Welcome to Lucerne, Switzerland! Whether you’re planning your first visit or looking to enhance your knowledge, we’ve got you covered with practical tips to make your trip unforgettable. We share our insights and recommendations on arriving in Lucerne, getting around the city, using the local guest card, and much more.
Where is Lucerne?
- Lucerne is located in the canton of Lucerne in central Switzerland, making it easily accessible from anywhere in the country.
- Situated on the northwestern tip of Lake Lucerne, the second-largest lake in Switzerland, the city offers picturesque views and a serene atmosphere.
Distance from Swiss Airports:
- Lucerne is conveniently located close to Swiss airports, such as Zurich, Basel, and Geneva.
- Travel time from Zurich is approximately one hour, from Basel it takes about an hour and a half, and from Geneva, it’s around three hours.
Language in Lucerne:
- Lucerne is in the Germanic part of Switzerland, where German is predominantly spoken.
- Learning a few German words like Hallo, Danke, Bitte, and Schönen Tag can be helpful in connecting with the locals, although many people also speak English.
Lucerne or Luzern?
- Due to the four national languages in Switzerland, cities and towns often have different spellings and pronunciations.
- In German, it’s Luzern, while in French, it’s Lucerne—both are acceptable, but Luzern is more commonly used in the German-speaking region.
- The lake is known as Vierwaldstättersee in German and lac des Quatre-Cantons in French, but the simplified English name is Lake Lucerne.
Lucerne Bahnhof & Lake Lucerne:
- Lucerne’s central train station, Lucerne Bahnhof, is conveniently located next to Lake Lucerne and the Bahnhofquai, where boats dock.
- The station is just a five-minute walk from Old Town (Altstadt) and is a transportation hub with bus connections.
New Town vs. Old Town Lucerne:
- Lucerne is compact and easily walkable, offering two main areas: Old Town (Altstadt) and New Town (Neustadt).
- Both areas have their charm, and choosing where to stay depends on personal preferences and accessibility to sightseeing spots.
Lucerne Luggage Lockers:
- If you’re passing through Lucerne but not staying overnight, take advantage of the luggage lockers at the train station.
- These lockers are available in different sizes and provide a convenient storage option, allowing you to explore the city without your bags.
Lucerne Visitor Card:
- The Lucerne guest card offers several benefits for overnight visitors.
- Enjoy free bus and train transportation within the city’s zone ten, giving you easy access to both central and outlying areas.
- The card also provides discounts on museums, excursions, mountain railways, cable cars, and activities throughout the Lucerne and Lake Lucerne region.
- Additionally, it grants access to free Wi-Fi hotspots, although the quality may vary.
- For extensive regional transportation and mountain excursions, consider the Tell-Pass.
- This pass covers various modes of transportation, including trains, mountain railways, cable cars, and boat rides, making it suitable for those planning multiple-day trips.
- The Tell-Pass starts at 190 francs for two days and offers flexibility and convenience for exploring the surrounding areas.
Opening Hours and Days:
- Be aware of the opening and closing hours of shops and restaurants in Lucerne, as they can vary.
- Sundays and the lunch hour on weekdays often have limited business operations.
- Checking the specific opening days and hours beforehand can save you from any inconvenience.
Lucerne Weekly Market:
- Don’t miss the weekly market (Wochenmarkt) held every Tuesday and Saturday until noon.
- This vibrant market offers fresh bread, mountain cheese, flowers, and vegetables, allowing you to savor local flavors and experience the bustling atmosphere.
Lucerne Water (and Toilets!):
- Lucerne boasts high-quality drinking water, so instead of buying bottled water, fill up at the numerous fountains marked by Lucerne Water.
- These fountains provide information on the water’s drinkability and offer a chance to learn some interesting historical facts.
- The Lucerne Water map also indicates public bathrooms, ensuring you stay hydrated and comfortable during your exploration.
Distance from Swiss Destinations:
- Lucerne’s central location makes it a perfect base for day trips to nearby Swiss destinations.
- Interlaken and Bern are easily reachable within a short train ride, allowing you to explore the Swiss Alps and the capital city.
- The Gotthard Base Tunnel connects Lucerne to southern Switzerland and Italy, making Lugano and Como accessible for a scenic cross-Alps journey.
- Lucerne offers scenic train routes that showcase the beauty of the Swiss landscape.
- The Golden Pass Scenic Train connects Lucerne and Interlaken, passing by stunning lakes and offering breathtaking views.
- The Gotthard Panorama Express provides an exceptional experience from Lucerne to Lugano, combining a boat ride on Lake Lucerne with a picturesque train journey through the Gotthard region.
How Long to Stay in Lucerne:
- We recommend staying at least two nights in Lucerne to fully explore the city and its surroundings.
- With numerous day trip possibilities and favorable weather, extending your stay to four days can provide a well-rounded experience.
Lucerne offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, rich history, and Swiss charm. Armed with these practical tips, you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable journey in Lucerne. From exploring Old Town to indulging in local markets, this city has something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to create lasting memories in this enchanting Swiss destination.