A Travel Price Comparison for Switzerland Zurich vs. Lucerne for Old Town, Attractions, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Zurich or Lucerne?

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 Zurich and Lucerne. 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.

Zurich

Zurich is a historic, liberal, and beautiful city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the live music, food, and shopping.

Lucerne

Lucerne is a vibrant, scenic, and active city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Zurich and Lucerne: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular old town
  • Less popular for students


How is Zurich different from Lucerne?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Zurich or Lucerne Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Zurich
Lucerne

Plenty of people visit the sights and museums in both Zurich and Lucerne.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Zurich. Make sure you check out the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fraumünster, as well as the Swiss National Museum.

Lucerne offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. 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.


Is Zurich or Lucerne Better for Food?

Zurich
Lucerne

Both Zurich and Lucerne offer a number of unique restaurants to choose from.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Zurich. Many restaurants have a strong German influence, but you'll also find traditional Swiss dishes such as cheese and chocolate fondue. There are also several Michelin star restaurants in town.

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

Is Zurich or Lucerne Better for Nightlife?

Zurich
Lucerne

Both Zurich and Lucerne are comparable when it comes to partying.

Zurich offers plenty to do in the evening. The city has some of the best nightlife in Switzerland. There are a high concentration of bars and clubs around town, or you could check out one of the badis, which are pools that also act as bars during the summer months. They're usually located by the lake.

Lucerne has a large number of nightlife venues. The city has some of the best nightlife in Switzerland, with many lively clubs, bars, and pubs. There are also many local events that hosted in town and bring in a crowd.

Is Zurich or Lucerne Better for its Old Town?

Zurich
Lucerne

While Lucerne and Zurich both have old towns, overall Zurich is more well-known.

The rich history of Zurich can be explored in its historical center. The city has an old town that is split into two parts on each side of the Limmat River. The historic districts are filled with churches, squares, and charming areas that are fun to explore. Walking tours are the best way to explore the old town.

Lucerne has an old town worth visiting. Sitting on the water's edge, this old town has a number of historic buildings and the beautiful Chapel Bridge.

Is Zurich or Lucerne Better for Shopping?

Zurich
Lucerne

Both Zurich and Lucerne are good shopping destinations.

The abundance of shops in Zurich make it a world-class shopping destination. Visitors often buy chocolate, watches, and jewelry in this city. You'll find brand names and luxury items that are of high quality. Each neighborhood has its own character with stores ranging from traditional to international.

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.


Is Zurich or Lucerne Better for Families?

Zurich
Lucerne

Both Zurich and Lucerne are family-friendly destinations.

Zurich is a very kid-friendly city. It's a surprisingly mellow city with a relaxing vibe that makes it easy to explore with kids. Popular family-friendly activities include swimming in the Limmat River, sailing on Lake Zurich, and visiting Josefwiese park, which has a large playground.

Lucerne is a family-friendly city. The city is filled with history and there are a number of playgrounds around town. 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 Zurich or Lucerne Better for Couples?

Zurich
Lucerne

Zurich and Lucerne both fun destinations for a couple.

Zurich is a very popular place to visit for couples. One of the most romantic experiences you can have in town is visiting the Zurich Thermal Baths and Spa. There's an outdoor rooftop thermal pool as well as many ways that you can pamper yourselves.

Lucerne makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The city has many pleasant square, 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.

Is Zurich or Lucerne Better for Public Transit?

Zurich
Lucerne

Both Zurich and Lucerne offer public transit options.

Zurich has some very good public transit options. The system is made up of streetcars and buses.

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

Is Zurich or Lucerne a more walkable city?

Zurich
Lucerne

Zurich and Lucerne both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Zurich is a very walkable city. There are paths that lead along the rivers and the lake connecting the old town areas to other parts of the city.

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


Should I spend more time in Lucerne or Zurich?

How long in Zurich or Lucerne?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Zurich and Lucerne. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Zurich than Lucerne.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Zurich is 2-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Lucerne is 1-3 days.


  • How many days in Zurich or Lucerne? Ideal Length of Stay
    Zurich 2-5 
    Lucerne 1-3

One day in Zurich or Lucerne?

In Zurich, you'll find shopping and museums. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. One reason most visitors come is for the shopping. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Lucerne. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

A weekend in Zurich or Lucerne?

In Zurich, you'll find museums and nightlife. 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. One reason most visitors come is for the shopping. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Zurich has to offer.

