Enjoy a day trip to Mt. Pilatus from Lucerne
Lucerne Things to Do

14 Best Day Trips from Lucerne

August 9, 2022 Last Updated on August 9, 2022

If you’ll be based in the city for a couple of nights or more, then you may be wondering which are the best day trips from Lucerne in Switzerland? Should you visit a lofty mountain peak, or take one of the from-Lucerne day tours by public transport that’s covered by your Swiss Travel Pass?

Alternatively you might like to consider other Lucerne excursions. Options include a Swiss skiing, canyoning or rafting experience, the chance to witness a traditional cow parade, a journey to the Top of Europe, a tour that includes Grindelwald, discovering the Swiss countryside or a ‘Night Watchman’ guided walk in Lucerne.

The first three of the Lucerne day trips suggested here involve choosing between Mount Titlis, Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi – unless you have time to visit all of them. Each has their own highlights. If you’re having trouble deciding, then this post might help.

There really is something to appeal to everyone so read on so you can book the day trip from Lucerne that suits you best.

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Quick Summary of the Lucerne Day Trips Covered in This Article

Day Trips
Mt. Pilatus Golden Round TripBook Now
Mt. Pilatus Silver Round TripBook Now
Day Trip to Mt. Titlis from LucerneBook Now
Day Trip to Mt. RigiBook Now
StanserhornBook Now
StoosMore Info
Night Watchman walkBook Now
Alpabfahrt Swiss cow paradeBook Now
Grindelwald and Interlaken day tripBook Now
Grindelwald First Adventure TourBook Now
JungfraujochBook Now
Bern and Swiss countrysideBook Now
Rafting in InterlakenBook Now
Canyoning in InterlakenBook Now
Swiss Ski ExperienceBook Now

14 of the Best Day Trips from Lucerne

Mt. Pilatus

Mt Pilatus cable car

Taking a trip from Lucerne to Mount Pilatus is one of the most popular day tours from Lucerne. The peak of this mountain massif is 2,128 metres above sea level and it lies among the Emmental Alps.

The best way to reach the summit is to take the cogwheel railway, and as the steepest in the world, it’s a thrilling ride. It’s also an incredibly scenic route. You cannot access Mt. Pilatus without taking a cable car, gondola or the cogwheel railway.

Once you reach the top, activities to take part in include hiking or mountain biking the trails, taking on the toboggan run, climbing at the rope park, dining out with a view or even free-falling from the ‘power fan’.

If you want to, you can even stay over at  Mt. Pilatus, as there are a couple of decent three star hotels. Taking a day trip is also simple, thanks in part to the Golden and Silver Round Trip tickets that are available.

Organised day tours from Lucerne to Mt. Pilatus

The preferred way of getting to Mt. Pilatus from Lucerne is to purchase an inclusive Golden or Silver Round trip ticket, as follows.

Mt. Pilatus Golden Round Trip

Buying a Mt. Pilatus Golden trip ticket allows you to experience four modes of transport – bus, cable car, cogwheel train and boat. It’s thus a very popular way to travel. The journey takes you from Lucerne to Kriens by bus, then from there to Mt. Pilatus by cable car.

For the return leg, you travel by cogwheel train down the mountain to Alpnachstad. From there you take a boat across Lake Lucerne to reach the city once more. The Golden Round Trip can also be done in reverse.

> Click here to book your Golden Round Trip tour to Mt. Pilatus

Mt. Pilatus Silver Round Trip

The Mt. Pilatus Silver Round Trip is the same as the Golden version, apart from the fact that the boat sector is replaced by a train trip between Alpnachstad and Lucerne, or vice versa.

> Click here to book your Silver Round Trip tour to Mt. Pilatus

How to travel from Lucerne to Mt. Pilatus

One option for getting to Mt. Pilatus independently is to travel by train or boat via Alpnachstad. You’ll need to journey by train on Zentralbahn’s Brünigbahn line, or take a ride across Lake Lucerne on a steamer boat.  Travel by train and boat are fully covered if you have a Swiss Travel Pass.

The cogwheel railway then departs from Alpnachstad between May and November – weather permitting.

