Things to do in Lucerne

Itineraries for Your Trip to Lucerne

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1 Day in Lucerne for First Timers

Curated by Helen ShepherdSouth Londoner on the loose in Switzerland, with a cat and baby in tow. Trained teacher, student, and travel writer, with a passion for drama, drag, and adventure.

With its medieval architecture, lakeside location, and mountainous surrounds, Lucerne offers visitors a broad spectrum of attractions. With some planning, it’s possible to experience the city’s highlights in just one day. Here’s how.


Begin your day early to enjoy Lucerne Old Town before the crowds descend. Get the inside scoop on landmarks such as the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke) and Lion Monument on a small-group or private walking tour, which provides an easy way for first-time visitors to orient themselves. Options for exploring are plentiful; some tours include traditional Swiss snacks and tickets to a folklore show, while nearly all include admission to the attractions mentioned on the itinerary. 


The iconic Mt. Pilatus lies close to the city center, and Switzerland’s excellent transport links make it easy to ascend to the summit in just a few hours. Take advantage of tours that include lunch and stress-free round-trip transfers to maximize your time on the mountain, which is accessible by cogwheel train. If high altitudes aren’t your bag, opt for a food tour that focuses on Swiss staples such as chocolate and cheese, or keep kids entertained at the Swiss Transport Museum, home to a range of family-friendly spaces and exhibits.


Unwind after a busy day on a Lake Lucerne cruise, which offers unobstructed views of the scenery. Choose a tour that includes dinner for maximum relaxation or build up your appetite with an aperitif as you sail. After dinner, a range of after-dark tours offer alternative city perspectives—follow in the footsteps of a former night watchman on a tour of the medieval Old Town, or enhance your after-dark photography skills on a photo-focused tour. 

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