Lucerne River With Castle In Background
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Lucerne in Winter: Best Switzerland Things to do 2023

Lucerne in Winter: A Wonderland for Families and Kids

Lucerne: this small city nestled in the heart of Central Switzerland is a real gem, especially during the winter months. With its picturesque old town, snow-capped mountain peaks, and a breathtaking lake, it’s no wonder Lucerne is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. So let’s explore the perfect Swiss city for a family vacation in the colder months.

Top Attractions to Visit with Kids

Chapel Bridge and Water Tower

A trip to Lucerne wouldn’t be complete without visiting the iconic Chapel Bridge. This wooden bridge, built during the Middle Ages, stretches across the Reuss River and connects the old town with the newer parts of the city.

Lucerne In Winter

The adjacent Water Tower adds a touch of medieval charm to the scene. Stroll across the bridge and enjoy the captivating paintings from the 17th century, depicting scenes from Lucerne’s history.

Explore Old Town Lucerne

 Old Town Lucerne

The Old Town is the perfect place to start your Lucerne adventure. This well-preserved medieval heart of the city is a delight to explore on foot. Meander through the charming, narrow streets, marvel at the colorful frescoes adorning the buildings and let the kids roam free in the pedestrian-only zones.

Musegg Wall

The Musegg Wall (Museggmauer) is a well-preserved medieval fortification in Lucerne, Switzerland. It was built in the 14th century as part of the city’s defensive system and remained an iconic landmark. The wall stretches for almost 1 kilometer and features nine towers, each with a unique design and history.

A visit to the Musegg Wall offers a fascinating glimpse into Lucerne’s past and provides a chance to admire the stunning architecture of this historic site. Four of the nine towers are open to the public, allowing you to climb to the top and enjoy panoramic views of the city and its picturesque surroundings:

Musegg Wall

  1. Schirmer Tower: This tower houses a small exhibition on the history of the Musegg Wall and offers splendid views of the old town.
  2. Männli Tower: Climb the narrow wooden staircase to the top of this tower for a different perspective of Lucerne and its landmarks.
  3. Zyt Tower: This tower is home to the oldest city clock, built in 1535. The clock still operates today and has the privilege of chiming one minute before all the other city clocks.
  4. Wacht Tower offers an interesting view of the Reuss River and the surrounding landscape.

Visiting the Musegg Wall is a great way to spend a few hours in Lucerne, especially for history buffs and families. The wall is easily accessible by foot from the city center, and admission to the towers is free. Wear comfortable shoes, as climbing the towers can be steep and narrow. The Musegg Wall is a must-see attraction showcasing Lucerne’s rich history and stunning views of this beautiful Swiss city.

Jesuit Church

Jesuit Church Lucerne

The Jesuit Church, a remarkable example of Baroque-style architecture, is prominently situated along the Reuss River in Lucerne. Constructed in the 17th century, this Catholic church held considerable importance during the Counter-Reformation movement, as it aimed to reaffirm the Catholic Church’s influence in response to the Protestant Reformation.

When visiting the Jesuit Church, you’ll be captivated by its breathtaking façade, which boasts beautiful sculptures and intricate stonework. The interior is equally impressive, adorned with stunning frescoes, ornate stuccowork, and magnificent altarpieces. The church’s magnificent pipe organ, one of the largest in Switzerland, adds to the grandeur of the space.

Lion Monument

Lion Monument Lucerne

Carved into a cliff face, the Lion Monument is a poignant tribute to the Swiss Guards who lost their lives during the French Revolution. This moving sculpture is a must-visit attraction and a great spot to teach your kids about the importance of history and the sacrifices made by others.

Swiss Museum of Transport

One of the best places for a family outing in Lucerne is the Swiss Museum of Transport. This interactive museum offers exhibits on various modes of transport, including trains, planes, and automobiles. The kids will have a blast exploring hands-on displays, watching short films, and even taking a simulated flight over Switzerland!

Winter Activities for the Whole Family

Mount Pilatus

Mount Pilatus is a popular day trip destination from Lucerne, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Lucerne. Reach the summit via the world’s steepest cogwheel railway or a thrilling cable car ride, leaving your kids wide-eyed with excitement. At the top, indulge in a warm cheese fondue, explore the Glacier Cave, or try winter sports.

Mount Rigi

Mount Rigi, fondly called the “Queen of the Mountains,” is another fantastic winter excursion for families. Accessible via a scenic boat trip and a nostalgic train ride, the summit boasts a range of winter activities like snowshoe trails, cross-country ski trails, and even an ice-skating rink. For a unique experience, book a night at the Rigi Kaltbad Mineral Baths & Spa and rejuvenate in the soothing thermal waters.

