We have prepared an itinerary with the essential places to things to do in Lucerne in 1 day and the best excursions to do in the surrounding area.
You may have heard of it as one of the most beautiful and touristic cities in Switzerland.
Lucerne is located on the shores of Lake Lucerne, at the foot of the Alps, in the midst of snow-capped mountains. It is one of the Swiss cities that many tourists choose to visit.
It is well known for its streets and buildings, which nowadays preserve an imposing medieval architecture.
It has many attractions, so it is difficult to decide what to see, especially if you have little time to visit it.
That is why in this article we want to share with you a tour with the most important places to see in Lucerne in 1 day and we will also tell you about some excursions that can be made from this city to other tourist places in the area.
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Things to do in Lucerne in 1 day, city tour (Map)
We have decided to divide this article into two parts.
In the first section we will tell you a little about the most important tourist sites in Lucerne, in case you only want to visit the city. The most common is that you visit it from Zurich, you go to spend the day.
In the second part of this article, we will tell you about some places to see near Lucerne in case you prefer to take a tour around the city and stay longer.
Now, let’s get started with this itinerary of the best things to do in Lucerne.
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1) Walking on the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke)
Lucerne owes its fame, in large part, to its wooden bridges that preserve some of the oldest and most beautiful structures in Europe.
Its most famous bridge is the Kapellbrücke, which was built during the 12th century as part of the fortification of the city.
The Chapel Bridge, as it is also called, is located across the Reuss River.
During the 1990s, this bridge suffered a fire that destroyed a large part of its structure, due to a ship that was burning underneath it.
Today, after its reconstruction, it is an extraordinary tourist attraction.
Inside, if you look up a little, you will see a series of paintings that tell the history of the city and on its sides you will see dozens of colorful flowers that decorate this beautiful medieval structure.
The white swans peeking into the river and the incredible views that this bridge offers, make it an ideal place to admire the sunset. Undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Lucerne.
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2) Visiting the Water Tower (Wasserturm)
Continuing with the list of the best things to see in Lucerne, we come across Wasserturm, an octagonal water tower that is located next to the Kapellbrücke.
It is approximately 34 meters high and was built around 1300 as part of the city wall.
In ancient times, the Wasserturm was used as a treasury, prison and torture chamber, among others.
It is said that prisoners were locked in a dungeon located on the lower floor, which could only be accessed through an opening in the floor of the upper room, as the tower had no windows or doors.
Today, the Water Tower houses the premises of the Lucerne Artillery Society, and a souvenir shop to take home a souvenir of the place.
It is worth walking across the wooden bridge and seeing Wassertum, one of Lucerne’s main tourist sites.
3) Stroll through the historic center of Lucerne.
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The historic center of Lucerne is located on both banks of the Reuss River and is surrounded by medieval walls and watchtowers.
This old town, with long streets surrounded by wooden houses, was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco and is undoubtedly one of the must-see places in Lucerne in 1 day.
In addition, the old town is surrounded by beautiful squares and is home to a medieval market(Kornmarkt), in front of what is now the town hall. You will distinguish it by its Clock Tower.
One of its most famous squares is Weinmarkt, which is characterized by a stone fountain with a carved sculpture in its center.
In the old town you will find a variety of quaint cafes and restaurants where you can sit and take a break while enjoying a hot drink.
4) Walking along the medieval city walls.
The medieval city walls of Lucerne are accessible to travelers who wish to explore them on foot.
To get there, just walk along the banks of the Reuss River while you take a look at the bridges and the medieval dam.
Some of the watchtowers on the wall are in good condition, and you can climb them. The most mythical one to climb is the Clock Tower.
At the same time, being in the upper part of Lucerne, it has incredible views of the city, which looks tiny, and its lake.
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5) Sailing on the Lake of the Four Cantons
To close our tour with the best things to see in Lucerne, we suggest a walk along the Lake of the Four Cantons.
It is one of the most surprising and captivating lakes in Europe, surrounded by natural landscapes with a lot of history.
Its original name comes from the four Swiss cantons surrounding the lake: Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden and Lucerne.
In ancient times it was an important place of transit and the only commercial link to the port of Gottardo.
In order to navigate the Lake of the Four Cantons, you will have to hire a tour where you will be taken along its waters and admire from another point the Chapel Bridge, the Water Tower, the summit of Mount Pilatus and the city of Lucerne from the distance.
If you want to sail on the Lake of the Four Cantons, you have two possibilities:
📷 Lucerne boat trip (close to the city)
📷 Catamaran ride on the Lake of the Four Cantons (a trip into the alpine lake scenery).
6) Admiring the Lion of Lucerne Monument
All the things to do in Lucerne in 1 day are very close to each other. But this monument is a bit far away, so prepare your feet for a nice walk.
The Lion Monument was built as a tribute to the Swiss soldiers who fell during the Second Revolution in Paris. It is a wounded lion carved into the rock of a high wall.
This Second Revolution refers to the storming of the Tuileries Palace in Paris in 1792, which served to overthrow King Louis XVI.
A symbol of a change of era.
Things to do near Lucerne, excursions to other tourist sites
As I mentioned above, we decided to divide this post between the main tourist sites in Lucerne and the best excursions that can be made from the city to other important places in the area.
