The nearest international airport is Zürich-Kloten. Trains run on regular intervals of about 30 minutes between the Airport and Lucerne and the ride takes approximately one hour. Make sure you board a direct train so you don`t have to change trains at Zürich`s main train station (Hauptbahnhof).How do I get from the train station to my hotel?
Thanks to its central
location Lucerne can be reached easily from nearly every other city in
Switzerland using the Swiss Federal Railway. The city lies at the junction of
four major rail lines, which connect it by fast train with every other major
city in Switzerland. Visit www.sbb.ch for rail schedules.
Lucerne Train Station (Address: Bahnhofplatz 1 6003 Lucerne) is located in the city center, directly on Lake Lucerne, and walking distance to the beautiful old town center. Luggage storage and bike rentals are available at the station. The station also houses an underground mall with train ticket counters, shops, tourist office and places to eat early to late, 365 days. All the public transportation networks are based out of the train station making it easy to get to your final destination.
Lucerne sits at the north end of the Vierwaldstättersee, one of the busiest waterways in Switzerland, for travel information from Schwyz, Flüelen, Weggis, and outbound points see the schedule www.lakelucerne.ch.How do I get around Lucerne using Public Transportation? Is the public transportation system safe?
Navigating the city of
Lucerne is easy. City buses and local
trains make up the public
transportation network. The ticket system is fairly simple: Lucerne`s
regional network is divided into zones. You don`t buy tickets for a trip, but
rather for a zone. Lucerne
city is zone number 10 which includes all of the city and
part of the municipalities. Tickets are valid in the chosen zones on buses and
local trains. As a visitor, zone 10 is most probably all you`ll need, as all
the sights and even the bus ride to the valley station of the cable car to
popular Mount Pilatus is within this zone. A day pass for zone 10 valid for 24
hours costs about 8.20CHF (half-fare around 6.20CHF), a single ticket valid for
1 hour is about 4.10CHF. Children under 6 travel for free, 6 - 16 year-olds pay
the so-called half-fare. Short distance tickets for up to 6 stops within half
an hour are 2.50 (no half-fare). All these tickets can be purchased with cash
or credit cards at the ticket machines you find at almost every stop (switch to
English on the first screen). You can also purchase tickets via an App for your
smartphone called Fairtiq (available for iPhones and
Androids). It`s simple to use and available in English. After registering
your credit card, you simply have the check in when you start your journey and
check out when you finish it. The app then charges you automatically the right
amount for the journey to your credit card. It will always charge you the most favorable
tariff (i.e. if the costs of a single journey exceeds the cost of a day
pass, it will charge you the cheaper day pass).
The Visitor Card Lucerne that comes for free with an overnight stay in one of the city`s hotels includes free use of buses and trains within the city (zone 10). If you get caught without a valid ticket, it`s a fine of bout 90CHF.
There are no intercity buses in Switzerland as the train system provides plenty of connections to many destinations in Switzerland. To make trips to the countryside in the mountains where there are no trains, refer to www.postauto.ch.
City transport in Lucerne runs roughly from 5:00 am - 12:30 am. There are night buses called nachtstern (www.nachtstern.ch) on Fri/Sat and Sat/Sun nights to surrounding areas (like Kriens or Littau), which leave from the main train station. The tickets for 7CHF or 10CHF can only be bought from the driver. Day passes and any other tickets will not be valid.
The train network is fast, reliable and extensive. For getting around in Switzerland, trains are your best option - from Lucerne there are connections to all the major Swiss cities at least once an hour. The state-owned train company is called SBB. For time tables refer to www.sbb.ch. Tickets are sold on vending machines (switch them to English on the first screen) and at the counters in Lucerne main train station. You can purchase single and return tickets. Children up to 5 travel for free, from 6 - 16 years they pay the half-fare. If you plan on travelling around Switzerland a lot, get a half-fare card for one month for 120Sfr - and travel for half the fare on all public transport. Or get a Swiss Travel Pass which is valid for all kinds of public transport (216 - 458CHF, depending on duration) and free entry to many museums (www.swisstravelsystem.com). If you plan on travelling a lot in Central Switzerland and pay a visit to more than one of the famous mountains a Tell-Pass is a good option. Ask for advice at the train station.Is Lucerne a walking city?