Lucerne is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Zurich or Lucerne?

Zurich is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Zurich has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Lucerne. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Zurich or Lucerne?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Zurich. Many people enjoy the live music and food when visiting Zurich. One reason most visitors come is for the shopping. 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.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the cultural destination of Lucerne. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Which city is cheaper, Lucerne or Zurich?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Zurich is $210, while the average daily cost in Lucerne is $170. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Zurich and Lucerne in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Zurich $133
    Lucerne $109
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Zurich $266
    Lucerne $218
Compare Hotels in Zurich and Lucerne

Looking for a hotel in Zurich or Lucerne? 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 Zurich


Hotels in Lucerne


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: Zurich Hotel Prices and Lucerne Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Zurich $28
    Lucerne $9.91
Typical Local Transportation prices in Zurich

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Zurich:


  • City Pass (2)
    $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Zurich

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Zurich:

  • Private Transfer Zurich Airport or City ⇔ Zermatt: $1,374
  • Private Taxi Transfer: Zurich Airport ⇔ Zermatt both directions: $1,374
  • Private Transfer: Zurich Airport to St. Anton am Arlberg: $1,355
  • Private transfer Zurich Airport to Zermatt (Täsch) (1-3 persons): $1,131
  • Private transfer Zurich Airport to St. Moritz (1-3 persons): $970
  • Private transfer Zurich Airport to Montreux (1-3 persons): $918
  • Private Transfer: Zurich Airport to Davos: $887
  • Premium Transfer from Zürich Airport or city to Davos or Klosters or back: $862
  • Private Transfer: Zurich Airport to Andermatt: $702
  • Private Arrival Transfer: from Zurich Airport to Disentis: $693
  • Private Arrival transfer: from Zurich Airport to Gstaad Saanen: $693
  • Private Arrival Transfer: from Zurich Airport to St. Moritz: $693

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lucerne

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

  • Private transfer from Lucerne City to Lucerne Train Station: $110
  • Zurich Airport Transfers : Lucerne City to Zurich Airport ZRH in Business Car: $118
  • Private Transfer from Lucerne City to interlaken City: $174
  • Departure Private Transfer Lucerne-Basel-Bern to Zurich Airport by Business Car: $191
  • Between Basel and Luzern: One-Way Private Transfer: $193
  • Zurich Airport Transfers : Lucerne City to Zurich Airport ZRH in Luxury Van: $207
  • From Canyoning in Interlaken w/ Return Transfer: $239
  • Rafting in Interlaken with Return Transfer from Lucerne: $239
  • Zurich Airport: Private Transfer to/from Lucerne: $240
  • Departure Private Transfer Lucerne-Basel-Bern to Zurich Airport by Luxury Van: $251
  • Private transfer from Lucerne City to Zurich Airport: $271
  • ZRH Airport - Lucern City (Transfer Service): $287

Is it cheaper to fly into Zurich or Lucerne?

Prices for flights to both Lucerne and Zurich 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
    Zurich $49
    Lucerne $49
Typical Food prices in Zurich

Some typical examples of dining costs in Zurich are as follows:


  • Breakfast for 2
    $13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Zurich

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

  • Culinary Tour from Zurich with Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue Dinner: $154
  • Overnight Mount Titlis including 4-course dinner: $545

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Zurich $28
    Lucerne $27

Tours and Activities in Zurich

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

  • 2-Day Alps Tour from Mt Pilatus and Mt Titlis: $592
  • 2-Day Jungfraujoch Top of Europe Tour from Interlaken or Grindelwald: $557
  • 2-Day Mt Rigi Tour from Zurich Including Mineral Baths and Lake Lucerne Cruise: $474
  • 2-Day Switzerland Tour from Zurich to Geneva: Mt.Titlis,Interlaken,Bern,Gruyères: $693
  • 2-Day Winter Tour from Mt Pilatus and Mt Titlis: $592
  • 2-hour Private Guided Zurich Downtown Tour: $225
  • 3 in 1: Zurich Walking Tour - Cruise on the Lake - Cable Car Ride to Felsenegg: $98
  • 3-Day Glacier Express Self-Guided Tour from Zurich: $556
  • 3-Day GoldenPass Line Self-Guided Tour from Zurich: $439
  • 4-Day Glacier and Bernina Express Self-Guided Tour from Zurich: $768
  • 4-Day Switzerland Tour from Zurich Including Mt. Titlis Cable Car: $1,662
  • 5-Day Famous Mountain Peaks Self-Guided Tour from Zurich: $982

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.

