Just an hour from bustling Zurich, tucked amongst snowcapped mountains, is the storybook town of Lucerne. It’s easy to see why so many people say Lucene is one of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland — well-preserved medieval architecture, glistening blue Lake Lucerne, and those mountains are always dotting the back of every Instagram-worthy shot — it’s picture-perfect.
But picture-perfect doesn’t always mean vegan-friendly!
When I was first booking our Swiss holiday, I wanted to experience a variety of Switzerland’s beautiful landscapes, from major cities to small towns, but I knew that could mean I might get a little hungry.
Luckily, I was wrong!
For a small city, Lucerne is very vegan-friendly! You can find vegan breakfast tacos, gelato, famous Swiss chocolates, and more. If you’re headed to Lucerne and thinking, oh no, what in the world am I going to eat? Have no fear; this vegan guide to Lucerne will help you plan your entire trip, from where you can have breakfast to where you should rest your pretty little head.
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Vegan & Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Lucerne
I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants that call Lucerne home. The only bummer is that many are closed on Sundays and Mondays, so keep that in mind when planning your visit.
St. Karliquai 7, 6004 Luzern
Right on the bank of the river Reuss makes this a gorgeous and delicious place for vegan brunch, lunch, or dinner! Their menu features healthy, veggie-forward dishes, and they can accommodate gluten-free diners. One note, brunch is only offered on select Sundays, so plan ahead!
Furrengasse 7, 6004 Luzern
This quaint little café is right in the heart of Old Town, making it the go-to place for a morning latte or an afternoon salad. Their dishes are prepared as sustainably as possible using fresh, local ingredients. The café is undergoing a management change and is set to reopen in late summer 2022.
Bundespl. 3, 6005 Luzern
This charming restaurant is cooking up a daily dose of vegan comfort food with seasonal ingredients right around the corner from the Lucerne train station. They also serve regional beers and vegan Swiss wines (this is an excellent opportunity to taste Swiss wine because it’s not widely exported). It is only open for lunch, so make sure you get there before 4 PM.
Maihofstrasse 57, 6006 Luzern
A cheerful little spot on the outskirts of town known for healthy and organic fare. Their website is currently undergoing some work, and they are operating with limited hours — Saturdays from 3:30 – 9:00 PM.
Bireggstrasse 24, 6003 Luzern
A plant-based bistro with a set, rotating menu that showcases the diversity of veggies. They can accommodate food sensitivities and allergies.
Inseliquai, 6005 Luzern
On a sunny day, this is the perfect spot to check out! Right on Lake Lucerne, this outdoor vegetarian café is known for its drinks, snacks, and a regularly rotating menu.
Zentralstrasse, 6003 Luzern
If you follow me on Instagram or read anything I wrote on Zurich, you know I love Tibits! This vegetarian buffet restaurant is fantastic! They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the buffet features a variety of globally-inspired dishes that are vegan and gluten-free friendly.
Claridenstrasse 2, 6003 Luzern
A vegan-friendly café just outside of the city center is well known for its delicious wood-fired vegan pizza. They have a special brunch menu that features vegan tacos and acai bowls on the weekends.
Bleicherstrasse 29, 6003 Luzern
A fast-casual café that features vegan Turkish specialties like döner and cigköfte along with bowls, wraps, and desserts. This is a terrific and filling place for lunch.
Hertensteinstrasse 50, 6004 Luzern
If you happen to be in Lucerne on a Saturday, don’t miss stopping at this food truck for lunch! Amazing pita sandwiches made with house-made pita bread and stuffed with an enormous amount of tantalizing veggies, sauces, and proteins.
Rathausquai 10, 6003 Luzern
Made to order vegan-friendly Middle Eastern cuisine. The menu is well marked for vegan options.
Pilatusstrasse 12, 6003 Luzern
A Swiss chain featuring a huge variety of vegan-friendly bowls for breakfast and lunch along with superfood smoothies, fresh juices, and coffee.
UG, Zentralstrasse 1, 6003 Luzern
Tucked inside the Lucerne train station, this is the perfect place to stop if you’re coming, going, or just in the mood for a bowl of pipin’ hot noodles! Their vegan-friendly menu includes ramen and poke options, and aside from tofu, they also offer Planted Chicken, a European plant-based chick’n brand.
Zentralstrasse 1, 6001 Luzern
Also, inside the Lucerne train station, this chain is the perfect place to kick off your day with an acai or spirulina bowl and a variety of juices and smoothies. They also offer one vegan sandwich at lunch.
