In the Ultimate Lucerne Switzerland Guide you learn everything about this Swiss city like the best places to visit, top excursions, restaurants and much more.
The romantic middle age town Lucerne
Lucerne is a central city in Switzerland and the capital of the Canton of Lucerne. It is surrounded by Lake Lucerne and the famous Swiss mountains like mount Pilatus or Buochserhorn. The Reuss river passes through the middle of the old town. The foundation of the city of Lucerne probably happened in the 12th century.
Before that, there was a Benedictine monastery here, a few houses and towers. Lucerne started to develop into a trade center after the St. Gotthard pass streets and some important bridges were built in the mountains. The St. Gotthard Pass is the connection between Switzerland and Italy and was over many centuries one of the very few traffic roads to Italy.
In 1803, Luzern became the capital of the Helvetic Republic for the first and last time. Today Bern is the capital of Switzerland.
Lucerne city is a significant tourist resort full of historical landmarks. In this travel guide I want to show you the best sites to visit in “Lucerne Switzerland” and the surrounding areas. You will also get to know some restaurants and top hikes to do in the region. Let’s have a look at it together and get your Lucerne adventures started.
10 places to see in Lucerne Switzerland
1. Old town of Lucerne Switzerland
If you haven’t seen the old town of Lucerne, you haven’t been to Lucerne. Because the old town has many sights to discover. For example, the famous Kapell Bridge, which was built in the 14th century and which I will discuss in more detail in the next point. But the old town of Lucerne Switzerland also offers great shopping opportunities such as clothes, Swiss watches, etc.
2. Chapel Bridge
Lucerne has two popular bridges. The chapel bridge is an old footbridge built with wood in 1333. It passes through the Reuss River and links the old town with a bank which brings you to the Lucerne train station. There is a water tower before the bridge that was built from 1290 to 1300. It served as a watchtower, as a prison, an archive, a cantonal treasury, and a place for safety. On August 18th 1993, a fire destroyed part of the bridge. As a result, the chapel bridge was rebuilt and opened on April 14th, 1994.
Another incredible bridge is the Spreuer bridge which was built in 1400 and rebuilt in 1568 after being destroyed by a floods. Below the roof of the bridge can be found old paintings.
3. City wall of Lucerne Switzerland (Museggmauer)
Normally, almost all city walls in Switzerland have been removed and replaced by streets. The Mussegg wall in Lucerne is one of the only city walls in Switzerland that has remained almost completely intact since the city of Lucerne was founded in the 12th century. This certainly has something to do with its hilltop location, where a road is rather unattractive. Today, the wall is also strictly protected as a cultural asset.
The city wall measures a total of 870 meters, is 1.5 meters wide and mostly around 9 meters high. There are 9 city towers next to the wall, the so-called Musegg towers.
4. The famous lion monument
It is one of the most famous monuments and most photographed places in Switzerland. The lion is carved on the sandstone quarry and in a dying state from a spear wound. The monument is from 1820 and measures 10 meters in length and 6 meters in height. It represents the heroes of Switzerland who were killed during the French revolution.
Switzerland sent many soldiers to wars as guardsmen. Because the Swiss are good fighters and there was more money to be earned than at home. Because Switzerland was not such a rich country in the past. But unfortunately, many guardsmen also died in the battles. The Lion Monument commemorates all the fallen Swiss Guardsmen. The artist calls it the saddest piece of stone in the world. The visit of the lion monument is free and it’s only a 15 minutes walk from the train station of “Lucerne Switzerland”.
5. Glacier garden Lucerne
Right next to the Lion Monument is the Glacier Garden Lucerne which is advertised as being 1 billion years old. The Glacier Garden is a museum that takes you on a journey between mountains and sandy beaches and, accordingly, a journey through time. Because millions of years existed before the city of Lucerne, the area was covered by a sea.
Glacier garden characterizes glacial potholes, erratic blocks, and polish which shows that the area of Lucerne city was once covered with glaciers as well. Guests learn the history of the ice age. The Museum has a mirror maze that has existed since 1899 with a total of 90 mirrors. The swiss house also has the oldest mountain relief map made in the 18th century in Switzerland. You will use a path that has a glacier mill and Gorner Glacier diorama to reach the observation tower. The entry for an adult is 15CHF, children 12CHF and a family costs 35 CHF.
The glacier garden is a 15 minutes walk from the Lucerne train station, or you can take bus number 1, 19, 22 or 23.
6. Lake Lucerne (Luzern Lake)
Lake Lucerne (Lake Luzern) is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland. The surrounding alpine mountains make the lake very attractive. The best way to enjoy Lake Luzern is by taking a steamer. Guest can take the ships to reach different lake villages. There are several bathing spots and picnic areas at the lake. Also, you can relax and take amazing pictures of the buildings.
7. KKL Lucerne
KKL Luzern is located right next to the railway station and Lake Luzern in the city of “Lucerne Switzerland”. The KKL is one of the most famous concert halls in the world and is synonymous with classical music concerts. But not only that: the KKL Luzern also hosts festivals such as the Blue Balls Festival. Art is also exhibited here by the Lucerne Museum of Art and congresses are held in the congress hall.
Furthermore the place was designed by the star architect Jean Nouvel and opened in the year 2000.
8. Gütsch Lucerne
The Gütsch is Lucerne’s local mountain and is almost 100 meters higher than the old town. You can reach the Gütsch in just 2 minutes with the Gütschbahn. You need a valid ticket for this, unless you are staying at the Hotel Chateux Gütsch, in which case it is included. You can also drive up to the Gütsch by car.
On the Gütsch Luzern you have a unique view over “Lucerne Switzerland” and “Lake Luzern”. There is also an art exhibition, which you can enter for CHF 15.
