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Things to do in Lucerne, Switzerland: city center and surroundings

Lucerne is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland and a place that should not be missing in your travel itinerary. This Swiss town is surrounded by nature, like many others in the Alpine country. Highlights include the Reuss River, Four Cantons Lake and the amazing Mount Pilatus, one of the symbols of Lucerne. In this article, we'll discuss the best things to do in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Apart from drawing attention to the attractive and unique nature that surrounds the city, Lucerne has a charming historic center. Among its streets, the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) attracts much of the attention as it is the best-known and most photographed place in Lucerne. However, once you begin to visit other corners of the city, you will realize that Lucerne offers much more.

Table of contents

Top things to do in Lucerne, Switzerland

Ready to discover the best places to visit in Lucerne, Switzerland? Let’s begin!

1. Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a must-see place in Lucerne

Kapellbrücke

A walk through Lucerne (Switzerland) must begin at Kapellbrücke, which in English means Chapel Bridge. This famous wooden bridge crosses the Reuss River and connects the old part with the new part of Lucerne through its 170 meter length.

Its beauty will be the first thing that catches your eye. However, the Chapel Bridge hides other curiosities that you will love to discover. For example, did you know that it is the oldest covered bridge in Europe? Although it has undergone some renovation, its origin is from the 14th century.

Once you reach the bridge, you will see that on one side there is a tower. This tower has been used as a jail, archive, treasury and torture chamber. Another detail that you cannot miss is hidden under the roof of the bridge. When you walk inside you will see a series of pieces of art drawn on wooden panels. These narrate various historical events of the city.

2. Spreuer Bridge

what to see in Lucerne

Chapel Bridge is not the only wooden bridge in Lucerne. There is another bridge also full of beauty and mystery, called the Spreuer Bridge. It was built in 1408 and its name comes from the word “spreu”, which means straw. This is because, originally, flour mills were allowed to dump their waste into the river from it.

Inside this bridge you will also find a series of paintings. They were painted by Caspar Meglinger between 1625 and 1635. They speak of the Dance of Death, a very fashionable genre in the Middle Ages. The small chapel incorporated into the same bridge will also call your attention.

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3. Jesuitenkirche, Jesuit church in Lucerne

Jesuitenkirche

Another place that will catch your attention once you set foot in the center of Lucerne will be the Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche). Located next to the Reuss River, its two towers will make you unable to take your eyes off it. Come and discover the interior of the first baroque-style sacred building built in Switzerland. Its construction began in 1666 and its consecration took place in 1677.

Its baroque and rococo stuccoes, its main altar, its organ and treasure stand out. In addition, the interior has very good acoustics, which is why this church is also used to host concerts today.

4. Monumento al León, otro de los símbolos de Lucerna

monumento al leon lucerna

About a ten minute walk from the historic center, you will find the Lion Monument, another of the symbols of Lucerne. It is a sculpture carved into a rock wall by Bertel Thorvaldsen between 1819 and 1821. It was created in honor of the 760 mercenaries of the Swiss Guard who died in the assault on the Tuileries Palace in 1792, during the French Revolution.

5. Centro de Cultura y Congresos de Lucerna, Suiza

Centro de Cultura y Congresos de Lucerna
kkl luzern

Let’s talk about another of the most spectacular architectural works in Lucerne, the Lucerne Culture and Congress Center, known as KKL Luzern. It was designed by French architect and designer Jean Nouvel and American acoustic engineer Russell Johnson. The KKL Luzern was built between the years 1995 and 2000.

The building is divided into three parts: the convention center, a multifunctional room and the concert hall, considered one of the best in the world. I was able to visit it on my last trip to Lucerne, it is a real beauty. One of the details that will most attract your attention in the infrastructure is the integration of water into the building.

Guided tours can be booked on the KKL Luzern website. I highly recommend it if you want to enjoy a different and unique activity in Lucerne.

6. The Church of St. Leodegar

Things to do in Lucerne

The Church of Saint Leodegar is the main religious building in the city of Lucerne, Switzerland. It is also the most important church from the Renaissance period in Switzerland. The church dates back to the 8th century, when southern German noblemen founded a small monastery on the site where this church stands today, also known as the Hofkirche.

The current church was built between the years 1633 and 1639, after a fire destroyed the original structure. Admission is free. In it you can see the imposing 30-ton organ, built in 1640.

7. Musseg Ball

In the northern part of the historic center of Lucerne stands an ancient wall built in the 13th century. The wall has nine towers built in different styles. There is a part of this wall almost intact, which accepts visitors. There is also the possibility of going up to the towers, from which you can enjoy a beautiful landscape.

8. Visit the Old Town, one of the best things to do in Lucerne

Things to do in Lucerne

Although many of the best things to do in Lucerne have already been mentioned in this article, my recommendation is that you do not stop wandering the streets of this beautiful Swiss town. Walk aimlessly and discover corners full of magic, such as the facades full of paintings of some buildings.

Also, don’t forget to explore the surroundings of Lake Lucerne or even take a walk around it. Take a look at this boat trip in Lucerne and this catamaran trip on Four Cantons Lake.

9. Ufschötti, prairie and beach near the Lake

If you visit Lucerne in the summer and feel like having a nice bath, don’t hesitate to go to Ufschötti, a park with a beach located about a 15-minute walk from the historic center. Put on your swimsuit, take a towel, prepare something to eat and enjoy a swim in the lake like a local. The water in the Swiss lakes is incredibly clean and very cool. You will enjoy it a lot!

