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Nestled between soaring alpine mountains and the shimmering turquoise waters of Lake Lucerne sits the historic town of Lucerne. This beautiful Swiss village has become quite a popular tourist location over the last couple of years and for a good reason. Lucerne’s buildings and bridges have been well preserved since the Middle Ages, offering visitors a chance to step back in time and admire architectural wonders that have stood for hundreds of years. The town is also surrounded by plenty of natural wonders and incredible viewpoints, which is perfect for those looking to enjoy outdoor activities while visiting Switzerland. From top-rated museums to gravity-defying cogwheel trains and cheese fondue, we here at Road Affair don’t want to miss out on any of Lucerne’s attractions! That is why we have crafted this list of the best things to do in Lucerne, so you can spend more time packing and less time planning.
Several of the attractions below are included in the Swiss Travel Pass. The travel pass includes unlimited travel on public transport, including boats, trains, and buses, in 41 cities across Switzerland. A Swiss Museum Pass is also included in the package, which covers several of the museums listed below!
If you plan on visiting multiple museums in Lucerne but don’t want to bite the bullet on the full Swiss Travel Pass, you can also purchase the digital Lucerne Museum Pass, which includes entrance to nine museums for two consecutive days.
- 1 Walk Across Chapel Bridge and Spreuer Bridge
- 2 Snap a Picture of the Lion Monument
- 3 Explore Meggenhorn Castle
- 4 Ride Europe’s Oldest Cogwheel Railway Up Mount Rigi
- 5 Ride the World’s Steepest Cogwheel Train Up Mount Pilatus
- 6 Go on a Boat Cruise of Lake Lucerne
- 7 Visit the Swiss Transport Museum
- 8 Admire Baroque Architecture at the Jesuit Church St. Francis Xavier
- 9 Take a Guided Tour of Old Town
- 10 Try Your Luck at Lucerne Grand Casino
- 11 Soar Up the Hammetschwand Elevator for an Incredible View
- 12 Explore the Glacier Garden of Lucerne
- 13 Visit the Church of St. Leodegar
- 14 View Picasso’s Works at the Rosengart Collection Museum
- 15 Learn About Nature at the Lucerne Natural History Museum
- 16 Get Your Game on at Gameorama
- 17 Learn About Local History at the History Museum
- 18 Go For a Dip at Strandbad Lido
- 19 Enjoy Winter Activities at Bergbahnen Sörenberg or Sattel-Hochstuckli
- 20 Walk the Museggmauer to the Zytturm Tower
- 21 Learn about the Legendary Composer at the Richard Wagner Museum
- 22 Visit the Bourbaki Panorama
- 23 Check Out One of Lucerne’s Outdoor Markets
- 24 Catch a Concert at the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre
- 25 Try Swiss Delicacies
- 26 Informasi Tempat Wisata Alam di Dunia
Walk Across Chapel Bridge and Spreuer Bridge
Perhaps some of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, the Chapel Bridge and Spreuer Bridge are absolute must-sees for visitors sightseeing in Lucerne.
Chapel Bridge, or the Kapellbrücke in Swiss German, is easily the more popular of the two bridges as it stretches diagonally across the mouth of the Reuss that runs into Lake Lucerne. The wooden bridge is Europe’s oldest covered bridge, dating back to the 14th century as part of the town’s original fortifications. Today, visitors can walk across the bridge and snap the ultimate holiday photo with the river and town in the background. The cherry on top of this gorgeous attraction is the 13th-century stone round tower built beside the bridge, which has led the tower and bridge to become one of the most iconic and popular photo spots in all of Switzerland.
Spreuer Bridge is also located over the Reuss, a short walk from Chapel Bridge. This covered wooden pedestrian bridge offers a bit of a different stroll than that of Chapel Bridge. While Chapel Bridge has the iconic tower and town views, Spreuer Bridge features 67 paintings that depict death and the journey behind it, which is why its nickname is Death Bridge! It may sound like a morbid idea to have a 15th-century bridge with death-themed paintings, but it is to serve as a reminder that we as humans are not immortal. Death will come to us all, regardless of your wealth, age, or power.
