10+ Incredible Things To Do In Lucerne, Switzerland

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Located in the heart of Switzerland, Lucerne is a picturesque lakeside city surrounded by the Swizz Alps. What to do in Lucern for a day or two?

From beautifully painted bridges, excellent museums, and a handful of historical sights, there are plenty of places to visit in Lucerne. In this article, I’d like to share my favorite things to do in Lucerne and tips for making the best of your trip.

 

Start at Lucerne Central Station

Start your trip at Bahnhof Luzern (Lucerne Central Station), the transportation hub of Lucerne and Central Switzerland.

I love its charming decoration, convenient and strategic locations. From the station, you can walk to the old town on foot or take a lazy boat ride on Lucerne lake.

If you’re hungry, head to the RailCity shopping mall on the lower floor before you venture to town. There’re plenty of food and drinks shops and pedestrian passageways leading to different parts of town. 

Upon leaving the station, you’ll see a big stone arch right outside. It’s an excellent spot for photography and often a meeting spots for people in town. 

train station Lucerne Switzerland.

Quick Lucerne travel tips

  • Tips: Before visiting Switzerland, it will be useful to know some German phrases and words.
  • Accommodation: I recommend booking your accommodation in Lucerne in advance, especially if you travel in peak seasons (summer and winter). Check availability and read reviews of hotels here.
  • Tour: The historical tour with a night watchman is a fun way to explore Lucerne. You’ll experience an exciting journey into medieval Lucerne while learning about its famous sights. 
  • Transport: Purchasing a Swiss Travel Pass is a great way to save money on transportation. It also offers free entrance or discounts on attractions. Learn more about it here.

 

Cruise Lake Lucerne

Lake Lucerne is probably one of the most gorgeous places that I’ve ever visited.

With stunning mountains in the background, the lake boasts tranquil and serene scenery. The water is so clean that I feel like you may be able to drink from it.

There are plenty of things to do on Lake Lucerne: water sports, boat trips, tours to Vitznau, Mount Rigi, or Weggis. 

I highly recommend taking the Scenic Panorama-Yacht Cruise to see Lucerne from a completely different angle. It’s an excellent picturesque sightseeing loop with a well-done audio tour in English and other languages. 

For a memorable experience, I suggest catching a sightseeing boat and enjoying a lovely lunch while you cruise. You can learn more about the Lunch cruise here.

 

Have fun at the Swiss Transport Museum

Swiss Transport Museum (Verkehrshaus der Schweiz) is a brilliant place to visit in Lucerne. While it’s a bit pricy, it offers a great insight into Swiss craftsmanship.

The museum features an enormous collection of all types of transportation with endless hours of entertainment. Trains, cars, boats, aircraft, etc., you name it. 

Start the day early and spend all day here if you can. There are many things to see and hands-on activities to enjoy. It’s a beautiful outing, and I would expect, a paradise for children.

Swiss Transport Museum Snow blower.
This snow blower is from 1895. With a maximum speed of 10 km/ h, it freed the Gotthard route from snow for 87 years by throwing it up to 90 m to the side and 18 m up.

At this museum, you can also find a planetarium, the Swiss Chocolate Adventure, and the IMAX Filmtheater, Switzerland’s largest cinema screen.

They share the same space and opening hours with the Swiss Transport Museum. To visit them, you need additional tickets or a Full Day Pass.

My favorite one is indeed Swiss Chocolate Adventure. Here, you can get on a chocolate journey while learning more about the discovery, provenance, manufacture, and transport of chocolate.

Swiss Transport Museum admission fee and opening hours

Opening hours

Swiss Transport Museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm in the summertime, and 10 am to 5 pm in the wintertime.

Entrance fee

You can either purchase the Entrance ticket or get a Full Day Pass

The full-day pass includes:

  • Admission to the museum
  • Swiss Chocolate Adventure experience
  • Admission to the Media World, daily screenings in the Filmtheatre and daily shows in the Planetarium

Alternatively, you can buy the Lucerne Museum Card at Lucerne Tourist Information. It’ll give you entry to all of Luzern’s museums over two days (36 CHF/ $39.4).

