view from chapel bridge in Lucerne

Is Lucerne Worth Visiting in 2024? TOP Things to do and Reasons to Visit

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Is Lucerne worth visiting?

Lucerne is one of the most beautiful and coveted places to visit in Switzerland. Nestled between mountains and resting beside a lake, Lucerne is made of awe-inspiring views. 

But more than that, there are plenty of things to do in Lucerne. From taking in the history of Old Town to climbing the mighty Alps, Lucerne absolutely should be added to your Switzerland itinerary.

Planning a trip? Use my go-to resources:

Is Lucerne Worth Visiting?

Short answer – yes. Long answer – absolutely, yes. 

Between its decorated history, neighboring mountains, stunning lake and rich culture, you’re sure to find something for everyone here. 

It was one of my favorite places to visit in all of Switzerland, so I confidently say Lucerne is worth a visit.

10 Reasons to Visit Lucerne

There are so many reasons to visit Lucerne. Here are my top 10 recommendations:

1. Chapel Bridge

Perhaps the most famous reason to visit Lucerne is walking Chapel Bridge. Chapel Bridge, known as ​​Kapellbrücke to the locals, is an almost 700’ footbridge crossing the Reuss, a river that runs through central Switzerland. 

The covered wooden bridge is the oldest in Europe, originally built in 1365. And, despite a fire in the summer of 1993, it still has one-third of the original interior paintings. 

While walking the footbridge, you’ll find local painters and musicians, making the experience even more delightful.

Chapel Bridge is a main attraction and a place worth visiting while exploring Lucerne.

chapel bridge is one reason Lucerne is worth visiting

2. Old Town

Old Town is full of captivating beauty, and a conveniently located walkway next to the river Reuss. 

Its history dates back to the 8th century. Originally a small fishing village, Old Town has flourished while still preserving its charm. It feels like you are back in the time of the Renaissance.

Old Town begins at Chapel Bridge and ends at Lucerne’s City Hall. It offers classic Europe patio dining at a number of different restaurants.

Our favorite dining experience in all of Switzerland was at Zunfthausrestaurant Pfistern, a restaurant in the heart of Old Town.

We experienced delicious dinners, even better desserts (the Coupe Dänemark was to-die-for), impeccable views, and very kind waitstaff.  

If you decide to eat at Zunfthausrestaurant Pfistern, I would recommend having a reservation, as it can get very busy during peak times.

view from chapel bridge in Lucerne

3. Jesuit Church

Jesuit Church is an impressive Catholic church and cornerstone of the Old Town in Lucerne. This was the first large Baroque church north of the Swiss Alps. 

Baroque churches are decorative and theatrical in style and became popularized in the early 17th century in Italy. Soon the new architecture trend spread throughout Europe. Today, it’s undoubtedly a monument worth seeing.

Jesuit Church Lucerne

4. Golden Tour of Mount Pilatus

One of the best things about Lucerne is its proximity to the Swiss Alps. Taking a tour of Mount Pilatus is a popular thing to do, and for good reason – it’s remarkable. 

Opt for the Golden Tour Ticket. You won’t want to miss all 6,983 feet of this gorgeous massif. Here are some of the things you’ll find while on the tour:  

Mount Pilatus offers the steepest cogwheel railway in the world. With 4,618 meters of line, you’ll witness 40 minutes of hikers ascending the mountain, ibex grazing, tunnels of pure limestone and spectacular views as far as the eye can see. 

Mount Pilatus

Once on the top of Mount Pilatus, you will find several hikes to explore, multiple viewpoints, Switzerland’s longest toboggan and paragliders running off the side of the mountain. 

There are gift shops and restaurants as well, all tastefully placed so as not to obstruct the breathtaking views.

On the way down, you’ll take in the views from the other side of the mountain. There you will ride the cable cars. 

The final leg of the Golden Tour is sailing across Lake Lucerne on a boat cruise. 

In total, the tour takes at least 4.5 hours. But I would plan for much longer than that. You could spend 4 hours mesmerized by the panorama of the landscape. So plan for closer to 6 or 8 hours on this tour.

And make sure to bring a jacket! Being seven thousand feet above sea level makes for cooler weather, even on a warm summer day.

If you’re visiting Lucerne in winter, the Golden Tour might not be available. For more information about tours and tickets to Mount Pilatus, click here.

5. Mount Rigi

Mount Rigi, also known as the Queen of Mountains, is a massif located on the East side of Lucerne. 

At 5,897 feet above sea level, Mount Rigi offers hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, toboggan runs, paragliding and even horse-drawn carriage rides. It’s also equipped with a rope park, hotels, restaurants and Mineralbad & Spa Rigi Kaltbad

Mount Rigi is surrounded by three lakes: Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug and Lake Lauerz, which make for even more breathtaking panorama views from all sides of the massif. 

While on Mount Rigi, you can experience Europe’s oldest mountain railway. And because it’s included in the Swiss Travel Pass, you can easily summit Mount Rigi for free.  

While a day trip to Mount Rigi is the most popular option, you can consider a night in either Rigi Klum Hotel or Hotel Rigi Kaltbad to ensure seeing the spectacular sunset or sunrise over Lucerne.

6. Lake Lucerne

The Golden Tour of Mt. Pilatus and Queen of the Mountains Rigi Round-Trip offer boat cruises as a part of their expeditions. But even if mountain tops aren’t on your itinerary, Lake Lucerne should be.

Boat tours are the most frequent way to marvel at the water’s beauty.

