Lucerne, Switzerland: Plan Your 1 Day Lucerne Itinerary

You know how you sometimes travel to a new place, but it just doesn’t seem real? Like everyone is an actor and the whole thing some elaborate set? That’s how I felt on my most recent trip to Lucerne, Switzerland.

Lucerne, Switzerland is the most populous city in Central Switzerland, but for me, it has more of a large town feel than a city (which I loved). Located on the banks of Lake Lucerne with views of the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a popular destination for travelers.

Lucerne is easily connected to the rest of Switzerland via the country’s delightfully timely rail system, so it is incredibly easy to visit the city for a day or you could choose to use it as a jumping off point to explore the rest of Switzerland.

I personally spent 1 day exploring Lucerne on my way to Interlaken, Switzerland’s adventure capital. While it was definitely a full day, I was happy with my 1 day in Lucerne, Switzerland. If you only have a day or two to visit Lucerne, I’d recommend following my footsteps to make the most of your Lucerne adventure!

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Going into it, my expectations weren’t too high. Basically, I was leaving Interlaken that morning and had to find a way to kill a day before my night train left from Zurich. Enter Lucerne: conveniently located between Interlaken and Zurich, it looked like the perfect stop (plus there were cute pics on Google…obviously a deciding factor! Check out more things to do in Interlaken from Arzo Travels.

The City of Lucerne

Stepping off the train, my first stop was the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a vision straight out of a Harry Potter…but really, I’m serious. I don’t kid about Harry Potter. Spanning the Reuss River, it is the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe. The history was great, but what really got me were the gorgeous flowers lining the bridge. My biggest question was who in the world keeps all of these flowers looking so vibrant? And would they be interested in coming to Florida and doing a bit of landscaping for me? Joking aside, Kapellbrücke is a sight to behold, and one of the main attractions putting Lucerne on the map, as I’m sure you can see why from my slight photo obsession with the bridge:

Melissa in Lucerne, Switzerland Chapel Bridge
Chapel Bridge Lucerne, Switzerland

After finally prying myself from the beautiful bridge (who am I kidding—I easily went back and forth across it at least 12 other times throughout the day), it was time to explore Old Town (Altstadt). The narrow cobblestone streets, murals, and timeworn architecture takes you to centuries past. I spent a few hours snacking on some scrumptious gelato, poking my head into the little boutiques, and checking off the major sites.

Old Town, Lucerne, Switzerland
Old Town Lucerne, Switzerland

One of my favorites was the Musegg Wall, which has four towers that are free to climb, and gives you idyllic views of the city of Lucerne.

Lucerne, Switzerland views

The Natural Beauty

Aside from the town itself, Lucerne’s location amidst a “Swiss postcard”, complete with a bright turquoise river, towering mountains, and a glistening lake, makes it an unbeatable spot.  After wandering the city for several hours, I capped off the day with a cruise around Lake Lucerne , which is free with a Swiss Rail Pass.

Lake Lucerne - Switzerland

If you choose this option, pick a random stop to get off and wander. I chose Rigi for no specific reason at all except I saw a castle as we were coming to dock. The ferries come by periodically, making it absurdly easy to get back to Lucerne and soak in those views.


Rigi - Lucerne, Switzerland

I arrived back on land and knew that with my night train departure fast approaching, I had to get going…but before that, the sunset. The city skyline was painted in an array of glowing pinks, purples, and yellows, reflecting off a glistening Reuss River. The swans glided into view, truly painting the perfect fairytale picture as I said goodbye to the little Swiss town.

Chapel Bridge Lucerne, Switzerland

If you’re looking for a place ripped from the pages of a storybook and plopped amidst the most epic nature scenes of your imagination, then Lucerne is it. Add this town to your bucket list, and you’ll thank me.

Check out Salt & Sandal’s post on Lucerne for learning about pumpkins you can taste while you’re there! (something I sadly missed).

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  1. This is a great post! Lucerne is one of the cleanest and most picturesque places I’ve ever been! I lost all my images from my trip, so it was nice looking through yours.

  2. Whoa, it looks like a really beautiful city! Switzerland in general looks like a beautiful country to visit. I love the mountains, the lakes en the nature. Unfortunately I’ve never been there, but it’s high on my list. You made some great photos! 🙂

  3. I was in Lucerne once and it was a lovely memory eating cheese fondue next to the lake! Lucerne’s magnificent views felt straight out of a postcard for me, you’re there in wonderful weather too! Those flowers on the bridge!

  4. I have never been to Lucerne but after reading this I really want to go! I can’t believe how beautiful the surroundings are and the town itself looks so charming and pretty. I am pinning this for future reference.

  5. Awesome post! I visited Lucerne last summer and I have to agree – the city is magnificent! I explored the city, but also decided to go and hike up the first bit of Mt Pilatus. That was one crazy decision.

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