Lucerne or Zurich – Which City Is Better For First-Timers?

lucerne or Zurich

Still struggling about deciding between Lucerne or Zurich? Don’t worry, both destinations have something to offer and we’ve just broken down each and compared the most important aspects. Which one is our favorite for first-timers? Check it out.

Lucerne is the sixth-largest city in Switzerland, and it is a popular destination for tourists visiting the country. There is a wide array of activities that you can do in Lucerne, and you will embrace the diversity of the city and the attractions it has to offer, such as Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi. In addition, the cosmopolitan city presents you with endless opportunities to have fun because there are restaurants, bars, and clubs around the city.

Zurich is the most famous swiss city because of its stature globally. This is a cosmopolitan city with a lot of history and with a myriad of parks, lakes, and amazing people you can enjoy your time in Zurich. The city was founded by Romans in the 5th century. Zurich is the cultural and economic hub of the country, and it is a fascinating plate.




One of the easiest ways that you get around Lucerne is by train. There are multiple trains around the city and with the extensive track, you are sure that you have something amazing to enjoy.


You can rent a taxi and travel around Lucerne. The taxis in the city work on a schedule and you are sure that you can read your destination on time. The road is well maintained, and you can access most areas of the city with ease.

Not sure how public transport works in Switzerland and looking for an ultimate guide? Well, we’ve got you covered. Here is an ultimate guide covering all aspects of public transportation in Switzerland. Be sure to check it out since you can get some hefty discounts. 

Public transport

There is a network of trams that will give you an easy time to move around the city. You can purchase a day or a week pass from the bus offices, and you can move from zone 101 to zone 100. Some hotels will give you a free Lucerne ticket when you book accommodation with them. The ticket cost is around $5.

Swiss transport


Public transport

The most effective way that you can get around the city is by public transportation. There is an extensive network that you can easily access in any part of town. Zurich is divided into zones, and you can purchase tickets for a place that you want to visit or is likely to go to most of the time. The Zurich city zone is 110 while that of the airport area is 121. Therefore, the need to be vigilant when purchasing a ticket. The cost of the ticket is $4.70.


Zurich has a very efficient public bike-sharing program, and these bikes can be used to move around the city. You will pay a maximum of $21.50 or $3.20 for the first hour and $0.05 for every other minute after the hour.

Uber and Taxi

Zurich has taxis that can take you around. However, these taxis tend to be expensive with a base fare of $6, and then you will be charged $3.80 per added kilometer.

Accommodation in Lucerne


Hotel Spatz

This is the perfect spot for any backpacker because the hotel is well equipped with modern facilities, and the onsite restaurant makes everything awesome. They usually serve a traditional Swiss menu coupled with a wide array of wines. The rooms are fantastic, and they are comfortable for your stay in the area. The price is $165.

Hotel Restaurant Stern Luzern

This is a traditional hotel that incorporates modern features to its structure. It has an excellent restaurant that serves special meals, and you should check out their menu. Here you can sample all Swiss cuisine. The rooms come with a view of the city, cable television, and private bathrooms. The price for a room in this hotel is $175.

Hotel Alpha

The hotel is located in one of the most traditional buildings, and it is an excellent place to stay if you are in Lucerne. There is a restaurant nearby, and they usually serve a buffet breakfast. This hotel is just a 10-minute walk from the central train stations. All the rooms are well furnished and immaculate. The price for a room in this hotel is $143 per night.


Hotel Des Alpes

This hotel is situated in the pedestrian zone in the center of Luzern. When you book a room in the hotel, you will be treated to the most amazing views on this planet. There is a river in the vicinity, and you can book a room overlooking this river. They have the best meals and serve all Swiss specialties as well as international cuisine. The rooms are fantastic as they come with private bathrooms, cable television, a coffee machine, and amazing city views. The cost of a room in the hotel is $200 per night.

Alpine hotel Luzern

This is an iconic hotel because it is located in Lucerne’s old town. When you book a room in this hotel, you will get a free complimentary breakfast. It also has a lounge area where you can relax and unwind as you sample the finest drinks in town. The rooms in the hotel are spacious, and they offer a wide array of options in the size of these rooms. The price for a room at the hotel is $150.

Hotel Anker Luzern

Hotel Anker Luzern was opened in 2016, and ever since, it continues to uphold the highest standards in the hospitality sector. The hotel is close to a historic building, and it is well presented. There is a lounge where you can relax and unwind. Besides, there is a grill where you can order any delicacy you want. The rooms are elegant, and you are sure you will get top-notch services here. The price for a room in this hotel is $230 per night.

