During our recent month trip to Europe we spent only 2 days in Lucerne. Whilst it wasn’t very long, it certainly gave us enough time to check out some of the best things to do in Lucerne with kids – and as you will see there are plenty of things to see in Lucerne in one day.
If you’re going to visit Lucerne with children and wondering what to do in Lucerne for a day or two, then you’re going to find this Lucerne travel guide helpful. In this guide, I detail all the places to visit in Lucerne with children of varying ages, from tiny toddlers to teenagers, including the most popular Lucerne attractions as well tips for day trips from Lucerne.
As well as looking at attractions in Lucerne for kids, this post covers how to get around in Lucerne and some recommendations on where to stay in Lucerne for family friendly hotels in Lucerne.
This post may contain compensated links. Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information.
The Best Things to do in Lucerne with Kids
Throughout this section, I have provided a comprehensive guide to all the Lucerne top attractions. I have tried to provide as much information as possible to make your planning easier, including locations, opening hours and ticket prices for your Lucerne family holiday.
You will note that for many of the Lucerne tourist attractions I often recommend you purchase your tickets in advance from Klook or Get Your Guide. Yes, I will receive a small commission if you do purchase from these sites – but as you will see in most cases, you will save yourself a bit of cash in doing so. Other times the price may be the same, but you will save time by not having to line up for tickets. I use these sites myself to book tickets for our travels around the world.
Sometimes it is cheaper to book tickets elsewhere and I will let you know under each attraction if that is the case.
Please note that all prices mentioned were correct at the time of writing and may fluctuate depending upon changes to currency conversion and rate increases. And all prices are in local currency.
To check the rate in your local currency, click here.
Below I’ve also provided a handy map showing the location of all the attractions covered in this guide, to help make planning your itinerary easier.
So let’s get into it – if you’re wondering what to do in Lucerne Switzerland, read on…
The Chapel Bridge and Water Tower
When it comes to the most popular things to see in Lucerne, the Chapel Bridge would have to be up there. Together with the Water Tower, the wooden footbridge that crosses the Reuss River is perhaps the most famous landmark in Lucerne.
This bridge dates back to the 14th century, although unfortunately much of it was destroyed in a fire in 1993, but it has been fully restored. This is the oldest truss bridge in the world and spans 170m across the Reuss River.
The 34 metre high tower beside the bridge is called the Water Tower, named due to its position, it doesn’t actually store water. This tower was built around 1300 as part of the city’s fortifications. It’s been used for a range of purposes including an archive, treasury and even a prison.
The top 10 things to do in Lucerne would have to be to walk across the bridge, but for the best photographs, walk across one of the bridges either side of it to capture images of one of the most famous Lucerne Switzerland attractions.
Location: Reuss River
Opening Hours: Always
Musegg Wall and the Nine Towers
The Musegg wall was built in the 13th century and includes nine towers that form part of the fortification that protected historic Lucerne. The towers are mostly well preserved, and you can look inside four of them, making it one of the popular Lucerne sights.
The Zyt tower is worth a visit as it holds a clock that was built in 1535. It still works and strikes the hour a minute before all the other city’s clocks. You get a spectacular view from the wall and the towers across the mountains and lake.
This is another one of the Lucerne things to do that is free. To access the wall go to Loewendenkmal.
Opening Hours: 8 am to 7 pm between April and November.
The Old Town’s Squares
When it comes to Lucerne sightseeing, one of the best things to do is to simply stroll around the Old Town (Altstadt). We just loved exploring the narrow cobblestone alleyways and charming little town squares, and being car-free meant there was one less thing to worry about especially when you have children walking (running off).
Night time provides a whole other perspective with the gorgeous fairy lights all around and for us it even snowed which was absolutely magical.
Some of the squares you should check out are Weinmarkt, the Muhlenplatz, Hirschenplatz and the Kornmarkt. Even if you have just one day in Lucerne, be sure to stroll around the Old Town, it is definitely one of the places to see in Switzerland.
Location: Altstadt, Lucerne
Opening Hours: Always
This monument of the giant dying lion is a memorial of the mercenary soldiers from central Switzerland, who lost their lives while serving the French king Louis XVI during the French Revolution. It’s sheer size and the fact that it is carved out of rock makes it quite spectacular and one of the Lucerne Switzerland things to do when visiting.