  • Swiss Chocolate Adventure Experience at Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne: $19
  • Lucerne Swiss Museum of Transport Entrance Ticket: $39
  • Mount Titlis: Admission Ticket: $52
  • Pearls of Switzerland Cristina Tschuppert Private city walking tour Lucerne: $178
  • Day Trip from Grindelwald First Mountain Adventure: $206
  • Chocolate World Experience and Tasting Private Tour from Luzern: $226
  • Lucerne City Walking Tour in Portuguese (1-2 guests): $231
  • Luzern City Tour with Lake Cruise Private Tour: $231
  • Lake Lucerne Villas & Castles Private Walking Tour: $234
  • Lake Lucerne Castles and Villas Tour: $261
  • Mount Rigi with Lake Cruise Private Tour from Luzern: $279
  • ALL TRANSPORT INCLUSIVE Mt. Pilatus Guided Golden Roundtrip Tour: $280

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Zurich $23
    Lucerne $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Zurich

Also in Zurich, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Pub Crawl Zurich: $29

Sample the Local Flavors in Lucerne

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

  • Chocolate, Cheese and Wine Tour in Luzern region: $627


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Zurich and Lucerne, we can see that Zurich 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 Zurich would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Zurich than you might in Lucerne.


When is the best time to visit Zurich or Lucerne?

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 Zurich or Lucerne in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Zurich as well as Lucerne. The summer months attract visitors to Zurich because of the music scene and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Lucerne this time of year.

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

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Lucerne. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Zurich this time of the year. In the summer, Zurich often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Lucerne. Zurich gets 241 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Lucerne receives 241 hours of full sun.

Zurich usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Lucerne. Zurich gets 89 mm (3.5 in) of rain, while Lucerne receives 89 mm (3.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Zurich or Lucerne in the Autumn?

Both Lucerne and Zurich are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Zurich this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Lucerne for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Zurich is generally around the same temperature as Lucerne. Temperatures in Zurich average around 13°C (56°F), and Lucerne stays around 13°C (56°F).

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

In October, Zurich usually receives around the same amount of rain as Lucerne. Zurich gets 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Lucerne receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


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

Should I visit Zurich or Lucerne in the Winter?

Both Lucerne and Zurich during the winter are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Zurich for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, many visitors come to Lucerne in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Lucerne can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Zurich. Zurich is around the same temperature as Lucerne in the winter. The temperature in Zurich is usually 3°C (37°F) in January, and Lucerne stays around 3°C (37°F).

In the winter, Zurich often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Lucerne. Zurich gets 55 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Lucerne receives 55 hours of full sun.

Zurich usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Lucerne. Zurich gets 77 mm (3 in) of rain, while Lucerne receives 77 mm (3 in) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Zurich or Lucerne in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Zurich and Lucerne. Many visitors come to Zurich in the spring for the natural beauty. Furthermore, most visitors come to Lucerne for the activities around the city and the natural beauty during these months.

In the spring, Zurich is around the same temperature as Lucerne. Typically, the spring temperatures in Zurich in April are around 12°C (53°F), and Lucerne is about 12°C (53°F).

Zurich usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Lucerne during spring. Zurich gets 150 hours of sunny skies, while Lucerne receives 150 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Zurich usually receives around the same amount of rain as Lucerne. Zurich gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Lucerne receives 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Zurich 12°C (53°F) 
    Lucerne 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Lucerne and Zurich

Zurich Lucerne
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 77 mm (3 in) 3°C (37°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Feb 5°C (40°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 5°C (40°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 72 mm (2.8 in) 8°C (46°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Apr 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
May 16°C (60°F) 101 mm (4 in) 16°C (60°F) 101 mm (4 in)
Jun 19°C (66°F) 100 mm (3.9 in) 19°C (66°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
Jul 21°C (70°F) 89 mm (3.5 in) 21°C (70°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
Aug 21°C (69°F) 104 mm (4.1 in) 21°C (69°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Sep 18°C (64°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 18°C (64°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Oct 13°C (56°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 13°C (56°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 7°C (45°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Dec 4°C (39°F) 83 mm (3.3 in) 4°C (39°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)


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Zurich vs. Lucerne Travel Comparison

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