Lucerne is a perfect city to get around on foot. The Old Town is tiny, and most other interesting sites are within 20 minutes or so walk.If I have a car in Lucerne, where can I park?
Driving is not recommended; parking is difficult and the many one-way
streets make navigation complicated. However, should you wish to rent a car and
tour outside of the city or the mountainous countryside, getting a car is a
If you do have a car, and if your hotel doesn`t offer parking facilities and valet parking, there are a few parking bays on the street. For a long stay we would advise you to park in the city center car parks or in one of the P+R`s on the outskirts of the city.
On-street parking in Lucerne:Paid parking applies to just a few parking bays in the city center area of Lucerne on Monday-Sunday every hour per day. Parking rates Zone 1 is about 2.50 CHF /hour, Zone 2 is about 1.00 CHF/hour. Or, in the blue zones you can park 1 hour for free with a Swiss blue parking disc. For a longer stay you can buy a day pass for about 20CHF. The Swiss Blue Parking Disc can be bought cheaply at most Corner Stores.
P+R Lucerne: Cheap parking is set to the many P+R`s located on the outskirts of town. Parking costs about 4.00-6.00CHF/day. Parking for up to 7 consecutive days is permitted. Public transportation (train or bus) into town is available.
Getting around town by bicycle is popular in Lucerne, and when the
weather is nice it is a great option for visitors too. Nextbike is a bike
sharing system where you can pick up bikes at any of the one of 70+ locations
in town around the clock, either by calling the hoteline or using their app or
website. When you entere the bike`s number in the app, it gives you the number
code for the bike lock, and off you go. Fees are charged to the credit card you
provide when you register online. For more information visit www.nextbike.ch.
Bike rentals are also available at the main train station. The cost is about 29CHF/half day and increase from here.
There are around 500 licensed
taxis in Lucerne and in general they are clean, safe, reliable……and expensive.
It`s typically easy to get one, even in rush hours. The city sets the following maximum fees for taxis:
initial fee is about 6Sfr, 3.80Sfr/per 0.6 miles up to 20Sfr, 3.50Sfr/0.6 miles
above 20Sfr, waiting time 66Sfr per hour. Most companies charge the maximum.
Taxi drivers have to and usually do use their meters. Cheating is rare.
RFTaxi, (+41) 41 320 18 18, www.rftaxi.ch takes credit cards.
McTaxi, (+41) 76 577 66 55, www.mctaxi.ch
Taxi Hess, (+41) 41 310 10 10, www.hesstaxi.ch
arrivals are at the railroad station, on Bahnhofplatz, where trains pull in
from Zurich and other parts of Switzerland. This train depot is on the left
(south) bank of the Reuss River.
If you cross a bridge from the station square, you`ll be on the right (north) bank of the river at Schwanenplatz (Swan Square), which is the center of Lucerne. Also on the north bank of the Reuss is Altstadt (Old Town), containing many burghers` houses with oriel windows and old squares with fountains. The only way to explore this neighborhood is on foot.
Kapellgasse is a major shopping street that leads to the Kornmarkt (Corn Market), where you`ll find the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), dating from 1602. To the west of the Kornmarkt is the Weinmarkt (Wine Market), a lovely old square with a much-photographed fountain.
The Grand Casino Lucerne, a casino-and-restaurant complex, stands at Kurplatz on Nationalquai, the major quay of Lucerne facing the lake.
From Kurplatz, Löwenstrasse leads to Löwenplatz, a famed canvas depicting the retreat of the French army during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). Nearby stands the even more famous Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument).Carved directly into the rocky face of a low cliff in the heart of town, it's Lucerne's second-most famous attraction, surpassed in visibility only by the Kapellbrücke, the geranium-fringed covered wooden footbridge.
