9 Best Things to do in Lucerne
Lucerne (or Lozärn as the locals call it) is the most popular tourist vacation spot in Switzerland. It is a small town nested between the lovely snow-capped mountains and Lake Lucerne.
The city is picturesque and lovely, with several sights and activities your whole family can take part in. The town is small, easy to explore, and rich in history with several sites and structures that have been properly preserved.
If you’re a first-time tourist, it can be difficult to decide on what activities to do and where to spend your time, especially since the town has so many attractive places to see. That is why we have created this guide that includes a selection of the main attractions and activities to do in this warm and welcoming city. To ensure that you get the most out of your trip, we also provide advice on the best transport mode.
Here are the very best activities to do in Lucerne, starting with the main sights and attractions in the city itself:
Take a trip to Mount Pilatus
The mountain peaks of Lucerne are some of its most notable features. One of these peaks stands above 2000 meters to the south and is certain to catch your eye. This is Mount Pilatus or “Dragon Mountain” as it is fondly called. It is one of the most notable attractions in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The term “Dragon mountain” is a folkloric reference and has its origins in the Middle Ages. It was believed at the time that dragons with healing powers lived atop the mountain. Although we are confident that you won’t find any dragons if you look, we can promise you a fun time and an amazing panoramic 360-degree view.
Visit Mount Rigi
Mount Rigi (Rigi Kulm) often known as the Queen of the Mountains or Rigi Kulm, is equally as impressive as Mount Pilatus and is worth a day trip on its own. It is a well-known alpine location close to Lucerne, directly over the lake from Mount Pilatus. As a result, the views from the mountain are different. A day trip to Mount Rigi is a traditional Swiss mountain experience, complete with various transportation choices, such as the old Vitznau-Rigi railway, lovely landscapes, and a range of enjoyable outdoor activities.
Take a ride around Old Town
An e-bike ride through the historical Lucerne old town is a must-do activity if you’re a tourist in Lucerne. Riding around the Old Town feels a lot like travelling back in time. The city’s old buildings have been well-preserved.
Old Town is entirely pedestrianized and quite small, so, it’s easy to take a walk or ride an e-bike around the entire town. No matter which path you choose, there will be plenty of chances to take stunning and unforgettable pictures.
Old town has many aesthetic structures with paintings that tell stories. Along the wonderful ride, you’ll also come across several stunning old churches, several fountain squares, and well-preserved city towers and walls. They are all distinct and have unique histories.
Some of the most charming squares to visit in Old town
- Weinmarkt- where Lucerne’s most beautiful fountain is located
- Mühlenplatz – Lucerne’s largest square
- Kornmarkt- which hosts Lucerne’s Renaissance-style town hall
- Hirschenplatz- which has very` lovely traditional homes.
Old Town is also a great place to buy original Swiss souvenirs like watches, army knives, and chocolate, among other things. The Town Hall Square fruit and vegetable market is another place you should set aside some time for. Market days are Tuesdays and Saturdays each week.
Visit the Jesuit Church
The Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche) is the first major baroque Catholic church to be constructed in Switzerland. It is located in the north of the mountains. The church’s construction started in 1667 and it was officially opened 10 years later with the side alters and high altar completed over the years.
The entire church’s interior is magnificent. Its exquisite woodworking and bright interior combine to make it a very special church. Despite how beautiful it is, the tour is quick, and you can easily fit it into your tour itinerary, so ensure you spend some time taking in the stunning view.
Although there is no entrance fee and the church is open all day, donations are welcome.
Go see the Lion Monument
The Lion monument (Löwendenkmal), a genuinely touching memorial, depicts a dying lion above a motionless pond. It honours the 760 Swiss troops who died in the 18th century supporting King Louis during the French Revolution. It is the oldest sculptural monument in Switzerland. The sculpture is exceptionally well-carved, and the Lion’s mournful expression is incredibly lifelike.
The inscriptions around the monument show historical information about the sculpture’s commissioning. It is a very interesting read.
Visit the Glacier Garden of Lucerne
The Glacier Garden of Lucerne (Gletschergarten Luzernstunning) is a natural Ice Age relic that is situated just beside the Lion Monument. It was first discovered in 1872.
It was originally carved out 20,000 years ago by retreating glaciers, and now it has potholes caused by glacial waterfalls. You can also see fossilized shrimp and palm fronds from 20 million years ago when the region was a subtropical seashore. Your experience will be enhanced by the projection of a fascinating animation on the rocky structures.
You can learn more about the ancient geology of the area by engaging with the interactive exhibits. The effects of glacier movement on the terrain are depicted in a working model, and the effects of climate change on our planet are explained. A former climber’s hut can also be seen, along with an observation tower that offers spectacular views of Lucerne all the way to Mount Pilatus
Take a walk or ride along Musegg Wall & Towers
Another fantastic thing to do in Lucerne is to take a walk or a bike ride along the Musegg Wall (or Lucern Ramparts Walk), which has nine towers. The Musegg wall and towers were initially built as a city fortification. It was constructed in the mid-14th and early 15th centuries and runs along the northern edge of the Old Town. Although you can’t walk the entire length of it, the part of the wall dating back from 1386 is practically intact.
It feels like a hidden gem because it’s a little bit away from the main attractions in the old town. Zyt Tower is the most popular of the 9 and it houses the oldest clock in Lucerne. Unlike other clocks in the city, it strikes the hour exactly one minute earlier! When you are inside, you can watch the mechanisms in action, and if you’re lucky enough to get there just before the hour strikes, you will hear the bell ring.
4 of the 9 towers are climbable in the summer and the panoramic views from each tower are magnificent, although many visitors only get to climb the Zyt Tower.
Visit Chapel Bridge
One of Lucerne’s most iconic landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke). The Bridge is the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge, and it was constructed in the early 14th century. It connects the right bank of the River Reuss with the Old Town of Lucerne by cutting across the river diagonally.
This wooden covered footbridge is in all travel guides and brochures— It is probably the most popular and most photographed site in Lucerne. The bridge has triangle paintings from the 17th century in its roof pediments, making it both historically and aesthetically noteworthy. These feature historical images of Lucerne as well as representations of the city’s patron saints. Crossing this bridge is a must-do tourist activity if you’re in Lucerne.
Go e-bike touring with Loop Tours
The best way to move around Lucerne is by Loop Tour’s e-bike tour. It’s a terrific new experience and a fun way to tour the city. Imagine riding away from the tourist crowd, yet being able to enjoy all the benefits of a bus trip, a Segway tour, a guide’s lecture and entertainment, and a stroll with friends in one convenient package.
By the time you’re done with the e-bike tour, you would basically become Swiss.
This tour is the world’s first electric cargo bike tour. You’re provided with easy-to-pedal bikes that require no major physical effort as each bike has an electric assist. After a brief orientation and some practice, you will be able to ride the e-bike yourself across town, taking in the beauty of Lucerne’s environs and seeing things that other tourists won’t get the chance to see. You will explore the peninsula of Horw and tour the non-touristy areas of Lucerne like local villages, and the Swiss chalets which are older than 400 years old. You can meet local farmers, roasters, producers, and growers in these non-touristy areas.
You will also learn about Switzerland’s history, geography, and culture during the guided tour, as well as the country’s customs, habits, and catchphrases.
At the end of your tour, you will be completely immersed in Swiss culture and would have built memories that stay with you forever.
Lucerne provides the full experience for every traveller, from Renaissance glass workshops to medieval buildings, delectable cuisine to chocolate factories, beautiful bridges to magnificent mountain views. Make your trip a special one and fully take in the culture of the city by visiting both the touristy and non-touristy on an e-bike. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.