How Many Days in Lucerne: Will 1, 2, or 3 days be enough?

Lucerne is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland. Situated beside a lake and at the foot of the Swiss Alps, Lucerne is just a breathtaking place to be. Not to mention its historic old town that transports visitors back to medieval times!

If you wonder how many days are enough in Lucerne or how long you must stay in Lucerne, you have arrived at the right place. This post will help you determine how much time you need to visit every attraction that you like in Lucerne.

Also included in this post is a summary of how much time is needed for each attraction in Lucerne. You will also find samples of how you can spend days in Lucerne. Basically, they’re mini-itineraries for 1, 2, and 3 days you can start with. 

How Many Days in Lucerne: Will 1, 2, or 3 days be enough?

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I recommend products and services that I think can help you make a successful and memorable trip. I may receive a tiny commission if you purchase them with no additional cost to you. These will support me in maintaining, creating more articles, and fulfilling the mission of this blog.

But before anything, I must introduce you first to Lucerne through my article explaining why Lucerne is a place worth visiting. There I got 15 reasons telling the most beautiful things and experiences you can find in Lucerne.

The information you can find in this post is based on thorough research from different sources linked at the end of this post. They are the hours spent on each tourist attraction, the travel time, and the distances.

The time needed for each point of interest in Lucerne is calculated to an average to give you more objective suggestions regarding your length of stay in Lucerne. However, I used digital tools like Google Maps to estimate the travel time between two destinations, routes, etc. 

I’ll leave links to these digital tools to automatically set them to show you the exact path, measurements, and estimations you can use during your trip to Lucerne. Bookmark this post or pin this to Pinterest for easy access for future use.

How Long To Stay in Lucerne?

2 days are enough to visit most of the primary attractions in Lucerne. You might consider extending your visit to a 3-day trip to give yourself more time to relax and enjoy each place you visit. However, if you plan to see more places in Switzerland for a week or more, a day trip to Lucerne is good. 

Continue reading the following sections to see how I came up with this suggestion.


1 day is enough for Lucerne for a one-week-or-more Switzerland trip as you’ll need more time in Jungfrau Region (Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, and Grindelwald) or Zermatt. These places are packed with unbelievable sights and bucket-list experiences Switzerland only offers. 

If this is the case, I suggest that you focus on the attractions within the city while you’re in Lucerne and reserve the rest of your time in Switzerland visiting other places with more breathtaking views. Despite that, Lucerne has its nearby mountains to give you nearly equivalent experiences you can find from somewhere else in the country. 

Need help in planning your trip to Switzerland? I prepared a 3-day, 7-day, 10-day, 14-day Switzerland Itinerary to guide you. I discussed each destination to visit (things to do, how long to stay, map, and other tips). Check it out!

Things to Do in Lucerne (with Time Needed For Each)

The way I determine how many days I will stay in a city/destination that I’m planning to visit is through the following:

  1. Select which places in the city which I want to see.
  2. Know much time is needed for the points of interest to be thoroughly enjoyed/seen.
  3. Sum up all the time required to spend on the attractions I want to visit.
  4. Calculate the travel time when moving from one tourist spot to another.

For Lucerne, I found 12 points of interest you can visit or activities to do during your stay. They are listed below, and included in the discussion are the amount of time that most travelers have spent during their visit. Let’s kick off the list with the Old Town Lucerne, one of the most unmissable things to do in the city.

Old Town

1 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

Houses in Kornmarkt, Lucerne
Houses in Kornmarkt
House in Sternenplatz, Lucerne
House in Sternenplatz
Details of the houses in Lucerne old town
Details of the homes in Lucerne old town

The heart of Lucerne, its old town, is an absolutely unmissable place to be. A stroll along its cobblestone lanes, filled with quaint houses painted with colorful Luftmalerei, should be your journey to medieval times.

