While Lucerne isn’t as famous as Zurich or Geneva, it’s often named the most beautiful city in Switzerland, making it a must on your Switzerland itinerary. This small city is a hidden gem and undoubtedly one of Switzerland’s most beautiful places. This solo guide to Lucerne things to do covers what to do in Lucerne Switzerland, including how to get there, where to stay, and day trips from Lucerne.
Lucerne offers breathtaking nature and bustling city activities, so it’s perfect for anyone who enjoys a mix of outdoor activities and cultural sights.
With over 80,000 inhabitants, Lucerne is Switzerland’s 7th biggest city. Thanks to its perfect location on the shores of Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne), surrounded by the Alps, it’s one of the busiest European destinations, attracting many worldwide visitors.
As a bonus, Lucerne is considered a safe city, which makes it ideal for solo travelers. So, if you’re planning a Swiss getaway and curious about the best things to do in Lucerne Switzerland, I’ve got you covered.
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.
Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies.
Lucerne Switzerland Things to Do
Though Swiss people aren’t the bubbliest, Lucerne is a great city to visit solo. You might not make many new (Swiss) friends, but you’ll meet other visitors from around the world. Since there are so many fun things to do in Lucerne, it’s easy to enjoy this beautiful area alone without getting bored.
Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress.
Best Lucerne Tours: Click here to check out the top Lucerne tours
Best Lucerne Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Lucerne
Best Lucerne Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Lucerne
Regarding Lucerne things to do, Chapel Bridge is the city’s most famous tourist sight and looks lovely in the summer months when adorned with colorful flower pots. Even during the winter months, the bridge is worth a visit.
This 14th-century wooden bridge, located on the shores of Lake Geneva, was partly burnt down and rebuilt. You can spot many restaurants from the bridge offering coffee, lunch, and dinner, though Lucerne and Switzerland are generally very pricey.
On Chapel Bridge, you can see Vierwaldstättersee, one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland, and the Alps, including Mount Pilatus. You haven’t been to Lucerne if you haven’t crossed the Chapel Bridge.
Lion Monument is another sight considered one of the best things to do in Lucerne. This monument, which depicts a crying lion, commemorates Swiss soldiers who died during the French Revolution. Lion Monument and Chapel Bridge are some of the most popular Lucerne things to do, so expect crowds.
Lucerne’s Old Town has many colorful buildings, stunning facades, and narrow cobblestone streets. You’ll also find shops and restaurants, but for me, Old Town is all about the beautiful buildings and fountains. If you want to walk around the area with others, join a guided city center tour.
Of course, a guide to what to do in Lucerne Switzerland must include the picturesque Vierwaldstättersee. Whether I walk along the lake during the day or in the evening alone, I always feel safe and immersed in nature, especially towards Weggis and Vitznau.
The lake is enormous, so don’t expect to walk around the entire thing, but plan on spending a few hours there and bring some snacks and drinks for a lakeside picnic.
Quick Tip: View my full Europe packing guide here.
Lake Lucerne is the fourth largest in Switzerland, offering plenty of space to enjoy scenic boating. To experience the lake in its full glory, purchase a boat ticket. This is a pleasant and relaxing Lucerne activity, whether traveling alone or in a group.
Day Trips From Lucerne
One of the top Lucerne Switzerland things to do is Mount Pilatus. A trip to Mount Pilatus is enjoyable, and you can reach the summit via cable car, cogwheel train, or a hiking trail. If you hike, plan to spend a whole day at Mount Pilatus.
However you travel to the top of Mount Pilatus, you won’t be disappointed. The views from Mount Pilatus are spectacular, and you can choose between several activities, including paragliding, hiking, and more. If you visit in the winter, you can also try different winter sports activities.
If you only have a few hours to spare, visit Mount Rigi instead of Mount Pilatus. Though I suggest visiting both, Mount Rigi is more convenient if you’re short on time. I recommend traveling to Vitznau by boat or train and taking the funicular or hiking to the top.
