Lucerne is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland. The majority of first-time visitors choose Lucerne as their destination. This article will provide all the information you need about traveling by train from Lugano to Lucerne.
For visitors to Switzerland, Lucerne is one of the best options. A beautiful, easily accessible town with good tourist infrastructure and great information, Lucerne is sure to impress.
Logistical concerns come up inevitably. Particularly for those who want to travel by rail in Switzerland, there are several specifics concerning train travel. What is the best way to get from point A to point B? Does it offer scenic views? So on and so forth.
This article will answer all your questions about the train journey from Lugano to Lucerne.
You can start by visiting the SBB website: www.sbb.ch. Using the website, you can type in your departure and arrival destinations. It will then guide you to where and when you need to be. An app is also available for iOS and Android devices.
If you wish to pay half the fare for all your train rides in Switzerland, a Half Fare Discount Card (1-month validity) is available on www.sbb.ch. This allows you to travel for half the price on all SBB routes and most other railways during the duration of your discount card.
Using the Swiss Pass, you get unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat in Switzerland. Over 500 museums are also free or discounted, and there are free or discounted excursions to mountain summits.
Getting tickets from RailEurope is a convenient option if you’re traveling within Europe and/or visiting multiple countries. Having been in operation since the 1930s, RailEurope‘s extensive history, user-friendly website and mobile apps, flexible currency payment options, commitment to customer satisfaction, and strategic partnerships with leading rail operators, collectively establish it as a reliable and trustworthy platform for booking European train travel.
You can obtain from RailEurope the following travel passes:
- Swiss Travel Pass – choose between continuous or flexible Swiss train passes for 3, 4, 8, or 15 days. The perks? unlimited use in over 90 Swiss cities, free admission to more than 500 museums, and discounts on mountain railways and cable cars. You also get discounts on high-speed Lyria trains between France and Switzerland as well as Nightjet trains that go through Switzerland. See RailEurope for more information.
- Eurail Global Pass – unlimited train travel to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for non-EU residents
- Interrail Global Pass – access to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for citizens and permanent residents of the EU
How To Get From Lugano to Lucerne
Getting from Lugano to Lucerne by Train
To travel from Lugano to Lucerne, the most convenient option is to board the direct train that operates between the two cities. This train departs every two hours from Platform 3.
Here are the departure times for the direct train from Lugano to Lucerne (as of December 2023).
|Departure Times from Lugano to Lucerne
In case you miss the direct train from Lugano to Lucerne, you can consider taking the following route:
- In Lugano, take the Intercity or Eurocity train to Arth-Goldau.
- In Arth-Goldau, take the connecting train to Lucerne.
Getting from Lugano to Lucerne via Scenic Route
You can take a scenic train route from Lugano to Lucerne all year round. To do so, you’ll need to travel via Bellinzona and then board a train that passes through the stunning Gotthard Panorama route. The train used to be the original route before the Gotthard Tunnel was opened, and while it takes longer, it offers more scenic views.
In case you want to take the scenic train from Lugano to Lucerne, you can consider taking the following route:
- In Lugano, take the train to Bellinzona.
- In Bellinzona, board one of the trains that travel via the Gotthard Panoramic Route to reach Lucerne.
Below is a table that displays the departure times of trains leaving Bellinzona and traveling via the Gotthard Panoramic Route to reach Lucerne.
|Departure Times of Scenic Train from Bellinzona to Lucerne
Gotthard Panorama Express Route By Train
The Gotthard Panorama Route from Lugano to Lucerne lasts for 3 hours and 12 minutes, and includes stops at the following locations:
- Bodio TI
- Altdorf UR
Getting from Lugano to Lucerne via Gotthard Panorama Express
Between mid-April and the third week of October, you can opt for the Gotthard Panorama Express to travel from Lugano to Lucerne. With this route, you can take the train from Lugano to Flüelen, and then switch to a boat that will take you from Flüelen to Lucerne.
The Gotthard Panorama Express offers a remarkable journey that begins in the Mediterranean landscapes of Ticino and ascends to the stunning Gotthard region. You’ll traverse the Reuss Valley in Uri and witness the Wassen Church as the train loops around it multiple times. Upon completion of the Gotthard route, you’ll arrive at Lake Lucerne, where you’ll board a boat that will take you past enchanting bays and charming villages along the lake, including historical sites like the Schiller Stone and the Rütli meadow where Switzerland was founded. The trip concludes at the Lucerne Quay. Upon arrival in Lucerne, you have the option to either spend the night or take the train back to Lugano.
You can check the schedule of the trains at the following website: https://www.gotthard-panorama-express.ch/en/.
Gotthard Panorama Express Route By Boat
The Gotthard Panorama Express from Lugano to Lucerne lasts for 5 hours and 36 minutes, and includes stops at the following locations:
- Sisikon (See)
- Brunnen (See)
- Gersau (See)
- Beckenried (See)
- Hertenstein (See)
- Luzern Bahnhofquai
How Long Is the Train Ride From Lugano to Lucerne?