We have already shared with you the itinerary for touring the city, now it’s time to know the best places to see near Lucerne.
It is important to keep in mind that most of the excursions that we will propose below are full day excursions.
Therefore, we recommend you to do them in case you have several days or in case you already know the city of Lucerne and want to do something different.
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1) Take a hike to Mount Titlis
One of the most famous places to see near Lucerne is Mount Titlis, a mountain located in the Uri Alps, which is just over 3,000 meters above sea level.
If you leave from Lucerne, the excursion to Mount Titlis usually takes approximately 5:30 hours.
In general, the tourist agencies establish a meeting point in the city, from where a bus departs to Engelberg, a small town located in an alpine valley.
From there, you start a cable car ride to the top of Mount Titlis. During this ride you will be able to admire the huge glaciers and the incredible panoramic views of the Alps.
Once at the top of Mount Titlis, you will be able to enjoy different activities such as crossing over the Titlis Cliff Walk, a 500-meter cliff suspension bridge with an enchanting view, take a chairlift ride above the Titlis Glaciers, walk through an ice cave or enjoy some snow activities in the Glacier Park.
📷 Check out this tour to Mount Titlis from Lucerne and book your place!
2) Enjoying the top of Europe at Jungfraujoch
Our second suggestion on this list of the best things to see near Lucerne is an excursion to Jungfraujoch, the highest mountain pass in Europe.
The Jungfraujoch is a mountain peak of 4,158 meters and is the highest in the massif. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco and is considered the summit of Europe.
The excursion to Jungfraujoch from Lucerne takes approximately 10 hours.
Tours usually start in the morning (around 9 am) with a bus ride to Grindelwald, a town from where you take a cable car to Glacier Eiger.
Throughout this tour, you will be able to see amazing landscapes full of nature and more than 800 lakes.
In addition, they will make a brief stop in Interlaken, another of Switzerland’s main tourist attractions.
Once you have taken the cable car in Grindelwald and arrived at the Glacier Eiger station, you will proceed to take the cog railway to Jungfraujoch.
From the top of Jungfraujoch, you can admire the panoramic views of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch peaks, visit the Aletsch Glacier (the longest glacier in Europe), access the Ice Palace and get unique views from the Sphinx observatory, among other things.
After a 2 or 3 hour ride over the mountain pass, you will proceed down the rack railway to return to Lucerne.
⚠️📢 When making this excursion, it is of utmost importance to be aware of the weather conditions as many of Jungfraujoch’s tourist attractions may be affected.
📷 Book your excursion to visit Jungfraujoch from Lucerne at a competitive price.
3) Visiting Grindelwald and Interlaken
We finish our article with the best things to do in Lucerne in 1 day by touring two of the most important tourist sites in Switzerland.
Grindelwald and Interlaken are among the most popular mountain destinations for tourists who decide to visit Switzerland.
Interlaken, as its name suggests, is a village situated between two lakes at the foot of the Bernese Alps.
Grindelwald, also known as Villa Glacier, is a village located almost a thousand meters above sea level, at the foot of the Eiger mountain.
While it would be ideal to be able to dedicate at least one day to each, when you don’t have much time, it is possible to make an excursion from Lucerne to get a glimpse of both places in one day.
These tours usually last approximately 10 hours and include a guided tour of the town of Interlaken and a few free hours to explore Grindelwald and enjoy its activities.
During your tour of Grindelwald you will be able to access several viewpoints and also have the option of taking a cable car to Mount First.
⚠️📢 IMPORTANT! There are some major tourist attractions such as the Mount First lookout point and the Hardem Kulm lookout point that may be closed due to weather conditions. It is important to keep this in mind when booking your excursion.
Useful facts for your trip to Lucerne
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Where to stay in Lucerne?
The alternatives in Lucerne are varied, from hotels right in the center or on the shores of the lake, to more distant and lower priced accommodations.
- Ameron Luzern Hotel Flora: located 150 meters from the bridge and a few meters from the lake shore. Modern and elegant rooms and Swiss-style breakfast buffet.
- B&B Bettstatt-Neustadt: B&B Bettstatt-Neustadt: close to the train station, this modern building offers rooms with shared bathrooms and apartments. Good value for money.
- Hotel Des Alpes: in the heart of the city center, the rooms with terrace allow to contemplate the bridge of the chapel from the room.
🏨 Find here the best hotels in Lucerne.
Discounts and useful resources to save on your trip
- Cheap flights with Skyscanner
- Rent a car with Auto Europe
- Interrail Pass
- Eurail Pass
- Train Tickets with OMIO
- Bus tickets with OMIO
- Ferry tickets with OMIO
- Asia tickets with 12Go
Activities and Tours
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- The Best Swiss Alps Tours, the Must-Sees
- The Best Travel Insurance to Switzerland 2023 With Discount
- Things to Do in Bern in 1 Day
- Things to Do in Interlaken in 1 Day, 5 Must-See Places
- Things to Do in Switzerland in 4 Days, Suggested Itinerary
- Things to Do in Zurich in 3 Days, a Quiet Walk by the Lake
We finish with this article where we tell things to do in Lucerne in 1 day. I hope I have helped you organize your next trip to Switzerland.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.