The views are gorgeous, and Mount Rigi is a great excuse to get outside for the day. It’s also the perfect place to watch the sun go down, so plan to visit on a clear day for one of Switzerland’s best sunsets.
Things to Do in Lucerne Switzerland at Night
Though I haven’t gone clubbing in Lucerne, it’s considered a fun city for going out at night. You can sit alone at one of the many lakeside restaurants and enjoy lake views and people-watching. There are also plenty of unique bars and live music venues.
How to Get From Zurich Airport to Lucerne
If you’re traveling to Switzerland by plane, you’ll probably fly into Zurich since Lucerne doesn’t have an airport. However, getting from Zurich Airport to Lucerne is relatively easy—take a train to Zurich and then switch to a line that takes you to the city center.
The train ride from Zurich to Lucerne takes more than an hour, but the views are quite scenic, so it’s fun. You could also rent a car at the Zurich Airport and drive the 70 kilometers to downtown Lucerne.
Getting Around Lucerne
Most places in Lucerne can be reached on foot, and you may not need buses or trains unless you plan to take day trips from Lucerne.
I highly suggest using Lucerne’s public transportation—it’s reliable, and if you stay in an official Lucerne accommodation, you’ll get a card that lets you use the buses for free.
If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you can use all of the buses and trains in Switzerland, and many boat rides are included for free. You can also typically get discounts on mountain excursions.
Driving can be fun, but parking in Lucerne is expensive, and traffic jams occur during rush hour. While some hotels offer free parking, I don’t recommend driving if you can avoid it. I also suggest staying away from taxis, as they’re pretty expensive.
At night, the Lucerne city center is safe enough to walk around and use public transportation alone. Stay aware of your surroundings, and you’ll have a good experience.
Where to Stay in Lucerne
Wondering where to stay in Lucerne? The downside of visiting Lucerne solo is accommodations can be extremely expensive, and if you can’t split costs, they’ll take up a large portion of your vacation budget. However, planning a trip is still worth it, and you can always opt for a hostel to save money.
Schweizerhof Luzern is a lovely and fun 5-star hotel located on the shores of Lake Lucerne. It’s just a few hundred meters from Old Town and many of the top things to do in Lucerne. While it isn’t the most luxurious hotel in Lucerne, it offers charming luxury accommodations and fun live events, like musical performances.
Hotel des Alps is the perfect mid-range hotel next to the Chapel Bridge, possibly the best area to stay in Lucerne. The hotel is modern, clean, and serves a decent breakfast with a view. This is the best place to stay near all the most popular Lucerne things to do.
If you plan to stay in a Lucerne hostel, check out the Bellpark Hostel in Kriens, which is not far from Old Town and is the ideal home base for day trips from Lucerne to Mount Pilatus. There are several restaurants and cafes nearby, and you can easily catch a bus to the local train station.
Lucerne Safety Tips
Lucerne is a very safe destination—considered a rich and expensive city, you won’t need to hide valuables. The crime rate is very low, and I’ve never experienced harassment or uncomfortable situations during my many trips. Exercise common sense, but expect a laidback solo travel experience.
Lucerne Travel Guide Planning
🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m traveling?
I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.
🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours?
👩⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?
I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here
✈️ Any flight recommendations?
📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?
I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.
With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.
🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?
🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?
Things to Do in Lucerne Switzerland: Final Thoughts
Lucerne is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland—its lovely Old Town is small yet offers enough attractions to explore for a day. With the fun mountain excursions, you can easily spend a few days here, whether traveling alone or with others. I highly recommend adding this Swiss gem to your bucket list, not only because it’s safe and easy to explore but also because it’s stunning.
Arzo Travels is run by Arzo Nayel, a solo female traveler from Germany (sometimes accompanied by her little dog). Switzerland is her favorite travel destination, so she keeps visiting and spends much time in this gorgeous country.