Types of Girls about the Globe – History GatG, Arty & Museum GatG, Sightseeing GatG
If you're planning a trip to Lucerne in Switzerland, below is our guide to how to travel solo in Lucerne. We've included lots of practical information such as where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around. All links included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article. Happy planning!
- About Lucerne
- Sightseeing in Lucerne
- Things To Do in Lucerne
- Lucerne At Night
- Where To Eat in Lucerne
- Lucerne Bars
- Accommodation in Lucerne
- Getting Around Lucerne
- Zurich Airport to Lucerne
- Travelling Onwards
- Lucerne Map
Stay for – 3/4 nights. Lucerne is not as expensive as the main cities.
Safety Tips – Lucerne is a touristy city so just be careful with pickpockets. Avoid Tribschen at night and be careful with your belongings on Basel Street.
Language Spoken – German and some English.
Did you Know? – Lucerne is the most populous city in Switzerland and has 76,000 residents.
Local's Tip – “From Mount Pilatus you can see the Alpine peaks and hear the cow bells. It is worth trying to get out of the city and up the mountains to experience this view and peace.”
Solo’s Tip – “The 3-hour round-trip boat tour of the lake was beautiful and informative.”
On the banks of Lake Lucerne you’ll find one of the most visited places in Switzerland. Lucerne is an alpine playground with a beautiful city, lake and mountains. It is a city of culture with museums, theatres and festivals, and you can easily spend a couple of days here meandering around the churches, small streets, and plazas. Not to mention the lake and the bridges.
Check out the big clock and water tower, and ‘The Dying Lion of Lucerne’ – one of the world’s most famous monuments which is situated near the oldest gift shop in town (according to the sign).
Everything Swiss is here from watches, chocolateries, to Swiss army knives but you have to try the Swiss fondue too – another one of Switzerland’s treasures. Wander through the old town along historic streets which show remnants of Lucerne’s old fortification. Cross beautiful bridges whilst marvelling at the architecture or just take a boat ride on the lake for gorgeous views.
This place just oozes calm even when the tourists are around. It’s by far our favourite place in Switzerland. If you like the city, lake and mountains then Lucerne should be on your Swiss bucket list.
Sightseeing in Lucerne
Top Must-Sees For Solos
Lion of Lucerne (the lion monument)
This unique monument known as the dying lion of Lucerne was carved out of natural rock to commemorate the Swiss mercenaries who died in 1792. Created by a Danish sculptor in a nearby sandstone quarry the lion is shown impaled with a spear and a shield to its side. The detail is amazing and its location in a cliff-face surrounded by calm water is an amazing sight. Find at Northeast of Lowenplatz. (TIME = 1 hour)
The Chapel Bridge
Known as Kapellbrucke, the Chapel Bridge Lucern is the world’s oldest truss bridge and is one of Lucerne’s landmarks. This 14th century bridge was constructed as part of the city’s fortifications. The water tower on the bridge used to be a dungeon and a treasury vault. The bridge was reconstructed after a fire in 1993. Walk along the footbridge and admire the 17th century paintings of the city’s famous patron saints as you cross the Reuss River. Find along the river. (TIME = 1 hour)
The Lucerne Jesuit Church is one of the most beautiful churches in Switzerland and was also the country’s first large Baroque church. Built over two centuries, construction began in the 16th century and culminated in the 18th when its twin onion-domed towers were added. The rose-cream Baroque interior is stunning with a pink altarpiece at the sanctuary. If you are lucky your visit may coincide with the beautiful playing of the organ. Find at Bahnhofstrasse 11a. (TIME – 2 hours)
See the beauty of this Swiss city from the turquoise lake. Lake Lucerne has a total area of 114 square kms and its shoreline reaches as high as 1500m above the lake. Anywhere you choose to see the lake is just stunning. Either walk around the lakes shores or take a panoramic cruise on a yacht, learning about the sights of Lucerne as you sail. (TIME 1 to 3 hours)
Escape the crowds
Lucerne can attract the tourists so try and visit the attractions either early morning or late afternoon. Take a boat trip but you may find yourself with others on the boat.
At the dying lion monument. Go early morning before the groups arrive to quietly contemplate. The monument has a calming and sombre effect.
Get a great view
- At the Musegg Towers where you can get a great view from one of the three towers and listen to the city’s oldest clock whilst you are there.
- Mount Pilatus has amazing views of both the Alps and Lake Lucerne. Take the boat to Alpnachstad then hop aboard the cogwheel train to Pilatus.
- Take the train outside of Lucern to Mount Rigi where you can take the mountain railway for a magnificent sunset.