The following table shows the train ride duration from Lugano to Lucerne and the other way around (updated December 2023):
|Lugano – Lucerne Direct Train (IC21)
|2 hours 39 minutes
|Lugano – Lucerne with Gotthard Panorama Express
|5 hours and 36 minutes
Is the Train From Lugano to Lucerne Scenic?
The direct trains traveling via the Gotthard Tunnel from Lugano to Lucerne do not offer the most scenic route. Instead, if you prefer a more picturesque journey, you can go via Bellinzona and take the train passing through the historic Gotthard route.
However, if you’re looking for the ultimate experience, I highly recommend taking the Gotthard Panorama Express route, which involves traveling from Lugano to Lucerne via the Gotthard panoramic route on a train and then switching to a boat starting at Flüelen to reach the Lucerne.
Other Scenic Trains
In case you would like to check out other scenic trains, then there are more scenic trains recommended below. These are the Golden Pass Line, the Glacier Express, and the Bernina Express. Another interesting train is the Historical Train that goes from Davos to Filisur.
Your other options in detail are the following:
- Golden Pass – The Golden Pass train route is a popular scenic train journey in Switzerland that takes passengers on a picturesque journey through the Swiss Alps. The Golden Pass train route offers a picturesque journey through the Swiss Alps, with the option to start in Montreux, a charming town on the shores of Lake Geneva, and end in Lucerne, a beautiful city in the heart of Switzerland. Alternatively, you can choose to travel in the opposite direction, starting in Lucerne and ending in Montreux.
- Glacier Express – Glacier Express is a long journey that starts from Zermatt, home of Matterhorn. It then traverses 291 bridges and 91 tunnels before stopping in St. Moritz. Zermatt and St. Moritz are beautiful mountain resorts worthy of a longer stay. The Glacier Express passes by several idyllic mountain villages.
- Bernina Express – Bernina Express is another train route that begins in Chur. Chur is the oldest alpine city in Switzerland and is worth visiting. This train route spans 196 bridges. It goes through 55 tunnels and passes 20 beautiful villages in Switzerland. For you to go on this scenic train, you will have to go from Zurich or Lucerne to Chur first.
- Historical Train Davos to Filisur – May through October, vintage carriages are pulled by the century-old crocodile locomotive from Davos Platz to Filisur. The train line covers a total length of 4,200 meters through 14 tunnels and 28 bridges. Its scenic highlights include the Wiesen Viaduct and the Zügen Gorge.
How Much Will the Train Ticket From Lugano to Lucerne Cost?
Here are the train ticket prices from Lugano to Lucerne (updated December 2023):
|Full Fare (CHF)
|Half Fare (CHF)
|Lugano – Lucerne Direct Train
|Lugano – Lucerne with Gotthard Panorama Express, First Class, and Seat Reservation (2023)
Do You Need a Seat Reservation on the Train?
To travel on the Gotthard Panorama Express from Lugano to Lucerne, a seat reservation is required and can be purchased on the official website.
You will need to reserve your tickets for the Gotthard Panorama Express at https://www.gotthard-panorama-express.ch/en/.
However, if you are traveling on a regular SBB train, seat reservations are not necessary. But you can always add this option if that is your wish.
Recommended Hotels in Lucerne
Looking for a hotel in Lucerne? We’ve got some great options below:
- Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern (5-star) – Directly on the lake, this refined hotel is located in the old town of Lucerne. You’ll also find a gym, a spa, and modern furniture amid elegant interiors. A 10-minute walk gets you to the train station.
- Grand Hotel National Luzern (5-star) – A luxurious hotel built in the 1870s. Close to the train station and the historic old town, this hotel has elegant interiors, fantastic lake views, and a swimming pool.
- Hermitage Lake Lucerne (4-star) – Set on the shores of Lake Lucerne, this tranquil hotel is a great place to relax. While it’s a little outside of the city, it has stunning views and refined restaurants. There’s also a beach club with daybeds, lounges, drinks, snacks, and cool music. Party boats are available to rent or you can take public boats that stop right outside the hotel. My family has stayed here and has loved it. I highly recommend it.
- AMERON Luzern Hotel Flora (4-star) – Near the train station and the Chapel Bridge, this hotel has chic rooms and a great breakfast.
- Hotel Rebstock (4-star) – A historic, half-timbered hotel dating from the late Middle Ages, Hotel Rebstock is one of the 16 Unique and Historical Hotels in Switzerland. It is ideally located near the Hof Church, the Lion Monument, and the Glacier Garden.
- Hotel Central Luzern (3-star) – In a central location near the train station, the chapel bridge, the old town, and the Rosengart Collection, Hotel Central Luzern offers bright, clean, recently renovated rooms, as well as a delicious breakfast. The rooms are reasonably priced. As a result of the hotel’s central location, you might hear some noise at night.
- Backpackers Luzern (Hostel) – The Backpackers Luzern is on the shores of Lake Lucerne, in a quiet area. Besides free kitchen facilities and WiFi, this charming hostel has a common lounge area with table tennis and table soccer. Each room has comfortable beds and a balcony. Walking to Lucerne’s train station takes less than 15 minutes.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.