Lucerne, known as Luzern to the Swiss, is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland, with its breathtaking natural scenery like the Swiss Alps, Lake Lucerne, and medieval architecture. Conveniently located in central Switzerland just an hour from Zurich, Lucerne is a popular destination for both Europeans and Americans.
Lake Lucerne is one of the city’s main attractions, with its irregular shape, four arms, and numerous bends. The steep mountains of Rigi and Pilatus also border the town. The train station is also conveniently located for travel within the town and for travel to and from Lucerne.
While parts of the historic city have a medieval feel with the 14th Century Museggmauer (Musegg Wall) and the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), there is plenty of modern luxury. For example, you can stay along Lake Lucerne at one of the many luxurious hotels or resorts and admire the stunning view.
The Old Town (or Alstadt) is often considered the most popular area of Lucerne, with its historical roots, rich culture, incredible art, and delectable dining. But, all of the city’s areas have unique traits that make them special. One important thing to note is that the city is very pedestrian friendly and many of the attractions are within walking distance of the area’s hotels.
Whether traveling to Lucerne on a romantic getaway, a solo trip to the mountains, a family vacation, or with your adventurous, outdoorsy friends, knowing where to stay in Lucerne can be overwhelming. So, we’ve compiled a list of the best areas and accommodations for your travel needs.
We’ve got everything from affordable hotels with dorm-style rooms to luxury hotels in Old Town Lucerne with modern amenities. So, if you want to know your accommodation options and some popular Lucerne attractions, keep reading!
Lucerne is a unique, picturesque city in the heart of Switzerland, known for its medieval architecture and views of the lake. The best way to see it all is by foot or boat. Join this full-day walking tour to discover Lucerne’s top sights, including the Chapel Bridge and the Lion Monument, along with insights into Swiss history and culture. Your expert guide will lead you past medieval houses and churches, onto hidden alleys, up cobblestone steps and down charming side streets on this 2.5-hour neighborhood walk through a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The famous mountain is a top Lucerne attraction and locals and guests alike enjoy the cable car ride up Mt. Pilatus, followed by easy trails to the panorama terrace and other lookout points. Descendants of the mountain on the world's steepest cogwheel railway - it has been featured in countless movies - before returning to Lucerne by boat.
Enjoy a First Class lunchtime cruise on Lake Lucerne. Admire the Alpine landscapes as the staff serves you a delicious 3-course meal made from fresh regionally-sourced products. The first course is followed by an entrée and main course, which are accompanied by regional wines and selected beverages. The ship's crew will serve you an after-lunch coffee, tea or hot chocolate before disembarking at your destination. You can also choose to travel with a personal guide who will tell you all about local history, culture and nature during the journey.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Lucerne – Grand Hotel National Luzern
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Lucerne – Hotel Alpina Luzern
- Best Budget Hotel in Lucerne – capsule hotel lucerne
- Best Vacation Rental in Lucerne – 5 bedroom accommodation in Sarnen bei Luzern
- Best Resort in Lucerne – Gasthaus Badhof – Golfhotel
- Best Family-Friendly Hotel in Lucerne – Radisson Blu Hotel, Lucerne
- Best Alpine Hotel in Lucerne – Hotel Pilatus-Kulm
- Best Adults-Only Hotel in Lucerne – Boutique Hotel Weisses Kreuz – Adult only Hotel
Best Areas to Stay in Lucerne
- Best area for first-timers/tourists – Altstadt (Old Town)
- Best area for budget travelers – Tribschen
- Best area for family-friendly luxury and adventure travelers – Mount Pilatus
- Best area for safety – Littau
- Best area for families – Oberseeburg
- Best area for nightlife – Neustadt (New Town)
- Best area for younger travelers – Bruch
Where to Stay in Lucerne, Switzerland
1. Best Area for First-Timers or Tourists – Alstadt (Old Town)
If you’re heading to Lucerne for the first time, you’ll most likely want to stay in Alstadt, also known as Old Town. This area is not only very walkable, but it contains much of the city’s history. So if you’re looking for a rich historical and cultural experience set against a beautiful backdrop, you must stay in Old Town!
One of the more notable landmarks of Old Town is the 14th Century Chapel Bridge. This wooden pedestrian bridge is often the first site of many guided tours in the area, so it should be one of your first stops too! When you walk across the oldest covered bridge, look up and see the art at the top of the covered bridge. It’s breathtaking!
If you see towering twin spires across the river, you’re at the Church of St. Leodegar. This historic church showcases an antique organ and displays intricate carvings and beautiful artwork.
And if you get hungry after walking across the bridge, the Lake Lucerne promenade is the perfect spot for a quaint meal with a beautiful view. There are many restaurants here, from Mediterranean, French, Italian, and Swiss.
