A Travel Price Comparison for Switzerland Lucerne vs. Bern for Attractions, Nightlife, Old Town, and Families

Should you visit Lucerne or Bern?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Lucerne and Bern. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Lucerne

Lucerne is a scenic, active, and cultural city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Bern

Bern is a cultural, historic, and charming city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Lucerne and Bern: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Lucerne or Bern?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Lucerne than Bern. While Bern is larger than Lucerne, Lucerne has more sights and attractions for tourists. Lucerne is more touristy than Bern and is popular for it's wooden bridge, its waterfront setting, and the many nearby alpine day trips. Also, Lucerne is famous for The Chapel Bridge. Bern is well known for its well-preserved old town and its reputation as the home of the Lindt chocolate factory.

The Chapel Bridge
The Chapel Bridge

How is Lucerne different from Bern?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Bern and Lucerne. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Lucerne or Bern?

Lucerne
Bern

You'll find a number of superb museums and attractions in both Bern and Lucerne.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Lucerne. Top sights in town include the famous Chapel Bridge, the Lion Monument and the town walls and towers. There are also a number of museums including the Swiss Transport Museum and Museum Sammlung Rosengart.

Bern offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city is filled with architecture and charming character. While you're in town make sure you visit the Einstein Museum, the Clock Tower, and the Bern Cathedral.


Is the Food Better in Lucerne or Bern? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Lucerne
Bern

Both Lucerne and Bern offer notable local cuisine and restaurants.

Lucerne is becoming an appealing option for foodies. Food is expensive around town, but there are some unique specialties like fondue, br├Ątwurst, and of course, chocolate. It's nice to sit out by the river and enjoy a hearty meal while you soak up the view.

Bern offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The city has cozy cafes, high end fine dining, traditional eateries, and modern venues.

Is Lucerne or Bern Better for Nightlife?

Lucerne
Bern

Lucerne is a well-known place for nightlife. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for nightlife and partying.

Lucerne offers plenty to do in the evening. The city has some of the best nightlife in Switzerland, with many lively clubs, bars, and pubs. There are also many local events that are hosted in town and bring in a crowd.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Bern. There are bars, Irish pubs, and clubs around town.

Is Lucerne or Bern Better for its Old Town?

Lucerne
Bern

Visitors enjoy the superb old town areas in both Lucerne and Bern.

There are many historical things to see in the old town of Lucerne. Sitting on the water's edge, this old town has a number of historic buildings and the beautiful Chapel Bridge.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Bern. The charming old town is filled with quaint alleys and sandstone buildings. It's a compact area that flows down a hill to the River Aare.


Is the Shopping Better in Lucerne or Bern?

Lucerne
Bern

If you're looking to go shopping, Lucerne and Bern both offer plenty of superb spots.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Lucerne. The city is filled with high end shopping opportunities with everything from boutique shops to major chains. Popular items to purchase in town include chocolate, watches, jewelry, and Swiss army knives.

Bern is an extremely popular place for shoppers. The old town is filled with boutique shops and unique markets. The main shopping streets are Spitalgasse and Marktgasse and popular items to buy include jewelry, art, and watches.

Is Lucerne or Bern Better for Families?

Lucerne
Bern

Bern is great for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Lucerne is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Bern. This charming town has riverside parks and pools, a zoo, a waterpark, and kid-friendly museums that the whole family can enjoy. You can also visit nearby Gurten, a mountain with tobogganing, concerts, and a mini ski resort.

Lucerne is a family-friendly place to visit. The city is filled with history and there are a number of playgrounds around town. Also make sure you pop in a chocolate shop so that everyone can enjoy a sweet treat. If the weather's warm, you can also take a swim in Lake Lucerne. Many kids enjoy escaping the city and doing a day trip to the amazing Mt. Titlis, or other peaks that are nearby.

Is Lucerne or Bern Better for Couples?

Lucerne
Bern

Lucerne and Bern both superb destinations for a couple.

Lucerne is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. The city has many pleasant squares, excellent restaurants, and a romantic atmosphere that makes for a great couple's getaway. There are a number of nice hotels to choose from as well.

Bern is a very popular place to visit for couples. With charming restaurants, a beautiful rose garden, and nice hotels and spas, this town makes a beautiful romantic getaway.


Is Lucerne or Bern Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Lucerne
Bern

Bern is great for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Lucerne is not a good destination for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Bern. Like most of Switzerland, prices are a bit high, but there are some hostels and free activities that backpackers and budget travelers can enjoy.

Lucerne is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Prices are high everywhere in the area but there are a few hostels that attract backpackers. It's also possible to find free activities like swimming in the lake or simply wandering around town. Prices at restaurants are very high, so you'll do best to pick up food at supermarkets and prepare your own meals. Because it's a larger city, there are options that you might not find in smaller towns around Switzerland.