Snap a Picture of the Lion Monument
The Lion Monument is one of the best tourist attractions in Lucerne as it’s not only an inspiring art piece but also a reflection on Swiss history. This massive sandstone monument was sculpted into a rocky cliffside on the outskirts of town, surrounded by the tranquility of calm waters and lush vegetation. The Lion Monument depicts a dying lion lying on the ground with an intense face of pain and sadness. This moving and emotional sculpture was unveiled in the early 19th century as a monument dedicated to the Swiss guards who died during the storming of Tuileries Palace by revolutionists during the French Revolution in 1792. Today, tourists can visit the Lion Monument and learn more about the events that inspired this iconic landmark. Since visitors cannot get directly up close to the lion (as it’s on a cliff), it’s best to visit the Lion’s monument in the early morning or late afternoon as the sunlight will shine on an angle allowing more of the carved detail to be seen and photographed.
Explore Meggenhorn Castle
If you’re looking to explore Swiss castles while in Lucerne, then look no further than Meggenhorn Castle. This elegant 19th-century castle is located on a small peninsula on Lake Lucerne, roughly four miles from downtown Lucerne. It is a very easy attraction to get to on your own as it’s only a 10-minute drive from town or a 15-minute bus ride (with a five-minute walk to the castle). However, be aware there is very limited parking on the property. In the summertime, you can also opt to take the 30-minute ferry from Lucerne to Meggenhorn.
Meggenhorn Castle was modeled after Château de Chambord, a French castle set in the Loire Valley. The estate has plenty to explore free of charge, like a vineyard, a family playground with farm animals, a Gothic-style chapel, a café, and a gorgeous garden with mountain views. There is also a path that leads down to the waterfront area where you can set up a picnic or go for a dip in the lake. If you’re looking to explore the inside of the castle, you can only do so on Sundays and public holidays between April and October.
Ride Europe’s Oldest Cogwheel Railway Up Mount Rigi
There are many ways to explore the beauty of Mount Rigi, but the most unique way to get to the top is by riding on Europe’s oldest cogwheel railway. For non-train enthusiasts, cogwheel trains (also known as rack railways) are similar to conventional railways but have horizontal gears and additional toothed rail between the regular rail to allow the locomotive to climb at steeper levels than regular trains. Mount Rigi is home to the very first of these tracks, which ran its first course from Vitznau to Rigi Staffelhöhe in May of 1871. Those looking to ride this historic route can do so all year round, with special historic trips on the Car 6 (Queen of the Mountain) running on Wednesdays from Vitznau. Car 6 is the oldest cogwheel train in the world and has been operating for 108 years. It takes about 30 minutes for the train to reach the top of Mount Rigi, and it makes about eight stops along the way. There is a restaurant at the top, along with several hiking trails. The best time to ride the train is at sunset as visitors will get to watch the colors reflected off of Lake Lucerne and the sun cast dramatic lighting on the Swiss mountains.
Visitors can opt to purchase a one-way or roundtrip ticket to the top. Some visitors like to purchase a one-way ticket so that they can hike down the mountain. It’s also possible to go up and down Mount Rigi via aerial cable car from several other locations around the mountain. Just be aware these stations aren’t always close to each other.
Ride the World’s Steepest Cogwheel Train Up Mount Pilatus
Speaking of ways to get around mountains, another fantastic alpine area to explore is Mount Pilatus. While Mount Rigi is home to the oldest cogwheel track in Europe, Mount Pilatus is home to the steepest cogwheel rail in the world with a gradient of 48%. However, if that sounds a bit too much for you, you can also opt to get to the top of the mountain by aerial cable car or panorama gondolas. The gondolas, aerial cars, and cogwheel trains all leave from different stations in different towns around the mountain. If you want to ride the steep cogwheel train, you can only do so to and from Alpnachstad. Alternatively, you could book a Golden Round Trip Ticket that takes you by boat from Lucerne to Alpnachstad, then up to Pilatus Kulm (the top) via the cogwheel train, and then down to Kriens via aerial cableways and panoramic gondola. The Silver Round Trip Ticket offers the same journey except you take a train to Alpnachstad instead of a boat.