AdultStudent
(under 26)**
Child
(under 16)
Young child
(under 6)
 
Day pass*56422612
Museum incl. Media World322414free
Planetarium161288
Swiss Chocolate Adventure161288
Filmtheatre Daytime films161288
Filmtheatre Evening films 2D / 3D19 / 2215 / 1812 / 1512 / 15
RedBull The Edge (Age limit: 12 years and older)241919

* Currency in CHF (Swiss Franc).

How to get to the Swiss Transport Museum

I recommend taking buses #6, #8, #28 from the station and get off at the Verkehrshaus stop (2.50 CHF / $2.73).

Or, for extra fun, catch the boat from the main pier across from the train station. (direction: Verkehrshaus, 1-2/hour, 10 minutes, 6 CHF/ $6.56).

 

Walk around Lucern old town

Lucerne is so charming that I find strolling the old town and crossing painted bridges are already enough for a fulfilling experience. 

I love the medieval building and architecture in this town. There are several beautiful squares, including Mühlenplatz, Sternenplatz, Hirschenplatz, and Weinmarkt.

On Tuesdays and Saturdays, you can find a farmer’s market on both sides of the river near the main bridge.

 

See the Chapel Bridge

Next, head to Chapel Bridge, the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge. It was built over 600 years ago in 1365 to stop the attacks and protect the city. 

Strolling along with this remarkable landmark, you can find several paintings featuring Lucerne’s historical events and its two saints from the 17th century. The roof of the bridge is designed with sophisticated, thick, and solid wood.

I was most impressed with painting number #1, featuring a legendary and formidable giant. 

Unfortunately, many of its famous paintings were lost during the fire in 1993, when a leisure boat moored under the bridge caught fire.

While the end of the bridge houses the restorations of the 17th-century originals, you can see many burnt and charred paintings still in the original spots. Those in the middle were luckily in storage during the fire and were therefore saved.

Also, don’t forget to see the octagonal stone Water Tower (Wasserturm). It was built around 1300 and used as a prison, a watch gate, and an integration room. 

 

Visit Jesuit Church

Just a short walk from Chapel bridge is Jesuitenkirche (Jesuit Church), the first major Baroque church in Switzerland. It’s dedicated to Francis Xavier, a co-founder of the Jesuit order.

I was amazed by its charm and decoration when I first entered.

The whole church is beautifully decorated with stunning baroque paintings cascading the ceiling and walls. Its onion-topped towers were added in 1893, while the high altar and side altars were completed over the years.

Visit Sammlung Rosengart Museum

If you’re an art lover, Sammlung Rosengart is a must-visit attraction on your trip to Lucerne. 

A destination for Impressionist enthusiasts, the Sammlung Rosengart Art Museum is home to priceless works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee and numerous masterpieces by 19th and 20th-century famous artists.

Here, you can find extensive collections of Picasso’s later artworks on the ground and first floor, including paintings, drawings, graphic and sculptural works, and watercolors.

The upper floor offers a great insight into Picasso’s lifestyle and his artistic process. There are several black-and-white photos of Picasso, capturing his personality greatly. I never felt so close to an artist like this.

There are also other amazing works by Paul Klee, Braque, Monet, Renoir, Miró, Chagall, Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani, and Pissarro.

Sammlung Rosengart painting Lucerne Switzerland.
The painting “L`Italienne au tambourin, 1881” by Pierre Auguste Renoir.

Sammlung Rosengart admission fee and opening hours

  • Ticket price: 15 CHF ($16.4). It’s included in the Swiss Travel Pass.
  • Opening hours: Bourbaki Panorama is open from 10 am to 6 pm (April to October), or 10 am to 5 pm (November to March).

 

Stroll along Spreuer wooden bridge

One of Lucerne’s two oldest wooden bridges (along with Chapel), the 15th-century Spreuer wooden bridge, is located near the Museum of Nature.

Unlike the Chapel bridge, it’s original and still retains its impressive characteristic. 

On the roofs of the bridge are famous paintings by artist Kaspar Meglinger and his students.

 

Visit Musegg Wall and Tower

Musegg Wall is one of my favorite places to visit in Lucerne. The wall and its nine towers lead you on a journey back to the Middle Ages and what it was like to live in Lucerne.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that this 800m wall is one of Switzerland’s longest, best-preserved defensive walls. I climbed all the accessible towers, and my favorite one is the clock tower.

This historic site also offers a great view of the city. 

Museggmauer view Lucerne Switzerland.