Bahnhof Pl. 1, 6003 Luzern
One more spot inside the train station (who would’ve thought that the train station would be vegan-friendly?) If you’ve been craving carbs, don’t skip the lineup of vegan pretzels at Brezelkönig. They also have vegan hot dogs, and other locations carry sandwiches; I didn’t see one here.
Hertensteinstrasse 28, 6004 Luzern
With a name like that, how could I not stop? This vegan-friendly Middle Eastern spot offers a couple of vegan sandwich options, and the menu is well-marked.
Vegan Chocolate & Ice Cream in Lucerne
Now that we’ve got vegan options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner out of the way, you might be thinking, what about dessert!? Don’t worry; there are a few spots where you can indulge in creamy vegan ice cream and even Swiss chocolates!
Hertensteinstrasse 7, 6004 Luzern
This was one of my favorite chocolate shops in Switzerland! They offer multiple vegan chocolate bar options and four amazing vegan truffles! The chocolates aren’t marked, but the staff is knowledgeable and ready to help delight your taste buds.
Schwanenpl. 7, 6004 Luzern
While I didn’t find truffles here (sigh), they offer vegan chocolate bars, which are well marked.
Kapellgasse 3, 6004 Luzern
A cute Swiss ice cream chain with nine creamy vegan ice cream options! You will also find Cuckoo locations in a few other towns in Switzerland.
Rathausquai 7, 6004 Luzern
This little spot is located right on the river — the perfect place to grab a couple of scoops of sorbet (they only offer sorbet, no other non-dairy options) and then enjoy a little stroll.
Denkmalstrasse 11, 6006 Luzern
This little café with three vegan ice cream options made with soy, oat, and coconut milk is right across from the Lion Monument.
Vegan-Friendly Markets & Stores in Lucerne
If you’re looking for a place to grab a few groceries or maybe you forgot something, look no further than these markets and shops.
Eisengasse 12, 6004 Luzern
A small natural market that sells a variety of snacks, vitamins, and personal care products.
Pilatusstrasse 19, 6003 Luzern
A second small health food store that also carries a variety of personal care products, supplements, protein powder, and more.
Hertensteinstrasse 40, 6004 Luzern
This organic and natural market chain is available throughout Switzerland and is terrific! If you’re looking to grab produce, vegan cheese, or any type of veggie-alternative product, come here! They also have a small wine section, and they mark which wines are vegan.
Multiple locations throughout the city
Another Swiss market chain is perfect for finding various prepared vegan foods, produce, snacks, and fruits — just about whatever your heart desires. Each market is a little different, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for at one, try another.
How Much Time Do I Need to Explore Lucerne?
Two days are sufficient to explore Lucerne and even visit Mt. Pilatus. Lucerne isn’t a large town. Many of the major sights are within easy walking distance (I encourage walking everywhere — there isn’t a need for public transit unless you’re short on time or going outside the city center).
If you spend two days in Lucerne, spend one day exploring the city. This includes wandering across the famous Chapel Bridge and into the lovely Alstadt (Old Town), strolling the promenade along Lake Lucerne, and admiring the city views from atop the Museggmauer — Lucerne’s iconic city wall.
On day two, I suggest visiting Mt. Pilatus, which can be done on your own or with a tour. Depending on the modes of travel you take to get to and back from the mountain and how much time you spend exploring will dictate how long the visit will take. At a minimum, I would reserve no less than four hours of your day, but to be safe, I would try to avoid planning anything that has a hard deadline just in case.
So now that you have started to frame out your itinerary, you probably want to know about all the irresistible vegan food Lucerne has to offer…
Where to Stay in Lucerne
Lucerne isn’t super large for visitors, making most hotel locations convenient for checking out the city. If you want to be right in the heart of the action, check out these hotels, including where we have stayed.
Hotels in Lucerne’s Old Town
Furrengasse 19, 6004 Luzern, Switzerland
This hotel is such a great deal for its location — we stayed here in the spring and would return. It’s right in the heart of Old Town, literally around the corner from Chapel Bridge and a 5-min. walk to the Lucerne train station. One important note, it is for adults only.
Furrengasse 3, 6004 Lucerne, Switzerland
This hotel is right around the corner from Weisses Kreuz, but the most significant difference is that it’s right on the water, so you pay more for those views.
Unique Hotels in Lucerne
If you’re interested in staying somewhere a little special, why not stay in a castle or on a mountain top? Check out these beautiful hotels.
Kanonenstrasse, 6003 Lucerne, Switzerland
Stay in a renovated 19th-century castle overlooking Lucerne’s Old Town and Lake Lucerne. Even if you don’t stay here, you can still visit and have a drink on their patio while enjoying the views.
Schlossweg 1, Kriens, 6010 Lucerne, Switzerland
If you’ve never stayed on a mountain top, here is your chance! Sleep high above Lucerne (almost 7,000 feet above sea level) on Mount Pilatus at this modern hotel.
