble buying tickets or ordering food in English. But, if you're after a more immersive local experience, it's worth looking up a few Swiss German phrases before you arrive.

What is there to do in Old Town Lucerne?

A walk over the iconic Chapel Bridge is a Lucerne must. From there, take a stroll along the quayside, or get lost among the Old Town's medieval facades, cobblestone streets, colorful fountains, and modern shops. Head north to the Museggmauer city wall to ascend ancient towers for an aerial city view.

Is Lucerne worth visiting?

Yes, Lucerne is worth visiting, and those on limited time can see a mountain, lake, and Old Town in one day. The Culture and Congress Centre and the Swiss Museum of Transport are great spots for kid-friendly culture. Whether it's your first time or fifteenth, you'll find something to do.

Is Lucerne expensive?

Yes. Expense-wise Lucerne is in line with the rest of Switzerland—a bit heavy on the pocket. To get more bang for your buck, get a city pass, which offers free public transport, covered entrance fees, and discounted experiences. There's also a Lucerne Visitor Card, which offers local discounts.


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