Not only can you take a boat cruise across the loch, but you can also swim in the icy water. The lake is clear because of the frigid temps. Locals and tourists recreate on the water with about ten places where you can dive without needing a boat.

Another way to appreciate Lake Lucerne is simply on the shore. There are plenty of parks and benches on the water’s edge. And with many restaurants and resorts along the shore, you’re bound to find a patio with stunning views.

lake lucerne

7. Mount Titlis

The last Mountain worth considering as a part of your visit to Lucerne is Mount Titlis. Mount Titlis is in Engelberg, which is about 22 miles south of Lucerne.

You can make it to Mount Titlis by train or car from Lucerne. Once you’re in Engelberg, you’ll take a gondola, then a rotating cable car to the top. If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you’ll receive a 50% discount on your entry ticket.

Standing at 10,623 feet, it’s one of the most easily accessible high peaks in all of Switzerland.

Along the journey you’ll find the Titlis Cliff Walk, Ice Flyer, Glacier Cave, Titlis glacier park, Titlis Adventure Park, Trubsee Flyer zipline. And, of course, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, and more. 

Most visitors self-tour the massif, but you can also book a guided, organized tour instead.

It’s best to plan for about 4 to 5 hours on Mount Titlis, but you can easily make a full day out of the tour.

8. The Lion Monument or “Lion of Lucerne”

The Lion Monument has awed travelers for more than two hundred years.

Crafted by Lukas Ahorn, The Lion Monument is dedicated to the Swiss guards who died in 1792 while protecting Louis XVI at the Tuileries Palace during the French Revolution. 

Over 15 years ago, in 2006, The Lion Monument was placed under Swiss monument protection. Now it will be revered for centuries to come.

The Lion Monument is free to visit. And it’s only an 11 minute walk from Chapel Bridge!

9. Glacier Garden

During the last ice age, more than 20,000 years ago, Lucerne was entirely covered by ice sheets. After the ice melted, massive glacial potholes formed, which is now known as the Glacier Garden. 

The Glacier Garden offers a variety of things to do and see such as a Mirror Maze, Giant’s kettles, Alpine Park and Swiss House museum. 

It sits just behind The Lion Monument and is a unique way to learn more about Swiss history. 

Included in your Swiss Travel Pass, the Glacier Garden is yet another reason Lucerne is worth visiting.

10. Swiss Museum of Transport

The Swiss Museum of Transport is Switzerland’s most visited museum.

It’s full of wonderful information about road travel, railways, air transport, and even the history of space travel. And the Swiss Museum of Transport is equipped with loads of interactive activities, making it a fun attraction for people of all ages.

With your Swiss Travel Pass, you’ll get 50% off your entry ticket. And you’ll probably want 2-3 hours to discover all that this museum has to offer. 

Plan for lunch on-site at Brasserie Verkehrshaus. And don’t forget to stop at the Lindt Boutique for some amazing chocolate!

lucerne swiss museum of transport

Is Lucerne Worth Visiting? FAQ

Still have questions about Lucerne? Read below to find answers to the most commonly asked questions.

How many days do you need in Lucerne?

I found 3 days in Lucerne to be sufficient, but you could easily spend more or less time here. 

Many of the monuments are situated nearby one another, so you can see and do a lot in one day. For example, while exploring Lucerne’s Old Town, you’ll walk Chapel Bridge and see Jesuit Church.

And though all three massifs are worth visiting, you can choose just one or two to summit.

What is so special about Lucerne?

Lucerne is conducive for a variety of visitors. It’s walkable, yet offers ample resources for those needing assisted transport. Solo travelers and families alike can find things to do.

It’s special because it makes you feel happy and at peace. Whether you’re interested in fine dining, witnesses romantic history, or summiting a massif, you’ll be happy in Lucerne.

Old Town Lucerne

Which is better to visit, Zurich or Lucerne?

There are many similarities between Zurich and Lucerne, making both a desirable place to visit. 

Zurich and Lucerne are both situated on a river. Each has mountains nearby. And there are plenty of attractions worth visiting in both cities.

The answer to this question depends on the type of city you’re looking for. Zurich is a larger city and offers a bit more shopping and museums.  

Lucerne is smaller and more quaint. As hiking and exploring the terrain was something I was interested in, the mountains near Lucerne fascinated me.  

At the end of the day, I would choose to visit Lucerne over Zurich.

Which is better to visit, Basel or Lucerne?

Like all Swiss cities, Basel is beautiful and full of unique characteristics. It has a beautiful Old Town, museums and other fun attractions. These attractions include a toy museum and a water park, among others.  

There are fewer mountain ranges near Basel. Though the Thal Nature Park is fairly close to Basel. Thal Nature Park is described by My Switzerland as “the gentle rolling hills of the Jura.”

All that to say, if you’re traveling with family, Basel might be the better option for you. So, again, your choice may vary depending on the type of travel you are doing. 

I traveled to Switzerland with my toddler, and again, because we were more interested in hiking the mountains, we preferred Lucerne over Basel.

Final Verdict: Is Lucerne Worth Visiting?

There are endless reasons to visit Lucerne. 

Whether you’re interested in its history, food, culture or views. And no matter if you’re traveling solo, with friends or with your entire family, you’ll easily be able to find something to love about this quaint city. 

Lucerne is absolutely worth visiting!

About the author: This post was written in collaboration with Lindsey Konchar. Lindsey is a proud mama of two, who refused to let motherhood be exclusively about sensory bins and singing the ABCs. 

Lindsey traveled internationally while 6 months pregnant with her toddler in tow. And she continues to explore and educate about mental health and motherhood.