As the Lion Monument is one of the great Lucerne Switzerland tourism attractions you may find large groups milling around, however groups disperse quite quickly and you won’t be waiting too long, as once you have a photo you generally tend to move along.
Location: In the English Garden at Denkmalstrasse 4, Lucerne
Opening Hours: Always
Swiss Museum of Transport
Without a doubt one of our Lucerne highlights was our visit to the Swiss Museum of Transport. Whether you have little kids, big kids or even no kids, this museum is a must do in Lucerne.
Whilst we only spent half a day here due to time restraints, you could easily spend the entire day here, there is just that much to see. The museum is basically built around the concept of showcasing all sorts of transport and its history. Here you will find trains, cars, buses, motorbikes, rockets, boats, planes – if you can think of some form or transport no doubt it’s here.
And it’s so interactive! Myla drove a boat, diggers, motorbike and plane. She played games, watched movies, took quizzes and all the time learning about the history of transport.
Also within the grounds of the museum are a range of other attractions including the Swiss Chocolate Adventure, Planetarium, Media World and a 3D film theatre.
The museum is a little out of town so you are best to catch a bus or train. Or if you have time, you can take a lovely stroll by the Lake Lucerne Promenade to get there.
Location: Verkehrshaus der Schweiz, Lidostrasse 5, CH-6006 Lucerne
Opening Hours: From 10am to 6pm in summer and 5pm in winter.
Price: 32 CHF per adult | 14 CHF per child (6-16) | Under 6s are free – Click here to book discounted tickets online.
Day Trip to Mount Rigi
One of the best Lucerne day trips is going to Mt Rigi. Myla and I did this trip whilst in Lucerne and absolutely loved it! What’s even better is that if you have the Swiss Travel Pass – the entire day trip is completely free!!
Lucerne to Mt Rigi is easy and starts with a cruise across Lake Lucerne to Vitznau. The boat leaves from the dock just across from the Lucerne train station. See the timetable here.
The cruise along Lake Lucerne is well worth it alone, so if you don’t have time – take the cruise anyway. Along Lake Lucerne you’ll see several little villages, rolling green pastures, cows grazing and of course stunning snow-capped mountains in the background.
From Vitznau you take the cogwheel railway (Europe’s first mountain railway) up to the top of the mountain. This train ride is like no other train ride I’ve ever done before! It’s just amazing as the cogwheel train goes up through the clouds and then emerges on the other side – it’s like you’re on top of the world.
There are a couple of different stations on the mountain where you can get off – but make sure you at least go all the way to the top at Rigi Kulm. At Rigi Kulm there are amazing 360-degree panoramic views across the Swiss Alps – it is seriously beautiful!
At Rigi Kulm there is a restaurant as well as a few different walks you can take. However on the day we went, the ground was super icy and we could barely walk without and slipping and sliding all over the place.
We saw heaps of people with sleds and walking between some of the mountain train stations which I think would be absolutely amazing, however we just weren’t prepared in the weather. The people we saw had trekking poles which we didn’t have – which would have helped with all the slipping and sliding.
About half way down the mountain is Rigi Kaltbad, a small village which has shops, restaurants, a playground and walks. If you visit with young children, be sure to visit the playground here as it’s great and has one of the best views I’ve ever seen at any playground! There is even an open air heated pool here with views to just die for!
From Rigi Kaltbad you can choose to take the cable car down to Weggis and take the ferry back to Lucerne from here if you prefer, rather than cogwheel.
Honestly when it comes to what to see in Lucerne, you can’t go past a day trip to Mt Rigi – it’s absolutely brilliant and a Lucerne mountain you have to see!
As I mentioned if you have the Swiss Travel Pass the entire day is covered, however if you don’t you can just purchase tickets as you go or online, details below.
Location: The boat departs from the dock, across from the Lucerne train station.
Opening Hours: Full day tour to take in all the sites will be from approx. 9am to 6pm
Price: 120 CHF per adult | 15 CHF per child (6-15) | Under 6s are free – Click here to book tickets online.
For something even more special, you can even stay here at Mt Rigi as there quite a few hotels too. Click here to check out the accommodation available.
Day Trip to Mount Titlis
There’s no shortage of mountains near Lucerne and so if you’re looking for day tours from Lucerne, a day trip to Mount Titlis is another perfect option. Snow and ice are guaranteed all year round, making it one of the best day trips from Lucerne.
