How to Visit Lucerne in a Few Hours

Why Did I Take a Such a Short Visit to Lucerne?

One of the questions I tried to answer before my trip to Switzerland was how can I possibly fit everything into just nine days. The answer was careful planning and day trips to certain destinations. Lucerne was one of the places I definitely wanted to see, but I also knew I didn’t need to spend an entire day touring to see all of Lucerne’s top attractions. Instead, I chose to spend only a few hours in Lucerne and focus on the key sights.

Making my visit to Lucerne more difficult was the weather. For my first three days in Switzerland, there was a steady rain. But with my rain gear, a good plan, and a positive attitude, I was able to see everything that I wanted to see in Lucerne in just under four hours.

I hope this page will assist travelers who would like to visit Lucerne without committing an entire day’s worth of time.

Lucerne, Switzerland
Lucerne, Switzerland

How to Visit Lucerne in a Few Hours - Table of Contents

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How to Get to Lucerne with the Swiss Rail Pass

The Swiss Rail Pass makes it easy to get from one Swiss city to another. All of the trains that serve Lucerne from Swiss cities are covered by the rail pass, and I was able to travel to Lucerne from Interlaken West at no additional cost. I highly recommend purchasing a Swiss Rail Pass if you are interested in visiting multiple Swiss cities during your stay.

Lucerne Station
Lucerne Station

Lucerne Station is located near all of the city’s main tourist attractions. Within five minutes of exiting the train, I was in the middle of Lucerne’s city center.

The Welcome to Lucerne Sign
The Welcome to Lucerne Sign

Lucerne, Switzerland - What to See in Under 3 Hours

While three hours seemed like a quick visit, I found that it was plenty of time to see all of the main sights in Lucerne. I began my brief visit to Lucerne near the Chapel Bridge and followed a pre-planned route that would take me past many of Lucerne’s main attractions. Like most places in Switzerland, Lucerne has an abundance of signs that point tourists in the right direction of the city’s tourist sites.

Signs Make Navigation in Lucerne Extremely Easy
Signs Make Navigation in Lucerne Extremely Easy

Lucerne's Chapel Bridge

One of the most famous attractions in Lucerne is the Chapel Bridge. This wooden bridge was originally built in 1365 and was recently rebuilt in 1994 following a fire. The bridge is visible from the exit of Lucerne’s train station and was the perfect first stop on my quick visit to Lucerne.

The Chapel Bridge - Lucerne, Switzerland
My First Attraction was the Chapel Bridge

I photographed the Chapel Bridge multiple times before walking across the bridge. Be sure to take your time and enjoy the walk, as crossing the Chapel Bridge feels like going back in time.

The Chapel Bridge - Lucerne, Switzerland
About to Walk Across the Chapel Bridge

Both the Chapel Bridge and Lucerne were not crowded during my visit. The lack of crowds was likely due to the rainy weather. As I walked across the bridge, I stopped multiple times to take photos.

Interior of the Chapel Bridge - Lucerne, Switzerland
The Interior of the Chapel Bridge
A View from Lucerne's Chapel Bridge
The View from the Chapel Bridge

After crossing the Chapel Bridge, I was now on the other side of the Reuss River. This location would give me the perfect views of my next stop, the Jesuit Church.

The Chapel Bridge - Lucerne, Switzerland
Looking at the Chapel Bridge from the Opposite Side

Jesuit Church of St Francis Cavier

The Jesuit Church of St. Francis Cavier is one of the most recognizable buildings in Lucerne. Dating back to 1677, the best photographs of the church are taken from the opposite side of the river.

Walking the Banks of the Reuss River Towards Lucerne's Jesuit Church
Walking the Banks of the Reuss River Towards Lucerne's Jesuit Church

Due to the short amount of time I had to visit Lucerne, I did not go inside the church. Instead, I took a quick photograph and then continued up the pathway towards Old Town Lucerne.

Jesuit Church - St Francis Cavier
Jesuit Church - St Francis Cavier

Old Town Lucerne

I really enjoy Old Towns, and Old Town Lucerne did not disappoint. After walking up the steps near the Reuss River walkway, I quickly got lost in the narrow streets.

