lion monument is one of the top stops in lucerne

Is Lucerne Worth Visiting? My Honest Opinion

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Lucerne is one of the most popular cities to visit in all of Switzerland. If you’ve done your research on visiting Switzerland, then you will already know that Lucerne frequently comes up as one of the country’s “must see” stops. 

Not to mention, Lucerne’s proximity to Zurich certainly makes it an attractive destination, especially to international travelers who are likely arriving in Zurich’s airport. 

However, like all popular attractions, lots of publicity comes with high expectations.

In other words, Lucerne’s mountains, lakes, and bridges make it an easy destination to build up inside your head, but day dreaming too much about the perfect trip often results in disappointment. 

lucerne is home to wonderful gardens

I even found myself asking “is Lucerne worth visiting?” more than once as I was planning a summer trip to Switzerland. I already knew lots of tourists visit Switzerland, and immediately after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to risk exploring in crowds or not. 

Yet, the biggest thought that ran through my mind though was that I was visiting … well, Switzerland. Some of Europe’s greatest scenery would be right on my doorstop. Understandably, I wanted to spend the vast majority of my time in the majestic mountains rather than cities. 

I was seriously torn on Lucerne.

with just one day in lucerne you want to see the churches

Is Lucerne Worth Visiting?

Yes, Lucerne is definitely worth visiting. You’ll discover plenty to see and do even if you only have one day in Lucerne

And even though Switzerland’s nature is its biggest draw, I still feel like Switzerland’s cities, including Lucerne, are worthy of your time and energy. 

After all, you discover a true sense of Switzerland’s unique history and high quality of life in its cities, and I would even go so far as to say that no trip to Switzerland is complete without at least one city break.

Lucerne is the perfect stop! 

one day in lucerne means going to the lake
Looking Happy with One Day in Lucerne.

My Experience Visiting Lucerne

To be honest, I didn’t have super high expectations of Lucerne, because (like I said) I was so fixated on visiting Switzerland’s natural wonders. I always feel like I’m most blown away when I don’t have any expectations.

Turns out that Lucerne is an absolutely gorgeous little city. 

I personally adore medieval history, and I think this is one of the main reasons why I am so drawn to Europe. And oh boy, does Lucerne make you feel as if you’ve been transported back in the pages of time.

exploring the old town in lucerne

Lucerne’s walkable Old Town is home to so many medieval wonders, including the breathtaking Chapel Bridge.

Furthermore, I was able to get in my “nature fix” when I took an urban hike to the city walls or Musegg Wall Lucerne and enjoyed a stunning view of the lake, mountains, and city all combined together.

And don’t even get me started on my meal at the Old Swiss House. The Wiener Schnitzel is a true Lucerne treat that’s prepared right at your table! So if you’re still asking yourself, “is Lucerne worth visiting,” just go for the Wiener Schnitzel, haha. It’ll be well worth the effort, I promise. 

is lucerne worth visiting? yes very walkable and gorgeous

Travel Tips for Lucerne Switzerland

Before diving into all the reasons why Lucerne is a wonderful destination, I wanted to give you two travel tips for planning a successful visit. Since Lucerne is so popular, there is plenty of tourism infrastructure, and issues with language barriers are non-existent.

However, as any traveler knows, the popular cities usually come with their own challenges that can be averted with a little bit of advance planning.

So, below, I’ve written my top travel tips to help you have an enjoyable visit in Lucerne. 

the lovely shores of lake lucerne

Plan Ahead of Time

Lucerne is crowded. Hotels, tours, and restaurants all book out in advance, most notably in high season.

In order to make the most out of your stay, you will need to make reservations well in advance. I think prior planning is especially important in an expensive country, such as Switzerland, because all the high-quality budget options sell out fast.

Don’t show up to Lucerne on a whim and then let the crowds disappoint you. Your money and time are worth more than that. 

Furthermore, by reserving everything important in advance, you’ll also read about all the fascinating historical things to see and do in Lucerne. The sites around you, such as Chapel Bridge and the Lion Monument, take on so much more meaning knowing the stories behind them.

with just one day in lucerne you need a lovely place to stay

Stay at a Hotel Next to Lake Lucerne

Okay, I won’t lie to you that while I liked the Old Town, the center was too crowd and touristy for me. I prefer actually sleeping in more relaxed, local neighborhoods, and think booking accommodation outside of Lucerne’s hustle and bustle is important.