Swiss Hotel


The Hotel Lucerne

The hotel is one of the historical places in Lucerne because it was designed by a French architect. The hotel prides itself on celebrating spirituality and simplicity. The hotel is located in the heart of the city, and you are sure to get the best services here. You have a wide array of choices when it comes to the selection of rooms. All these rooms are presented at the highest standard possible. The price for a room in this hotel is $350 per night. All come with excellent amenities and top-notch services.

Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern

If you are looking for the most luxurious Hotel in Lucerne, Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern is your go-to destination. This is a five-star hotel characterized by modern furniture, luxury items, and the elegant finish of the rooms. This hotel is located in Luzern old town, therefore, a 10-minute walk from the central station. The rooms are furnished with a unique personality that depicts elegance and décor. The price for a room in this hotel is $440 per night.

Grand Hotel National

This is one of the top luxury hotels that has centuries of history. In addition, it offers one of the best luxury services. While at the hotel, you can see the famous Mt. Pilatus and Mt. Rigi. The hotel is a five-minute walk from the train station. The features of the rooms include silk paper-covered walls, Italian marble floors, and comfortable sofas. The price for this hotel is $300 per night.

Accommodation in Zurich


Gasthaus zum Guten Glück

This hotel is perfect for people on a tight budget, and it is just a few minutes away from the train station. Therefore you have easy access to public transportation. The rooms are spacious, and you will get a complimentary breakfast. There is free Wi-Fi in the rooms, and you can incorporate all these aspects together. You have an excellent location. The price is $129.

Kalkbreite Pension and Guesthouse

This hotel presents some of the unique features you are looking for in a modern hotel, and it has a playground as well hence perfect for families. The rooms feature modern décor and artistry, and you are sure that you will enjoy your stay here. There is free Wi-Fi and a complimentary breakfast.

Pension für Dich

This is a perfect option if you are looking for a hotel and are on a tight budget. The rooms in the hotel are elegant and well presented that you will enjoy your stay there. They incorporate modern designs, finish in the rooms, and enhanced the space as well. There is an in-house restaurant and bar. Therefore, you can have your meals and enjoy your drinks in the area. The cost of the hotel room is $130.


Motel One

The motel one in Zurich is one of the best destinations for a budget range traveler. The amazing art in the building is a perfect definition of elegance and décor at its best. This hotel is located at the center of Zurich, and the rooms are well kept with unique décor and space. The cost of a room in this hotel is $169 per night.

Hotel Bristol

This is one of the most unique hotels in the country and is located in Zurich’s old town. Hotel Bristol is close to Limmat River and Lake Zurich. When you are in your room, you can view the amazing views of the lake and the river. The rooms are spacious yet cozy, and you will have a continental breakfast in the morning. It is just five minutes away from the train station.

Seegarten Swiss Quality Hotel

This is an exceptional hotel located at the end of district 1, and it is a perfect place to stay if you are looking forward to exploring the city the next day. This hotel comprises a modern Mediterranean theme coupled with free Wi-Fi and fine dining at the hotel, which makes many people return. The lake is just a few meters away, and you can enjoy some of the best views as you enjoy your meal prepared by top chefs. The cost of a room in the hotel is $200.


The opera hotel

 This hotel is located close to the Zurich opera house in the old town, and it has been modernized to encompass modern features and amenities. The hotel’s theme is contemporary, and you can find the delicate touches of modern Swiss architects. The atmosphere is amazing, and you should take your time to explore the area. The cost of a room in this hotel is $230.

Hotel Schweizerhof Zurich

This hotel is located at the end of the road, and it is one of the highest-ranked hotels in Switzerland. The rooms in the hotel are soundproofed, and with adjustable beds, a classic bar, exceptional cuisine, and stunning views, you are sure that you will have the time of your life. The rooms in the hotel feature a European style, and you will get the best amenities. The cost of this hotel is $380.

Park Hyatt Zurich

The Park Hyatt is one of the amazing hotels in the capital. The location and elegant design of the hotel make it the best location to visit. This hotel is close to Zurich’s old town, and it has an amazing spa. The modern finish of the rooms, coupled with exceptional amenities, makes it perfect for your vacation in Switzerland. Breakfast is included in the cost, which is $440 per night.

Lucerne hotel

Budget for a day


If you are visiting Lucerne on a tight budget, you should spend about $150 per day. This is inclusive of meals, accommodation, and transportation. You can opt to purchase a ticket pass to avoid regular ticket purchases. Meals range from $8 for breakfast and anything above $20 for lunch and dinner. If you are on a midrange budget, you are likely to spend $300 per day, while a person on a luxurious budget can pay anything above $700.