Walking Up the Stairs Towards Lucerne's Old Town
Walking Up the Stairs Towards Lucerne's Old Town

After spending a few minutes navigating the narrow streets, I arrived at one of the most visited sights in Old Town Lucerne, which is Lucerne’s, Town Hall.

The Narrow Streets of Old Town Lucerne
The Narrow Streets of Old Town Lucerne

Lucerne’s Town Hall dates back to 1602 and features a beautiful red and blue clock.

Town Hall Clock Tower

I didn’t really have a plan as I walked through Old Town Lucerne, and I pretty quickly ended up in a small square with the Weinmarkbrunnen Fountain in the middle.

Approaching the Weinmarktbrunnen Fountain
Approaching the Weinmarktbrunnen Fountain

Like most fountains in Switzerland, the Weinmarkbrunnen Fountain provides locals and visitors with potable water.

Approaching the Weinmarktbrunnen Fountain - Lucerne, Switzerland
Weinmarktbrunnen Fountain

After completing a quick loop through Old Town Lucerne, I exited Old Town near the Spreuer Bridge.

Lucerne Hydroelectric Power Plant

Near the Spreuer Bridge is a hydroelectric power plant with a fountain shooting out a jet of water.

The Fountain Near the Hydroelectric Power Plant - Lucerne, Switzerland
The Fountain Near the Hydroelectric Power Plant

I stopped and took some photographs of the hydroelectric power plant as I thought it was a good example of how Lucerne mixes modern technology with its historic structures and buildings.

Hydroelectric Power Plant - Lucerne, Switzerland
Hydroelectric Power Plant

Spreuer Bridge

The Spreuer Bridge is next to the hydroelectric power plant and was the next stop on my three-hour visit to Lucerne. This bridge was constructed after the Chapel Bridge and dates back to 1408.

The Spreuer Bridge - Lucerne, Switzerland
The Spreuer Bridge

Unlike the Chapel Bridge, which was rebuilt in 1994, much of the Spreuer Bridge is over 100 years old.

The Interior of the Spreuer Bridge
The Interior of the Spreuer Bridge

As I walked across the Spreuer Bridge, I was able to stop and get a great photograph of the Reuss River and the Jesuit Church.

The Jesuit Church from the Spreuer Bridge
The Jesuit Church from the Spreuer Bridge

After crossing the Spreuer Bridge, it began to rain, and I had to put away my camera. I figured since I wasn’t going to be taking photos until the rain stopped, it would be a good time to walk to the Lion Monument.

The Spreuer Bridge - Lucerne, Switzerland
The Spreuer Bridge from the Opposite Side

The Lion Monument

The Lion Monument was completed in 1821 and serves as a memorial to the close to 1,000 Swiss Guardsmen that were killed protecting French King Louis XVI in 1792. One of the Swiss Guards, Karl Pfyffer von Altishofen, happened to be in Lucerne instead of with the guardsman on the day of the attack, proposed the location, and raised money to pay for the memorial. The Lion Monument today is one of the most visited places in Lucerne.

The Lion Monument - Lucerne, Switzerland
The Lion Monument

I was pleased that the rain let up just enough for me to take photos of the Lion of Lucerne without risking damage to my camera.

The Lion Monument - Lucerne, Switzerland
Zoomed in on the Lion Monument

The Lucerne City Walls

As it continued to rain, I walked from the Lion of Lucerne Monument to the Lucerne City Walls. The City Walls would provide a spectacular view of the entire Lucerne area.

Lucerne City Walls and Watch Tower
Lucerne City Walls and Watch Tower

After walking uphill, and up some steps, I arrived at the City Walls. The Lucerne City Walls provided access to two viewing towers. Below, you will see a mix of GoPro photos and camera photos, as there was a pretty steady rain at times.

Walking the Lucerne City Walls
Walking the Lucerne City Walls

To get out of the rain, I climbed up to the top of the bell tower. It was difficult to get photos from the bell tower as the windows were covered in raindrops.