3. Mount Titlis

For a truly unforgettable winter experience, head to Mount Titlis. The breathtaking journey begins with a boat ride across Lake Lucerne, a train ride, and finally, a trip on the world’s first revolving cable car, the Titlis Rotair. Once at the summit, treat yourself to mesmerizing views of the Swiss Alps, explore the Glacier Cave, and traverse Europe’s highest suspension bridge. Kids will love the snow park, where they can go tubing, sledding, or play in the snow.

Lake Lucerne Cruise

A Lake Lucerne Cruise is a must-do for any family visiting the region. Glide across the lake’s calm waters, taking in the stunning scenery, including snow-capped mountains, charming villages, and magnificent castles. Choose a shorter round trip, a first-class trip with a 3-course lunch, or indulge in a full-day excursion that stops at various points of interest along the lake, such as the picturesque village of Weggis.

Winter Sports

Lucerne and its surrounding mountains offer many winter sports opportunities for families. From skiing and snowboarding to sledding and ice skating, there’s no shortage of fun activities for kids and adults alike. Many resorts, such as Rigi Scheidegg and Mt. Pilatus, offer beginner-friendly slopes and rental equipment, making it easy for everyone to enjoy the fun.

Christmas Market

If you visit Lucerne during the end of November or late December, check out the city’s enchanting Christmas Market. Set in the historic old town, the market has festive stalls selling local crafts, food, and beverages. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up unique souvenirs and enjoy a mug of hot mulled wine while the kids savor Swiss chocolate treats.

Feeding the Ducks and Geese on Lake Lucerne

Our kid’s favorite thing in Lucerne was feeding the Geese they found near a small park called Inseli Park near the central train station.

Lake Lucerne Geese

Top Hotels in Lucerne for Families

Securing the ideal hotel for your family vacation is essential for creating lasting memories. Lucerne is a quaint small town, so staying in the Old Town allows you to enjoy picturesque scenery while still being just a 10-minute walk away from the train station.

Here are some top-rated hotels in Lucerne that cater to families, each with a rating of 8 out of 10 or higher on

Our top choice

Hotel des Balances

Hotel des Balances is a charming 4-star hotel in the heart of Lucerne’s old town. This historic building offers beautifully designed rooms, some with views of the Reuss River. The hotel provides family rooms and a kid-friendly menu at the on-site restaurant.

Rating: 9.0/10 on

Another Great choice

Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern

Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern is a luxurious 5-star hotel located on the shores of Lake Lucerne. The hotel features elegant rooms, a spa, and several on-site dining options.

Rating: 8.6/10 on

top Pick close to train station

Radisson Blu Hotel

Radisson Blu Hotel, Lucerne, is a modern 4-star hotel near the main train station and Lake Lucerne. The hotel offers spacious family rooms, an on-site restaurant with a kids’ menu, and babysitting services upon request.

The location makes it easy to drop off your luggage after arriving at the train station.

Rating: 8.3/10 on

Practical Tips for Families Traveling to Lucerne

Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass and the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland are excellent options for travelers planning to explore Switzerland using public transportation. Each pass offers a range of benefits and discounts, making it easy to decide which one suits your itinerary best.

Swiss Travel Pass

Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass is a convenient, all-in-one ticket granting unlimited access to Switzerland’s public transportation network, including trains, buses, and boats. It also includes free admission to over 500 museums and discounts on mountain excursions. The Swiss Travel Pass is available for 3, 4, 8, or 15 consecutive days, making it perfect for short and extended trips. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Unlimited travel on trains, buses, and boats in Switzerland
  • Free admission to over 500 museums
  • Discounts on mountain excursions, such as Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi
  • Free travel for children under 16 when accompanied by a parent with a Swiss Family Card

Regional Pass Bernese Oberland

Regional Pass Bernese Oberland

The Regional Pass Bernese Oberland is designed specifically for travelers exploring the Bernese Oberland region, including popular destinations like Interlaken, Grindelwald, and Lauterbrunnen. The pass offers unlimited travel on select trains, buses, boats, and cable cars within the region and discounts on various mountain excursions. It is available for 3, 4, 6, 8, or 10 days within one month, allowing flexible travel planning. Key benefits of the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland include:

  • Unlimited travel on select trains, buses, boats, and cable cars within the Bernese Oberland region
  • Discounts on mountain excursions, such as the Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn
  • Flexible travel days within one month

Ultimately, the choice between the Swiss Travel Pass and the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland depends on your travel plans and the specific areas of Switzerland you wish to explore. If you plan to visit multiple regions throughout the country, the Swiss Travel Pass may be the better option.