Once you leave Lucerne’s Old Town, you’re able to walk along the gorgeous shores of Lake Lucerne. I could’ve watching the clouds roll over the mountains forever. 

Plenty of hotels are located on the shores of Lake Lucerne. These hotels are usually more reasonable than the Old Town hotels. Plus you can enjoy the quiet scenery early in the morning or later in the evening. I listed a few suggestions below for you to read. 

even if you have one day in lucerne, you can still take a boat ride

Hotel Ideas

so happy to be in lucerne switzerland
Lucerne is Obviously Worth Visiting from this Happy Face.

4 Best Reasons Why Lucerne is Worth Visiting

If you’re currently asking yourself, “Is Lucerne worth visiting?”, then I encourage to read on about the four reasons why you ought to add Lucerne to your itinerary. 

is lucerne worth visiting? yes for the old town

Centrally Located to the Rest of Switzerland

Switzerland is an expensive destination. Even a shorter trip, such as spending 8 days in Switzerland, will wreak some havoc on your bank account. You don’t want to base yourself in a far off city or town that has limited public transportation to other parts of the country. 

While Switzerland has one of the best train systems in Europe, Lucerne’s location makes it an ideal stop on any Swiss tour. For example, it only takes 50 minutes to reach Zurich and an hour to reach the country’s capital city, Bern. 

Lucerne is also one of the stops on Switzerland’s gorgeous panoramic Golden Pass Line that goes all the way down to Montreaux on Lake Geneva. 

Itinerary possibilities are endless in Lucerne.

lake lucerne looking gorgeous

Perfect Mixture of Urban and Natural Wonders

In Lucerne, you’re able to experience both Switzerland’s high quality of life cities and natural splendors for the cost of just one destination. You can even do easy day trips if you’re spending a couple nights here.

For example, nearby Mount Pilatus gives you an opportunity to spend half a day in the Swiss Alps. You can easily visit Mount Pilatus on your own, or take a wonderful guided tour to Pilatus from Lucerne. 

A half day visit to Mount Titlis is another gorgeous adventure into Switzerland’s nature that’s still accessible from Lucerne. You’ll take a cable car from the village of Engelberg for some outstanding mountain views. 

No doubt you’ll still be able to enjoy nature with a trip to Lucerne.

lucerne is worth visiting for the medieval art

A Rich Medieval History 

Like I already mentioned, Lucerne is very well known for its medieval history. Lucerne was founded all the way back in 840 AD, so this city has seen history unfold for centuries. 

You can either pack a good guidebook and do a self-guided history walk, or enlist the help of a tour guide to learn about Lucerne’s history. For example, this combination walking and boating tour will give you an education on Lucerne’s fascinating history. If you really want to dive into history, you might also want to do a stroll with the Lucerne Nightwatchman

Lucerne’s medieval vibes are wondrous. On Chapel Bridge, you’ll cross the oldest covered bridge in Europe and admire its 17th century paintings. Up in the city walls, one of the tall towers is home to Lucerne’s oldest clocks. And the markets are reminiscent of market days in the Middle Ages. 

chapel bridge is a "must see" with one day in lucerne

Chocolates, Cheese, and More

Okay, so you can’t come to Lucerne, and not experience the city’s divine chocolates and cheese. Swiss delicacies are on full display here.

For example, food lovers can even book themselves on a C’s Tour of Lucerne that provides plenty of chocolate and cheese, as well as a historical visit to Lucerne Castle. 

If you’re exploring on your own, pop inside one of the branches of Laderach Chocolatier Suisse and try not to drool too much at the sweet fragrance wafting under your nostrils. 

Lucerne’s Old Town also has plenty of cheese shops, including the highly ranked Cheese Store – Cheese Barmettler which is a longtime family owned establishment. 

Honestly, a picnic made of cheese and chocolate on the shores of Lake Lucerne sounds well worth the time and effort to me. 

lake lucerne has plenty of delightful public art

So is Lucerne worth visiting? Personally, I think the answer is “yes,” and I hope this post inspires you to visit gorgeous Lucerne soon to experience this charming city for yourself!