Lucerne is one of the most popular cities to visit in Switzerland, and for very good reason. It is located on the shores of stunning Lake Lucerne, right in the heart of the Swiss Alps.
There is so much to do and see in Lucerne, that you could easily spend a week here. However, given most of you won’t be staying for anywhere near that long, I have compiled a few days itinerary so that you can enjoy whatever time you have in the area.
Best Things do Do in Lucerne with Kids
Day 1: Explore The City of Lucerne
Lucerne itself has a whole range of things to see and do. However, in this section I am just going to cover the must-sees. You could cram them into a morning if you are in a hurry, or spend a leisurely day exploring a bit more.
Lucerne is actually very small and can easily be seen on foot. I suggest starting at the Reuss River, right in the heart of town. The most visited attraction in Lucerne is here – the Chapel Bridge. It is a picturesque wooden bridge that zigzags across the river, complete with flowers along the railings and historic paintings on the roof. It is very much one of a kind, and makes for a great start to any visit here.
The old town of Lucerne, which is literally all along the river on the Northern side, is a great spot to spend an hour or two taking in the beauty of the buildings and fountains scattered around the town. Just wander around, as you can’t really get lost. But make sure you get to Hirschenplatz, Weinmarkt, and Mühlenplatz back on the river.
From Mühlenplatz you can quickly check out the lesser-known, but still worthwhile, Spreuer Bridge. This is another shorter covered historic bridge with paintings on the top. It will be a lot less crowded here, and you can also see the small hydro-electric system that you will find on many a Swiss river. Big or small.
Another absolute must on any tour or Lucerne is the old wall that runs above the town itself. In German it’s called the Museggmauer (mauer means wall). You can easily reach it from the Spreuer bridge by taking Museggstrasse up the hill. The wall itself is a great spot for a view over the whole town, but there is something else here that is far more interesting. The working clock.
The clock is in one of the towers in the center of the wall, and you can climb up it and see all the workings as the tick. It’s also fun to be there on the hour, right when the bells strike. Although be sure to cover your ears!
Once you have visited the wall, you can head back down to town and decide what else you would like to do with your day. You can take a walk along the lake, heading left as you hit the water. Or, you can explore some of the stunning churches that are in town: like the Jesuit Church, right on the river, or the Franciscan Church, a little bit behind that one.
The final thing I would recommend you do is to grab yourself some tasty local chocolate. Lucerne has a fantastic chocolatier called Max Chocolatier which is worth popping into. Laderach is another one I love, but you can find them in most any city in Switzerland.
Day 2-3 Take A Trip Into The Mountains Around Lucerne
No trip to Lucerne is complete without spending at least one day exploring the mountains. There are actually a lot of options for trips around here, but I am only going to cover what I consider to be the best two. These are the ones I even took my in-laws to, that is how highly I rate them!
Pilatus Golden Round Trip
If you only do one day trip in Lucerne, then the Pilatus Golden Round Trip is the one to do. It starts with a peaceful yet picturesque boat ride on Lake Lucerne, which you take just opposite the main station.
The boat heads along the lake for just over an hour allowing you to soak up the sights of the surrounding mountains and towns along the lake. Upon arrival, you take one of the steepest cog-railways in the world right up to the top of Mount Pilatus. Here, you can enjoy the near and distant views of the Alps, Lake Lucerne and the town itself.
There are lots of hiking options at the top of Pilatus Kulm. Most of them are short, but for the more adventurous they range from ridge hikes along the back of the mountain to hikes back down to the lake.
A number of restaurants are also located on the top, giving you options for either a coffee, glass of wine or a larger meal if that is what you are after.
The final leg of the journey is to take two gondolas back down the other side, and then a short bus ride back into Lucerne. Right where you started.
The trip can be done in either direction, however this is the most scenic and enjoyable in my opinion.
Bürgenstock & The Hammetschwand Lift
Another spectacular day trip, which most people either don’t know about or ignore, is a day trip on the Bürgenstock. This is located almost opposite Pilatus, and is also a shorter boat ride from downtown.
The boat is a little more upmarket, because of the recent, and rather insane hotels that have been built on the top. Stay there if you can afford it, but for most of us, just take a peek inside once you get to the top.
Reaching the top of the Bürgenstock also requires a cog-railway, also quite a fun and steep journey, although a little shorter, and cheaper than the one up Pilatus.
From there you can do a short hike to the bottom of the Hammetschwand Lift, which famously appeared in a James Bond movie, many many moons ago. The ride up the lift and the view when you reach the top is mind-blowing. It has installed in a groove carved out of the rock face and is also made of glass. So, as you whiz to the top, you get to see the Lake and view below!
At the top is a small restaurant, which is a great spot for a snack or meal. You can also indulge at the restaurants in the hotels down below, but they are very very pricey!
You can choose to take the lift back down and hike back the same way, Or, hike down from the top of the lift. Either are worthwhile options.
Everything I have mentioned above is the best of the best that Lucerne has to offer. But of course, there is also a lot more. You could easily spend a week here, but 2-3 days will leave you with memories you will never forget!
Have you visited Lucerne, in Switzerland? Keep your precious memories alive by coloring your own and unique map printed on canvas!
About the Author
Anna was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on Expert World Travel. Follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.