We all know that some of the most expensive cities like Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken belong to Switzerland. Have you ever wondered how the budget travelers still manage to travel Switzerland under $1000? It sounds crazy, right? Trust me, you can also do the same if you have proper planning. Today, I will share the detailed guide on how you can spend 2 days in Lucerne on a budget.
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Lucerne, also known as Luzern by some local German people, is one of the most beautiful places in Europe to visit. This little lively Swiss town situated along the bank of Lake Lucerne where the Alps begin. From pristine lakes, majestic mountains to stunning natural beauty with a boat cruise in lake, this old city of Switzerland has a lot to offer its visitors.
Best Time to Visit Lucerne:
Lucerne is an all-season destination that will never turn you away, regardless of the season. However, June to September is the peak season in Lucerne when the temperature is comparatively warmer after a chilly spring. If you love skiing or want less crowd then Winter is the best time to explore Lucerne. Check this article on 10 Best Ski Resorts in Switzerland.
More specifically, January and February is the month when all most entire region remains covered with snow. The best part is winter is the ideal time for budget travelers when hotels and restaurants offer some good deals.
How to Reach Lucerne:
By Air: Zurich is the nearest international airport from where Lucerne is just 67 km of journey. Hourly trains are available from Zurich airport to Lucerne.
By Rail: Lucerne is well integrated with the Swiss railway network which is popular all around the world for the most scenic train journey. The hourly trains are available from Zurich and Bern that takes around 45 minutes and one and a half hours respectively to reach Lucerne.
By Road: This is the cheapest option to travel Lucerne if you are on a tight budget. The rail journey might be one of the best train journeys but the Swiss Travel Pass is pretty expensive. I will recommend you to rent a car from rental.com which is a flexible option as well as budget-friendly. A beautiful scenic drive along the N14 highway will take around 45 minutes to reach Lucerne from Zurich. You can take route 10 if start your Switzerland trip from Berne.
Where to Stay in Lucerne on a Budget:
It’s quite hard to find a cheap hotel in Lucerne. I will recommend staying at Roesli Guest House, a budget hotel in Lucerne. It is located at the heart of Lucerne, near to the Spreuer Bridge with all the basic amenities and an outdoor pool. Check the review and the price here.
You can stay in the Youth Hostel of Lucerne if you are a backpacker or traveling solo in Switzerland. This modern hostel offers a dorm bed at around $35 per night. Check the review and price of the hostel here.
Tips 1: Most of the hostels and hotels of Lucerne provide their guests free Public Transport Card which will make all of your internal transport(bus, tram, boat) for the day totally free.
Tips 2: Youth Hostel of Lucerne offers a free guided walking tour for their guests in the city center.
Check out Some of the Best Deals for Lucerne:
Best Places to Visit in Lucerne on a Budget:
Chapel Bridge Walking Tour:
Looking for cheap places to visit in Lucerne? Take a walking tour(free) This 14th-century bridge is the most iconic landmarks of Lucerne. The chapel wooden bridge was burnt to ashes in 1993 which destroyed most of the 17th-century paintings. You can still see some of the restored paintings in Chapel Bridge. This oldest wooden bridge over the Reuss river offers a stunning view of Lucerne’s City Centre.
Cost: It’s totally free to explore the Chapel Bridge and its surrounding area.
Old Town Walking Tour:
It is another free option and one of the must-see places in Lucerne for budget travelers. Explore the medieval old town in front of the Chapel Bridge, a must-visit place in Lucerne. Spend some quality time admiring the beauty of the architecture and painted buildings of this historic old town. You will notice some popular brands shops and boutiques are lined up in the center of the old town.
Cost: It is free to explore by walking.
The Lion Monument:
This tourist attraction must be on the list of your 2 days in Lucerne itinerary. The Lion Monument is a stone carving made in the memory of Swiss guards who lost their lives during the French Revolution. There is a broken spear at the back of the lion and even while dying, this beast is protecting the shield that depicts the French rule.
I will recommend visiting this place early in the morning to avoid the crowd in the serene atmosphere that makes it feel even more heartfelt.
Cost: Free for visitors.
St. Leodegar Church:
You can visit this church on the way to visit the Lion Monument. One can easily identify the church by its iconic twin towers. You will surely fell in love with the impressive architecture and hand-carved doors of this old church.
St. Leodegar Church is well known for its organ. It has a total of 5945 pipes and the amazing fact is that the organ can reproduce the sounds of rain, hail and thunder. The inside of the church is equally beautiful with impressive wooden furnishing and great altars.
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Musegg Walls and Towers:
This fortification of nine towers along with a great wall was built in the 13th century to protect the city. Now 4 towers are opened for the visitors to climb up and explore. These towers offer a fantastic view of mesmerizing Lucerne city, Lake Lucerne and surrounding mountains from the top.
Museggmauer is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. between 1 April and 1 November.
Cost: No entry fee
Lake Lucerne & Boat Ride:
Lake Lucerne is one of the best places to visit in Lucerne with its sparkling blue water and surrounded tall mountains. Enjoy a sunny day by strolling along the lake promenade. Use your transport pass(most of the hotels or hostels provide this o their guests) to get a free boat ride from the ferry terminal in Lake Lucerne.
There are several options to do boat cruising from where you can get the best view of Lake Lucerne along with other small villages. Here you can check for a scenic 1-hour cruise in a panoramic yacht to enjoy a relaxing ride with picturesque landscapes, historical monuments, and famous attractions. Lucerne might be expensive to travel but it is also considered as one of the best honeymoon destinations in Europe.
Cost: Free and paid. A yacht cruise in Lake Lucerne costs around $27.
The hiking trails of Mt. Pilatus at a height of 2132 meters is a very popular thing among hikers and adventure lovers. You have to reach to Kriens base to start your hiking. The entire trail is enriched with beautiful mountains, green forests and some little waterfalls. There is a beginner’s level hike from Kriens base to Krienseregg that anyone can attempt easily.
If you are not fond of hiking, take a day tour from Lucerne. Ride on the world’s steepest cog railway, a panorama gondola (click here to check prices) to reach the summit. Enjoy a stunning view of the Alps from the top of 2132 meters.
Cost: No charge for hiking.
What to Eat in Lucerne on a Budget:
Like accommodation and transport, food is also expensive in Lucerne. Buy some food from grocery stores like Coop and use the hostel kitchen room to eat cheap. I always carry some ready to cook food while traveling abroad. It will save some bucks on the food budget.
Lucerne Tour Budget for 2 Days:
Local Transport(boat cruise): $27
Total Suggested Lucerne Travel Cost: $120 for 2 Days
Pro Travel Tips to Visit Lucerne:
- Try to stay in hostels in Lucerne which are comparatively cheaper than hotels or Airbnbs.
- Visit the sightseeing as early as possible to avoid crowds. Proper planning will help you to cover Chapel Bridge, Old Town, Lion Monument and St. Leodegar Church all in one morning.
- Swiss Travel Pass is really costly. I will highly recommend to rent a car or to use free public transport(provided from hotel or hostel) to explore Lucerne.
- Local sightseeing is not far away from each other. You can explore the city by a little walk that saves a lot of money on transport.
- Locals are very helpful and most of them can understand and speak English.
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