The Swiss city of Lucerne is a perfect European city break and a popular route for family pastimes. There are lots of fun things to do in Lucerne with kids, from enjoying the lake cruise to admiring the Glacier Garden. Whether you spend 1 day in Lucerne or more, you would like to come back.
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Is Lucerne Child Friendly?
Lucerne is a compact, child-friendly city with abundant outdoor activities, museums, and family attractions.
In addition to visiting cultural centres, there are many other interesting things to do. For instance, you can visit Inseli Park on the lake and feed the swans or take a ride on the ice skating. Also, there are plenty of things to do near Lucerne.
How to Get to Lucerne, Switzerland
Thanks to its location, it is easy to get here from any corner of Switzerland or central Europe’s main cities by rail or road.
When travelling in Switzerland with Kids, the most convenient way to get to Lucerne is by plane. There are frequent direct trains from Zurich airport with a journey time of 50 minutes. You can more in-depth article about travelling from Zurich to Lucerne here.
Fly: You can’t take flights to Lucerne, Switzerland. The closest Swiss airport near Lucerne, Switzerland, is Zurich Airport. Compare flights for your dates here.
Hire car: The distance between Zurich and Lucerne is about 50 km. The route passes through a toll road, so you need to buy a pass. Compare hire car prices for your dates here.
Take a train: On the Swiss railway website you can see the schedule and ticket prices.
Take a bus: The bus goes daily from Zurich Bus Station. The journey takes about 1 hour.
Order an individual transfer A car of the class of your choice will be assigned to you. The driver will wait for you even if the flight is delayed and will take you to the address indicated in advance. Book your transfer here.
When is the best time to visit Lucerne?
In Lucerne it is good to come at any time of the year, it all depends on how you want to spend the time.
Lucerne weather varies depending on the season. If you are going skiing, it is better to go in winter, but if your main goal is to see historical sights, then it is better to go in summer or early autumn.
In June, you can be caught off guard by the rains. It will just be warm and dry in July, maybe even hot. But in September, the temperature will already be milder, about 18 degrees, and the air is fresh, so the best time for walking.
February in Lucerne
By the end of February, the most colourful festival takes place in Lucerne, considered the oldest carnival in Europe.
The festival’s opening takes place on the last Thursday before the start of Lent. Travellers with children especially like it, because everyone can participate.
The carnival is one of the best Lucerne winter activities. In addition to parades, the celebration is accompanied by an abundance of entertainment events, fairs and culinary fights. Interesting concerts and street performances are organized for children, with lots of sweets and festive delicacies.
Lucerne in July
July is a perfect month for travelling to Lucerne with kids. The air temperature is 16 degrees on average. During the day, it reaches 21 degrees, and at night it drops to 11.
July is great for visiting museums and other cultural venues, exploring natural sights, and having boat trips.
Where to Stay in Lucerne with Children
In Lucerne, all the main attractions, including the Old Town, are concentrated in almost one place, near the main railway station. When choosing a hotel for living with children, the historical part of the city is optimal. Here you’ll find the best options for accommodation in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Budget: Barabas Luzern
The Barabas Luzern hotel is located near popular attractions that are convenient to visit when you stay here.
This is a very atmospheric, unusual hotel where the prison was previously located. But the building was skilfully refurbished, and now it is an excellent family-friendly hotel with the cots free of charge. Cool experience and comfort are guaranteed.
Mid-Range: HITrental Chapel Bridge Apartments
HITrental Chapel Bridge Apartments is a value-for-money hotel located in a historic building in Lucerne’s Old Town, near all the main attractions. It offers fully equipped apartments which are very convenient for families with kids. Cots are available upon request.
Splashing Out: Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern
The family-run 5-star Schweizerhof Luzern is located in Lucerne’s Old Town, next to the lake. It is a luxury hotel with a spa, restaurant, and bar. Besides the rooms with amazing individual designs and the lake view, there is a gourmet restaurant with a kids’ menu. Additionally, it has an airport shuttle service, which is very convenient when travelling to Lucerne with kids. Cots are free of charge.
Top 10 Things to do in Lucerne with Kids
Magical Lucerne is rightfully considered one of the best places in Switzerland for tourists who travel with kids. It has cosy squares with fountains, houses decorated with ancient frescoes, graceful churches, and many more.
Here you can walk along the ancient bridges, admire the painting and architecture or have fun in one of the city’s entertainment centres.
If you are searching for what to see in Lucerne, down below, you’ll find an extensive list of things to see and do in this fantastic city.
#1 See the Lion Monument
This beautiful sculpture of a dying lion was called by Mark Twain “the saddest and most touching piece of stone in the world.” A dying lion with a spear is carved in a rock face.
This monument of tribute to over 600 Swiss soldiers who lost their lives during the French Revolution in August 1792.
