Luzern is a great base for a scenic Swiss holiday for those who would rather not travel too far to access epic experiences by train.
Though as you'll see below, if wallowing in fantastic scenery is your idea of heaven on earth, you can also take easy longer rail journeys from Luzern.
Another tick in the Luzern / Lucerne box is its easy access, it it less than 90 minutes from both Basel and Zurich, so the mountain railways in the area around Luzern, are the closest to the two largest cities in northern Switzerland.
Luzern also has direct international trains from and to Milan.
Luzern station also has a wonderful location, as it's both adjacent to the charming old town area and steps away from the piers used by the cruise boats that cross the stunning Luzernsee.
So the boats on the Luzernsee**](https://www.lakelucerne.ch/en/) *Lake Lucerne), link the station and the old town area to multiple other wonderful locations, including:
Lucerne / Luzern is also included in multiple Swiss rail holiday packages on which ShowMeTheJourney users can obtain a 5% discount!
Switzerland has eight mountain railways which have been solely constructed so that tourists can admire the views from their respective summits, without strapping on climbing or hiking gear.
There of them can be easily accessed by direct trains from Luzern station in under 90 minutes.
What makes day trips from Luzern / Lucerne extra special is the easy access to two spectacular circular routes, which are continually wonderful, and can be completed in under four hours - if you don't also break the trip to have meals in the restaurants on the mountain summits, or spend time on other attractions such as the cable cars.
1: The Golden Round Trip
The Golden Round Trip tickets include:
It's easiest to travel in this direction as the bus stop in Kriens is just to the right of the gondola base station, though if you take route/line 15, which stops by the base station, you'll then need to connect into line/route 1 at the bus station in Kriens.
However, if the weather is fine, this bus stop in Kriens town centre, used by route 1, is a 10 min walk from the cable car.
This trolleybus route/line 1, which will be heading to Ebikon, Fildern, makes several stops in Luzern city centre, including at the railway station.
2: The Rigi round trip
If you want to make a circular trip from Luzern that takes in both Rigi Bahnen lines - the ARB blue line and the VRB red line, the cable car and the lake cruise - the ultimate route is:
(1) train from Luzern to Arth-Goldau
(2) ARB train from Arth-Goldau to Rigi-Kulm
(3) VRB train from Rigi-Kulm to Vitznau
(4) boat from Vitznau to Weggis
(5) cable car from Weggis to Rigi Kaltbad
(6) VRB train from Rigi Kaltbad - to Rigi-Kulm
(7) ARB train from Rigi-Kulm to Arth-Goldau
(8) train from Arth-Goldau to Luzern
Go this way round and you can avoid the scramble for seats on the train at Vitznau, after the boat has docked.
The cable cars and funiculars which can be most easily accessed from Lucerne are:
Mountain coasters which give similar thrills to a toboggan ride when there's no snow and ice, have appeared in multiple locations in Switzerland, not all of which can be easily accessed by train.
However, three of those which are reachable from a station, can be easily accessed from Luzern.
Take Trolleybus Line 1 from the front of the station (direction Obernau Dorf).
Then at the Linde Pilatus stop you can connect to bus line 15 which stops directly in front of the gondola station at Pilatus-Bahnen.
Or travel the opposite direction and make the first stage of the journey, taking the train from Luzern to Alpnachstad and then take the Pilatisbahn to the summit, for the cable car down to Fräkmüntegg.
For those not averse to longer journeys, particularly when they happen to be stunning, another tick in the box for choosing Lucerne as a location for a Swiss Holiday, is the easy access by train to the other stunning locations where those five other railways to the mountain summits can be found.
What also underlines why Luzern / Lucerne can be such a great choice as a base for a Swiss rail holiday is the easy access it has to multiple other locations which also have easy access to stunning rail journeys.
The Luzern - Interlaken Express trains which depart hourly live up to their name, so by connecting at Interlaken Ost station, it's possible to spend most of a day in the Jungfrau Region on a day trip from Luzern.
The wonderful journey to and from Interlaken takes 1hr 50 minutes in each direction.
Connect in Interlaken for the routes into the Berner-Oberland to Grindelwald, Jungfraujoch, Mürren and Wengen.
Or you can continue beyond Interlaken and make additional connections in Speiz and Zweisimmen to ride the entire 'Golden Pass route' to Montreux - and take the line between Montreux and Rochers-der-Naye
Then connect in Lausanne for a fast train back to Luzern.