Within walking distance of the bridge, you can pay your respects to the Swiss guards who died during the French Revolution at the Lion Monument. Located on the north side of the river, this monument of a wounded beast is a very moving piece.
There are also many squares in Old Town, from Kornmarkt to Weinmarkt. Both are delightful, with old shops, fantastic art, and trendy bars and restaurants. And Kornmarkt, once a grain trading exchange, is now home to the town hall, Rathaus.
When visiting Lucerne for the first time, staying in Old Town Lucerne is a must for its central location. But if you can’t find the perfect Lucerne accommodation here, you can always visit Old Town via car, bus, or train station.
- Best Budget Hotel in Alstadt – Swiss Dewa
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Alstadt –Hotel Luzernerhof
- Best Hotel in Alstadt for Adults – Boutique Hotel Weisses Kreuz – Adult-only Hotel
- Best Luxury Hotel in Alstadt – Grand Hotel National Luzern or Hotel des Balances (trust me, it’s tough to call one better than the other)
2. Best Area for Budget Travelers – Tribschen
If you want to stay in Lucerne, which is both fun and offers budget accommodations, you’ll find that Tribschen is the perfect spot! It’s only two miles away from the city center, but it’s got a more peaceful vibe than the busyness of Old Town, making it a great place to relax.
This area was formerly Lucerne’s Red Light district, but don’t be afraid, as those days are long gone. The area is now full of lakeside shops, hotels, and apartment buildings.
One of the most famous attractions in Tribschen is the Richard Wagner Museum. This villa was home to the famous 19th Century German composer and is now a fascinating museum. However, if you plan to visit the Wagner Museum, it must be during the spring, summer, or fall, as the museum closes during the winter.
Whether visiting in the peak of summer or the snowy winter, you can have year-round fun at Eiszentrum Luzern. This arena is perfect for hockey, curling, ice skating, and even building snow sculptures!
For some traditional Swiss fare like Sous vide Lendenstück vom Schwein, stop by Wirthaus Zum Unterlachenhof. Or, try a delicious gourmet pizza at Peperoncini Tribschen.
If you’re hoping to get some sun while in Lucerne, a trip to Ufschotti Park is a must. This local gem is perfect for sand, sun, and swimming in Lake Lucerne.
And whether you’ve got kids with you or not, you may want to put Inseli Park on your itinerary. It’s the perfect place to feed the ducks, look at the water, have a picnic, and relax.
So, if you plan to stay in Lucerne and hope for affordable accommodation options, Tribschen is a good place. It’s still centrally located and close to the historic Old Town, with budget accommodations and mid-range hotels for your Swiss vacation.
- Best Budget Hotel in Tribschen – Backpackers Luzern
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Tribschen – ibis Budget Hotel Luzern City
- Best Luxury Hotel in Tribschen – Radisson Blu Hotel, Lucerne
3. Best Area for Luxury Travelers – Mount Pilatus
While there are several luxury hotels in Lucerne, they aren’t grouped in any one particular area of town. Instead, you’ll find some luxury hotels in Old Town and then spread along the Reuss River and the lake district. However, the Mount Pilatus area combines breathtaking scenery, family-friendly outdoor recreation, and modern luxury. You can also stay at the top of the mountain at the superbly-rated Hotel Pilatus-Kulm.
The “Golden Roundtrip” is the best way to get to the summit from Lucerne. This roundtrip special includes a ferry from Lucerne to Alpnachstad, where visitors will take the cogwheel to the peak. Then, once you’ve finished at the top, you ride the cable car to Kriens. Finally, you’ll head back to Lucerne by bus.
While at the summit, enjoy the 360-degree views from Mount Pilatus on the observation deck. However, there are two additional decks above the Observation Deck, Esel and Oberhaupt. So, while it’s only a 5-minute walk upstairs, the views are even more incredible.
If you’re hoping to hike, take the trail to the highest point at Pilatus, the 2129-meter Tomlishorn. While it’s only a 2.5km round trip, the path gets tricky in the second half with large rocks and stairs.
If you’ve got kids, you’ll probably want to stop at the Fraumüntegg station, where there’s a fun rope adventure park. Kids will also love the summer toboggan, over 1,000 meters long! The next stop at Krienseregg also has a fantastic playground for burning off any extra energy.
Whether you’re staying at the Hotel Pilatus-Kulm, their elegant restaurant is worth the trip. They serve regional Swiss specialties with five-star service.
While the Mount Pilatus area isn’t the only part of Lucerne with luxury hotels, it’s a perfect mix of luxury accommodations, outdoor fun, and comfortable rooms in the Swiss Alps. If you’re planning to stay in Lucerne but you aren’t sure where you can have the most outdoor fun, consider the Mount Pilatus area.