- It’s not exactly in the city but the views from Mount Rigi are amazing. It does take time to get there including an hour’s boat ride to Vitznau then the cogwheel train to the top of the mountain but the views are definitely worth it.
Interact with the locals
At Lido Beach, an outdoor pool area with a beach. The best place to interact with others here is at the Sunset Bar whereas its name suggests you can watch the sunset from here. It’s only open in the summer and does attract families.
Places to enjoy the sun
Just a 10 minute walk from the train station is Ufschötti Park which has a beach and plenty of greenery. You can swim in the lake here too.
Or grab a sunbed and umbrella at Seebad, a wooden platform where you can hang out and enjoy some rays. It also has a bar and restaurant onsite.
Whether you prefer a fruit and vegetable market or a flea market Lucerne has a few to choose from. On Tuesday and Saturday afternoons along the Reuss you’ll find the vegetable, fruit and flower market as well as the fish market.
Between May to October the flea market is held on Saturdays at Reusssteg.
From April to December you can pick up a craft or two at the crafts market at Weinmarkt. Then there is a monthly market held on the first Wednesday of the month at Bahnhofstrasse / Jesuitenplatz.
Things To Do in Lucerne
Just walk along the banks for gorgeous views including the beautiful bridges. If you prefer company for your walk, take a 2 hour waking tour to learn more about Lucerne's history with a guide.
If you like to run whilst you travel there are a few jogging routes here. It’s also great for cycling with various cycle routes no matter what your ability.
Mt. Pilatus has Switzerland’s longest toboggan run. There are rumours that it is currently closed (July 2017) but check in case it re-opens.
In the summer you can do stand-up paddle boarding on the lake shores at the Surfcorner.
Arty & Museum GatG
Enjoy a Picasso or a Paul Klee at the Sammlung Rosengart Museum which you can pop into after seeing the iconic Kapellbrücke Bridge. It is a small museum but it is well laid out and has a peaceful vibe.
You don’t have to be a transport buff to visit the Museum of Swiss Transportation. Showcasing the history of transportation you can see locomotive engines, planes, ships and trains within several buildings around a central courtyard. There’s a reasonably-priced cafe here too so prepare to be here for a few hours.
Save yourself the money of taking a tour to Mount Pilatus by doing it yourself. Take the train to the bottom of Mount Pilatus where the cable car is, then take the train back again. It’s only a 15 minute journey away.
If you are planning on visiting a few museums during your stay, look at buying a Visitors Card for the Lake Lucerne Region. You can get one from the tourist information office or the hotels which gives access to various museums as well as excursions.
It may seem like a strange place to have chocolate but inside the Swiss Museum of Transport you’ll find a Lindt chocolate museum and a chocolate adventure.
Get some culture down on the lake shores at the KKL Luzern Culture and Convention Centre. This classy-looking building with amazing acoustics is used for all types of cultural events including classical concerts and rock.
Chapel Bridge is both one of Lucerne’s and Switzerland’s historical icons. Built in the 14th century this covered wooden footbridge was designed to defend the city from invaders. The water tower on the bridge used to be a dungeon and a treasury vault. What makes this bridge so special is its old paintings. Known as the Kapellbrücke, this bridge is the oldest surviving truss bridge in the world and has been reconstructed after a fire in 1993.
Nature GatG – Day Trips From Lucerne
If you need more nature than the lake shores, there are plenty of day trips to experience the best of the region's landscapes. Explore Rigi, the Queen of the Mountains in the heart of central Switzerland. Begin with a boat tour before taking the old Rigi train for fantastic views of the mountains and the Black Forest.
Or plan a day trip to Mount Pilatus instead. Take the Panorama Gondola up Mount Pilatus before riding the world's steepest cogwheel railway en route to Alpnachstad. Return back to Lucern by ship on your own self-guided tour.
You could head to Jungfraujoch in the Alps to experience the snow-capped peaks of the top of Europe. Ride the cogwheel train for views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks before visiting the Sphinx Observation Terrace for fantastic views of the Aletsch Glacier. Venture into the Ice Palace before returning with your guide.
Venture to the Bernese Oberland for one of the country's beautiful Alpine landscapes. Explore the resorts of Interlaken, and Grindelwald within the Jungfrau mountain region and take the cable car to Grindelwald to see more of the landscapes.
Swiss people come here to shop at Hertenstein Street which is the city’s prime shopping location. If you are in need of some clothes, this is the place to shop amongst beautiful old buildings. Don’t try shopping on a Sunday though as most of the shops are closed.
Relax and rejuvenate in the mineral waters of the Kaltbad spring at Mineralbad & Spa Rigi-Kaltbad. Enjoy a herbal steam bath and massage jets in the mineral baths area or get properly pampered in the spa.