It’s easy to get from Lucerne to Mt Titlis. Simply take the direct train from Lucerne to Engelberg which takes 43 minutes. From here it’s a 10-minute walk to the cable car station. Here you will take the 40-minute cable car ride to the top of the mountain.
Once you reach the top of Mount Titilis you will enjoy fantastic panoramic views. There’ also plenty of other activities including:
- Awesome views of the glacier’s deep crevasses and gigantic ice boulders from the revolving cable car Rotair as you reach the summit at 3020m;
- Visit the Glacier Cave: a 150-metre-long walkway which descends 20 metres below the surface of the glacier;
- Ride the Ice Flyer: a modern chairlift which provides views into glacier crevasses and ice falls;
- Cross the Cliff Walk: at 3041 metres above sea level, this is Switzerland’s highest suspension bridge; and
- Test your sledding skills at the Glacier Park: where you can go snow tubing even in Summer!
Please note that some of the activities may be closed due to weather conditions.
Return tickets for the cable cars up to Mount Titlis are 92 CHF and children 6-15 years old cost 46 CHF. If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you will receive 50% off the cable car to Mount Titlis, but the train to Engelberg is free. And remember kids on a Swiss Family Card travel free, making the Swiss Travel Pass so worth it!
You can do a guided tour if you prefer. This tour will take you to Mt Titlis from Lucerne.
Location: The tour departs from Frankenstrasse 2-4 (on side walk), 6003 Lucerne
Opening Hours: Half day tour to take in all the sites will be from 12.30pm to 6pm
Price: 137 CHF per adult | 68.50 CHF per child (6-15) | Under 6s are free – Click here to book tickets online.
If you decide to stay close to Mount Titlis, there are quite a few charming alpine hotels in Engelberg – Click here to check out the accommodation available.
Day Trip to Jungfraujoch
One of the most popular mountain day trips in Switzerland is a Jungfrau tour to the Top of Europe. You can take the top of Europe train to Europe’s highest train station at 3500 m above sea level which is nestled among ice, snow and rocks.
In order to get to Jungfraujoch you will first need to get to need to Interlaken Ost which is two hours by train or one hour by vehicle from Lucerne. From Interlaken Ost station you can then go either to Lauterbrunnen on to Kleine Scheidegg, or go to Grindelwald and then on to Kleine Scheidegg. From Kleine Scheidegg you will take the cogwheel train to Jungfraujoch.
The journey on the cogwheel train to Jungfraujoch is spectacular in itself. No matter what time of the year, winter or summer the views are amazing. I’ve been at both times of the year and was just in awe of the views.
Once you reach the top there is plenty of things to do in Jungfraujoch including:
- Snow Fun Park: enjoy various activities such as snow tubing, sledding, flying fox, snowboarding and skiing. Everything you need can be hired right here;
- Alpine Sensation: Shows the history of the Jungfrau Railway as well as a memorial to the miners who lost their lives in building the railway;
- Sphinx Observation Terrace: Take the lift to the summit and experience out of this world panoramic views across the Aletsch Glacier – Europe’s longest glacier as well as snow-capped mountain peaks from neighbouring countries and the world-famous triple peaks of Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau; and
- Ice Palace: stroll through the ice tunnels which were first created in 1930 by mountain guides with nothing more than ice picks. These tunnels go right through the Aletsch Glacier and feature various ice sculptures.
Please note that some of the Jungfraujoch activities may be closed due to weather conditions.
When we went recently in winter it didn’t take us too long to go through all the attractions, as things like the Snow Fun Park are closed. I think we spent around 2 hours exploring the attractions. However when I went some years ago during the summer months we easily spent a few hours just playing in the snow park.
The bus ride takes three hours to get to the mountain through some amazing Swiss countryside.
Tickets to Jungfraujoch are not cheap! From Interlaken Ost an adult ticket will set you back 210.80 CHF and a child ticket is 20 CHF – which is why you have to get a Swiss Travel Pass as you will receive 50% off the adults tickets and remember kids on a Swiss Family Card travel free, making the Swiss Travel Pass so worth it!
You can do a guided tour if you prefer. This tour will take you to Jungfraujoch from Lucerne.