How to get to Musegg Wall

I recommend walking up the street and start at the upper portion of the wall. If you enter at the lower end by the river, there will be plenty of stairs to conquer before reaching the first tower. 

I made this mistake and was quite exhausted when I got there. And yes, there are several steps up and down the towers too.

 

See the Lion Monument

The Lion Monument, designed by Danish Neoclassical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, is a famous monument featuring a dying lion. 

This huge sculpture (ten meters in length and six meters in height) is carved right into a cliff, overlooking a pool in a peaceful park. 

Here, the lion rests his paws on a shield, and tears streaming down his cheeks. On one side, there is a broken end of a spear slowly killing the mighty beast.

Next to the lions are two shields. One with a broken symbol of France shows the end of Louis XIV, while the other shield with the Swiss symbol remains intact, representing the resilience of Swiss mercenaries.

Lion Monument Lucerne Switzerland.

The story of Lion Monument 

The Lion Monument honors the heroic sacrifice of 800 Swiss mercenaries defending Louis XVI at Tuileries Palace during the French revolution in 1792.

In that historical event, while the French soldiers ran away, Swiss mercenaries stayed and fought to their last breath to protect Louis XVI and the royals.

Although both the King and Queen were killed, the bravery and resilience of Swiss soldiers will always be remembered.

Lion Monument Lucerne Switzerland.
On the top of the lion, you can see the inscription “Helvetiorum fidei ac virtuti” – “To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss.” 

 

Visit Glacier Garden of Lucerne

Located near the Lion Monument, Glacier Garden (Gletschergarten) is a fascinating place to learn about glaciers and their formation.

It was amazing to walk around the glacier-grinded grounds and see geological formations before heading to the museum.

I love their exhibition here. They showcase the glacial processes and how Lucerne, the Alps, and Central Switzerland lakes once looked like.

Amrein’s House is also an interesting spot to stop by. It’s an old chalet featuring original furnishings and models of traditional Swiss buildings.

After your venture, I highly recommend taking a hike to the Tower Walk and visiting another old chalet and an observation tower.

Then, finish your trip with a visit to the Hall of Mirrors, a delightfully low-tech funhouse. You may feel dizzy and confused, but it will be lots of fun. 

Glacier Garden of Lucerne admission fee and opening hours

  • Ticket price: 15 CHF ($16.4). It’s included in the Swiss Travel Pass.
  • Opening hours: Glacier Garden is open from 9 am to 6 pm (April to October) or 10 am to 5 pm (November to March).

 

Experience Bourbaki Panorama

A visit to the Bourbaki Panorama is an excellent way to understand Switzerland’s humanity and human rights.

This impressive cultural monument highlights an event of the Franco-Prussian War, the 19th-century blood bath flight of 87000 French soldiers fleeing to Switzerland in 1871.

After Prussia won the war, French soldiers struggled through the snow and crossed the Swiss border near Neuchâtel. 

Once in Switzerland, they surrendered to the Swiss, who offered excellent care and nursed the French soldiers back to health before sending them to their home country.

Bourbaki Panoram Lucerne Switzerland.
Stretches around a large circular building, Bourbaki Panorama portrays the hardships of war from the 19th century.

More info about Bourbaki Panorama

Bourbaki Panorama was painted in 1881 on a 112 × 10 meters canvas by Edouard Castres and his colleagues. Edouard Castres was actually there as a Red Cross volunteer.

You can download the My Bourbaki Panorama app to learn more about everyday stories of individual narratives. There are tablets with headphones too if you’d like to borrow them. 

Bourbaki Panorama admission fee and opening hours

  • Ticket price: 15 CHF ($16.4). It’s included in the Swiss Travel Pass.
  • Opening hours: Bourbaki Panorama is open from 10 am to 6 pm (April to October), or 10 am to 5 pm (November to March).

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Best things to do in Lucerne Switzerland.

  1. That Lion Monument is very impressive! There are so many interesting things to see and do in Lucerne that I wouldn’t know where to begin. Hopefully I can plan a trip here soon!

  2. This post brought back some memories of my visit to Lucerne years ago! I remember the lion monument, the old bridge and tulips by the beautiful lake. Thanks so much for sharing your tips!

  3. Loved reading this, it brought back so many memories of Lucerne. And totally agree the Swiss Travel Pass is worth getting!

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