Lucernce is a touristy destination, and where there are tourists there are pickpockets and other sorts of scams. For the most part, the city is safe and you shouldn`t have any problems. Like any place else, make sure to keep your wits about you and use precautions against pickpockets.Can I pay/tip in US dollars?
currency of Switzerland is the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF. While
Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to
convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that
visitors may compare prices. Most of the restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs
accept euro, but expect to pay a premium rate.
US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for Swiss Francs upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and many bank locations throughout the city. ATMs are also widespread throughout the city accepting bank cards and credit cards.
weather in Lucerne is quite comfortable year round - not too hot and not too
cold. If you are used to a hot climate though, then maybe fall, winter and
spring can feel quite chilly. Dressing in layers always helps and do bring rain
gear with you.
If you come to admire the spectacular scenery, the months between April and mid-October are best to enjoy the city and the lake surroundings.
Autumn and winter bring fog and snow to the region, and while winter skiing areas are usually fog free, the city itself is often enveloped in depressing gray. While misty fog rising from the lake can paint a romantic atmosphere, the visibility is very much restricted. If the day is sunny above the fog line, there is a chance that the fog in the city lifts later in the day. But one can`t always count on that.
Switzerland has three
official languages: French, German and Italian. German is the predominant
language spoken in Lucerne, but most citizens speak at least one other
language. When dealing with locals it is recommended that you start off in speaking
German, even if it is only a greeting, before transitioning to English.
You will probably have trouble communicating with a commoner on the street but most of the younger population, as well as employees working for hotels, restaurants, and shops that are aimed at tourists can speak the English language at a competent level. We suggest you get a good English-German guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.
a tourist city and there are a myriad of Restaurants to choose from. Most
restaurants have a menu posted outside where you can check if the food could
appeal to you.
There are a few local and traditional dishes in Lucerne and throughout Switzerland that you`ll want to be sure to try. First off, the iconic Swiss fondue, literally meaning simply `melted` in French. The Swiss version generally consists of a big communal pot of melted cheese, which people dip bread as well as possibly olives, onions and pickles using long-stemmed forks.
Another local recipe you will see here is the Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, which simply translates to `Zurich style sliced meat`. The official dish is most precise than its name, always being made using veal and occasionally veal liver. Another traditional dish is the Nusstorte, a nut tart that can be found at different bakeries throughout Switzerland, but mostly in Engadine mountain region.
Rösti is a famous potato dish originated as a farmer`s breakfast in Bern but can now be found throughout Switzerland. Today it is regarded as a nationa delicacy. These Swiss-style hash browns are often eaten as a side dish to accompany many other Swiss foods, often replacing fries or other potato sides.
might be small, but as a cultural center it draws people from all over Central
Switzerland. This means there`s something for almost every taste. For more high-end
nightlife options head for the bars of the grand hotels, for the flipside dive
into the vibrant student and alternative scene. You`ll also find pubs and
casual bars, as well as live music venues and large mainstream clubs.
The Grand Casino, also known as Casineum, is a perfect spot to try your luck in poker, roulette or blackjack. Or if you are looking for something a bit more cultural, and if you speak German, you can enjoy a performance at the Stadttheater.
Lucerne has a wide range of shopping options despite its
small size. If you`re buying watches, Lucerne can match or even top larger
destinations. But there is also an impressive range of fashion boutiques, some
well stocked with the international luxury brands, while others focus on lesser
known, carefully chosen Swiss and international designers. Being Switzerland,
chocolates and other fine food products are well represented too.
The two major shopping areas are in the old town between Schwanenplatz on the lake and Mühlenplatz to the west, and in the Neustadt (the 'new town') between the railway station and Hirschengraben street.
Note: Value-added tax (VAT) rate is 7.7% in Switzerland which applies to supplies of goods or services registered in Switzerland.
Police Emergency Number -
Ambulance / Medical Emergency - 144
Fire Department - 118
Non Emergency - 022-327-41-11