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Lucerne Tourism And Travel Guide
15.5° C / 59.9° F
April to October
2 to 3 Days
Zurich Airport (55 kms)
Lucerne Railway Station (0.5 kms)
Lucerne is located in central Switzerland and is a German-speaking city. It has a population of over 80,000 people and is a hub for economy, culture, tourism and transportation. It is rich in history, tradition and natural beauty. The city lies in the foothills of the Alps and has a beautiful lake at its boundary, making it a sought after tourist destination. Here's our travel guide to Lucerne, giving you plenty of insight on what to do, where to go and how to plan your perfect Swiss vacation.
How To Reach
Despite being one of the most popular tourist cities in Switzerland, there is no airport at Lucerne. So the best way to get there is to fly to Zurich. While travelling from India, there are direct flights to Zurich every day via Swiss Air. There are also plenty of other airlines that travel to Zurich with stop-overs. From Zurich, you can then travel by car, train or bus, as per your preference. A convenient option is the train that you can take from Zurich airport, which departs every hour.
The Swiss Rail Network is well connected across Switzerland. Lucerne's railway station is located bang in the city-centre which makes it a very convenient mode of transport to enter and exit the city. The most popular routes are Zurich to Lucerne which takes 45 to 60 minutes or Bern to Lucerne which takes about 60 minutes.
Driving to Lucerne is definitely a good way to not only get into the city, but also get a feel of the countryside. However, finding public parking space can be tiresome and expensive - so unless you are prepared for it, don't take the stress. There are many neighbouring European countries like France, Germany, Belgium, Italy etc, that have bus routes to Lucerne, so that is another affordable way to get into the country and city in particular. The bus station is located near the railway station.
A lot of the popular tourist attractions are at a walking distance from each other, so a great way to explore the town is by foot. It also gives you the opportunity to soak in the ambience of Lucerne. Another way to explore the city, in a more local style, is to use public transport - the trams & buses are conveniently timed, well placed and very user-friendly. You can also rent bikes and ride safely around the streets if that's your thing!
Weather & Best Time To Visit
Spring (March to May):
A very popular time to be in Lucerne is Spring. It isn't hoarded with tourists as yet and warmer temperatures are just about settling in. You will experience an average day temperature of 16° C while the nights will still be very cold. You will get a few rainy days in between and towards May as the weather gets warmer, crowds will start to arrive. In fact, May is one of the busiest times of the year. Special events held in Spring are the Fumetto – International Comix Festival, the Zaubersee Festival and Lucerne Regatta.
Summer (June to August):
When summer comes calling, Switzerland is the place to be! Day/Night temperature ranges between 20° C and 13° C. High chances of rain during these months, but it is still heavily crowded with tourists. The city is buzzing with events and festivals to cater to tourists during this period. Some of the popular events are the Athletics Meeting, the Blue Balls Festival and the Lucerne Festival.
Autumn (September to November):
Pleasing weather and lesser crowds are the highlights of the Autumn months. Plenty of activities are still left to enjoy especially outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, cycling etc. The average temperature of the season is 14° C with 6 to 8 days of rain. Many musical festivals occur during these months like the World Band Festival, Blues Festival and Piano Festival.
Winter (December to February):
Swiss winters can be quite an experience if you are up to it. It is not a popular time with tourists because of the cold and shorter daylight hours, but if snow is what you want to see and do - then why not! It rains or snows for about 8 days a month, temperatures average at 4° C and go to negative at night. Winter sports can be done at the nearby slopes of Mount Titlis. Events held around this time are the Lights Festival and celebrations for Christmas & New Year.
Things To Do
Tour the Old Town:
Like all European countries, there is a preserved Old Town area in Lucerne as well, which has beautifully decorated heritage buildings, some of which date back to the Middle Ages. Take a walk in the narrow pathways, indulge in some delicious food in the many restaurants you will pass by and do a spot of shopping for souvenirs - that would be a few hours well spent!
Breathing in that fresh mountain air is definitely good for the soul! There are several hills close to Lucerne where you can hike; like Mount Titlis, Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus. Depending on your fitness level, you can choose a path that best suits you as there are multiple options in each.
One of the best beauties of Lucerne is Lake Lucerne from where you can get stunning views of the Alps. There are several boat excursions that you can do on Lucerne Lake - From one-hour tourist hops to half-day excursions, choose what best fits your interest, budget and the time you have in your hands. There are also boat trips to Mount Pilatus, the town of Flüelen and more.
Ride the Cogwheel Train:
A must-do while in Lucerne is a cogwheel train ride! It is a unique experience with stunning views! If you travel to Mount Pilatus, via the cogwheel railway - you will be experiencing the world's steepest track, which you will agree, is pretty awesome! Similarly, the railway route to Mount Rigi is also quite splendid. Though not as steep as Mount Pilatus, the Rigi track was Europe's 1st cog railway!
A place popular with tourists will definitely have loads of shopping sites as well as interesting items to buy! And Lucerne is definitely one of the top tourist destinations - so here are a few things akin to this country and city that you must shop for!
Lucerne is filled with quaint boutiques which horde traditional Swiss handicrafts and souvenirs. Check out the Victorinox Brand Store Luzern for their latest Swiss Knives collection. Schmocker-souvenirs AG has an amazing collection of Cuckoo clocks. Casagrande AG is popular for its Cow Bells and other souvenirs. Walk into Schweizer Heimatwerk for a stunning display of traditional handicraft items such as music boxes, hand-crafted toys etc. If you are looking for unique items which mark the symbol of the Swiss flag/emblem, check out Swiss Corner Fresco GmbH.
There are many watchmakers in Lucerne, so shopping for luxury watches is also highly recommended. Food items such as chocolates, cakes, cheese and pralines are also popular items of purchase. Max Chocolatier is highly recommended for chocolates and pralines. Mouthwatering Swiss cakes can be bought from Confiserie Bachmann AG.
In a nutshell - anything with chocolate or cheese is going to be d-lish! Here's a list of some local preparations that will tantalise your tastebuds.
You should definitely check out these restaurants if you are looking for a nice night out and amazing Swiss food - Wirtshaus Taube, Amanda, Pfistern, Burgerstube, Balances.
If you have a sweet tooth, check out Bachmann (many outlets all over Lucerne) and try their Schoggibrötli (chocolate chip bread roll) and Macarons. If you're missing home, you can get a taste of India at Gourmindia. For vegetarian and vegan options, step into - Bolero Restaurante, Karls Kraut, Pura, Hofgarten or Wild Bowls.