How to travel from Lucerne to Mt. Pilatus

You can also reach the summit by travelling from Lucerne via Kriens as this is where the cable car to the summit departs from. This option begins with catching bus number 1 from Lucerne to Kriens (again, fully covered with the Swiss Travel Pass). The ‘dragon ride’ cable car bound for Fräkmüntegg leaves from here.

Next you’ll take a second cable car trip from Fräkmüntegg to Pilatus Kulm to reach your destination. If you want, you can skip this step and spend your time on the mountain in Fräkmüntegg.

> Read more about Mt. Pilatus in this article


Mt. Titlis

Titlis Rotair cable car

An alternative to visiting Mt. Pilatus is to travel from Lucerne to Mount Titlis. Picking this peak means ascending to nearly 3,250 metres above sea level – and gives you the chance to experience the world’s first revolving cable car, Titlis Rotair.

You can also take the Titlis Cliff Walk via the highest suspension bridge in Europe. Another highlight is the magical Glacier Cave, which can be reached via an illuminated tunnel carved from glittering ice. 

For hikers, there are various trails which can be accessed from Trübsee cable car station. A ride on the Ice Flyer also give you views of the region’s only glacier. In winter, sports such as snow tubing, tobogganing, snowshoeing and of course skiing are available.

Other things to do at Mt. Titlis include dining at one of the restaurants, riding the Trübsee Flyer zip line, spending time at the Trubsee snow park or exploring the area by mountain bike.

Organised day tour from Lucerne to Mt. Titlis

The simplest way to visit Mount Titlis is to take an organised tour which includes a scenic coach trip to Engelberg plus rides on the local cable cars. This trip includes a guide, transport, cable car rides, the Cliff Walk and a visit to the Glacier Cave. Weather permitting, a snow tubing experience is also included.

> Click here to book your day trip to Mt. Titlis from Lucerne

How to travel from Lucerne to Mt. Titlis via Engelberg

Getting to Mt. Titlis via Engelberg is one option for those who prefer to travel independently. You can drive or take a train to Engelberg before catching the Titlis Express gondola to Stand via Trübsee. The revolving Titlis Rotair cable car will then transport you to the summit. Each cable car sector takes about 15 minutes.

Travelling by train from Lucerne to Engelberg takes about 45 minutes, and from the station a shuttle bus will take you to the cable car station. Otherwise it’s about a ten minute walk between the two stations.  (Train travel between Lucerne and Engelberg is fully covered with the Swiss Travel Pass.)

If you choose to drive, there is parking at the cable car station in Engelberg. You need to take exit 33 at Stans-Sud from the E35/A2 when driving from Lucerne. Titlis Valley cable car station is well signposted after that.

> Read more about Mt. Titlis in this article


Mt. Rigi

Rigibahn at the summit of Mt. Rigi

Another popular mountain day trip involves going from Lucerne to Mount Rigi. Often referred to as ‘Queen of the Mountains’, Rigi is great to visit during summer or winter. Getting there can also mean taking a trip on Europe’s oldest mountain railway, the Rigi Bahn.

The views from Mt. Rigi make this place something special: you can see Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug and Lake Lauerz from the summit. At a distance of around 22 kilometres (or 14 miles) from Lucerne, it’s also pretty easy to reach.

Where you’ll arrive on Mt. Rigi depends on your mode of transport. The cable car deposits you in Rigi Kaltbad, and those travelling by cogwheel train will arrive in Rigi Kulm.

In car-free Rigi Kaltbad there is the charming central village square, a Michelin-starred restaurant and a natural mineral spa, and you can also walk from there to Rigi Kulm. At the latter you can enjoy winter sports in season or visit the 200-year-old hotel.

Swiss Travel Pass holders can travel all the way to Rigi Kulm for free.

Organised day tour from Lucerne to Mt. Rigi

Taking a fully guided tour from Lucerne to Mt. Rigi is the easiest and most time-efficient option. A key bonus of booking this trip is the fact that you get to travel by boat, cable car and cogwheel railway. This tour includes free time in Rigi Kaltbad to spend as you wish.

> Click here to book your day trip to Mt. Rigi

How to travel from Lucerne to Mt. Rigi via Weggis

You can also travel to Weggis by car, boat or train, and the journey times are around 20, 40 or 50 minutes respectively.