The LUCE Wine Lounge at the Radisson Blu Hotel is the perfect place for those who love wine. They have a selection of more than 200 different wines so you can enjoy a glass of your favourite vino in a stylish environment.
Have a tourist moment
By watching the World’s largest rolling ball clock at the original Bucherer store in Schwanenplatz, one of the leading brands of fine watches. This clock is over 11 metres high and 6 metres wide and is big enough to reach all four floors of the department store.
Don’t have much time?
Walk across the famous Chapel Bridge (known as the Kapellbrücke) and admire the old paintings on the bridge. Explore the Old Town and visit the dying lion monument before walking around Lucerne Lake taking plenty of photos of the gorgeous views.
Where to wear your heels
At the LUCE Wine Lounge at the Radisson Blu Hotel where style and sophistication meet.
Where to meet others
Inseli Park is where you’ll meet others who come after work to enjoy the open-air bars. It has great views of the lake and if you are lucky there may even be live music there at the same time.
Take a free walking tour with a local on the Lucerne Downtown Tour. The guide is super informative and will teach you everything you need to know about the history of this gorgeous city.
Mount Pilatus – Take a trip from Lucerne to Mount Pilatus. The round trip takes 5.5 hours but also includes a gondola to the 7,000 feet summit and boat ride.
Lucerne At Night
In The Evenings
Head to the oldest bar in town, St. Magdalena which shows films on Monday nights as well as local art exhibitions. Or watch a concert at the concert hall in the KKL Lucerne Centre.
Watch a movie at one of the open-air cinemas in the city. Slavica is situated in the Boninovo area or you’ll find Jadran in the Old Town, in the area of Iza Roka.
Lucerne is a good place for the Party GatG with clubs, swanky bars and a good alternative scene. Party at hotel bars such at Penthouse at Hotel Astoria which is over two floors. Find a hipster crowd at Alpineum Kaffeehaus Bar, or lounge the night away at the Beach Club in Hotel Montana where you’ll feel as though you’re at a Miami beach club instead of an Alpine bar. You’ll find nightlife here for all types of partygoers.
Dance the night away at Casineum – a club situated in the middle of the Grand Casino Luzern which used to be a theatre. You can also have a flutter at the casino before going into the club.
Barrock Music Bar – If you like live music you’ll like this friendly bar with staff who go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. It’s a really cool bar to hang out at in the evenings, enjoy a beer and meet others too. Find at Luzernerstrasse 40.
Where to Eat in Lucerne
Lucerne has various cuisine to choose from whether you prefer Swiss, Italian, or Asian. The restaurants range from pub dining to Michelin stars. Try the local pear bread, Alpine macaroni or the Luzerner Chügelipastete – veal and mushrooms in a puff-pastry sauce.
$ – Khoua Vientiane. For somewhere cheap that sells good Asian food, this little take-away place offers tasty Vietnamese and Thai food. You can find all the usual suspects such as green curry and papaya salad. They don’t take cards so have cash on you to pay. As there isn’t much seating here you may have to take away. Find at Kauffmannweg 7.
$$ – Pacifico. When you grow tired of European food try some Mexican. The portion sizes are good but it’s still Switzerland so they don’t come that cheap. It may be a bit Tex Mex with chicken wings and shrimp tacos but it’s popular with the locals for a reason. Find at Pilatusstrasse 15.
$$ – Pastarazzi Spezialitaten. If you love ravioli and hearty Italian food, this Italian restaurant fits the bill. If you don’t know what ravioli to order the chef will even help you to decide. Plus they have a few small tables perfect for solos. It’s also vegetarian-friendly too. Find at Hirschengraben 13.
Restaurants for typical cuisine
$$ – Wirtshaus Galliker. Enjoy amazing Swiss food at one of the oldest family run restaurants in Lucerne. Choose from cordon bleu delights and traditional dishes. Don’t forget to try the season tart too. Find at Schuetzenstrasse 1.
$$ – STERN Luzern. Serving seasonal food with a modern twist, STERN Luzern works with local producers to offer fresh Swiss regional cuisine. The ambience and comfortable atmosphere is ideal if you are dining alone, and there is a sunny terrace with a view of the Franciscan church and park. Find at Burgerstrasse 35.
$$$$ – The Old Swiss House. One of the best restaurants in Lucerne, The Old Swiss House serves traditional food, as well as chateaubriand and schnitzels. The decor is outdated but that’s what gives the restaurant its charm. It is really close to most of the sights. It is a bit touristy but if you are looking for a traditional Swiss meal in an old, cosy restaurant, it is worth a visit. Find at Loewenplatz 4.
$$ – Dean&David Luzern. The name may be a bit macho but inside you’ll find delicately-made dishes of curries, soups and salads all freshly prepared and healthy. The service is pretty quick too so it’s an ideal place if you don’t have long for lunch. Find at Morgartenstrasse 4.