Once at Pilatus Kulm, you’ll find a selection of restaurants and shops, along with a hotel. There are plenty of hiking trails and observation decks to explore, as well as experiences like paragliding and guided hikes. During the holiday season, Pilatus’ Christmas Market is also set up, which is Europe’s highest Christmas market.
There are plenty of other activities to enjoy on Mount Pilatus at the village stations around the mountain. For a truly unique experience, make your way to Fräkmüntegg. Here, you can ride Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan run, conquer your fear of heights on their treetop adventure course and rope park, or zip across the mountain on the Dragon Glider. You can see more information on things to do in the mountain region on the Pilatus official website. Make sure to look at their events page as they often host unique experiences like mountain raves and seminars!
Go on a Boat Cruise of Lake Lucerne
One activity in Lucerne you can’t miss is a boat tour of Lake Lucerne. A relaxing lake cruise is the perfect way to explore Lucerne, the surrounding nature, and the attractions on the lake. We recommend booking this one-hour panoramic yacht cruise of Lake Lucerne as it will take you past several of the lake’s attractions like Mattenhorn Castle and the Richard Wagner Museum. The cruise includes an audio guide in several languages via an app and there is food and drinks available for purchase on board. Another option is to book this first-class lunchtime cruise, which will take you on a two-hour cruise of the lake while being served a locally sourced gourmet three-course meal.
If you’re also planning on visiting Mount Pilatus, then consider booking this combo ticket which includes transportation to Kriens, a cable car ride up to Pilatus Klum, hiking at the top of the mountain, the cogwheel train ride down the mountain, and finishes with a guided one-hour lake tour of Lake Lucerne.
Visit the Swiss Transport Museum
A fun thing to do in Lucerne for the whole family is to visit the Swiss Transport Museum. This massive complex is home to a plethora of interactive exhibits on aircraft, energy, communication technology, trains, and automobiles, plus an entire exhibit on Swiss artist Hanz Erni and his works. There is also a planetarium and a 3D theater that is home to Switzerland’s largest movie screen. Visitors can purchase an entrance ticket for the Swiss Transportation Museum, which includes access to Media World and all the permanent and temporary exhibits in the museum, or they can purchase a Swiss Transport Museum full-day pass, which allows access to all of the above-mentioned areas plus the FilmTheater, the Planetarium, and the Swiss Chocolate Experience. Alternatively, you can purchase a ticket for the Swiss Chocolate Experience on its own.
Admire Baroque Architecture at the Jesuit Church St. Francis Xavier
This Baroque Catholic church is the ideal place to visit in Lucerne for anyone who appreciates beautiful architecture. This isn’t your average church though, as it was Switzerland’s first Baroque-style building built back in 1677. The church was modeled after Rome’s Church of the Gesù and features baroque and rococo stucco, faux marble side altars, and a stunning painted ceiling. This is a fantastic free thing to do in Lucerne for those with an eye for the arts!
Take a Guided Tour of Old Town
Seeing as Lucerne is steeped in so much history dating back to the Middle Ages, visitors should book a guided walking tour with a local so that they can understand the landmarks and monuments that make Lucerne so incredible. A guided walking tour also allows tourists to familiarize themselves with the city streets and ask for personal recommendations on places to eat or things to do. This one-and-a-half-hour guided walking tour will take visitors to all the top sights in the city, including Chapel Bridge, the Culture and Congress Centre, Museggmauer, and Old Town. Another option is to book this five-star rated private walking tour with a local.
Try Your Luck at Lucerne Grand Casino
Spend an evening playing against the house at the Lucerne Grand Casino. The casino is ideally located right across the road from Lake Lucerne and the Lucerne Promenade. Visitors can enjoy a meal with exceptional views of the water at the award-winning on-site restaurant Olivo, then make their way over to the games area to try their luck at blackjack, roulette, or slot machines. There are also Texas Hold’Em and Ultimate Poker tables. The building the casino is located in was built in 1882 in a beautiful neo-baroque style that is noticeable in each of the casino rooms. Visitors will have to abide by the dress code if they plan to head into the casino, but it’s fairly lax. Jeans are allowed, but shorts, inappropriate graphic tees, sleeveless shirts, sportswear, sunglasses, hats, flip-flops, and dirty shoes or clothes are not allowed.