Explore the old town Lucerne to see elaborated fountains dating back to the 16th century, shops selling cute authentic Swiss souvenirs, restaurants, and cafes having mouth-watering menus. You can also find boutiques and stores of different international brands here!

You can follow this Google Map route to see the best parts of Lucerne Old Town. It goes through Kornmarkt, Ritterbrunnen, Hirschenplatz, and Sternenplatz – places where the most fascinating buildings are.

Strolling and wandering in Lucerne Old Town, seeing most of its charming narrow alleys and beautiful buildings, can be one of your unforgettable moments in Switzerland. Depending on your phase, or if you plan to dine or have a drink within the area, a visit to the old town of Lucerne may last 30 minutes to 1 hour. That includes picture taking too!

Chapel Bridge & Water Tower

2 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

Chapel Bridge, Lucerne
Chapel Bridge

A visit to Lucerne is incomplete without going through the city’s most iconic and most photographed landmark, Chapel Bridge & Water Tower. It’s the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge, built in the 14th century. That’s why it’s a reason to visit Lucerne. 

The Chapel Bridge lies where the Reuss River and Lake Lucerne meet together. If you are from the train station, just walk north towards the lake, and after a few moments, it will be in your sight.

The bridge can be visited anytime, but it would be best to see the Chapel Bridge very early in the morning when the crowd hasn’t swarmed the bridge. A visit to the Chapel Bridge would not last longer than 30 minutes unless you want to take many photographs or chill at the cafes near the river/lake and admire the bridge from afar. 

Musegg Wall & Towers

3 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

View from Musegg Wall
View from Musegg Wall

Another time transporting attraction in Lucerne is its medieval wall, Musegg Wall. The wall and its 9 towers were constructed between the 14th and 15th centuries to guard Lucerne’s old town against the enemies coming from the north. 

You can climb 4 of Musegg wall’s towers (Schirmerturm, Zytturm, Wachtturm, and Mannliturm) during the summer. While in the towers, you can imagine that you’re a medieval sentry overlooking the splendid views of the city and mountains and hills.

Zytturm is the one you must not miss to see among the 9 towers of Musegg Wall. It has art and the city’s oldest clock. Come inside the tower to see its mechanisms. 

Musegg Wall is about 800 meters long, considered Switzerland’s one of the longest and best-preserved defensive walls. To explore Musegg Wall fully, you have to allocate 1 to 2 hours, depending on your phase.  

Lion Monument

4 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

Lion Monument during autumn, Lucerne
Lion Monument during autumn

Lion Monument is probably Lucerne’s most “meaningful” landmark which commemorates hundreds of Swiss soldiers killed during the French Revolution while protecting King Louis XVI. Mark Twain even said that it’s “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

The Lion Monument is a rock relief that measures 10 meters long and 6 meters wide. This massive sculpture stands beside a pond where you can often see its reflection. It is surrounded by serene gardens where you can hang around to relax after exploring the old town.

From the heart of Lucerne’s old town, Sternenplatz, it only takes about 10 minutes to reach the Lion Monument (See the shortest route on Google Maps). There is no admission fee for the monument. Most people have spent 30 minutes to 1 hour in the Lion Monument.

Glacier Garden 

5 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

A few steps from the Lion Monument is the Glacier Garden, which is a bit of a surprise to find. Glacier Garden is a relic of the last ice age showing potholes created by glacial waterfalls. Fossils dating back 20 million years ago can also be found on site.

We usually see incredible works of nature similar to what we can find in the Glacier Garden in the mountains but not in the heart of a city. Nevertheless, it is a “cool” experience, especially when watching the projections onto the rock formations.

The Glacier Garden in Lucerne also has a museum containing different rock specimens and a relief model of Switzerland. At the same time, this museum features Alhambra Mirror Maze, which can be enjoyable for both kids and adults. Most of the visitors have spent an hour or so in Glacier Garden.