At the restaurant at Hotel Hofgarten. The food served is seasonal, fresh and local. It’s 5 star quality without the pretence. They also serve a good brunch buffet every day until 11am. Find at Stadthofstrasse 14.
Enjoy a Coffee and a Cake
Take a break from sightseeing at Alpineum Kaffehaus Bar, the perfect place to enjoy a brew and people watch surrounded by nice architecture. The staff are really friendly and it’s a good stop if you near to the Lion monument. Find at Denkmalstrasse 11.
If you prefer tea stop at Blend Teehaus, a Middle-Eastern bohemian tea shop where tea is served in cute little pots. Enjoy organic and vegan food in a calm ambience. Find at Furrengasse 7.
You can find street food in Lucerne. Sausages seem really popular so you’ll see plenty of hot dog stands especially along the Bahnhofstrasse. Look for the roasted chestnuts, and pretzels stands or just grab a slice of pizza as you sightsee. If you prefer crepes head to the train station for the crepe stand.
St. Magdalena Bar – Enjoy a carajillo (a Spanish expresso with schnapps) at the oldest bar in Lucerne. St. Magdalena Bar has been open for 200 years. You won’t find much Swiss food here though as they serve Spanish and Mediterranean. It attracts a diverse crowd and has a charming atmosphere.
The Penthouse Roof Top Bar not only has a great view but it also has great staff so you won’t feel awkward about being here solo. The prices here are as steep as the height though so be prepared. Find at Pilatusstrasse 29.
Accommodation in Lucern
Good areas to stay in – Because Lucerne is a walkable city, any area in the city is a good place to stay depending on your preference. From hostels in Lucerne to hotels in Lucerne, we've picked the best accommodation for solos.
We love this hostel. Located in a quiet area you can walk from here to the shores of the lake and instantly be in nature. The hostel is clean with a lounge area to meet the other guests and invite them to a game of tabletop football. Dorm rooms are small with female only dorms having only 2 or 4 beds. There is also the choice of private rooms with a shared bathroom.
- Prices from £29 for a bed in a 4 bed dormitory
- To book, check prices or availability for Backpackers Luzern
Recently renovated, this hotel doubles up as a hostel. Close to Chapel Bridge it is just a few minutes walk to the lake. Comfortable and modern with good showers, the staff are helpful and some speak English. Choose from female-only dorms with private bathrooms or a standard double room (if you need some privacy).
- Prices from £50 for a bed in a 4-bed female dorm room
- To book, check prices or availability for Aparthotel Adler Luzern
If staying near the beach is more your thing, the Richemont Hotel is just a short walk away and overlooks Lake Lucerne. All rooms come with their own bathroom and even a hairdryer. This hotel is near to the ferry terminal but not that close to the city centre which is a 10 minute bus ride away. The breakfast here is an additional extra and can be quite costly.
- Prices start from £65 p/n for a single room
- To book, check prices or availability for Richemont Hotel
Getting Around Lucerne
Lucerne is an ideal city to walk around and most of the attractions can easily be covered on foot. If you do decide to hop aboard a bus or train, Lucerne is divided into zones. If you buy a zone 10 card it also includes the bus to the cable car station for Mount Pilatus. You can buy day passes if you think you’ll be using public transport a few times in one day. Buy tickets from the ticket machines at each stop.
You can get also get around by boat. Check here for the boat timetable and the locations for where the boats depart.
The easiest way to get around Lucerne is with the Tell-Pass. Buying one ticket gives you unrestricted travel on all modes of transport such as buses, trains, boats and also the aerial cableways. Tickets last from 2-10 days.
Zurich Airport to Lucerne
The closest airport to Lucerne is Zurich Airport which is just an hour away. From Zurich to Lucerne taxis are really expensive but there is a Zurich to Lucerne train which is a cheaper option. Lucerne train station is directly in the centre and walking distance. You can buy train tickets for the SBB trains from the ticket machines. Tickets cost from £24 one way.
As Lucerne is one of the main stations in the country you can get from here to various destinations in Europe. Check onward train journeys here.
If you visit between June to September you can sail the Swiss lakes on a paddlewheel steamer. The steamer boats depart near the train station at Luzern Bahhofquai.
Busabout are a great company who also stop in Lucerne. They offer a hop on hop off bus service which offers an easy way to see Switzerland and you can combine other countries on your pass.
TIP – If you are planning on seeing more of Switzerland look at a Swiss Pass.
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