If you know me, you know how much I absolutely adore Switzerland. Having seen many places in Switzerland now, Lucerne is still the one place I hold very dear to my heart because it was the first place I ever went in this beautiful country. Lucerne is such a charming, quaint town that offers many things to do and boasts some of the best panoramic views I have ever seen (sounds like an advertisement BUT you’ll get it once you see it). Lucerne sits right on the bank of Lake Luzern and is surrounded by the Swiss Alps, with impressive views of Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi. Many of the things on this list can be done in a day’s time or spread out over a couple of days. I recommend staying in Lucerne for at least two days but maybe closer to four if you have the time. You won’t be disappointed, I can promise you that! Without further ado, here are the top 10 things you don’t want to miss while visiting Lucerne, Switzerland:
Stroll across the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke)
This is arguably the most popular attraction in Lucerne, as it is the image that always appears when you see anything about Lucerne. It is also the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe. At certain times of the year, the bridge is adorned with flowers and lights up your scenes as you walk across. Inside, make sure you note the many paintings that date back many centuries.
Boat tour on Lake Luzern
Lake Luzern is simply stunning, with its crystal blue water and the mountains as its backdrop. I haven’t seen all of the lakes in the world, but I would bet that this one is in the top 10 at least! There are many guided tours you can take around the lake, but if you just want a laid back cruise or if you are on a time schedule, I would recommend just hopping on the boat tours that are positioned outside of the train station or directly across the lake from the train station. These tours depart frequently throughout the day, are about an hour in length, offer an optional audio guide with some very interesting history and information about things you cruise past, and have a relaxed setting with open views so that nothing is missed. Additionally, it picks you up and drops you off right in the center of town, so you really can’t beat it!
Swiss fondue! You don’t want to miss it! Trust me on this one. There are many restaurants throughout the city that serve this national dish. If you want a restaurant that serves both cheese fondue (the traditional Swiss fondue) and chocolate fondue (the fun and probably more touristy fondue) check out Zunfthausrestaurant Pfistern. You can dine outside here while overlooking the Chapel Bridge and enjoying the ambiance of Lucerne!
I am extra passionate about this one on the list, because ACTIVITIES are my jam! And I super highly recommend paragliding while you are in Lucerne because there are so many places here to do it AND this is the most picturesque place to do it! I went with Sky Glide and they were awesome, from the beginning to the end of the trip. I’ll admit- I’m not a lover of heights, but I was completely fine while paragliding! Plus we landed on a family’s farm and had food and drinks made by the wife, which was a perfect touch.
Another tourist staple in Lucerne is the Dying Lion Monument, which is dedicated to the Swiss men who lost their lives in the battle at the Tuileries Palace in Paris during the French Revolution. Even if you’re not a history buff, this monument is quite a site to see. It is so delicately and intricately carved into a huge rock and is surrounded by a beautiful fountain and lush trees. It is a peaceful outdoor sanctuary and definitely not to be missed!
Sample all of the chocolate shops
It is Switzerland, afterall! While walking around Lucerne, make sure to drop in the many chocolate shops that dot the streets and sample until your heart (and stomach!) is content! One of my favorites is Läderach, as it offers a large variety of Swiss chocolates. Bon appetit!
If you are a sucker for tall mountains, Switzerland has no shortage of them. Mount Pilatus towers over Lucerne and is a playground in itself. In addition to boasting the steepest cogwheel train in the world, there are many tours you can take to and activities you can do on Mount Pilatus. Many tours are weather-permitting, so keep that in mind when booking. Even if you don’t get to go up the actual mountain, the panoramic views of it will leave you loving this city more and more.
The other famous mountain peak that can be seen from Lucerne and reached easily is Mount Rigi, which is typically a day trip from Lucerne. Mount Rigi offers many winter sport activities, such as skiing, snowboarding and sledding, and mineral baths and spas if you are looking to relax instead.
“Window shop” all of the hotels in Lucerne
With all of Lucerne’s charm, it should be no surprise that the hotels in Lucerne are equally as charming and demand a spot on this list. The grounds of the Grand National Hotel (see review here) are so picturesque, as it is situated right on the bank of the lake. Stop here for a lovely outdoors lunch on the lake or an ice cream as you meander through its beautiful space. Additionally, Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern offers a postcard- worthy view at night time! The windows are lit up in all sorts of fun colors and it’s just fantastic! (On a side note.. don’t miss the palm trees outside of this hotel! Such a strange site while surrounded by the mountains in SWITZERLAND!) But don’t stop here! There are tons more hotels to experience!
Grand Casino Luzern
Probably not what you thought you might find on a list of things to do in Lucerne. But, hear me out! This casino is located right on the lake and within walking distance of the heart of the city. If you are looking for something fun and different to do at night, stop by this swanky casino for a night of play! (I’m a sucker for a fun time at a casino, so there’s that 🙂 )