- Best Budget Hotel near Mount Pilatus – ibis Luzern Kriens
- Best Mid-Range Hotel near Mount Pilatus – Chalet Murmeli
- Best Luxury Hotel near Mount Pilatus – Hotel Pilatus-Kulm
- Best Vacation Rental near Mount Pilatus –5 bedroom accommodation in Sarnen bei Luzern
4. Best Area for Safety – Littau
Located just west of Lucerne, Littau is in the foothills of the mountain range. Only recently did this suburban area merge with Lucerne, but it’s just a quick ten-minute drive to the city’s center. Littau is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a safe area to stay in Lucerne, whether traveling solo or with a group.
If you’re in Littau, you shouldn’t miss Mount Pilatus. It is steep and towering at over 2,000 meters above sea level. To get to the top, you can take the world’s steepest mountaineering cog railway and see breathtaking views of Lucerne.
If you visit in the summer, a trip to Zimmereregg Forest swimming pools will cool you down. Located in the middle of a forest, this outdoor swimming pool features three water slides – an 86-meter, a tumblewave water slide, and a jump slide! Kids and adults will love this swimming center!
You’ll find most shopping and restaurants along Luzerner and Thorenberg Streets. Many highly rated restaurants are located in this area, from Thai to Italian and, of course, Swiss.
Take a hike, walk, or run in the Gütschwald forest for fresh air and natural beauty. There are many trails in the woods, depending on your abilities!
Littau is a great location for couples, families, and even solo travelers; the area is safe and beautiful and has several mid-range hotels with spacious rooms. So, if you plan to stay in Lucerne, Littau is a wonderful city to consider!
- Best Budget Hotel in Littau – Anstatthotel Luzern
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Littau – Easy-Living Apartments Lindenstrasse 21
- Best Luxury Hotel in Littau – Gasthof Krone Blatten
5. Best Area for Families – Oberseeburg
If you are traveling to Lucerne with kids in tow, consider staying in Oberseeberg. This area is located in eastern Lucerne, with fabulous views of the lake and Mount Pilatus. There is stunning scenery, and the district has plenty of family-friendly fun, including a museum, parks, hotels, and beaches.
While there aren’t many tourist attractions in this part of Lucerne, you’ll find a trip to the Swiss Transport Museum a fun family trip! You’ll learn about the history of transportation, from rails to roads and air to water.
And while you’re at the Swiss Museum of Transport, check out the hexagonal building that houses over 300 works of art by famous Swiss artist Hans Erni.
Stop by the Musikpavillion am Nationalquai to admire the architecture while resting in the venue’s shade. This outdoor performance hall often has live shows, but even if you don’t catch one, it’s a perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the river.
One of the main attractions in this district is Lucerne’s Lido, with its sandy beach, heated pool, playground, beach volleyball courts, and restaurant. And if you don’t want to swim, you can lie back and take in the stunning views of Mount Pilatus, Bürgenstock, and the Stanserhorn mountains. Wherever you stay in Lucerne, a visit to Lucerne’s Lido is worth the trip!
There are several dining options in this area of Lucerne, from self-service to fine dining. You’ll find casual dining at the Lido Beach House, Seehaus Grill, and Mercato, and more upscale dining at Seebrise Luzern.
If you’re wondering where to stay in Lucerne if you’re traveling with kids, Oberseeburg should be at the top of your list. With its proximity to the city center, views of the mountains, local attractions, and accommodation options at an affordable price, you can’t go wrong!
- Best Budget Hotel in Oberseeburg – Hotel Seeburg
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Oberseeburg – Gasthaus Badhof – Golfhotel
- Best Luxury Hotel in Oberseeburg – HERMITAGE Lake Lucerne or Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern
See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Zermatt, Switzerland
6. Best Area for Nightlife – Neustadt (New Town)
If you’re looking to stay in Lucerne to see the sights but also have the option for fun nightlife, you’ll want to stay in Neustadt (New Town). This lively neighborhood is centrally located across the Reuss River from the historic Old Town and west of the Lucerne train station. Neustadt has cars, clubs, cafes, hotels, art galleries, boutique shops, and cinemas. So whether your idea of nightlife is dancing at a club or having a glass of wine outdoors, Alstadt has you covered.
If you’re looking for a bit of culture, head to Lucerne Theatre, where they feature dance, opera, and drama productions. This almost 500-seat venue was opened in 1839 and has featured live shows for all ages since opening.
Whether traveling with kids or not, a stop at Vögeligärtli Park is worth the trip! This popular green space, meaning the “Bird Garden,” was named after the aviary built in the park in the early 20th Century.