Soar Up the Hammetschwand Elevator for an Incredible View
Lucerne has plenty of ways to get up to observation decks and viewpoints, but one of the most unique ways is to ride the Hammetschwand Elevator, the highest outdoor elevator in all of Europe. The elevator is part of Burgenstock Resort and Hotel on the south end of Lake Lucerne. However, you don’t need to stay at the hotel to access the hike and elevator. Visitors can take the ferry or drive to Burgenstock. From here, there is a 30-minute hike along the Cliff Walk overlooking Lake Lucerne before reaching the Hammetschwand Elevator. Visitors will need to purchase a ticket to ride the panoramic glass elevator 500 feet up to the Hammetschwand summit. Once at the top, visitors can set up a picnic or get a table at the on-site restaurant to enjoy a bite to eat and take in unmatched views of the lake and the town of Lucerne. There is also an observation deck nearby.
Explore the Glacier Garden of Lucerne
Another outstanding Lucerne tourist attraction is the Glacier Garden of Lucerne. Here, visitors can roam the local history museum and find interesting exhibits on the ice age, climate change, glaciers, animals, local Swiss history, and more. Some of the highlights of the museum include the fairytale-inspired Mirror Maze, the underground geological hall, and the Glacier Garden. Visitors will also get a fantastic panoramic view from the museum’s observation tower! The Glacier Garden of Lucerne is a great place to visit for visitors of all ages and is open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. in the summer and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the winter.
Visit the Church of St. Leodegar
The Church of St. Leodegar is another monumental landmark church to add to your Lucerne itinerary. This beautiful Benedictine church is the most important Renaissance church in all of Switzerland as it was one of the first few built north of the Alps during the Thirty Years War. The Parish church has a very long and interesting history, with the church grounds dating back to 730 when the first church building was erected. Much of what you’ll see of the church today is from the 16th and 17th centuries due to fire damage, but the two-towered church remains an icon of the city. Inside, visitors will find a striking high altar made from black Unterwalden marble and ornate wooden pews which stand out in stark contrast to the white stone interior. The outside of the church is just as spectacular with its Romanesque twin towers and its large detailed front doors depicting Saint Leger on the left and Saint Maurice on the right.
View Picasso’s Works at the Rosengart Collection Museum
If you’re a fan of European art, specifically cubism, then you have to add the Rosengart Collection Museum (Sammlung Rosengart) to your Lucerne itinerary.
This art museum in Lucerne focuses its collection on the modern works of two artists, Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee. You’ll find several familiar masterpieces inside, including Picasso’s “The Young Ladies of Avignon.” In fact, there are over 120 works by Klee, with one floor dedicated to his artworks, a second floor dedicated to Picasso, and a third floor dedicated to 20 or so lesser-known artists who specialize in modernist, classic, and impressionist art. The museum organizes the layout of the works in chronological order, offering a glimpse into the progression and changes these artists made throughout their careers to impact the world of art.
Learn About Nature at the Lucerne Natural History Museum
Those with an interest in life’s wonders or who are looking for a kid-friendly museum in Lucerne should make their way to the Lucerne Natural History Museum. Here, you’ll find plenty of fascinating and interactive exhibits on all things Mother Nature, from an extensive bug display exhibit to solar systems and ecosystems, you are sure to learn and see some fascinating objects in this museum. The Lucerne Natural History Museum is located on the southern bank of the Reuss beside the Spreuer Bridge.