Inside the Bell Tower of the Lucerne City Walls
Inside the Bell Tower of the Lucerne City Walls
Inside the Bell Tower of the Lucerne City Walls
The Bell

The photo below was taken from the bell tower looking towards Lake Lucerne.

Lucerne from the Bell Tower
Lucerne from the Bell Tower

As I continued walking the Lucerne City Walls, the rain stopped just enough to get some photos of Old Town. Below, you can see the City Hall Clock Tower as well as the Chapel Bridge Tower.

Lucerne from the City Walls
Lucerne from the City Walls

The photo below was also taken from the city walls and includes the Jesuit Church.

Lucerne from the City Walls
Lucerne from the City Walls

Below is a photo from the same location that was zoomed in on the Jesuit Church.

Jesuit Church from the City Walls of Lucerne
Jesuit Church from the City Walls of Lucerne

Lake Lucerne Area

I was about two hours and 40 minutes into my quick visit to Lucerne. On my way back to the train station, I walked past the waterfront of Lake Lucerne.

Walking the Shores of Lake Lucerne
Walking the Shores of Lake Lucerne

There should have been stunning views of the Alps, but they were blocked by the clouds. Although it had stopped raining, there was still very little visibility.

Lake Lucerne - It was too Rainy to See the Alps
Lake Lucerne - It was too Rainy to See the Alps

I continued walking towards Lucerne Station, and the Chapel Bridge came into view. Basically, I had completed a giant circle in just under three hours, completing my quick visit to Lucerne.

Looking Towards the Chapel Bridge from the Shores of Lake Lucerne
Looking Towards the Chapel Bridge from the Shores of Lake Lucerne

After crossing the Seebrücke Bridge, I arrived at Lucerne Station and used my Swiss Rail Pass to return to my hotel in Interlaken.

Seebrücke Bridge - Separates Lake Lucerne from the Reuss River
Seebrücke Bridge - Separates Lake Lucerne from the Reuss River

Lucerne in 60 Seconds Video

A One-Minute Video of My Trip to Lucerne

Lucerne Packages and Tours

During my three-hour visit to Lucerne, I did not take any tours. I felt that I could see everything that I wanted to without hiring a local guide. While I did not feel it was necessary, I know that some people prefer being led around by a local. Below are various packages that could enhance your visit to Lucerne. Please note that as an affiliate of Viator, I will receive a small commission if you purchase a tour using my links. This commission is at no additional cost to you.

Lucerne Walking Tour
Private Guided Walking to Lucerne - $357.33

Take a guided walking in the most picturesque city of Switzerland. Stroll across the Chapel Bridge over the Reuss River, admire the Lion of Lucerne, climb the Musegg Wall, explore the centre of the old city, and at the end relax drinking local beer along the river after an interesting walking.

Self-Guided Walk Around Lucerne
The Lives and Legends of Lucerne: A Self-Guided Audio Walk - $5.99

Come on a walking tour to uncover the magic of Lucerne.

The town is set against the majestic backdrop of the Alps, on the shores of Lake Lucerne. Several pretty bridges, steeples, fountains and frescoed facades will catch your eye on this walk, but Lucerne has so much more to offer than photo opportunities.

You’ll begin at the train station and make a loop around the old town, visiting both sides of the Reuss river. Each site you visit has a story to tell, from the Chapel Bridge’s burning to the carnival celebrations. You’ll pass by wine, grain and pig markets too, each with its own unique character. From the markets, you’ll wander the cobbled streets to the Mill Bridge and find out about the castle on the hill.

The tour ends with the Legend of the Wild Man and Lux Ritter, the craftsman who became mayor. By the end of our tour, I hope you firmly agree that Lucerne is a whole lot more than a beautiful photo!

Cheese Tasting Tour of Lucerne
Cheese Tasting Tour and Lucerne Sightseeing - $212.16

Accompanied by one of our guides, this unique half-day tour combines sightseeing of Chapel Bridge and Lucerne’s old town with cheese tastings. It is the best way to spend a short time in one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland. Walk along Lake Lucerne towards one of the most traditional cheese shops in town to enjoy real alpine cheese.