And, if you’re looking for a place to stop and enjoy a bottle of wine or some food, Cornerspot Neustadt Park is an excellent place to enjoy it! The colorful chairs and fantastic location make this a fun and trendy place to relax.
Have you worked up an appetite? Dine at the Neubad Bistro at a former indoor swimming pool site. This restaurant offers a delicious Sunday brunch and includes daily lunch and dinner options, snacks, and drinks.
And, of course, if you’re staying in Neustadt for the nightlife, you’ll want to visit Brooklyn Club & Lounge or Das Schwarze Schaf, where you can dance and party the night away. If you’re feeling more sophisticated, stop at Bar Capitol, where you can enjoy cocktails and relax.
So, if you want to stay in Lucerne for the nightlife, Neustadt is the best place to stay! Just across the river from Old Town Lucerne, you can still access tourist attractions, like the Chapel Bridge and other historic buildings. And stay in one of the most unique hotels in the area – the Capsule Hotel, as long as you don’t mind small spaces.
- Best Budget Hotel in Neustadt – capsule hotel lucerne (yup, lowercase and everything, because it’s trendy, yo)
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Neustadt – Hotel Alpina Luzern
- Best Luxury Hotel in Neustadt – Waldstätterhof Swiss Quality Hotel
7. Best Area for Younger Travelers – Bruch
Bruch is one of the trendiest areas to stay in Lucerne, although it was once the city’s cattle market. Now, the hippest and trendiest twenty-somethings find Bruch the most incredible place to stay in Lucerne. Located just northeast of Neustadt, this cozy neighborhood features trendy restaurants, unique hotels, boutique shops, cool bars, and quaint cafes.
If you’re looking for a little bit of culture, stop by the Historical Museum Lucerne, where you can listen to one of their docents give a gripping theatrical tour. Or, if you’d prefer a self-guided tour of the 3,000 artifacts, you can scan any of the artifacts’ bar codes to learn more. This museum will walk you through the history of central Switzerland.
As one of the trendiest establishments in Bruch, Madeleine is worth a visit! This fun venue is a bar mixed with a club, with comedy shows, live music, and overall fun.
Are you craving some Mediterranean cuisine? If so, Tapas Cabanas should be on your list, with seafood, Mediterranean, and Spanish menu options. But, of course, if you’d rather have local Swiss cuisine, try the highly-rated Jodlerwirt or Restaurant & Bar Drei Koenige.
Go shopping at Mimoa for handmade everyday products, or peruse the incredible selection of books at Stocker – The Book House in Lucerne.
And for one of the most incredible views of the river, stop by the Penthouse Bar. This two-story rooftop bar is exceptional for cocktails and looking at the stars.
So, if you want to stay in Lucerne with lively nightlife and affordable hotels within walking distance, you may want to consider Bruch.
- Best Budget Hotel in Bruch – Hotel Alpha
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Bruch – Hotel Drei Könige
- Best Luxury Hotel in Bruch – Château Gütsch
What are the best places to stay in Lucerne for families?
When planning where to stay in Lucerne, you must know that the city is very pedestrian friendly and has a train station, bus transport, and bikes available. So, no matter where you stay in Lucerne, you’ll be able to visit other parts. That being said, if you’re hoping to stay and play in the same area, then you’ll find either Mount Pilatus or Oberseeburg to be quite family-friendly, with the best hotels, including family rooms.
What are the best romantic hotels to stay in Lucerne?
One of the best luxury hotels for couples to stay in Lucerne, Switzerland, is the historic Hotel des Balances (a former guild hall), with its elegant rooms, romantic atmosphere, and private bathrooms. If you want to stay in Lucerne on the lake, you shouldn’t go wrong with the five-star hotel Schweizerhof Luzern.
This luxurious hotel offers rooms and suites and is family-owned. Another option on Lake Lucerne is the Grand Hotel National Luzern, a luxurious hotel within walking distance of the train station, Old Town Lucerne, and the oldest covered bridge, Chapel Bridge.
What are the must-see attractions in Lucerne?
Lucerne, Switzerland, is a magical place with historic buildings, Lake Lucerne, the Swiss Alps, and plenty of hotels to fit budget travelers and luxury-seeking tourists. Much of the city is surrounded by 14th Century architecture, such as the Chapel Bridge to Musegg Wall, both of which are must-see attractions. However, your stay in Lucerne wouldn’t be complete without visiting Lake Lucerne or the peak of Mount Pilatus.
Where should you stay in Lucerne for parties and nightlife?
If you’ve got the nightlife bug, you’ll want to stay in Lucerne within walking distance of some of the best clubs and bars. While there are bars everywhere in town, you’ll have the most fun in either Bruch or Neustadt (New Town Lucerne). You’ll find some of the best hotels near the popular nightlife spots.