A cable car then takes you to Rigi Kaltbad from Weggis. This trip takes only ten minutes and offers mountain and lake panoramas along the way.

How to travel from Lucerne to Mt. Rigi via Vitznau

To reach Mt. Rigi via Vitznau’s old cogwheel railway you’ll need to get there from Lucerne. This is possible by boat, train or car. By road the trip takes about half an hour, or the ferry takes slightly less than an hour. By train the journey takes just over one hour.

If you want to take a trip on the historic Rigi Bahn, then travelling from Lucerne via Vitznau is the best option for arranging independent travel. This scenic trip takes about 30 minutes, and passes by the shores of Lake Lucerne before making the ascent.

How to travel from Lucerne to Mt. Rigi via Arth Goldau

The drive from Lucerne to Arth Goldau takes about 25 minutes, or you can reach the destination by train in around half an hour.

There is also a cogwheel train service from Arth Goldau to Rigi Kulm, and you will also travel in vintage carriages. This journey takes about 40 minutes. En route you can expect to see waterfalls, meadows and woodland, with occasional glimpses of the mountains or Lake Zug.

> Read more about Mt. Rigi in this article


Stanserhorn

Stanserhorn cable car, Switzerland
© Swiss Travel System / Stanserhorn-Bahn

The peak of Stanserhorn is almost 1,900 metres above sea level, and is one of the mountains clustered around Lake Lucerne. As travel to Stanserhorn is fully covered by the Swiss Travel Pass,  this destination is particularly appealing to holders of this ticket.

Stanserhorn is lesser known than Rigi, Pilatus and Titlis, but is no less attractive. Taking a trip here also means you can travel between Stans and Kaelti on the funicular railway, which was the longest of its kind when it opened in the late 19th century.

By contrast, the brand new CabriO cable car is a double decker with an open deck, allowing those who take a ride to soak up those stunning mountain vistas. Around 90 people can travel on this at any one time.

A bonus of visiting Stanserhorn is the local rangers who roam the mountain. They can point you in the right direction of the local wildlife, the revolving restaurant, an animal enclosure or flower-strewn Swiss meadows.

> Click here to buy your tickets on the Stanserhorn CabriO

How to travel from Lucerne to Stanserhorn

Between April and mid-November you can reach Stanserhorn by taking a train trip, a short walk, a funicular railway ride and the cable car. The first leg is the train from Lucerne to Stans, then from the train station a five minute walk takes you to the funicular station in the valley.

You’ll then board the funicular bound for Kälti, before switching to the CabriO for the final journey by double decker cable car up to Stanserhorn. As mentioned above, travel on this route is completely covered by the Swiss Travel Pass.


Stoos

© Swiss Travel System / Stefan Zürrer

Travel to Stoos is also fully covered by your Swiss Travel Pass. Stoos is a small Swiss village located at about 1,300 metres above sea level on a sun-drenched plateau. The car-free village can be accessed via the Stoosbahn funicular railway, and there is also a cable car service to Fronalpstock.

From the summit here you can see multiple Alpine peaks and ten different Swiss lakes, so it’s ideal for those seeking a day trip from Lucerne to the Swiss Alps. Active types might also enjoy hiking the Stoos ridge trail between Klingenstock and Fronalpstock.

In winter, Stoos is known as a ski resort, and this is centred on the Klingenstock and Fronalpstock mountains. There are also winter snowshoe and hiking trails, plus a downhill air boarding and sledging run.

During spring and summer visitors can see native Alpine flora blooming in the meadows – as well as looking out for local fauna. The area also boasts a trio of Nordic Walking Trails. 

How to travel from Lucerne to Stoos

You can either take the cable car from Morschach or the ultra-steep funicular railway from Schwyz-Schlattli to Stoos after taking a train from Lucerne to either destination. Find out more here. All travel is included by your Swiss Travel Pass.


Planning a trip to Switzerland?

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Night Watchman walk

An alternative to a day trip from or in Lucerne is to see the city sights by night. The Night Watchman Walk is led by Ralf, who makes medieval life in the city come to life as you wander the illuminated streets.

