Lucerne, Switzerland

Overview

Unquestionably one of Europe's most charming cities, Lucerne also has the added virtue of stunning lakeside and mountain sceneries on its doorstep. Its fame as a tourist resort is kept up from year to year by an incredible choice of attractions and activities. The town has a remarkable site at the northwest end of Lake Lucerne, where the Reuss River resumes its course.

The center of Lucerne is a pedestrian area of cobbled streets bordered by houses, shops and hotels painted in medieval style or decorated with displays of flowers. Above the old town is the original city wall from which you can admire the splendor and variety of the scenery.

Lucerne is ideally situated in the historic and scenic heart of what many believe to be the 'true' Switzerland – picture mountains, lakes, cowbells, alpine villages and meadows full of edelweiss. Once a simple fishermen's village, this charming town straddles the Reuss River on the western edge of Lake Lucerne and makes an excellent base for many excursions in Switzerland. One of the main attractions is crossing the Reuss River on the famous Chapel Bridge.

Attractions and Activities

Discover Lucerne

Strolling in Lucerne: Cross the famous Chapel bridge (the covered wooden bridge), constructed during the first half of the 14th century as a part of the city's fortifications. Continue along the riverside to the historic section of town. Walk up to the city ramparts and climb up the Watchtowers for a promenade on the Musegg Wall and view over Luzern. Visit the Lion's Memorial and the Glacier Garden or the Swiss Museum of Transportation.

Excursions in Lucerne

Lake Lucerne on a lake steamer
Among several routes and excursions, there is a lunch boat where you can enjoy the scenery and a good Swiss lunch aboard the ship.

Verkehrshaus (Swiss Transport Museum)
It is located just outside Luzern, directly on the lake. Europe's largest, most comprehensive Transport Museum. With everything that keeps the Swiss on the move, that marks the development of transport and communications it also has a IMAX theater. You can take the bus # 6 or a short boatride. Contains trains, planes and automobiles, etc.

Mt. Pilatus, Lucerne's landmark
Two cable cars make the north side of the mountain accessible and on the south flank the world's steepest cogwheel railway climbs gradients of 48% on its way to the peak. Take warm clothes and good shoes.

Mt. Rigi, Panoramic Views
Take the steamboat from Lucerne to Vitznau and then the cogwheel train up to "Rigi-Kulm" from where you have a marvelous panoramic view. Take a ride back to Rigi-Kaltbad and from there the cable car to Weggis where you back to Lucerne by boat. Or you go down to Goldau with the cable car and take the train back to Lucerne. Get detailed itineraries at the train station in Lucerne.

Mt. Stanserhorn
Half-day or full-day excursion. The CabriO cablecar is a world first – have the wind in your hair in a convertible-style cable car! A new cable car system lets guests enjoy fresh air and great views around Mt. Stanserhorn. The double-decker cable car has an upper "observatory" deck. The comfortable double-decker is the very latest in cable car technology. The lower level (with nearly wall-to-wall windows) has space for 60 people. From there, an elegant staircase leads up to the sun deck, which has room for about 30 people. The guests can enjoy 360° panoramic views as well as the fresh mountain air. The car moves on two side-mounted support cables – a technological innovation of Garaventa AG, a central Swiss cable car company. The ride up to Stanserhorn is also a journey through local history. One witness is the old-timer funicular from Stans to Kälti. When it opened in 1893, it broke the record for the world's longest funicular. Indeed, pioneers have enjoyed an affinity with Stanserhorn for some 120 years. And while historical gems like the old-timer funicular will remain at Stanserhorn, the new CabriO will bring the mountain a fresh breath of air.

Engelberg and Mt. Titlis
You may take a train from Luzern, the ride takes 1 hour. Engelberg is located at the foot of the Mt. Titlis ski area. Engelberg is famous for its beautiful Benedictine monastery. The first revolving aerial cable-car in the world takes you from Engelberg to Mt. Titlis.

Glacier Garden
Nature’s own monument to its history, with a park and museum. It is also a tourist attraction and an oasis of peace from busy Lucerne life. Glacial potholes of impressive proportions bear witness to the last ice age and to the fact that Lucerne was once covered by glaciers.

City Excursions in Lucerne

Berne – Switzerland's Captivating Capital
Beautiful Bern is only a one-hour rail trip from Lucerne, and escorted coach tours may be booked from Lucerne Tourism. This is a city of medieval magic, listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Attractions include the famous clock tower, the bearpits – home to Berne's heraldic animals – and excellent shopping arcades.

Summer Sports in Lucerne

Hiking
Lucerne is an excellent location for leisure and adventurous hiking. The greater region features more than 250 km (155 miles) of summer Hiking paths. Free brochures with suggestions for walks and various detailed hiking maps are available at the local tourist offices.

Biking
Switzerland in general and the greater area of Lucerne in specific are great places for biking and mountain biking. Getting around on two wheels is made significantly more feasible by the ease of bike access. You can rent a seven-gear country bike or a quality 21-gear mountain bike from Rent-A-Bike, located at 200 SBB-CFF-FFS train stations nationwide.

Swimming
The Lake of Lucerne is crystal clear with many public swimming areas inviting you to enjoy the lake. Indoor swimming pools are also available.

Other Summer Sports
The options in Lucerne are many. Following you may find a list with all kinds of sports activities: Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Billard/Pool, Bowling, Boating/Kayak, Climbing, Diving, Horseback Riding, Minigolf, Mountaineering, Rock-Climbing, Sailing, Squash, Tennis and Trekking.

Winter Sports in Lucerne

Lucerne is very close to the mountains. Engelberg is the closest winter sport resort and Interlaken and the Jungfrau peaks are only a two hour train ride away.

Indoor sports facilities in Lucerne are readily available in and include swimming, tennis, squash, bowling, fitness and much more.

Entertainment in Lucerne

Stadtkeller
With outstandingly good food and the unique Stadtkeller atmosphere, you can enjoy carefree hours in the midst of original Swiss folklore. Traditional Swiss customs and usages, with alphorns, cowbells, national costumes, flag throwing and yodelling will make your visit to the Stadtkeller an unforgettable experience. The unique combination of good food, music and fun.

Shopping in Lucerne

Shopping in Lucerne is smooth and alluring. The two major shopping districts are located in the charming Old Town and along the recently developed Pilatusstrasse – the modern thoroughfare just outside Lucerne's Central Station.

Events in Lucerne

Link to current Lucerne events

Museums in Lucerne

Swiss Transport Museum (Verkehrshaus)
It is located just outside Luzern, directly on the lake. Europe's largest, most comprehensive Transport Museum. With everything that keeps the Swiss on the move, that marks the development of transport and communications it also has a IMAX theater. You can take the bus # 6 or a short boatride. Contains trains, planes and automobiles, etc.

Recommended Lucerne Hotels

Lucerne Hotels

5-stars Hotels
Palace Luzern

4-stars Hotels
Art Deco Hotel Montana
Hotel Des Balances
Hotel Cascada

3-star Hotels
Hotel Waldstätterhof
Hotel Krone
Hotel Des Alpes

Location and Map

Lucerne is located in Central Switzerland, 54 km (34 miles) from Zurich, the nearest airport. Travel time from Zürich is 45 minutes by car and about the same by train. Lucerne is 244 km (152 miles) from Geneva and 92 km (57 miles) from Berne.

Lucerne by Train

Take international train connections to Lucerne.