You can leave Luzern after 10:00 and return at around 19:00.
And the journey from Lausanne back to Luzern also has a fantastic beginning.
Every other hour there are direct RE (Traverso) trains from Luzern which take a spectacular route to Locarno - connect for the Centovalli Railway on to Domodossola in Italy.
Or in most hours it's possible to be in Locarno in under two hours by taking a faster IC or EC train and connecting in Bellinzona.
The fast trains share some of the scenic sections of the route that the RE trains take.
Chur can be reached in under 2hr 15 mins by taking the trains which will be typically heading to Konstanz and connecting at Thalwil station for trains which take a wonderful route on to Chur.
Connect in Chur for the stunning Rhaetian Railway routes to the likes of Arosa, Disentis, Davos, Klosters and St Moritz.
Save 5% on the price of the holiday by entering the exclusive promo code AFF_SMTJSWISS on the booking page.
The Tell Pass, named after William Tell, can be a great value pass if you will be spending an extended period of time in Lucerne / Luzern.
It covers 2nd class rail travel, buses, lake boats and the majority of the cable cars and funiculars in central Switzerland.
The prices are cheaper in winter because the heavy snow and ice causes some of the mountain railways to close for the season.
Hence there is a summer map of validity; and a winter map which show the validity of the routes covered by the pass.
The Tell Pass is available for unlimited travel, for 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 consecutive days in 2nd class, with children's passes a flat rate of 30CHF.
It can be booked online or at a travel desk in Swiss stations, or from tourist offices.
Prices are cheaper in winter, as some of the mountain railways will be closed.
As with the other passes for Switzerland, whether a Tell Pass will save you money depends on how it's used.
As a comparison a 2nd class Adult Tell Pass valid for 2 days, costs around 7CHF more than a Golden Round Trip on Mt Pilatus + a return rail trip to the summit of Mt Rigi.
So you would only need to take one more journey, such as the lake boat, for the Tell Pass to be cheaper than buying tickets.
Or if want to solely do the Golden Pass Trip + a return journey by train and cable cars between Luzern and Titlis, you will save with the Tell Pass compared to tickets.
Swiss Travel Passes can be a good option for a holiday in Luzern, particularly if you'll want to;
Though if you want to travel on some other routes around Luzern, the balance tips towards the Tell Pass because of the greater discount it provides:
InterRail passes for Switzerland can be good value for money for a stay in Luzern if you want to take longer journeys fully covered by the pass, such as day trips to Chur, Locarno on Montreux.
They only give a 50% discount on the routes closer to Luzern such as Mt Pilatus, Mt Rigi and the lake boats; and no discount at all on other routes fully covered by the Tell Pass including the steam railway up Mt Brienz, the Mt Tilis cable cars and the Stoosbahn.
If you'll be using multi-country 'Global' Eurail and InterRail passes, Luzern can be a value for money location on an itinerary.
The 50% of the costs you'll have to spend to ascend Rigi or Pilatus, won't be more expensive than the overall travel savings you'll make on the entire trip.
Epic day trip circular routes
For those not averse to spending a whole day riding incredibly scenic railways, Swiss Travel Passes, InterRail passes for Switzerland and global Eurail and InteRail passes fully cover these itineraries:
1: Luzern → Göschenen → Andermatt → Disentis/Mustér → Chur → Thalwil → Luzern; 7 hours approx
2: Luzern, depart 10:06 → Interlaken Ost* → Spiez → Brig via Kandersteg → Andermatt → Göschenen → Luzern; 8hr 30mins approx
3: Luzern → Interlaken Ost* → Spiez → Zweisimmen → Montreux → Lausanne → Luzern; 9 hours approx
*= you will be connecting into an express train in Interlaken which will be travelling on towards Bern and Basel
Luzern typically has two two trains per hour from the station at Zurich airport, with the journey only taking between 50 minutes and an hour, these trains also call at the main station in Zurich.
There are also hourly trains from Geneve-Aeroport station, which have a journey time of around 3hr 10min.
Luzern also has direct international trains, there are typically two trains per day to and from Milano and a daily train from Frankfurt (Main) which also calls in Karlsruhe and Freiburg.
Though this train takes a different route in the other direction, so connections are required in Basel when heading to Germany from Luzern by train.
Also connect in Basel when travelling to and from Amsterdam and Paris.
I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.
This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.
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