However, if your focus is solely on the Bernese Oberland region, the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland could provide better value for your trip.

We ultimately went with the Oberland pass for our recent Switzerland trip, which focused mainly on Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, and Lucerne, with day trips to places like Jungfraujoch.

Swiss Trains

Switzerland is known for having one of the world’s most efficient and extensive train systems. The train network is a great way to get around the country and an excellent option for families traveling with kids. One of the main benefits of traveling by train in Switzerland is that it is safe, reliable, and eco-friendly. Additionally, many trains are equipped with features that make them especially kid-friendly.

Swiss Train Playground

Switzerland is known for having one of the world’s most efficient and extensive train systems. The train network is a great way to get around the country and an excellent option for families traveling with kids.

One of the main benefits of traveling by train in Switzerland is that it is safe, reliable, and eco-friendly.

Additionally, many trains are equipped with features that make them especially kid-friendly.

For example, some Swiss trains have playgrounds on the upper levels, which provide a fun and safe environment for kids to play and burn off energy during long journeys.

In this picture, the upper deck had a slide that our kids spent the whole two-hour ride playing with other kids on.

These play areas often contain slides, swings, and other toys to entertain children.

Some trains also have family compartments, which offer extra space and privacy for families traveling with young children.

Swiss Train Dining Car Scenery

Another great feature of Swiss trains is that they offer stunning views of the countryside and mountains.

Kids will love watching the changing scenery from the comfort of their seats, and parents will appreciate the opportunity to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Additionally, many Swiss trains offer onboard dining options, which are convenient for families traveling with kids who may need to eat or snack during their journey.

On this journey from Interlaken to Lucerne, the train featured a dining car, though full meals weren’t served.

Best Time to Visit

While Lucerne is beautiful all year round, the best time to visit for a winter wonderland experience is between December and February. During these months, the city is blanketed in snow, and the surrounding mountains are at their most majestic. However, remember that this is also the peak season, so book accommodations and excursions well in advance.

Zurich Airport

The closest international airport to Lucerne is Zurich Airport. From there, it’s just an hour-long train ride to Lucerne’s main train station, the starting point for many of the city’s attractions and excursions.

Lesser-known Attractions Worth Visiting

While Lucerne has its fair share of popular attractions, plenty of hidden gems can be discovered during your winter visit. Exploring these lesser-known spots can give your family a more authentic experience and make your trip memorable.

Richard Wagner Museum

The Richard Wagner Museum, housed in the famous composer’s former residence, offers a fascinating insight into the life and work of this musical genius. The museum features a variety of exhibits, including personal belongings, manuscripts, and musical instruments. Visiting here is a perfect opportunity to introduce your children to classical music and history in an engaging setting.

Glacier Garden

The Glacier Garden is a natural wonder that provides a glimpse into Lucerne’s distant past. This unique geological site features glacial potholes, erratic boulders, and fossilized remnants from the Ice Age. The garden also includes a fascinating mirror maze, sure to delight kids and adults alike.

Bourbaki Panorama

The Bourbaki Panorama is a massive circular painting that depicts a pivotal moment in Swiss history – the internment of the French army during the Franco-Prussian War. This impressive work of art measures 10 meters high and 112 meters long, surrounding the viewer and providing an immersive experience. The accompanying audio guide provides historical context and background information, making this attraction educational and entertaining.

Rosengart Collection

Art-loving families shouldn’t miss the Rosengart Collection, a small but exquisite museum dedicated to modern and classic art. The collection includes works by artists such as Picasso, Klee, and Chagall. At the same time, the museum is small but provides an intimate and accessible art experience for families with children.

Other Top Swiss Cities for Families

Switzerland is a treasure trove of family-friendly destinations. From bustling cities to idyllic alpine towns, there’s something for everyone. Here are a few other top Swiss cities that families will love:

Swiss Holiday Park

Swiss Holiday Park In Morschach
Swiss Holiday Park Lake Lucerne View

Swiss Holiday Park


Swiss Holiday Park is an all-encompassing family-friendly leisure resort nestled in the picturesque village of Morschach, offering a wide array of activities, comfortable accommodations, and stunning views of the surrounding Alps.

With its adventure pool, ski slopes, spa facilities, and fun-filled amenities, it’s the perfect getaway for unforgettable family vacations in the heart of Switzerland.

