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Luzern or Lucerne: What is the Difference?

Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by Admin

Luzern and Lucerne are both names for the same city in Switzerland. The names Lucerne and Luzern also refer to the Canton of Lucerne. Lucerne is situated in Central Switzerland. To the east are the Swiss cantons of Schwyz and Zug, to the north lies Aargau, and to the west is Bern.

Image of Lucerne by TouringSwitzerland.com
  • Luzern is the German name for the city of Lucerne.
  • Lucerne is the French and English word for the city of the same name.

As early as 1252, the name Lucerne was known under the name Lucerrun. Nowadays, it is referred to internationally by its English name Lucerne. And the name Lucerne is used for both the Swiss city and for the Swiss canton.

As Lucerne is located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, most of the names used in and around the city have the spelling Luzern. But both names are correct and can be used interchangeably.


City of Lucerne

Image of the Lion Monument by TouringSwitzerland.com

In the very heart of Switzerland lies the lovely city of Lucerne. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of its blue lake and mountains in this stunning area. In Lucerne city, there are a lot of things to see: the Transport Museum (Verkehrshaus), the Lion Monument, the Rosengart Collection, and Chapel Bridge, just to name a few.

If you are interested in more information, we have an article describing some of the best things to do in Lucerne, Switzerland: 9 Best Things To Do in Lucerne, Switzerland.


Canton Lucerne

Image of Lake Lucerne from Mount Rigi by TouringSwitzerland.com

Canton Lucerne covers the following notable villages and towns:

  • Weggis – a holiday resort on the shores of Lake Lucerne with access to the Rigi mountain.
  • Entlebuch – In 2001, UNESCO designated the area as a Biosphere Reserve. Entlebuch lies at the confluence of the Entlen and Emme rivers. 
  • Kriens – the village that lies at the foot of Mount Pilatus, another one of the popular tourist areas in Lucerne
  • Horw – also on Lake Lucerne, Horw is a quiet and idyllic area near the city of Lucerne. Horw has a beach and a camping area called TCS Camping Luzern-Horw.
  • Willisau – is a beautiful municipality featuring several sites of national significance: The Old City, the Catholic Church of St. Peter and Paul, the Bailiff’s Castle, and the Chapel of Heiligblut. The entire village of Willisau is listed under the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.
  • Hitzkirch – home to Seematte prehistoric stilt house settlements that have been listed under the Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps.
  • Sursee – Awarded with the Wakker prize back in 2003, Sursee has a pretty old town and a history that dates back to the Roman ages.

Other villages and towns in Canton Lucerne are Sempach, Wolhusen, Beromünster, Malters, Littau, and Rothenburg.


As Lucerne is located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, most of the names used in and around the city have the spelling Luzern. But both names are correct and can be used interchangeably.

Lucerne or Luzern will work equally well. The name Lucerne is what is known internationally, but if you are in that place, you are likely to hear the name Luzern more often. You don’t need to worry since both words refer to the same city and the locals will understand both.

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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.

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