Get Your Game on at Gameorama
It’s time to get competitive and bring your group down to Gameorama for an afternoon of friendly competition and games! This gaming museum in Lucerne features hundreds of board games, strategy games, old console games, and even pinball machines so you have a large range of games to choose from to play. Some of the highlights of the museum include the Ms. Pacman arcade game, an Apple II computer from 1977, and an Atari 2600. Gameorama also boasts a Virtual Reality Arena for rent and an outdoor escape room.
Learn About Local History at the History Museum
The History Museum of Lucerne is a great attraction to visit if you’re curious about local and Swiss history. Upon arrival, you’ll be given a tablet which you can use to scan barcodes around the museum to learn more about the exhibits and objects. You’ll find a great collection of regional archeological finds in the museum, from everyday items like corsets and children’s toys to Roman-period chainmail and ancient weapons. 30-minute guided tours are also available upon request for those who want a quick highlight tour of the museum.
Go For a Dip at Strandbad Lido
This lakefront swimming area is the perfect place to set up camp on a hot summer’s day. Located on the west side of the town near the Swiss Transport Museum, Strandbad Lido is easily the best place to go swimming in Lucerne. Visitors can set up chairs on the sandy beach, jump off the dock into the refreshing waters of Lake Lucerne, let the kids run free on the playground, or let the little ones splash around in the kid’s pool. There are also lockers available for rent, a café serving food and drinks, on-site washrooms, and a store selling towels and other beach accessories.
Enjoy Winter Activities at Bergbahnen Sörenberg or Sattel-Hochstuckli
Are you planning on visiting Switzerland in the winter and are wondering what to do in Lucerne? Well, with the mountains all around you, why not hit some fresh powder and go skiing, tobogganing, or snowshoeing?
There are a few ski resorts near Lucerne, and the best one depends on what you are looking to experience. For those who are beginner skiers/boarders, check out Sattel-Hochstuckli located a 40-minute drive from Lucerne. Here, you can ride on seven kilometers of well-groomed trails, enjoy a stroll on the lantern walkway, book a guided snowshoe tour, go sledding or night sledding, ride the world’s first revolving gondola, and much more! This resort is packed with great outdoor activities for both the summer and winter and even offers a fantastic fondue experience in the wintertime from its open-air terrace that overlooks Mount Rigi.
If you’re a more experienced skier/snowboarder, then check out the slopes at Bergbahnen Sörenberg, located an hour’s drive from Lucerne. Here, you can ride on 53 kilometers of groomed trails ranging from beginner to advanced. Advanced riders can ride down Lucerne’s highest peak using a Brienzer Rothorn cable car. Other experiences available at Bergbahnen Sörenberg include night skiing, groomed winter hiking paths, tobogganing and night tobogganing, and spa treatments.
Walk the Museggmauer to the Zytturm Tower
The Museggmauer, also known as the Musegg Wall, is a stone wall with nine towers dating back to the 13th century and a must-see in Lucerne for tourists. The wall served as Lucerne’s old fortifications and it still completely encompasses Old Town. Visitors can roam the old fortification free of charge, enjoying jaw-dropping views of the town while exploring some of the old towers. Perhaps the most notable tower in the defense wall is the Zytturm (or Zyt) Tower, which features a large clock big enough to be seen by fishermen on the lake. The tower clock’s bell, the Leodegar Bell, rings out every hour one minute earlier than all the other church bells in town. Visitors can climb the steep steps of the Zyt to see the inner workings of the clock and for a rewarding view of Lake Lucerne and the city.
Learn about the Legendary Composer at the Richard Wagner Museum
Richard Wagner was one of the most influential German composers of all time and is responsible for some of the most recognizable compositions in Opera. His effect on the world of music was truly revolutionary, but if you haven’t heard of this legendary composer, then that’s all the more reason to visit the museum dedicated to him in Lucerne!
The Richard Wagner Museum is set in a 15th-century building that was once the home of the famed composer. Here, you’ll find six exhibits about Richard Wagner covering his early works and personal life all the way to his later compositions that greatly influenced classical music. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. but closes for a winter break from December to March. Audio guides are included in an entrance ticket, but you must bring your own headphones.