This walking tour of Lucerne also makes clever use of multimedia projection, displaying images on the city’s structures to get across what life here was like in the past. During the evening you’ll learn about the artworks on Chapel Bridge and the Lucerne of the Middle Ages.

Other sites visited on this tour include ancient Reussbrücke Bridge, the cobblestone lanes of the Old Town, the baroque-style Jesuit church and the Water Tower by Chapel Bridge.

> Click here to book your Night Watchman Walk in Lucerne


Alpabfahrt Swiss cow parade

If you want to witness a real-life Swiss festival – and what is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience – then taking a guided Swiss cow parade tour is a must.

This four-hour trip from Lucerne will take you from the city to the Swiss Alps to learn about the Alpabfahrt – or cow parade – tradition.

This takes place when the cows are moved from their summer mountain home down to the valley, where they’ll spend the winter months. The four hour tour also includes Swiss dancing, flag-throwing and yodelling displays, and gives you the chance to sample Swiss culinary specialities.

Your photographer guide will also create an online gallery for you to view and download later. Do note that the dates and locations for this seasonal tour do vary.

> Click here to book the Swiss cow parade tour


Grindelwald and Interlaken day trip

Aerial view of Grindelwald, Switzerland
 © Jungfrau Region Tourism

This one is certainly a contender for best day trip from Lucerne as it takes in two iconic Swiss locations. The guided full-day tour includes a visit to the mountain resort of Grindelwald – aka the Glacier or Eiger village – and a trip to Interlaken between Lakes Thun and Brienz.

The day begins with a scenic drive to the Bernese Oberland via the Brünig pass, and includes a stop at a viewpoint to marvel at the peaks of the Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch. You can then take an energetic hike or more leisurely stroll through Grindelwald.

A train ride past pretty Alpine meadows then transports you to Interlaken, where the attractions include designer boutiques and a realm of outdoor sports.

You then board your coach for the scenic journey back to Lucerne.

> Click here to book your Grindelwald and Interlaken day trip from Lucerne

How to travel from Lucerne to Grindelwald

If you want to visit Grindelwald independently, the train from Lucerne takes around two hours and 45 minutes, or you can drive the route in about an hour and a quarter.

How to travel from Grindelwald to Interlaken

Buses, car trips and train journeys between Grindelwald and Interlaken all take approximately half an hour.

How to travel from Lucerne to Interlaken

The journey between Lucerne and Interlaken Ost takes about two hours, or around an hour and 15 minutes by road. 


Grindelwald First Adventure Tour

First Flyer at Grindelwald First
© Jungfrau Railways

Another day trip that takes you into the famous Swiss mountains is a tour to Grindelwald First. The day includes rides on the cable car, a trip on the thrilling First Flyer zipline, the panoramic Cliff Walk, mountain cart and Trottibike rides, and travel by train.

Your guide will lead the way as you travel through the Bernese Oberland, via Interlaken where you’ll take a stop en route. The next part of this memorable trip is the cable car ride up to the summit of First.

Once you’re there, the excitement continues with the zipline, Trottibike and mountain cart rides included. You’ll also experience the breathtaking Cliff Walk during the day.

> Click here to book your Grindelwald First Adventure Tour

If you plan to travel to Grindelwald independently, please refer to the travel options and journey times above.


Jungfraujoch

Sphinx Observatory and Aletsch Glacier at Jungfraujoch Top of Europe

Known as the Top of Europe, Jungfraujoch is unmissable for many visitors to Switzerland and fortunately it is easy to access from the Lucerne area.

To take the hassle out of visiting Jungfraujoch from Lucerne, we recommend this day tour.

Delights that await on this Jungfraujoch excursion include the highest train station in Europe, Aletsch Glacier panoramas and rides on the Eiger Express cable car and the Jungfrau cogwheel train.

Aletsch Glacier is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Alps’ longest glacier. While taking your cable car ride, you’ll also travel beneath the famous North Face of the Eiger to Eiger Glacier.

After a trip through the rocky tunnels of the cogwheel train route you’ll reach the summit. Here you can soak up the views from the Sphinx Observation Terrace, take an Alpine Sensation discovery tour and wander down the Ice Palace tunnels – which are actually inside the glacier itself.