What Do Do in Lucerne
#1 Visit Mount Pilatus for a hike & gorgeous views
Although I am terrified of heights, this was my favorite part of visiting Lucerne. Mount Pilatus is less than 20 minutes by bus or train from Lucerne, and once you get to the base of the mountain, you have two choices — hike or take the cable cars or cogwheel up to the top. You can visit Mount Pilatus on your own or book a tour in advance.
If you decide to hike, it will take you about 4-hrs. round trip (excluding any additional time you spend wandering around once you get to the top) — don’t forget vegan hiking boots!
You’ll get gorgeous views of Lucerne, Lake Lucerne, and even the Alps on a clear day.
#2 Check out Lucerne’s less touristy mountain, Rigi
Locals enjoy skipping Pilatus for Lucerne’s other mountain, Rigi. Mount Rigi is greener than Pilatus, and some say it is a little easier to hike; it will take approximately 3 – 4 hrs. depending on how quickly you’re moving (there are shorter hike options, too!). A visit here offers impressive views of Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, and Lake Lauerz.
If you want to skip hiking altogether, you can hop on board Europe’s oldest cogwheel (or the cable cars — those aren’t the oldest in Europe), which will take you to the summit of Mount Rigi.
Aside from hiking, you can also relax in a mineral bath at Rigi Kaltbad.
#3 Enjoy Lake Lucerne
The lake is an idyllic spot year-round, but the summer is exceptional. The blue lake glistens and beckons visitors and locals to jump on in on a bright sunny day! You can enjoy the beauty of the lake on a guided boat ride or, even better, rent a paddle boat! The boats can be rented on the shore of the lake directly across from the Old Town.
If water activities aren’t your thing, you should still take some time to stroll the promenade next to the lake; the farther you go, the quieter it becomes. It’s a really lovely activity if you want a breather from the city.
If you’re interested in a nighttime stroll, walk to the end of the promenade to Sunset Bar to enjoy the sunset.
#4 Wander through Old Town
I think this one goes without saying, but if it didn’t cross your mind, don’t miss Lucerne’s medieval Old Town (it would honestly be hard to miss). Wandering the cobblestone streets, you will find some of the city’s oldest architecture and fountains next to shops and boutiques.
If you’d like to learn a little more about the history of the Old Town and the city, check out a walking tour. This is a great way to get a little insight into the city.
#5 Take in city views from Museggmauer
Lucerne’s old city wall and its nine towers are a wonderful place to capture views of the city. The wall is open to the public from April – November from 8 AM – 7 PM and is completely free. Aside from scaling the towers to get your best photos, you will also find a café on the grounds, an excellent spot for a quiet break, and you’ll find people picnicking and playing sports.
How to Get Around Lucerne
Coming From The Zurich airport
The closest airport to Lucerne is Zurich, which isn’t far at all, just about 25 miles. The easiest way to get to Lucerne from the Zurich airport is by train or car. There are multiple trains every day from Zurich to Lucerne — it’s simple to book the ticket ahead of time. Tickets average around $20 depending on the time of day, and it takes between 41 – 60 mins. At the Zurich airport, you will find the train station underneath the airport; just keep following the signs for baggage claim and transport, and you will find the signs for the train station.
You could also take a taxi, but that will cost you an enormous amount; I have seen prices well over $100 (remember you’re only going 25 miles!).
Getting Around Lucerne
Getting around Lucerne is super easy; all you need are your own two feet! We only took the bus once, which was to go to Mount Pilatus. Otherwise, everything is within easy walking distance. If you do find that you need to take the bus, you don’t have to pay if you’re staying at a hotel or apartment in Lucerne. Transportation is included for all guests; isn’t that awesome? Your hotel will give you a special transport card, or you can show your keycard.
If you’re not staying in Lucerne and need to buy a bus ticket, a single ticket valid for one hour is 4.10 CHF and a day pass is 8.20 CHF (valid in the Lucerne city zone 10). One other helpful note, transportation runs from 5 AM – 12:30 AM daily; there are night buses available Fri. – Sun.
Other Vegan-Friendly Cities in Switzerland
If Lucerne isn’t your only stop in Switzerland, be sure to check out our vegan travel guides and articles to plan your getaway!
The Ultimate Zurich Vegan Travel Guide
10 Spots for Vegan Food in Zurich that You Must Try!
The Best Vegan Guide to Bern
How to Get to Mount Pilatus on Your Own
The Best Vegan Travel Guide to Geneva
Where to Stay in Bern, Switzerland
The Best Vegan Travel Guide to Budapest