Visit the Bourbaki Panorama
Lucerne has no shortage of fantastic museums, and the Bourbaki Panorama is no exception. This museum focuses on global understanding and its centerpiece is the 1881 painting by Geneva artist Edouard Castres known as the ‘Bourbaki Panorama’. This large painting depicts scenes from the Franco-German War of 1871 when 87,000 French soldiers sought refuge in neutral Switzerland. The Swiss accepted these men who were mentally and physically damaged from the war and allowed them to stay in their towns and receive care for the remainder of the war. The ‘Bourbaki Panorama’ has a lot to say about our ethos, what we owe to each other as a society, and how military war affects civilians. With this in mind, the museum also showcases several other paintings and artworks that speak to the same humanistic questions.
Check Out One of Lucerne’s Outdoor Markets
Is there anything better than strolling through a market with the smell of fresh bread wafting through the air? Well, Lucerne has plenty of these markets for you to enjoy! Whether you’re looking to purchase local artisan wares or simply sample some of the produce and cheese, the markets of Lucerne have everything you could ask for.
The Markthalle Luzern is easily the most popular as it’s centrally located in Lucerne’s railway station. Here, you’ll find seasonal produce, takeaway lunches, and snacks all sourced from local farms. The Markthalle Luzern is open 365 days a year.
The Craft Market is held on the first Saturday of every month from April until December and is an excellent spot to find trinkets and one-of-a-kind wares. You’ll find plenty of fantastic artisan works like leatherware, ceramics, jewelry, and more. The market is held in the Weinmarkt in Old Town.
Another excellent market to visit in Lucerne is the Wochenmarkt, which features fresh-baked bread, vegetables, Swiss cheese, and many more locally sourced delicacies. The Wochenmarkt is held weekly on both banks of the Reuss at Rathausquai and Unter der Egg (right bank) and the Jesuitenplatz and Bahnhofstrasse (left bank). The market is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 12 p.m., with the addition of a larger market at Helvetiagärtli on Saturdays.
Catch a Concert at the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre
The Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre is a great tourist attraction for visitors in Lucerne. This multi-purpose complex is home to the Kunstmuseum Luzern, an art museum housing several works ranging from Renaissance to present-day artworks. The museum focuses on historical works that have reference to Central Switzerland, as well as Central Swiss artists who have had an impact nationally and internationally in the art world. While the museum is a great attraction, it’s not the only place worth visiting in this complex. The Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre is also home to a phenomenal, world-renowned Concert Hall designed by Russel Johnson, an American architect with a knack for transforming spaces into outstanding acoustical experiences. The hall is also beautifully designed and features a unique 1:1:2 spatial ratio for optimal acoustics. The venue regularly hosts lunch and evening shows which you can find scheduled on their official website.
Try Swiss Delicacies
Switzerland is known for many delicacies that you shouldn’t miss out on while visiting Lucerne. Aside from the obvious Swiss cheese and Swiss chocolate, you may be wondering what other regional dishes you should keep an eye out for when dining out in the town. Well, the first is Älplermagronen, a regional dish from Central Switzerland. Älplermagronen is essentially like Swiss mac and cheese topped with cheese, onions, and sometimes bacon. An authentic Älplermagronen is also served with stewed apples on the side. Another must-try food in Lucerne is the Luzerner Chügelipastete, a traditional Lucerne meat pie dating back to the 18th century stuffed with sausage, mushrooms, veal, raisins, and onions in a creamy sauce. One of the best places to try this dish is at Wirtshaus Galliker. Other Central Swiss dishes to try include Hafenchabis, a cabbage stew made with pork or lamb, and Stunggis, a vegetable stew made with pork. If you are sampling cheeses in the region, make sure to try the regional hard cheese known as Sbrinz!
Other non-regional Swiss dishes to try include Raclette, Roti, and cheese fondue. These can be found in many restaurants and markets in Lucerne.
Whether you’re a foodie, outdoor enthusiast, or an art lover, we hope we have tickled your fancy with this list of the top things to do in Lucerne. If you’re only planning on staying in the town for a day, then check out our one-day Lucerne itinerary to get the most out of your trip to the city of bridges!
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