Those after a Lucerne to Lauterbrunnen day trip will be pleased to visit the location on the way back to the city.

> Click here to book your day trip to Jungfraujoch from Lucerne

Prefer to make your own way to Jungfraujoch? Read our guide to buying the best tickets for your trip here.


Bern and Swiss countryside

Aerial view of Bern

Though other Swiss cities are often credited with the role, Bern is actually the country’s capital.  Of course you can visit the city independently but taking a tour will give you the added bonus of being accompanied by a knowledgeable guide.

Taking this small group tour with a maximum of just 15 other passengers is a simple way to explore the small city as well as beautiful rural Switzerland.

It’s also a great tour for foodies, as you’ll visit the valleys of Entlebuch and Emmental, sampling Swiss cheese and biscuits at the Emmentaler show dairy and the Kambly Experience.

Entlebuch is actually a UNESCO-listed biosphere, and the day includes a stop at a typical Swiss country farmhouse and to see cows grazing on the land. Your guide will also lead you on a walk around Bern’s Old Town.

> Click here to book your day trip to Bern from Lucerne

Those wishing to visit Bern independently from Lucerne can reach the city by train in around 1 hour and 40 minutes, or by car in 90 minutes.


Rafting in Interlaken

Rafting in Interlaken
© Outdoor CH

If an adrenaline-fuelled day appeals to you, why not travel from Lucerne to Interlaken for a day of white-water rafting? This way you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Bernese Oberland whilst enjoying a heart-pumping experience.

In addition to paddling down the Lütschine river, your day also includes a visit to Interlaken. This popular resort is often seen as the outdoors sports capital of Europe, and is located between two sparkling Swiss lakes.

The rafting adventure ends at Lake Brienz, where you can take a refreshing tip before showering back at the rafting base.

During the day you’ll also have time to spend at your leisure in Interlaken.

> Click here to book your rafting adventure in Interlaken


Canyoning in Interlaken

Canyoning in Interlaken
© Outdoor CH

Another adventurous option that takes place in Interlaken is a canyoning trip. Under expert guidance, you can slide down sheer rock faces, leap into crystal clear waterfalls and discover secluded, rocky gorges.

This tour from Lucerne includes comfortable coach travel to the Jungfrau region while enjoying picture postcard views, admiring the craggy formations of the peaceful gorges, exploring Interlaken and of course jumping down rock faces and into tumbling waterfalls.

> Click here to book your canyoning adventure in Interlaken


Swiss ski experience

Skiing in Switzerland
© Jungfrau Region

Getting to grips with basic skiing techniques while in Switzerland is essential on many visitor itineraries and, as one of the most popular ski regions in the country, the Jungfrau Region is the perfect place to do this.

Booking a guided tour makes this a hassle-free experience as all ski gear and equipment is included. This full-day trip from Lucerne also includes tuition from an experienced, certified instructor and allows you to marvel at one of Switzerland’s prettiest Alpine areas at the same time.

The ski course lasts for two-and-a-half hours and takes place in the beginner area of the bodmiARENA. During the tour you can also visit Grindelwald, see the majestic Eiger North Face and discover Interlaken.

En route to your destination you’ll also travel over the Brünig Pass in the Bernese Oberland and have free time in Grindelwald. This tour is tailor made for beginners and, as mentioned above, all equipment and clothing is supplied.

This tour operates from December through to March.

> Click here to book your Swiss ski experience


Which are the best day trips from Lucerne for you?

Enjoy a Jungfraujoch day trip from Lucerne
© Jungfrau Railways

There’s lots of choice when it comes to escaping the city of Lucerne in favour of the ski slopes, mountain summits or Swiss countryside – and much more.

Whether you prefer a relaxing or active holiday, exploring Switzerland from your base in Lucerne allows you to visit many different places and take part in various pursuits during your time in the country.


Need a place to stay in Lucerne? Read our guide to the best hotels in Lucerne here. You can also read more about Lucerne in our Lucerne Travel Guide, find the best things to do in Lucerne and see our suggested two days in Lucerne itinerary.

Top image (c) PILATUS-BAHNEN AG


Switzerland Travel Essentials