While in Zurich and on a budget, you will expect to spend anything above $200 per day for meals, accommodation, and travel costs. You can purchase a travel card to avoid paying for tickets each time you want to travel. There are budget rooms that will cost you around $120 while meals and transportation another $80. A person on a mid-range budget will spend about $350 per day, while that on luxury will spend anything above $800 per day for meals, accommodation, and transportation.

swiss money

Things to do


Check out the lion monument

This is the iconic structure that defines the city of Lucerne, and the structure was sculpted in the 1800s; hence there is so much to learn about it.

Swiss Museum of Transport

This is a perfect destination where you will learn about the country’s steps from its emergence until the current state where it is in the training industry. There is so much going on here, and you can grab the opportunity and learn more.

Before you leave – be sure to read our detailed article with 15 things to do in Lucerne

Visit the glacier garden in Lucerne

This is a few minute’s walk from the amazing lion’s monument, and it is an open-air museum where you can learn so much about the history of the city. In addition, the museum has documentation covering all the glaciers in Switzerland, and it is a perfect opportunity for you to learn more about history.

Explore Lucerne old town

The old town boasts of numerous historic locations that you will that are incredibly awesome to look at and learn more history about the city and the people of Switzerland. The city offers a mix of ancient structures coupled with a few modern ones. In addition, you can visit the churches in this town.



One of the most amazing activities you can do while in Zurich is visiting the opera house and listening to the music played in this area. You can read a book behind the scenes or learn something about theater.

Further reading:

Lindenhof Hill

This is a perfect location that is away from the city. The location offers you an opportunity to break away from the monotony of the city and get to explore the environment. In addition, the area offers prime opportunities for photographers to take pictures.

Lake Zürich

You can take your time while in the city to explore Lake Zurich. This is an incredible destination that you want to get everything in place before exiting the area. Several cafes dot the lake, and you can enjoy your dinner on the shores of the lake.

Food Options



Various spots will serve you fondue while in Lucerne. Fondue is a traditional Swiss cheese that has a very unique taste.


Some of the oldest restaurants in Lucerne continue to serve steak as their primary product. You can enjoy your steak with some pastry of any accompaniment of your choice.

Happen to be a vegetarian in Switzerland? Don’t worry! Swiss have a diverse cuisine and loads of vegetarian dishes to choose from. 

Bachmann chocolate

This is one of the most unique chocolates in the country. It is produced in Lucerne, and while you are in town, you can get the chance to explore the chocolates and know they are made from scratch in the factory.

Tea and snacks in the afternoon

One of the best ways you can spend your time while in the country is to enjoy some afternoon tea and snacks at the shore of Lake Lucerne. You can breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the mountainous scenery.



Zurich is the original location where muesli was born, and it has become one of the most popular breakfast dishes. The dish has many bowls of cereal and fruits, and it is an energy-packed meal that you should try.


The people in Zurich are cheese lovers, and they love raclette is one of the popular dishes in the region as it contains dried meat, gherkins, potatoes, and pickled onions. You can add any other topping that you like to this mixture.

Did you know that the Swiss are masters of their craft when it comes to cuisine? Here are some interesting Swiss breakfast ideas you can do at home.


This is usually fried potatoes, and it is one of the exceptional culinary cuisines from Switzerland. Rosti is often considered a national dish in Switzerland. The dish features grated potatoes, which are ground into a thick pancake shape before they are deep-fried. You can serve it with bacon and some sauce.

Culture & People


Lucerne’s cultural traditions are based on some of the unique ethnic festivals that are a reminder of their ancient times. You should visit the area during the carnival, and you can learn more about them. The people of Lucerne are friendly, outgoing, and optimistic.

Learn more: What is special about Swiss people?


The culture of the people of Zurich is different because the city is a metropolis many people from other nations converge here. Therefore, Zurich is a melting pot of different cultures from the world. You can enjoy some of their festivals.

Best time to visit


The best time to visit Lucerne is from June through August. The reason behind this is that the temperatures would be fair and revolve around 20 degrees Celsius. Therefore, you will enjoy most of the summer in this incredible city.

Further reading:


The best time you can visit Zurich is from May through September, and you will find that the temperatures are warmer during this period.



Lucerne is a safe location, and as a tourist, you should not be worried. Visit the destination any time of the year.


This is a metropolis, and as much as it is very safe, you should avoid crowded areas because there could be pickpockets. Always be aware of the situation.

Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.