Jesuit Church

6 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

Interiors of Jesuit Church, Lucerne
Interiors of Jesuit Church

Do you also love admiring beautiful architecture? Lucerne has lots of them, but if it’s the impressive interiors we’re talking about, it’s the Jesuit Church you must see! You can find it along the banks of Reuss River, between Chapel Bridge and Spreuer Bridge.

Jesuit Church’s ornate ceiling and arches have frescoes and stuccoes to make your jaws drop. It can be surprising to focus on the first impression of its simple exteriors. Gazing at its interior made up of white marble feels like you’re inside a temple in heaven, especially if you have the Christian faith. 

A visit to the Jesuit church can be quick, depending on you. 15 minutes is enough, but it can last longer if you want to take pictures, check the little details, or have a moment in silence.

Swiss Museum of Transport

7 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

The old town of Lucerne boasts many medieval, historically-rich tourist attractions, but the range of experiences in the city does not end there. Visit the Swiss Museum of Transport – it’s one of the most unique places you can find in Switzerland. The museum’s uniqueness is seen right away from its building, covered with street/traffic signboards.

The thing is, the Swiss Museum of Transport isn’t just about cars. All sorts of vehicles are inside! From carriage to industrial-age trains, bullet trains, airplanes, submarines, cars, and so on… this museum has it all, perhaps. It has a plane simulator too.

The Swiss Museum of Transport is the place best to visit in Lucerne during unpleasant weather. You must really consider visiting this museum if you have kids and teens – they’ll surely enjoy it! You should allocate at least half-day, 3 to 6 hours or more, to see everything inside.

Lake Lucerne

8 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

Shores of Lake Lucerne, Lucerne
Shores of Lake Lucerne

Aside from the city attractions, Lucerne has natural attractions to offer, and they absolutely make Lucerne so much worthy of visiting. We can start from its own lake, Lake Lucerne, which already looks breathtaking even on the shores. It has beaches with views of the snow-capped Swiss Alps on the backdrop.

There are three things you can do in Lake Lucerne. 

  • First, you can simply visit the shoreline and take photos of the relaxing view.
  • Second, Go to the beach and splash or sunbathe during summer.
  • Lastly, get a boat ride tour that brings you to different attractions around the lake.

The time you may need to spend in Lake Lucerne is really up to you. But, if you want to really enjoy or maximize your stay, I suggest getting a boat tour which may last for 2 to 4 hours or so. Here are some of the boat tours to give you an idea of what you can expect to see on Lake Lucerne:

Hammetschwand Elevator

9 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

View from Hammetschwand Elevator
View from Hammetschwand Elevator

One best way to oversee Lake Lucerne and everything that surrounds it? Go to Hammetschwand Elevator. Aside from it will let you see incredible views; it offers an extraordinary experience being the highest exterior elevator in Europe and the fastest in the world!

The Hammetschwand Elevator is located Rocky mountain walls of Mt Bürgenstock, opposite the city, across Lake Lucerne. At 1,132 meters on top of the elevator, you behold breathtaking views from Mount Rigi (east) to Mount Pilatus (west). You can learn more about Hammetschwand Elevator from Corina’s travel blog. (see sources)

Visiting the Hammetschwand outdoor elevator will involve a boat ride, hiking, and sightseeing. You will need to allocate 3 to 5 hours (half-day) to get to the elevator and finish the hiking back and forth.

Meggenhorn Castle

10 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

Meggenhorn Castle
Meggenhorn Castle

Meggenhorn Castle is your fairytale destination around Lake Lucerne. Perched on a hillside of the Meggen peninsula, the castle offers unobstructed and overlooking views of Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps beyond. Its garden is a very romantic spot to watch the sunset.

Yes, the Meggenhorn Castle has a beautiful garden; also a museum, and a playground for kids. You are free to enter the castle’s garden – it is open to the public. See the sources at the end of this post to learn more about the Meggenhorn Castle.