The Dietschiberg is the second recommended viewpoint, a little outside the city. But here you have a great restaurant and a brilliant view of the city of Lucerne, Mount Pilatus and the surrounding mountains. You can easily reach the Dietschiberg in 10 minutes by bus (line 6 and 8) or by car, and then you need to walk for a few minutes.
10. Swiss Museum of Transport
The Lucerne Transport Museum ( Verkehrshaus ) is the official Swiss Transport Museum. Here you can learn all about the history of Swiss transport and get into real planes, trains and cars.
There are also special exhibitions and iMax 4D cinema screenings. With the S3 in the direction of Brunnen, you can reach the Lucerne Transport Museum in just 7 minutes from the station.
Mountain excursions from Lucerne Switzerland (Pilatus, Titlis, Buochserhorn, Rigi)
Lake Luzern (Lake Lucerne) is surrounded by mountains like the Pilatus, Buochserhorn, Rigi and many others. All those mountains can be easily done in a day trip or even a half day trip and are accessible by a cable car. It gives a pleasant experience during all seasons. On all of those mountains you have a great view over Lake Luzern.
Of course there are many other beautiful mountains to see and things to do in the region of Lucerne Switzerland. Feel free to reach us out for a guided day trip to places you will never forget and to collect memories that will always last.
3 Top Hikes around Lucerne Switzerland
If you love hiking, then the region around Lucerne Switzerland is the place to be. This is the perfect starting point to quickly reach the mountains. As already mentioned, there are mountains such as Pilatus, Rigi and Buochserhorn, which can be reached by cable car. Here you not only have a beautiful view of Lake Lucerne, no, you can also hike perfectly.
But now I would like to present you 3 other hikes in the region around “Lucerne Switzerland”:
11. Melchsee Frutt hike
Melchsee Frutt is a beautiful mountain area with many lakes and unique peaks. In summer you can go on great hikes, in winter skiing and tobogganing. It’s also worth spending a night in the hotel of the Frutt Lodge, because here you can enjoy great wellness.
A leisurely hike or walk is from Melchsee Frutt along Melchsee and Tannensee to Tannalp. You can reach Tannalp, where you will find a restaurant, in about an hour. The route is mostly flat and can also be done by families with prams. You can even swim in the mentioned areas of the lake or take the Fruttli train back.
Another great hike with a view of the Swiss Alps is from Melchsee Frutt via Bonistock to Tannalp. Here you have an impressive view.
It takes about 1h20 minutes to get from “Lucerne” to the Melchsee Frutt mountain station. You can get to Melchsee Frutt in summer either by car or by train, bus and cable car. In winter, the road is closed and only the cable car runs.
12. Fronalpstock hike
The Fronalpstock has two beautiful hikes where you can see Lake Lucerne. One is the popular and well-known Fronalpstock ridge hike, the other is the “Stoos Fronalpstock” hike.
I recommend travelling by car from Lucerne to Morschach. By public transport you have to change trains three or four times and it takes about 2 hours to reach the Fronalpstock. By car you can be on the Fronalpstock in about 1h15min or on the Stoos in 50 minutes.
13. Niederbauen hike
This is one of my secret tips, which I’ll share with you. Although it has one of the best views of Lake Lucerne (Luzern Lake) and the best mountain restaurant in Switzerland, very few people know about this mountain.
It’s the Niederbauen Kulm, a mountain above Lake Lucerne, which you can reach in a 1.5 hour hike. One of the most beautiful views awaits you. To get to the mountain you can drive by car to Emmetten Post or you take the public transportation as well to Emmetten Post. From Lucerne Switzerland you reach the place within 1h 10 minutes, where you start your hike.
Below are the best spots to feel your taste when in the old town.
14. Wirtshaus Taube
Wirtshaus Taube is among the best “Lucerne Restaurants” for traditional Swiss food. Here you will find genuine Swiss dishes with lots of meat, cooked mainly with local ingredients. I would not recommend the restaurant for vegetarians and vegans.
15. Restaurant Sauvage
Restaurant Sauvage is located in the “Hotel Wilden Mann” and has an elegant interior which gives a relaxing atmosphere. The Sauvage is a gourmet restaurant and one of the best restaurants in Lucerne with 14 Gault Millau points.
16. Restaurant Geissmatt
Geissmatt is another highly recommandable restaurant in Lucerne and is the ideal place to have a taste of Italian food in Lucerne. The atmosphere is filled with lively and attentive staff members. Cuisines mainly Italian food. Furthermore, the restaurant is ranked as the number 3 restaurant of Lucerne on Tripadvisor.
17. Bolero Restaurant
Bolero Restaurant Lucerne is perfectly located, as it is only a few minutes from the trainstation. The restaurant is a Spanish restaurant and offers tapas, palleas and great Spanish wines.
Travel to Lucerne Switzerland
Lucerne city is greatly located, and you can reach it in a short time from “Zurich Switzerland” or “Bern Switzerland”. From Zurich airport, you can take the swiss train directly to “Lucerne in Switzerland” which takes 1h 15 minutes. However, if you switch the train at Zurich Mainstation you are even faster with only 1 hour. For the timetable check the SBB online schedule.
Final thoughts about Lucerne Switzerland
Traveling in Switzerland is not complete when you have not spent time in Lucerne. It has many tourist attraction sites in “Lucerne Switzerland” and the surrounding areas like the mountains of Pilatus, Rigi, Buochserhorn or Titlis. However, there are also great hiking possibilities with more known hikes and a lot of unknown but very beautiful hiking trails. It gives a great rewarding experience in Switzerland if you visit Lucerne.