30 Things to do in Lucerne, Switzerland
These are my carefully selected 30 secrets & best things to do in Lucerne, Switzerland. I included gems like the Au Cachet, Barabas, Mount Rigi, Sledding, Swiss Transport Museum, Lucerne Carnival, Lion Monument, where to eat the best Swiss Cheese Fondue and the vibrant Lucerne nightlife.
- Why: Most underrated city in Switzerland.
- When: Early February
- Accomodation: Stay at the most affordable hotels in Lucerne
- Best Attraction: Cogwheel train up to Mount Rigi
- Best Restaurant: Wilden Mann
- Discount: Save lots of money by purchasing the Swiss Tavel Pass (starting at $280 USD) for unlimited travel in Switzerland on trains, buses, boats, cable cars and FREE access to 480 museums
Lucerne is not a place most tourists put at the top of their bucket list, but let me assure you, it is one of the most rewarding destinations I've visited in Europe. Lucerne has plenty or attractions and fun activities to offer and can be easily explored within 2 days.
1. Jesuit Church
Built in 1666, located on the banks on river Reuss with incredible decor.
2. Chapel Bridge
Built in 1333, the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe connecting Old to New Lucerne.
3. Spreuer Bridge
Built in 1408 with painted panels displaying the dancing of the dead representing the black death in Europe.
4. Heisse Marroni Chestnuts
Swiss chestnuts are common street snacks, just 5 CHF or $5 US dollars.
5. Au Cachet Chocolates
Most adorable chocolate shop in town with a huge assortment of Swiss chocolates.
6. Swiss Teardrops
Authentic local chocolates filled with alcohol, get them from Heini Luzern.
7. Lucerne Oldtown
Stroll through the magnificent city center with buildings bearing frescoes of historical significance.
8. Barabas Hotel
Renovated prison cells turned into hotel rooms, with the most prestege room having a mural by the prison artist Barabas.
9. Lion Monument
Most visited attraction in Lucerne, the dying lion of Lucerne, a memorial to Swiss mercaneries fighting in France.
10. Glacier Garden
Next door you will find the a sea of glaciers dating back to the last ice age.
11. Hofkirche St. Leodegar
A parish church dating back to the 16th century with some of the most beautiful artwork in Switzerland.
Ever wanted to try vegetarian? Tibits is one of Switzerland's most famous chains with incredible options but not cheap, roughly $20 US dollars per plate.
13. Rathaus Brewery
Crisp refreshing Lucerne beer with the oldest beer pipeline in the world.
14. Vitznau-Rigi Kulm Railway
Take the ferry to Vitznau for the most charming cogwheel train ride to the peak of Rigi. Also, this is the oldest mountain railway in Europe.
15. Mount Rigi
Asstonishing 360 views at the almost 3000 meter high peak, glaze over 125 Alpine peaks and 13 leaks. A must-visit in Lucerne.
16. Coffee Schnapps
Do as the locals and enjoy a coffee with alcoholic schnapps for a little boast which you need for the sledding activity.
17. Rigi Sledding
Jump on a 20 minute sled ride down Mount Rigi back to Lucerne. One of the most fun activities in Lucerne.
18. Swiss Transport Museum
Most underrated attraction in Lucerne, covering transport by road, rail, water, air and space with the biggest space exitbit in Europe, with over 3000 items.
19. Pfistern Cheese Fondue
Most authentic cheese fondue experience in Lucerne. Bread, potatoes and cheese enriched with whine wine in a restaurant dating back to 1578. $33 US dollars per person.
20. Wilden Mann Restaurant
A restaurant with 500 years of history, order the Geschnetzeltes veal meat special and the Chuglipastete. Average dish will cost $33 US dollars but finger licking good!
21. des Balances Restaurant
Fine dining at its finest situated along the river Reuss with excellent views from the patio. Try their tartar and pizza.
22. Mill Feuille Restaurant
A great cozy place to enjoy a couple of beers after dinner. They offer incredible desserts and cocktails with Swiss schnapps.
Either attend the famous Lucerne carnival in February or head to Emmenbrucke for the pre-party called Schugufascht for great live music, food, locals and a unique selection of drinks.
24. Grand Casino Lucerne
Gamble the night away at this exclusive casino, do not forget to bring your ID. Reminds me of a James Bond scene.
25. Black Sheep Nightclub
Great underground nightclub with a large dance floor, young crowd, 2 big bars and solid Top 40 music. Beers @ $8 USD, cocktails @ $14
26. Roadhouse Bar
Multi-story party complex with 6 floors, each with a bar and dance floor and a variety of music. Beers @ $8 USD, cocktails $16 USD.
27. Penthouse Nightclub
Best nightclub in Lucerne on top of a roof overlooking the Lucerne skyline. Beers @ $8, cocktails @ $16 USD.
28. Hänggi Bakery
Grab a delicious pizza slice at Hanggi for a good after party snack.
29. Hotel Anker
Boutique hotel in the new part of Lucerne, including epic breakfast buffet and large rooms. If you have the budget, consider the top floor chapel room for an unforgettable stay.
30. Swiss Travel Pass
Save yourself a ton of money on public transport in Switzerland with the Swiss Travel Pass, starting at 280 CHF, $280 USD. Click the link above for a discount!
Start off your Lucerne adventure in the heart of the city on the banks of river Reuss which splits the city in two parts, the old and the new part connected by the famous bridges Chapel Bridge and Mill Bridge (Spreuerbrucke) with the iconic Jesuit church, founded in 1666.
Most tourists stick to the oldtown and primarily use Lucerne as a transfer hub to the Alps, but when you dig a bit deeper, you'll find gems like the Swiss Transport Museum, which houses the biggest Space museum in Europe complete with Mars rovers and a gravity transformer. My favorite exhibit was the massive pile of Swiss road sighs on their courtyard.
According to the locals, a day trip to Mount Rigi is actually more rewarding than Mount Pilatus for its wide-stretched 360 views of Central Switzerland. At the peak you have a clear view of 125 Alpine peaks and 13 lakes. Get there by ferry and the classic Mount Rigi cogwheel train, the oldest mountain railway in Europe.
At the top of Mount Rigi you can grab a delicious Swiss lunch and a schnapps, calories you'll need for the best activity on Rigi; Sledding down the mountain, the most fun way to go back to Lucerne. Rent a sled for just 20 Swiss francs, $20 US dollars. The course is a dedicated track with excellent views.
Do not underestimate Lucerne, it has an incredible nightlife scene considered second to Zurich, which is Switzerland best. Great places for a drink include the Black Sheep, Roadhouse bar and Penthouse for its large dancefloor and great views of the Lucerne skyline. If you rather prefer something high-class and low-key visit the Grand Casino of Lucerne for a few bets. The casino even has a giant nightclub right next to it.
In conclusion, Lucerne is a very cozy town with a ton of fun attractions to easily keep you occupied for a couple of days. If you come during winter, consider adding Mount Titlis to your bucket list if you want some proper skiing or snowboarding. Located in Engelberg, less than an hour train ride from Lucerne. Go watch my complete travel guide on Engelberg.
Also, do not forget to purchase the Swiss Travel Railway Pass which will save you a ton of money on transportation for boats, buses, trains, cable cars and 480 museums. Worth every penny!