Visit Meggenhorn if you want to escape the crowd. It is a 15-minute bus ride (arrive at Meggen) plus a 12-minute walk from Lucerne Train Station. It’s up to you how long you will stay, but I suggest allocating 1 to 2 hours to spend during the afternoon before the sunset.

Mount Rigi

11 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

View from mount Rigi
View from mount Rigi

There are two mountains where you can have excursions while in Lucerne. The first mountain is called Mount Rigi, also called the “Queen of The Mountains.” It is located north of Lucerne, a perfect day trip regardless of the season.

Mount Rigi offers stunning views and several activities not only for fun but also for wellness. 120-kilometer hiking trails and 35-kilometer ski routes await you in mount Rigi – sure, there will be a lot to explore. After the activities, you can rest in its thermal baths and spa to soothe you for whole-body relaxation.

To get to Rigi from Lucerne, you need to take a 1-hour boat ride to Vitznau and a 30-minute train ride to Rigi Kulm from Vitznau. You can allocate 2 hours for exploring Rigi for a half-day trip; 4 hours for a whole-day trip. You can check Rigi’s website on sources at the end of this post to see all the activities in the mountain.

Mount Pilatus

12 of 12 Things to do in Lucerne

view from mount pilatus
View from Mount Pilatus

Mount Pilatus is considered one of Switzerland’s most beautiful mountains. For me, it’s the ultimate destination for a short trip to Switzerland for the stunning views, fun activities, and unique experiences found even by the time you get to the top. 

Mount Pilatus is a “mystical mountain,” by the way. It has many legends, and they will be a part of your overall experience in the mountain. Some people say it is the burial site of a biblical figure, Pontious Pilate. Other tell dragons with healing powers lived on Mount Pilatus during medieval times.

Most importantly, here in Mount Pilatus lies the steepest cogwheel rail globally! It’s a bucket list activity you should not miss for being such an engineering marvel. Also, lots of activities await you on top, from hiking, toboggan run, scenic restaurant, cable car rides, etc.

Like Mount Rigi, a visit to Mount Pilatus requires at least half a day to enjoy. 4 to 5 hours is the minimum. I recommend conducting the visit to Mount Pilatus on another separate day (whole day) to fully enjoy and avoid feeling rushed during the trip. 

Summary: How Much Time is Needed for Each Point of Interest in Lucerne

I created a table below showing the list of things to do in Lucerne alongside the amount of time needed to see each place. This table is made to help everyone quickly decide how long they will be visiting Lucerne.

Things to doMinimum time
Maximum time
Old Town30m1h
Chapel Bridge & Water Tower30m1h
Musegg Wall & Towers1h2h
Lion Monument30m1hIt can be quick if you just want to see the monument. 1 hour if you plan to relax in the garden of the monument
Glacier Garden 1h2h
Jesuit Church15m30m
Swiss Museum of Transport3h6h
Lake Lucerne2h4hThe time required is dependent on the boat tour you join.
Hammetschwand Elevator3h5hThe approximate time includes 20 minutes boat ride to Bürgenstock, a 5-minute funicular, 40-minute hike. (One way) + Lunch
Meggenhorn Castle1h2hAdd the travel time from where you’re coming from. 25 minutes (bus + walk) one-way travel time from Lucerne Train Station
Mount Rigi5h (half day)8h (whole day)Travel Time (boat > cable car > cable car > boat) included
Mount Pilatus4h (half day)8h (whole day)Travel Time (bus > cable car > cogwheel > train) included
How Long to Stay in Lucerne: Time Needed for Each Activity in Lucerne

You can check how I estimated the time I need to visit a city in the previous section (Things to Do in Lucerne).

How to Spend Days in Lucerne

Lucerne is a beautiful city offering experiences including nature, museums, history, and architecture. There are many ways you can spend days in Lucerne. However, I suggest making the city’s landmarks and unique attractions a priority and then the natural attractions and day trips.