Location: The tour departs from Frankenstrasse 2-4 (on side walk), 6003 Lucerne
Opening Hours: Full day tour to take in all the sites will be from 8.45am to 7pm
Price: 249 CHF per adult | 124.50 CHF per child (6-15) | Under 6s are free – Click here to book tickets online.
If you decide to stay close to Jungfraujoch, there are quite a few hotels in the surrounding towns – Click here to check out the accommodation available.
Day Trip to Mount Pilatus
Another one of the great places to visit near Lucerne is Mount Pilatus. Piltaus is said to be a sledding paradise, so perfect for families that aren’t skiers.
Getting to Mt Pilatus from Lucerne is pretty easy. Simply take bus number 1 from Lucerne Train Station to Zentrum Pilatus in Kriens. From here it’s only a 5-minute walk to the cable cars to go up to Pilatus. The ride up via the panoramic gondolas are an experience in themselves! Check out the timetable here.
There are three different stages to the gondola ride to the top of the mountain with different activities at each:
- Krienseregg: the very first stop, here there is an adventure playground and restaurant, great for kids to let off some steam.
- Frakmuntegg: the second stop, there is a rope activity park which is suitable for children of all ages. There is also a restaurant here too.
- Pilatus Kulm: the very top, here you can take in the stunning views. You can climb higher to one of the peaks and there are another two restaurants.
There are also several walking and sledding trails across the mountain. You can rent sleds, snow shoes and helmets at the rental station at Krienseregg.
If you visit during the months of May to November, you have the option of taking the world’s steepest cogwheel railway down or up the mountain to Aplnastad and from here take an hour boat cruise back to Lucerne.
Location: Lucerne – Alpnachstad – Pilatus Kulm – Kriens – Lucerne
Opening Hours: Check timetable for operating hours on your travel dates
Price: 117.60 CHF per adult | 59.20 CHF per child (6-15) | Under 6s are free – Click here to book tickets online.
Alternatively, for cable car only options:
Location: Cable Car: Kriens/Alpnachstad–Pilatus Kulm–Kriens/Alpnachstad
Opening Hours: Check timetable for operating hours on your travel dates
Price: 72 CHF per adult | 36 CHF per child (6-15) | Under 6s are free – Click here to book tickets online. Please note that these ticket prices don’t include transportation from Lucerne to Kriens.
If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you will receive 50% off the cable cars and train, but the bus to Kriens is free. And remember kids on a Swiss Family Card travel free, making the Swiss Travel Pass so worth it!
City Walking Tour
If you only have 1 day in Lucerne, a Lucerne city tour is a good way to see all the main sites. During this guided walking tour, you will hear stories of the history of the city while strolling the streets and visiting the famous landmarks. Along the way, you will visit the Chapel Bridge with the water tower, the Jesuit Church and explore hidden alleys.
Location: Meet at Tourist Information (railway station)
Opening Hours: Tours depart every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10.15am
Price: 20 CHF per adult | 5 CHF per child (6-15) | Under 6s are free – Click here to book tickets online.
Best Place to Stay in Lucerne
In terms of the best area to stay in Lucerne Switzerland, I would recommend staying either in or close to the old town, or around the train station. However, like anything in Switzerland, when it comes to hotels in Lucerne, they are very expensive. I think the best place to stay in Lucerne is in a less than convenient area, but close to public transport so you can get around to all the different places of interest in Lucerne easily. The buses in Lucerne are very good, so you won’t have any dramas getting around even if you are out of the city a little bit.
When we were in Lucerne, it was only Myla and I, so we didn’t stay in a family room. However, I have done the research for you and below I have listed three different hotels that I believe to be some of the best places to stay in Lucerne. I’ve recommended them based on their ability to adequately accommodate a family of 2 adults and 2 children, with private bathroom facilities as well as being in a reasonably central location.
For cheaper accommodation you will need to move further out from the city and / or consider getting a room with shared bathroom facilities.
Roesli Guest House is located close to the Spreuer Bridge, just a short 5-10-minute walk from the train station and within easy walk to a range of shops and places to eat in the old town.
The Roesli is great for those with larger families as it can accommodate up to 8 guests in rooms with a combination of bedding including beds, bunks and sofa beds. For those travelling with 4 guests you will be accommodated in in a quadruple room with a double bed and a set of bunk beds.