Is Lucerne or Bern Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Lucerne
Bern

Bern is great for times when you don't have a car. Also, Lucerne is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its public transit.

Many visitors use the public transit system in Bern. There are trams and buses that run around town.

Lucerne has a few public transit options. There's a comprehensive system of buses around town.

Is Lucerne or Bern a more walkable city?

Lucerne
Bern

Bern is great for its ease of walking around. Also, Lucerne is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its walkability.

Bern is a very walkable destination. It's fun to explore the old town on foot. It is compact enough to that you can see all of the highlights in a few hours.

Lucerne is somewhat walkable. The major tourist areas are fairly walkable if your hotel is in a convenient location.


For even more information, also check out Is Lucerne Worth Visiting? and Is Bern Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Bern or Lucerne?

How long in Lucerne or Bern?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Lucerne and Bern. In our opinion, Bern has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Bern than Lucerne. However, 1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Bern than Lucerne. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Bern, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Bern than Lucerne. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Bern that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Bern than Lucerne if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Bern.


  • How many days in Lucerne or Bern? Ideal Length of Stay
    Lucerne 1-3 
    Bern 1-3

One day in Lucerne or Bern?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Lucerne. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.

In Bern, you'll find nightlife and food. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This city offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A weekend in Lucerne or Bern?

Lucerne is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

In Bern, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Visiting the old town is also a must. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Bern has to offer.

Five days in Lucerne or Bern?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the vibrant destination of Lucerne. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Bern is a great place to explore. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Lucerne or Bern?

The scenic city of Lucerne offers nightlife and food. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Bern. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Bern. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Zurich, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Geneva, The Best 10-Day Tours from Zurich, and The Best 2-Week Tours from Zurich.


Which place is cheaper, Bern or Lucerne?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Lucerne is $216, while the average daily cost in Bern is $252. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Lucerne and Bern in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lucerne $138
    Bern $163
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lucerne $276
    Bern $326
Compare Hotels in Lucerne and Bern

Looking for a hotel in Lucerne or Bern? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Lucerne


Hotels in Bern


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Lucerne Hotel Prices and Bern Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lucerne $13
    Bern $34

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lucerne

Also for Lucerne, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Bad Ragaz Resorts to Zurich Airport ZRH - Departure Transfer: $126
  • Private Transfer from Lucerne to Zurich English Speaking Driver: $136
  • Zurich Airport (ZRH) to Bad Ragaz Resorts - Round-Trip Transfer: $251
  • From Canyoning in Interlaken w/ Return Transfer: $259
  • Rafting in Interlaken with Return Transfer from Lucerne: $259
  • Private transfer from Lucerne to Zurich Airport: $272
  • Private Transfer from Lucerne to Zurich Airport: $286
  • Lucerne to Zurich Airport Private Transfer: $290
  • Private Transfer between Lucerne & Grindelwald/Lauterbrunnen: $325
  • Private transfer from Zurich airport to Lucerne: $550
  • LAUTERBRUNNEN Private Transfer from Zurich Airport: $726
  • INTERLAKEN Private Transfer from Zurich Airport: $748

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bern

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bern:

  • Private Transfer From Bern to Zurich, English Speaking Driver: $230
  • Private Transfer From Bern To Basel With a 2 Hour Stop in Olten: $216
  • Private Direct Transfer From Bern to Basel: $194
  • Private Car Departure Transfer from Bern to Bern Airport BRN: $74

Is it cheaper to fly into Lucerne or Bern?

Prices for flights to both Bern and Lucerne change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Lucerne $63
    Bern $60

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lucerne

For Lucerne, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Lake Candlelight Dinner Cruise: $142
  • From Zurich: 2-Day Mt.Titlis including 4-course dinner: $495

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bern

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bern.

  • Cooking delicious Spanish paella in Switzerland.: $66

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lucerne $34
    Bern $34
Typical Entertainment Prices in Lucerne

For Lucerne, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • 1 Day Bicycle Rental
    $34
  • The Swiss Transport Museum Entrance Fee
    $35

Tours and Activities in Lucerne

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Lucerne.