This is the case, especially if you plan to visit more places in Switzerland unless you’re just visiting the country for three days or less. You can check other towns in the Swiss Alps like Interlaken, Kandersteg, Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen, and Grindelwald for more stunning views and incredible experiences.

If you’re really into nature and adventure but have limited time, I think it would be better to go straight to the Jungfrau Region or Zermatt. Skip Lucerne. These places are simple to visit, as well, from Zurich, Bern, Geneva, or Basel, where you’d mostly begin your trip.

Note: The itineraries you will find below are optimized for non-winter trips.

Is 1 Day Enough in Lucerne? 

One day isn’t enough in Lucerne for two reasons. With only a day in Lucerne, you can only visit its main attractions within the city or just half of them together with Mount Pilatus or Rigi on a half-day trip. Most importantly, a day trip is not enough for a comfortable city visit unless you skip some attractions to avoid the stress of rushing, going from one attraction to the next.

1-Day Lucerne Itinerary: How to Spend 1 Day in Lucerne

There are three ways you can spend a day in Lucerne. You can focus on the city center trip, have a mountain excursion, and mixed city & nature travel. Visiting the museum can be an option, particularly during bad weather.

Here’s a sample Lucerne Itinerary focused on exploring the city center. This itinerary is probably the most budget-friendly among the rest:

8:00 amLucerne Train StationArrival to Lucerne
8:10 amChapel Bridge and Tower Enter the bridge, emerge to Rathausquai, and stroll in Rathausteg (see the route on Maps). See the souvenir shops in Wasserturm.
8:40 amJesuit Church
9:00 amOld Town LucerneStart from Reussbrücke (bridge) to Saint Leodegar Church (see the route on Maps).
10:30 amLion Monument
11:30 amLunchThere are restaurants, cafes, and fast food near the Lion Monument.
1:30 pm
Glacier Garden, then Boat Ride in Lake Lucerne
Swiss Museum of Transport
5:00 pmMusegg Wall and TowerClimb the tower for a spectacular sunset view!
Lucerne 1-day Itinerary: How to spend a day in Lucerne

If you want to visit the old city of Lucerne and Mount Pilatus, you can replace the Swiss Museum of Transport, Glacier Garden, and Meggenhorn Castle with a DIY/guided tour to Mount Pilatus in the afternoon. You can check these great offers for more convenience:

It is also possible to have a day trip directly to Mount Pilatus or Rigi from Switzerland’s major cities. Discover more information about these day trips from the links below.

Are 2 Days Enough in Lucerne?

2 days of a visit to Lucerne is enough and perhaps the ideal length of stay in Lucerne if you plan to travel within Switzerland for a week. In 2 days, you will be able to see all the attractions in the old town plus a relaxing visit or fun excursion to Lake Lucerne or Mount Pilatus or Rigi. Also, a 2-day visit will let you see Lucerne’s colorful streets at night.

2-Day Lucerne Itinerary: How to Spend 2 Days in Lucerne

The best way to spend 2 days in Lucerne is to have one whole day in the city and another on a fun excursion. Have fun exploring the city during the first day, stroll and shop in its narrow lanes, discover mouth-watering delicacies, etc. Behold the stunning views of the Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne, and have fun in the activities in the mountains for the second day.

Below is a sample itinerary that you can make as a reference for a 2 day trip to Lucerne.

Day 1 of 2-day Lucerne Itinerary

6:00 amLucerne Train StationArrival at Lucerne.
Drop baggage at the hotel.
8:00 amBreakfast
9:30 amLion Monument
10:30 amGlacier Garden
12:00 pmLunch
1:30 pmOld Town LucerneStart from Saint Leodegar Church to Reussbrücke (bridge) (see the route on Maps).
2:30 pmJesuit Church
2:45 pmChapel Bridge and TowerEnter the bridge, emerge to Rathausquai, and stroll in Rathausteg (see the route on Maps). See the souvenir shops in Wasserturm.
3:15 pmCafes and Restaurants along the Reuss River
or Lake Lucerne
Have Refreshments or 1-hour boat tour
5:30 pmMusegg WallClimb the tower for a spectacular sunset view of the city
Day 1 of 2-day Lucerne Itinerary