#2 Admire the Mirror Maze at the Glacier Garden of Lucerne
Glacier Park is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Switzerland. It has ice age crevasses, fossilized mussel tracks and palm leaf prints from a subtropical region that was here 20 million years ago.
The biggest fun is the mirror maze, built in 1896 for an exhibition in Geneva. It comprises 90 mirrors and is one of the best places to visit in Lucerne with kids.
#3 Walk on the Chapel Bridge
Kapellbrücke or Chapel Bridge Lucerne is a medieval wooden footbridge built in 1333 that crosses the Reuss River, connecting the Old Town to the right bank. It is one of the most popular sights in the city. Any trip to Lucerne cannot be full without visiting this attraction.
A fire in 1993 nearly destroyed the famous wooden bridge, and the fire damage can be seen on the remaining 17th-century panels under the eaves.
Tip: return here in the evening to see it at the night lights.
#4 Explore the collection of insects in Natur-Museum Luzern
Fun and an exciting experience are guaranteed in the Nature Museum! With the interactive displays and rich collections of butterflies, bugs, and spiders, kids would love to spend time here. Additionally, you can enjoy the city’s beautiful views, which open from the museum windows.
The entrance to the museum is free of charge, so visiting the museum is one of the best free things to do in Lucerne.
#5 Take a boat trip on the Lake Lucerne
Vierwaldstattersee – the German name of the lake which translates as “four forest areas”. The lake is surrounded by the four cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Lucerne.
You can choose the boat depending on your budget. There are big options, from a historic paddle wheel steamer, a modern motorboat, to a panoramic yacht. This is one of the most interesting activities in Switzerland with kids.
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#6 Visit the Swiss Museum of Transport
The Swiss Museum of transport is the most visited in Switzerland. Inside are three thousand exhibits dedicated to transport, a radio and television studio. Kids will love the locomotive driving simulator and the famous Swiss Arena, an aerial photograph of the country that you can explore on foot.
The Swiss Museum of Transport is located right on the shore of the lake – here you will learn everything about planes, cars, and trains. Static and interactive displays, attractions, simulations, an IMAX theatre and a planetarium make this museum one of the most popular.
#7 Explore the Spreuer Bridge
The old bridge Spreuerbrücke was opened in the first half of the 15th century. It is located on the Reuss River and is one of the oldest bridges both in the country and beyond its borders. At least for this feature, it is worth a visit! Here you can also see a whole series of paintings of the 17th century by the artist K. Melinger on a single motif, “Dance of Death”.
Lucerne bridges are fantastic, and if you can’t see them all, check at least some of the most important ones, like the Spreuer bridge.
#8 Stroll in the Old Town of Lucerne
The Old Town or with an iconic old city wall, Museggmaur, is a great place for a walk. Most people start with a few hours of walking around the area with ancient buildings, bridges, narrow cobbled streets, and magnificent medieval squares.
Painted facades and bay windows are a distinctive feature of many buildings in the Old Town. Besides, many nice shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants are nearby. Here you will find famous Swiss goods such as chocolates, watches, and more.
#9 Bourbaki Panorama Lucerne Museum
Bourbaki Panorama was built in memory of the 87,000 French soldiers who fled to Switzerland in the winter of 1871.
The huge circular mural, 112 meters long and 10 meters high, was painted by Eduard Kastr. Visitors can view the panorama and enjoy 3d virtual reality and sound effects. Additionally, the Bourbaki Museum has art galleries and a restaurant.
#10 Eiszentrum Luzern
If you are searching for what to do in Lucerne in winter, check the Eiszentrum.
Ice skating operates in the winter season, from mid of October till mid of March. When travelling to Lucerne in winter, it is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland for kids. Besides the ice skating here you can play ice hockey and go climbing. There are special supporters for the little kids who have just begun to learn ice skating. Also, there is a nice restaurant where you can relax with a view of the ice field.
Where to Eat in Lucerne with Kids
The cuisine of Lucerne is known for its diversity. However, there are amazing local dishes which you must try. One is Luzerner Chügelipastete, a puff pastry shell stuffed with diced veal and mushrooms in a creamy sauce. Another one is Alpine Macaroni with applesauce – a typical Swiss dish created by mountain dwellers hundreds of years ago. It consists of potatoes, pasta, cheese, and onions. You’ll love it! Check below the best restaurants in Lucerne for your trip with kids.
Restaurant Stadtkeller: This traditional restaurant with folklore shows and live music is one of the best places to eat for tourists with kids.
Here you can learn a wonderful history of the place through the local food and traditions. Cheese fondue and fillet minion are delicious!
Pastarazzi: This restaurant offers a great concept of choosing pasta and the sauce by yourself, which doesn’t restrict your choices. You can eat inside or take it away. The food is served fast and is tasty.