Rooms are simple and on the smaller side, however still include a TV and free WiFi. Guests are also able to use the pool at their sister hotel across the street and if you have a car there is public parking around 100 metres from the hotel.
All in all a great hotel to rest your head after a day of sightseeing, and perfect for larger families who need to be accommodated in the one room (especially those with younger children).
Located in the heart of Lucerne, the KoBi Apartments are only a 600 metre stroll from the Lucerne Station and only 300 metres from Chapel Bridge.
The great thing about the apartments is not only the self-service facilities, but they also can sleep families of up to 8 in 3-bedroom apartments, perfect if you’ve got a big group and all need to be in the one place. Families of 4 can comfortably fit into a 1-bedroom apartment in a large double bed and sofa bed.
The apartment amenities are everything you could want for ultimate convenience when travelling with a family and include a full service kitchen with fridge, stovetop, oven, coffee machine, toaster, kettle and all your kitchenware. There is a dining table to enjoy meals, and to clean up afterwards there is a dishwasher. Speaking of cleaning, there is a washing machine and dryer to refresh the whole families travelling gear.
For families wanting the convenience of a central location with loads of in-room amenities to help manage your budget, and don’t forget free WiFi, then the KoBi Apartments are worth checking out.
Barabas Hotel is located on the outskirts of the old town, just a short 5-10-minute walk from the train station and within easy walk to a range of shops and places to eat in the old town.
Families of 4 are best accommodated in a quadruple room that has two sets of bunk beds and a private but external bathroom. The rooms are basic and small (around 11 sqm) with no additional furniture or amenities in the rooms besides what’s mentioned. Included is free WiFi and daily free continental breakfast.
The kids (and history buffs) will love that this hotel is a former prison, renovated in 2018. So your room is a former cell, which has been preserved in it’s original form – which is why they’re so small.
So if you’re after somewhere a little quirky to stay and somewhere simple to lay your head at night on a budget, then the Barabas Hotel is worth a look.
Getting to Lucerne
The nearest airport to Lucerne is in Zurich, so you will most likely be getting to Lucerne by train.
The IR75 train leaves from Zurich Airport and goes direct to Lucerne train station and takes just under one hour – although the fastest trains can travel the distance in 41 minutes. The trains operate between 5.35am to 12.08am every day. On average, there are around 63 trains per day travelling between Zurich and Lucerne, departing approximately every 25 minutes. So if you miss one, you won’t be waiting long.
Lucerne is pretty small and from the train station you can just walk, it won’t take you more than 5-10 minutes to walk to any of the hotels I suggested above.
We arrived in Lucerne by train from Munich but via Zurich. We were traveling around Switzerland with Swiss Travel Passes which I highly recommend as it will save you a tonne on transportation as well as provide entry to a range of attractions. Click here to read our post on why we recommend the Swiss Travel Pass.
Getting Around Lucerne
Getting around Lucerne is easy as Lucerne is fairly small, so you can easily walk between most of the attractions. However, if you do need to get somewhere further afield, the main form of transportation is by bus.
If you do some day trips from Lucerne though you will most likely use either a ferry on Lake Lucerne or the train.
Like anywhere in Europe it is super easy to get around Lucerne. In fact, we found Switzerland has some of the best public transportation and you can get to the most off track places with ease. If you have the Swiss Travel Passes, like I mentioned above (do yourself a favour and buy these!!!) you can travel anywhere you like with these passes for free.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a Swiss Travel Pass and you are staying at a hotel in Lucerne you will be given a Lucerne Visitor Card which gives you free travel on the buses and trains within zone 10 of the city.
Whether you have a Swiss Travel Pass or use the Lucerne Visitors Card, download the SBB Mobile App and use this to plan your journey’s around Lucerne.
Lucerne: Our Verdict
Lucerne is such a gorgeous town! With it’s narrow cobblestone laneways, colourful buildings lining the lake and snow capped swiss alps in the background… it is just magical.
It’s not an overly big place, so you only need a few days to see the main attractions, but there are plenty of great day trips from Lucerne was well.
We absolutely loved Lucerne and can’t recommend it enough!
We hope you found this guide on all the top things to do in Lucerne helpful, some other great places to visit in Switzerland are Wengen and Montreux. And if you’re after a round up of all the best things to do in Switzerland check out this guide.