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.26
  • Lucerne Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $4.41
  • Revealing Self-Guided Reading City Tour: $5.50
  • Smartphone walking tour - cool Lucerne old town: $5.50
  • Walking Tour - Around the Old Town Lucerne: $5.60
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.52
  • Lucerne Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Tour: $6.52
  • Uncover Lucerne's Secrets: In-App Audio Tour: $11
  • Revealing Self-Guided Audio City Tour: $11
  • Revealing Self-Guided Audio City Tour: $11
  • Porrentruy Secret Tour: $13
  • Scavenger Hunt and Self-guided Walking Tour: $15

Tours and Activities in Bern

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Bern are as follows:

  • 007 Elegance:Exclusive Private Tour to Schilthorn from Bern: $631
  • Alpine Heights: Small Group Tour to Jungfraujoch from Bern: $595
  • Beautiful Bern's Old Town: Self Guided Audio Tour: $9.99
  • Bern : Highlights & Hidden Gems Walking Tour: $82
  • Bern : Private Walking Tour with a Local Guide (Private tour): $60
  • Bern Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Walking Tour: $7.07
  • Bern Highlights Small-Group Walking Tour with a Local: $156
  • Bern Historical UNESCO Old Town Private Tour: $162
  • Bern Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $61
  • Bern Old City Walking Tour: $462
  • Bern Old Town - Private Historic Walking Tour: $542
  • Bern Private Walking Tour: $340

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lucerne $22
    Bern $27

Sample the Local Flavors in Lucerne

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Lucerne:

  • 3 Hour Unique Wine Tour - Half Day in Swiss Alps: $165
  • Lake Lucerne Region Wine Tasting: $275


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Lucerne and Bern, we can see that Bern is more expensive. And not only is Lucerne much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lucerne would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Lucerne and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Bern would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bern than you might in Lucerne.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Lucerne Expensive? and Is Bern Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Lucerne or Bern?

Bern has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Lucerne. When comparing the sizes of Lucerne and Bern, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Lucerne or Bern?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Lucerne or Bern in the Summer?

Both Bern and Lucerne during the summer are popular places to visit. The city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Lucerne this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Bern for the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Lucerne is around the same temperature as Bern. Typically, the summer temperatures in Lucerne in July average around 21°C (70°F), and Bern averages at about 21°C (70°F).

In Bern, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Lucerne. In the summer, Lucerne often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Bern. Lucerne gets 241 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Bern receives 250 hours of full sun.

Lucerne usually gets more rain in July than Bern. Lucerne gets 89 mm (3.5 in) of rain, while Bern receives 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Lucerne 21°C (70°F) 
    Bern 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Lucerne or Bern in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Lucerne and Bern. Many travelers come to Lucerne for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, many visitors come to Bern in the autumn for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Lucerne is generally around the same temperature as Bern. Daily temperatures in Lucerne average around 13°C (56°F), and Bern fluctuates around 13°C (55°F).

Lucerne usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Bern during autumn. Lucerne gets 120 hours of sunny skies, while Bern receives 126 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Lucerne usually receives more rain than Bern. Lucerne gets 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Bern receives 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Lucerne 13°C (56°F) 
    Bern 13°C (55°F)

Should I visit Lucerne or Bern in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Lucerne as well as Bern. Many visitors come to Lucerne in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, most visitors come to Bern for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Bern can be very cold during winter. Lucerne can get quite cold in the winter. Lucerne is a little warmer than Bern in the winter. The daily temperature in Lucerne averages around 3°C (37°F) in January, and Bern fluctuates around 3°C (37°F).

In the winter, Lucerne often gets less sunshine than Bern. Lucerne gets 55 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Bern receives 65 hours of full sun.

Lucerne usually gets more rain in January than Bern. Lucerne gets 77 mm (3 in) of rain, while Bern receives 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Lucerne 3°C (37°F) 
    Bern 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Lucerne or Bern in the Spring?

Both Bern and Lucerne are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Lucerne for the activities around the city and the natural beauty during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Bern because of the natural beauty.

In the spring, Lucerne is around the same temperature as Bern. Typically, the spring temperatures in Lucerne in April average around 12°C (53°F), and Bern averages at about 11°C (52°F).

Lucerne usually receives less sunshine than Bern during spring. Lucerne gets 150 hours of sunny skies, while Bern receives 164 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Lucerne usually receives more rain than Bern. Lucerne gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Bern receives 59 mm (2.3 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Lucerne 12°C (53°F) 
    Bern 11°C (52°F)

Typical Weather for Bern and Lucerne

Lucerne Bern
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 77 mm (3 in) 3°C (37°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)
Feb 5°C (40°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 4°C (40°F) 51 mm (2 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 72 mm (2.8 in) 8°C (46°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Apr 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 11°C (52°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
May 16°C (60°F) 101 mm (4 in) 15°C (60°F) 76 mm (3 in)
Jun 19°C (66°F) 100 mm (3.9 in) 19°C (65°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
Jul 21°C (70°F) 89 mm (3.5 in) 21°C (70°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Aug 21°C (69°F) 104 mm (4.1 in) 20°C (69°F) 80 mm (3.1 in)
Sep 18°C (64°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 18°C (64°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)
Oct 13°C (56°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 7°C (45°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
Dec 4°C (39°F) 83 mm (3.3 in) 4°C (38°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)