Wirtshaus Reussfähre Restaurant: This restaurant makes the best seasonal Swiss food from local ingredients. Here you can enjoy your meal on a nice terrace overlooking the river.
Twiny StationThis casual place takeout restaurant offers great sandwiches, schnitzels, and hot dogs at very good prices. They serve fast, and the food is always fresh and tasty.
How to Spend 2 Days in Lucerne
2 days in Lucerne can be filled with lots of fun. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland with interesting museums, art galleries, good hotels and restaurants, and amazing landscape.
This little guide will help you choose the best things to see even if you only have a few days to explore Lucerne.
Morning: Start your day in Lucerne with a leisurely walk through the pedestrian city centre. It is free from cars, so you can safely look at the beautiful houses and old towers. Then cross to the other side of the Reuss River on the oldest wooden bridge in Europe – the picturesque “Chapel Bridge”. After, relax in Inseli Park and have a small picnic. Next, visit the Swiss Museum of Transport.
Afternoon: In the afternoon, head to see the famous Lion Gate with its sad story, and then head to Bourbaki Panorama Museum, where you can see an epic painting by Edouard Castres depicting the Franco-Prussian War. One of the most important churches in Lucerne – Hofkirche church is close to the museum, built in the 17th century. The entrance is free of charge.
Morning: Spend your morning in the old town of Lucerne. There you can see the Rathaus Stadt, constructed in the 16th century. Additionally, check the Fritschibrunnen, a beautiful fountain established in 1581 after the victory of the Swiss over Austria in 1446. After a walk, take lunch in one of the cosy cafes in the Old Town.
Afternoon: In the afternoon, visit an amazing museum Glacier Garden of Lucerne. Then cross the river on the Spreuer Bridge, admiring its beauty and learning its affluent history. Additionally, take a 1-hour cruise on a panoramic yacht along the lake.
3 Days in Lucerne for Families
Lucerne is one of the best places for a Switzerland city break. If you have another free day to explore Lucerne, it would be great to dedicate it to one great museum and a trip to the Alps.
In the morning, visit a fascinating museum for kids – Natur-Museum Lucerne.
In the afternoon, take a trip to mount Pilatus, using the world’s steepest railway. It is believed that one of the most beautiful views in all of Europe opens from the mountain. You can take it from Alpnachstad station, which locates 14 km away from Lucerne or directly from Lucerne using one of the local boats.
Best Day Trips from Lucerne
Lucerne is a beautiful city with many attractions and things to do; however, the natural sights are located outside the city. Getting to them will not be difficult due to their proximity. No matter what your plans are – to admire the lake during a cruise on a paddle steamer or to conquer the Alpine peaks.
Mount Pilatus, or Pilatus Kulm, is associated with local folklore. According to medieval legend, dragons with healing powers lived on their top, so Pilatus was called the Dragon Mountain in those days.
Hiking to the top is an unforgettable adventure which you could easily accomplish. However, it is better to take a boat to get there for family travel.
For the summer season, there is a special route Goldene Rundfahrt, during which tourists depart from Lucerne on a paddle steamer.
After landing, you will have the opportunity to ride the world’s steepest railway with a maximum gradient of 48, equipped with a special gear train. After admiring the mountain scenery, you can transfer to the cabin of the new Dragon Ride cable car and go down.
Engelberg town on the mount Titlis
The small town of Engelberg is an alpine town on Mount Titlis and is a great place for a day trip. It is a popular winter and summer holiday destination in central Switzerland. Here is one of the top 10 Swiss ski resorts, attracting skiers and snowboarders worldwide. In summer, hiking, climbing, mountain biking and golf fans come here.
At any time of the year, the Ice Flyer chair lift offers breathtaking views of the Bernese Alps. Fans of antiquity will be interested in visiting the active Benedictine monastery of the 12th century in Engelberg, where monks still live and work.
Rigi is a mountain range in Central Switzerland, visible from Lucerne’s city. You can climb the mountain by cable car or rack railway.
There are stunning panoramic views from the top. Additionally, shuttle buses run regularly to Mount Rigi. However, the cable car or railway stations can be reached more interestingly by taking a cruise on a steamboat that departs from the city pier in Lucerne.
When visiting the Rigi Mountain range, you can take incredibly picturesque and charming shots on the top of the mountain!
How to Get Around Lucerne, Switzerland
Buses are the most popular transport means in Lucerne. If you need to go somewhere outside the historical centre (which is easy to get around on foot), then you must take public transport to the square near the train station Bahnhofplatz.
Bus – children up to 6 years old travel for free.
Local trains – children up to 5 years old travel for free.
Taxi – cars can be found at official taxi stands in the most popular places in the city.
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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.