The Swiss Holiday Park is a fantastic family-oriented resort in Morschach, overlooking the picturesque Lake Lucerne region. This all-inclusive vacation destination offers many accommodations, from hotel rooms and holiday apartments to camping facilities.

With countless amenities and activities tailored for families, Swiss Holiday Park guarantees an unforgettable experience for all ages:

  • Indoor and outdoor pools, complete with water slides and a splash park
  • A large indoor play area featuring climbing walls, trampolines, and a soft play zone
  • A variety of outdoor activities, such as mini-golf, tennis, and bike rentals
  • A petting zoo where kids can interact with friendly farm animals
  • A spa and wellness center providing relaxation opportunities for adults
  • Several on-site dining options, including kid-friendly restaurants and cafés

The Swiss Holiday Park is an excellent base for exploring central Switzerland, with easy access to nearby attractions like Mount Rigi, Mount Pilatus, and Lucerne. The Swiss Holiday Park is ideal for a memorable family vacation, with endless entertainment options and family-friendly atmosphere.

Wengen: A Charming Alpine Village

Wengen Town

Wengen is a picturesque alpine village in the Swiss Alps’ heart, and we spent four nights there on our most recent Switzerland trip. Located in the Bernese Oberland region, this car-free resort town is renowned for its charming chalets, stunning mountain vistas, and a wide range of outdoor activities throughout the year. Surrounded by the imposing peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, Wengen offers a serene and idyllic getaway for families and adventure-seekers alike.

In the winter, Wengen transforms into a snowy paradise, with visitors flocking to the area to take advantage of its excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities.

The village serves as a gateway to the Jungfrau ski region, which boasts over 200 kilometers of ski slopes catering to all skill levels. Additionally, the region offers a variety of winter activities, such as snowshoeing, sledding, and ice skating.

Wengen becomes a haven for hikers and nature enthusiasts during the warmer months. The village offers easy access to numerous hiking trails, from strolls through lush meadows to challenging treks up rugged mountain terrain.

One popular trail is the hike from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. Other summer activities include mountain biking, paragliding, and rock climbing.

Visitors can take a scenic train ride from Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken to reach Wengen. The journey offers stunning panoramas of the Swiss countryside and glimpses of the majestic peaks that make the Bernese Oberland a beloved destination. Once in Wengen, getting around is easy on foot.

With its enchanting atmosphere, spectacular scenery, and diverse activities, Wengen is a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable Swiss alpine experience.


Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city, offering a delightful mix of historic charm and modern amenities. Zurich is an excellent family destination with numerous museums, parks, and family-friendly attractions. Don’t miss the Zurich Zoo, Swiss National Museum, and Lake Zurich boat cruises.


Geneva is a cosmopolitan city nestled along the shores of Lake Geneva. Families will enjoy visiting the Natural History Museum, exploring the beautiful parks, and admiring the Jet d’Eau fountain. A day trip to Mont Salève offers stunning views and plenty of outdoor activities.


The Swiss capital, Bern, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a charming old town with beautiful arcades, fountains, and historic buildings. Families can visit the Bern Historical Museum, stroll through the Rose Garden, or witness the hourly show at the Zytglogge clock tower.


Interlaken is an outdoor lover’s paradise, surrounded by stunning lakes and the majestic Swiss Alps. The town is a gateway to the Jungfrau region, offering numerous family-friendly activities such as hiking, boat trips, and visits to the nearby mountain villages of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. If you’re looking in the Interlaken area, we recommend staying nearby Wengen or Lauterbrunnen.


Montreux, situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, offers a picturesque setting with a mild climate. Families can stroll along the flower-lined promenade, visit the medieval Chillon Castle, or take a scenic train ride to the nearby Rochers-de-Naye for breathtaking panoramic views.

Adventure Awaits: More Outdoor Activities for the Whole Family

Lucerne’s winter wonderland offers countless opportunities for outdoor fun. In addition to the activities mentioned earlier, here are more options to consider during your family vacation.


Tobogganing is a great winter activity that appeals to kids and adults alike. The Mt. Rigi area offers several well-groomed toboggan runs, ranging from gentle slopes suitable for beginners to more challenging routes for experienced riders. Rent a toboggan at the mountain station and enjoy hours of exhilarating fun.

Winter Hiking

If your family enjoys hiking, Lucerne’s surrounding mountains provide plenty of well-maintained winter trails. The Panorama Trail on Mount Rigi offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne. Be sure to dress warmly, wear sturdy footwear, and follow marked trails to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Ice Climbing

For adventure-seeking families, ice climbing might be the perfect activity. Several companies in the Lucerne area offer guided ice climbing excursions suitable for both beginners and experienced climbers. This thrilling activity allows you to explore frozen waterfalls and icy cliffs while challenging your physical and mental stamina.


