Lucerne is a phenomenal city, especially as a starting point to some of the most fantastic hikes, mountain walks, scenic rail trips, cycling routes and even secret legends such as the Dragon Legend of the Alps. The Routes.Tips team have themselves extensively explored this area, and found the views, tracks and routes to be of unequaled beauty. From the funiculars that takes visitors to panoramic locations such as Mount Pilates, Mount Rigi and Niederbauen, to the phenomenal hiking tracks listed in our Hiking Ticino blog, to the Lucerne Festival and Lake Lucerne, will you hardly find a moment of boredom.
It’s thus from our passion for Lucerne, hiking and the experience we gained, that we compiled these travel tips to assist you with your next trip.
Enjoy and happy travels.
12. The Long, Long, Long Promenade of Lake Lucerne
A visit to Lucerne isn’t complete without a visit to Lake Lucerne (or better known among locals as the 'Vierwaldstättersee,’ meaning, ‘Lake of the Four Forest Settlements,’ famous promenade. This promenade is long let me tell you, and offers visitors beautiful views of the lake, and leads to old city sights and attractions.
11. The Lion Sculpture of Lucerne
One of the mentionable attractions in Lucerne is definitely that of the dying lion memorial, better known as The Lion of Lucerne Memorial (or, The Lion Monument), which was designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1819), and sculpted and carved out of the actual cliff face of a sandstone quarry by Lucas Ahorn (1820).
It is said the sculpture was designed to commemorate the bravery of the Swiss Guards who lost their lives during the French Revolution, in 1792.
10. Sightseeing Savvy with a Swiss Travel Pass and/or Tell Pass
Swiss Travel Pass: Order your Swiss Travel Pass online when planning your trip. This grants unlimited access to the Swiss Travel System. You can climb onto any boat, tram, bus or regional train and take an open seat whenever you like. No need to count out change.
In addition, the deal includes the Museum Pass which allows travelers free entry to 500 museums and exhibitions. Take advantage of the half-price discount for some of the cableways and mountains railways. You can take postcard-quality photos of the famous Swiss Alps from various nearby summits like Pilatus Kulm, Stanserhorn Kulm, and Rigi Kulm.
Tell Pass: One of the most convenient ways to discover Lucerne is via a Tell Pass. A Tell Pass is easy to acquire, cost effective and allows various benefits, which includes but is not limited to:
- 2 - 10 days unlimited travel by train, boat or bus.
- Access to railroads and cable cars.
- Cost varies between CHF180 for a 2-day pass, while a 10-day pass costs around CHF300.
Rail Europe Inc.
9. Dialing Without Doubt
When making an international call, every country has a two-digit prefix with a ‘+’ in the front. This number replaces the 0 of the area code. In Switzerland, it is +41. However, Lucerne has an additional 0, making the prefix +41 41.
If you are in the country, you drop the +41 and dial 0, followed by the 9 numbers of the contact. Still confused? Use the handy dialing code finder to guarantee your call gets connected.
8. Worry-Free Wi-Fi
Nowadays, we simply cannot live without internet access. When traveling it is a necessity especially if you are looking for directions or the best souvenirs. Wi-Fi is offered in certain parts of Lucerne, but this is limited to an hour of free usage. There are venues that provide Wi-Fi facilities as well.
A nifty portable device, the Pocket WiFi, can be rented and will provide you with limitless internet when traveling across Europe. Simply book one online and it will be delivered to your holiday accommodation. When it’s time to go home, you pop it in the mail in the envelope provided.
Wifi Hotspots offering Free Wifi
Link to Lucerne Map with other Wifi Hotspots
7. Staying Safe in the City
Lucerne is overall a welcoming and safe city. There are no off bound areas and pedestrians can move freely alone at night. But as it goes, tourists, of which the city has droves; draw pickpockets and other undesirables. General personal security applies as anywhere else in Europe. Keep your valuables and passport out of harm’s way in your hotel room safe to avoid theft.
6. More to Museums than Meets the Eye
If you are the type who doesn’t enjoy browsing endless displays of ancient relics and find traditional museums a bore, some in Lucerne will change your mind. A museum you definitely don’t want to miss is the Verkehrshaus der Schweiz. It covers the history of communications and all forms of travel. Additionally, there are theme park style exhibits, an Imax theater, planetarium, and exciting simulators. Experience firsthand what it feels like to operate a locomotive or move around in zero gravity.
Another must-see is the Gletschergarten. Although focused on when Lucerne was covered by glaciers in the Ice Age, the Glacier Garden also has an intriguing mirror maze with some distorting mirrors that guarantee oodles of fun.
Verkehrshaus Der Schweiz
5. Saving Swiss Francs when Supping
Switzerland is one of the most expensive European countries for travelers. To make sure you save some Swiss Francs when dining out, remember that service is generally included. Check your bill if you are paying with a credit card to prevent yourself spending far more than you should. If your waiter or waitress was exceptional and you would like to leave them a tip over and above the included services, you can add 5-10% to the total.
4. Correct and Courteous Conduct
There are a few things that you shouldn’t do in Lucerne as the locals find this rude. As a law-abiding community who stick to the rules, they do not like jaywalkers. It is also considered to be bad mannered if you place your luggage next to you on the seat when commuting by train or bus. Never litter or spit in the street.
3. Smart Souvenir Shopping
Local merchants take advantage of the fact that there are sightseers aplenty. If you are looking to buy a memento, don’t buy it close to popular attractions like the Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument). Browse a few blocks down and you will find the exact same item for almost half of the price. This is particularly true about watches for which the city is well-known for. Guides and agencies get paid to direct you to certain stores where the goods are priced higher. Take the time to visit a few outlets on your own before making any purchases.
2. Talk the Talk
The Swiss have four official languages namely, German, French, Italian and Romansh. More than 50% speak German with French coming in at less than a quarter of the population. You may, therefore, want to consider taking a German translation dictionary, or downloading an app at least. It is highly advisable to learn a few key phrases in Schwzerdütsch (Swiss German) as this is the dialect used by locals. They will greatly appreciate this. Luckily, many inhabitants can speak a bit of English so you need not be too concerned that everything will be lost in translation all of the time.
1. Compulsory Swiss Chocolate and Cheese
The first Swiss foods that always come to mind are chocolates and cheese. For the finest handmade Swiss chocolate, the definite go-to place is ever popular, Max Chocolatier. Each season they introduce three new limited edition truffles.
To make sure your trip is complete, stop as well at Käsegeschäft - Chäs Barmettler for an outstanding array of cheeses, including moitié-moitié.
These items also make great gifts for loved ones back home.
A Little Extra
Travel App: Download the Routes.Tips App today to view our routes offering panoramic views of the city.
On the web: Explore our Routes
On the web: Explore our Routes
Planning a Hike in Lucerne?
Don’t forget your PeakVisor App which helps recognize hundreds of peaks visiblefrom Lucerne:
Related Blogs in-and-around Lucerne & Switzerland
Related Routes in-and-around Lucerne & Switzerland
The Classic Rigi Walk
Starting from Rigi Kaltbad (literally, Cold Bath), hikers usually take a funicular from Weggis. There's a large parking area near the funicular station in Weggis. I suggest you buy a day ticket, which allows you to use the cableway as well as cogwheel trains on the mountain. The day ticket price is 68 CHF. (Rigi Kaltbad is famous for the SPA complex apart from many other great things.)