Day 2 of 2-day Lucerne Itinerary

6:00 amChapel BridgeWatch sunrise and breakfast
8:15 amLucerne Railway Station, Dragon Ride (Cable Car to Pilatus)Follow the Mount Pilatus Golden Round Trip. See More information at the end of this post (sources)
9:45 amMount PilatusSightseeing, restaurants, toboggan run, etc.
3:45 pmPilatus RailwayDown to Alpnachstad.
4:30 pmAlpnachstad scenic boat rideGo back to Lucerne
Day 2 of 2-day Lucerne Itinerary

The day 1 and day 2 itineraries are interchangeable if you did not make a booking for a specific day (Swiss Museum of Transport, Mount Rigi, Boat Ride, or tours to Mount Pilatus or Rigi). It’s better not to book reservations with specific dates if you plan to see Lucerne during seasons with more unpredictable unpleasant weather.

As excursions from Lucerne need pleasant weather to enjoy the activities and the views, you may need to be more flexible with your schedule. If the sky is clear and sunny during your first day in Lucerne, do the excursion right away! Then, do the city tour the next day.

Are 3 Days Enough in Lucerne?

3 days are more than enough to see the primary tourist attractions in Lucerne. Almost all visit-worthy destinations within and around the city can already be visited during a three-day-long visit to Lucerne. However, it is recommended to have only one day trip from Lucerne, either Mount Pilatus or Rigi.

3-Day Lucerne Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Lucerne

Below is a sample itinerary that you can make as a reference for a 3 day trip to Lucerne. I prefer visiting Mount Pilatus over Mount Rigi because it is easier to see from Lucerne. 

Day 1 of the 3-day itinerary to Lucerne

7:00 amLucerne Train StationArrival at Lucerne.
Drop bags at the hotel.
8:00 amBreakfast
9:00 amChapel Bridge and Tower Enter the bridge, emerge to Rathausquai, and stroll in Rathausteg (see the route on Maps). See the souvenir shops in Wasserturm.
10:30 amJesuit Church
10:45 amOld Town LucerneStart from Reussbrücke (bridge) to Saint Leodegar Church (see the route on Maps).
11:00 amLion Monument
12:00 amLunchThere are restaurants, cafes, and fast food near the Lion Monument.
1:30 pm Glacier Garden
2:30 pmMusegg Wall
4:00 pmMeggenhorn CastleWatch the sunset in the garden
Day 1 of 3-day Lucerne Itinerary

Day 2 of the 3-day itinerary to Lucerne

6:00 amChapel BridgeWatch sunrise and breakfast
8:15 amLucerne Railway Station, Dragon Ride (Cable Car to Pilatus)Follow the Mount Pilatus Golden Round Trip. See More information at the end of this post (sources)
9:45 amMount PilatusSightseeing, restaurants, toboggan run, etc.
3:45 pmPilatus RailwayDown to Alpnachstad.
4:30 pmAlpnachstad scenic boat rideGo back to Lucerne
Day 2 of 3-day Lucerne Itinerary

Day 3 of the 3-day itinerary to Lucerne

6:00 amLucerne BeachSunrise near the lake, breakfast, stroll around, photograph the lake
9:30 amLucerne main harbor quayFirst boat ride to Bürgenstock
10:00 amBürgenstockRide the Funicular and then start hiking
11:30 amHammetschwand ElevatorSightseeing + lunch
2:00 pmBürgenstockBoat ride to Lucerne
3:00 pmSwiss Museum of Transport
Day 3 of 3-day Lucerne Itinerary


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How Many Days in Lucerne Will 1, 2, or 3 days be enough
How Many Days in Lucerne Will 1, 2, or 3 days be enough

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