Snowshoeing is a fantastic way to explore the winter landscape leisurely. Rent snowshoes from a local sports shop and embarks on a guided tour or venture out on well-marked trails. This low-impact activity is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, making it an excellent choice for a family outing.

Family-friendly Eateries and Culinary Delights in Lucerne

Lucerne offers various dining options to suit all tastes and budgets. Here are some family-friendly eateries and local specialties to try during your visit.

Swiss Chuchi

Swiss Chuchi is a popular restaurant in the heart of Lucerne’s old town, offering a warm and inviting atmosphere perfect for families. The menu features classic Swiss dishes such as cheese fondue, raclette, and rosti. Kids will love dipping bread and potatoes into the warm, gooey cheese – a delicious and interactive dining experience!


For a quick and satisfying lunch, head to Mill’Feuille, a charming café offering a variety of sandwiches, salads, quiches, and pastries. The café’s cozy atmosphere and tasty treats will surely please the whole family.

Gelateria della Mamma

No trip to Lucerne is complete without indulging in delicious Swiss ice cream. Gelateria della Mamma is a local favorite, offering many homemade gelato flavors. Even during winter, a scoop or two of their creamy, delicious ice cream is a delightful treat.

Lozärner Chugelipastete

For a true taste of Lucerne, try the local specialty – Lozärner Chugelipastete. This savory pastry is filled with tender veal and creamy mushroom sauce, making it a satisfying and hearty dish. You can find this delicacy at various traditional Swiss restaurants throughout the city.

Family-friendly Shopping in Lucerne

Lucerne offers plenty of shopping opportunities for families looking to pick up souvenirs and gifts, or enjoy some retail therapy.

Old Town Shopping

Lucerne’s old town is a treasure trove of charming boutiques, artisanal shops, and international brands. Stroll along the cobblestone streets, exploring the various stores and picking up unique souvenirs. Don’t forget to check out the locally-made Swiss watches and handcrafted wooden toys.


Weggisgasse is a pedestrian-friendly shopping street located just outside the old town. This bustling area is home to high-end boutiques, souvenir shops, and department stores. It’s the perfect place to find everything from Swiss chocolate to the latest fashion trends.


For the ultimate Swiss chocolate experience, head to Läderach. This renowned chocolatier offers many handmade creations, from truffles to pralines and even chocolate sculptures. The store also offers customizable chocolate bars, allowing you to choose your favorite flavors and toppings for a unique treat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Lucerne a good option for families with young children?

A: Absolutely! Lucerne’s small city size, pedestrian-friendly streets, and family-oriented attractions make it an ideal destination for families with kids of all ages.

Q: Are there any local guides available for families in Lucerne?

A: Yes, many tour companies offer guided walking tours, boat cruises, and mountain excursions tailored to families, providing valuable insights and entertaining anecdotes about the city and its surroundings.

Q: Are there any kid-friendly restaurants in Lucerne?

A: Lucerne has plenty of restaurants that cater to families with children. Be sure to try some Swiss specialties, like cheese fondue or raclette, in a cozy, family-friendly atmosphere. Don’t miss out on a visit to Max Chocolatier for some mouthwatering Swiss chocolate treats.

Q: What’s the best way to get around Lucerne with kids?

A: Lucerne is a compact city, making it easy to explore on foot. However, public transportation is also an excellent option, with buses and trains providing convenient access to major attractions. The Swiss Travel Pass is highly recommended for families planning to use public transportation extensively.

Q: Are there any winter activities suitable for kids who aren’t into skiing or snowboarding?

A: Yes, the mountains surrounding Lucerne offer a variety of winter activities beyond skiing and snowboarding. These include sledding, ice-skating, snowshoeing, and even winter hiking on well-maintained trails like the Panorama Trail on Mount Rigi.

Q: How can I ensure my kids stay warm and comfortable during our winter visit?

A: Dressing in layers is essential when visiting Lucerne in the winter. Equip your children with warm clothing, including waterproof outer layers, insulated gloves, and sturdy, warm footwear. Don’t forget to pack hats and scarves to protect against the chilly winds and frosty temperatures.


Lucerne in winter is a dream destination for families, offering a delightful blend of history, culture, and outdoor fun. From exploring the charming old town to embarking on thrilling mountain excursions, there’s no shortage of memorable experiences to share with your kids. So bundle up, grab your passports, and embark on an unforgettable Swiss adventure that will leave your family with cherished memories for years.

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