An experience for lovers of raw milk cheese made according to traditional methods. Thanks to the diverse landscape, culture, tradition and experience of the owners, they produce a wide variety of excellent specialties in the Alpine cheese dairies.?

This short but rich experience is the best way to get to know Lucerne through its tastes, culture and people.

The tour includes a tasting of a variety of different Swiss cheeses with a glass of wine and/or water.

Lucerne Bike Tour
Lucerne Bike and Walk City Tour - $368.49

Discover Lucerne on a bike and walking tour guided by local guide Ralf. See the Chapel Bridge, St. Peter's Chapel, Zur Gilgen House, the Town Hall, Wine Market and Stag Square, the Mill Bridge, the Ritter Palace, the Lion Monument and the Musegg Wall and Towers. Pull the most out this unique city tour by combining biking and walking.
• Explore Lucerne on a combined 2,5 hours bike and walking tour
• Ride your bike on special bike paths and streets in and around the historical center.
• Discover the heart of Old Lucerne on foot and see the all the must have seen attractions
• Feel like a local and explore Lucerne on a bike 

Fly Above the Swiss Alps from Lucerne
Fly above the Swiss Alps and Lucerne with a local pilot - $185.47

Go on an unforgettable adventure and discover the beauty of Lucerne and Swiss Alps in the most unique way... from a private micro plane!

Your pilot is key to this adventure. They are sharing the flights' direct cost, not making a profit. They just love to fly and want you to understand their passion for aviation.
So be sure to meet your pilot directly at the airfield provided.
++Confirm weather conditions with your pilot before++ --> Access a local airfield --> Discuss the flight route together with your pilot --> Pre-flight check --> Up you go, enjoy the view from a whole new perspective!

The flight can depart between 9-17h, depending on the availability of the pilot, aircraft, and weather. Please let us know your flexible hours/days upon booking, and make sure that you've been in touch with us beforehand!

One Hour Catamran Tour Lake Lucerne
1-Hour Catamaran Cruise on Lake Lucerne - $28.14

Sometimes there simply isn't enough time to spend an entire day on magnificent Lake Lucerne, but for those moments we are pleased to offer convenient short cruises. These still allow you to enjoy the best of the lake and get a feel for the fantastic mountain landscape in the heart of the Swiss Alps. We recommend the round-trip journey from Lucerne to Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock and back aboard our elegant catamaran. Just stay on the ship when it docks at the Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock pier, for the immediate return to Lucerne.
Snacks and drinks can be purchased at a vending machine on board.

Lucerne Tour and Lake Lucerne Cruise
Lucerne's Heritage with a treat and Lake Lucerne Cruise - $197.87

Discover Lucerne and the various wonders it has to offer such as Chapel Bridge, Hofkirche St Leodegar, Lion Monument, the famous Lake of Lucerne, and picturesque mountains without mentioning the exclusive old town which holds all its heritage and tasteful Swiss delights with your private guide.

Venez Discover Switzerland brings the best out of each place by meticulously crafting each tour exclusively while taking care of our environment. We aim to bring the love, passion and interest for our planet in each tour or service provided to you.

Art and Culture Tour of Lucerne
Art and Culture in Lucerne - Discover it with a Local - $61.85

This Experience is provided by a private local.

Find out the different cultural and artistic characteristics that makes this city unique, and enjoy the buzzing community and city ambience!

Whether you are visiting Lucerne as a returning tourist who wants to get to know the city a bit better, or if this is your first time, this Experience is for you!

While walking the streets of Lucerne and looking at the amazing, unique street art, or getting to know more about the city’s galleries and museums, you will hear about street-art artists as well as contemporary artists and their close connection to Lucerne.

I will share with you the art and cultural world of my city, where you will see, hear, and experience how colorful and multifaceted Lucerne is!

Lake Lucerne Wooden Bridges Tour
The three wooden bridges of Lucerne - a private tour with Pearls of Switzerland - $274.87

Discover the wooden bridges of Lucerne on a walking tour.
Today only two wooden bridges still exist - there used to be three... The Chapel Bridge is the oldest existing wooden bridge in Europe.

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