Another place you can go to if you feel like spending a morning or afternoon of sun and fresh water is Lido Beach House, a restaurant located next to a beach.

10. Swiss Museum of Transport

Things to do in Lucerne
Things to do in Lucerne

Lucerne is home to one of the most visited and interesting museums in the country, the Swiss Museum of Transport. It is also one of the most complete museums dedicated to mobility in Europe.

The collection has more than 3,000 objects located on an area of ​​more than 20,000 m². In it you will find exhibition rooms, simulations and thematic areas, thanks to which you will learn a great variety of data about the means of land, air and maritime transport.

You can purchase entrance tickets to the Swiss Museum of Transport here.

Things to do in Lucerne (Surroundings)

day trips from lucerne
Things to do in Lucerne

As you can see, the city of Lucerne is full of amazing places to visit. However, another of the great attractions of this destination is its surroundings. From the city it is possible to easily reach many natural wonders in the canton of Lucerne, where you can enjoy numerous activities.

I’ll share some of the best day trips from Lucerne:

– Day trip to Mount Pilatus. It is possible to see Mount Pilatus from the center of Lucerne. However, if you feel a bit adventurous, a very good idea is to take a trip to the top of the mountain, more than 2000 meters above sea level. It is possible to access it by rack railway or by cable car. What is usually done is to go in one mode of transport and return in another. You can purchase all the tickets together and go on your own or book a guided tour.

– Horseback riding through the Entlebuch biosphere. Swamps, peaks, alpine pastures… All this is part of this natural space located on the outskirts of Lucerne, which can be discovered through various activities. I was able to go through part of it through a horseback ride with the family company Stucki Trekking. The guide does not speak much English but he is very nice. We took a break in a typical Swiss house where we had a warm coffee.

– Day trip to Mount Titlis. Outside the canton of Lucerne is this mountain, just over 3,000 meters high, which offers spectacular views, as well as various activities. You can walk the suspension bridge, see the glaciers or go into the ice cave. To get to Titlis from Lucerne, all you have to do is take a train to Engelberg and then take the cable car. You can also book an organized day tour to Titlis from Lucerne.

-Stanserhorn Summit. One of the tours that I enjoyed the most on my last trip to Lucerne (Switzerland) was the ascent to the Stanserhorn. To get to the top of this mountain, it is necessary to take the train from Lucerne to Stans. Then you have to take a rack railway and a cable car. One of the highlights of this tour is the cable car, since it has an outdoor upper floor. Once you reach the top of the Stanserhorn you can enjoy the incredible scenery and have something to eat at the restaurant.

– Hammetschwand lift and Felsenweg path. If you feel like walking along a path with spectacular views and taking this famous 152.8 meter high lift, this tour is for you. If you are interested, I recommend you read this article about that place.

– Day trip to Jungfraujoch. If you are in Switzerland, you should not miss the opportunity to go up to Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe. At the top of this mountain is the highest train station in Europe. To get here, you first have to go to Grindelwald. Here you must take a cable car to Eigergletscher, where you will take the rack railway to Jungfraujoch. If you prefer, you can book an organized tour to Jungfraujoch from Lucerne.

Where to stay in Lucerne

I stayed at Hotel Continental Park Luzern for 3 nights. The location of the hotel is very good as it is next to the historic center and next to the train station. In this way, if you plan to go on any tours, it will only take a couple of minutes to get to the train. The breakfast was amazing. I highly recommend it!

If you prefer staying in a slightly less expensive hotel, take a look at the Hotel Bettstatt-Neustadt. It is a little further away from the historic center but it is good value for money.

Search for hotels located in the historic center of Lucerne.
↠ Post: Where to stay in Lucerne.

How to get to Lucerne and get around

switzerland
switzerland

The easiest way to get to Lucerne is by flying to Zurich and then taking a bus or train to Lucerne. I flew to Switzerland with the Swiss Air.

Depending on what you plan to do in the city of Lucerne and in the rest of the country, it is advisable to get the Swiss Travel Pass card. This allows you to use the entire network of trains, buses, boats and also gives you a 50% discount on mountain excursions. You can see all the information about this card on the Swiss Travel System website.

Lucerne is a small city, therefore you will be able to get around on foot. However, in this article I mention some places, such as the Lido Beach House or the Swiss Museum of Transport, which are a bit further away. In these cases, I recommend taking a bus or a boat.

Map of things to do in Lucerne, Switzerland

In the following map of Lucerne you can see marked all the places to visit in the city mentioned in this article. In addition, I have also indicated the two hotels in Lucerne (Switzerland) that I recommend, with their respective links to Booking.

If you need more information about Lucerne, I recommend you take a look at the official website of Lucerne. It is in English but if you understand it, it will be very useful. You can also visit the official website of Switzerland to prepare your trip to the rest of the country.

I hope this article on what to see in Lucerne has been very useful for you to organize your trip to this beautiful Swiss city. If you want to tell me about your experience or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or write me by email. Until next time travelers!

Do not miss all my tips for traveling to Switzerland and my Switzerland travel guide to know all the information about this country.

↠ Book free tours and guided visits on Civitatis or GetYourGuide. I always use these platforms to check what organized activities there are at my destination.

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↠ Check out Booking’s offers, a platform I always use, as I always find very good options thanks to its search engine with filters.

↠ For destinations where I need to rent a car, I always check Discover Cars and Auto Europe search engines. I recommend them!

↠ If you still need to buy flights for your trip, there is no better search engine than Skyscanner (although I always recommend booking the flight on the company’s website).

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