12 Best Neighborhoods in Lucerne, Switzerland
Quintessentially Swiss, the city of Lucerne is a picturesque jewel characterized by its calming lake, historic architecture, and backdrop of the snowcapped Alps. And, while this much-loved city has become undeniably popular amongst tourists visiting Switzerland, Lucerne is also a top pick for ex-pats hoping to settle down. Unfortunately, finding your way through all of the tourist-centric information can be overwhelming when you’re looking for the best neighborhoods to live in Lucerne – don’t worry; we’re here to help.
Our simple guide to the best neighborhoods in Lucerne will help you decide where to settle in the city, whether you’re relocating with your family, making a solo move abroad, or studying in one of the city’s educational institutions. We’ve got the low down on the top neighborhoods, including districts ideal for schools, commuters, and those on a budget.
Exuding historical charm, Alstadt is Lucerne’s most central neighborhood, packed with the city’s top attractions. Translating as “Old Town,” Alstadt is a great choice if you want to be amongst the hustle and bustle, within walking distance of Lucerne’s fascinating cultural and historical spots, and have all the top dining destinations on your doorstep. Take a morning stroll over the 14th Century Chapel Bridge, explore the towering spires of the Church of St Leodegar, and sip coffee on the lake’s promenade, all in just morning’s work.
Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a price – lots of people and expensive rentals. Pandered more towards the younger population and those only staying in the city on a short-term basis, the majority of the properties here are hotels or converted short-stay apartments. However, you will find a long-stay, one- or two-bedroom apartment along Alstadt’s main streets. These go quickly, so we’d recommend planning in advance if you want to take advantage of this central neighborhood.
What was once Lucerne’s red light district has now been transformed into one of the city’s most peaceful places to live. Going through a period of modification, Tribschen is a patchwork of modern apartment buildings, local family businesses, and open green spaces. In fact, this is one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lucerne, thanks to the local green oasis of Ufschötti Beach. Jutting out from the western shores of Lake Lucerne, residents, and tourists gather at Ufschötti to enjoy the many outdoor recreational activities. This outdoor spot has everything from wild swimming to afternoon picnics and seasonal festivals to cycling paths.
Saying that, Tribschen isn’t just about Ufschötti Beach. Its quiet streets, many schools, and spacious homes make it an ideal place to settle with a family. Just a ten-minute walk from the conveniences of the city center but far enough away to enjoy isolated tranquility, residents can take advantage of the best of both worlds. As you’d expect, living in one of the best neighborhoods in Lucerne does come at an elevated price, but it is worth it for many for its quality of life.
Just outside of the Old Town, Neustadt is still considered to be part of Lucerne’s city center. However, Neustadt has a much more modern facade unlike the medieval architecture peppered throughout Alstadt’s streets. Enjoying a blend of residential and commercial spaces and plenty of conveniences in the guise of shopping centers, entertainment options, and dining facilities, it’s a great choice for an easy life.
However, much like the Old Town, Neustadt sees a constant flow of local and tourist traffic, resulting in busy streets – especially during the peak holiday season of April to October. So, if a quieter neighborhood is your preference, it’s worth taking Neustadt off your list.
If you do want to live centrally, it’s worth keeping in mind that Neustadt has a lot more residential options than Alstadt, and being just a short walk away from the tourist attractions, is a great option if you can’t find anything in the Old Town. Residents here tend to be students and young professionals, many of who choose to stay in shared accommodation. Bear in mind that this central location is also one of the more expensive options for rentals, and space can be a little limited too.
Littau’s sprawling neighborhood in Lucerne’s outer suburbs offers a peaceful suburban lifestyle, a strong community vibe, and great family services. Once a town itself, it was recently incorporated into Lucerne and now spreads from the city into the rural countryside, offering residents a balanced lifestyle. While it may now be a longer commute to get into the city center, it is a small price to pay to enjoy easy access to the Swiss Alps and tranquil countryside.
More village-esque in its appearance, detached and semi-detached houses are the main type of residential property here. Most are several stories high, with private gardens and ample parking. What’s more, rental prices are much more affordable than within the city center. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Alstadt may cost anywhere between $1,500-$3,000/month. For the same money in Littau, you may be able to secure a 2-3 bedroom house.
While shopping may be limited to local stores, schools are in plentiful supply and you’ll find between 10-15 educational institutions catering to all ages, from kindergarten to high school. Littau’s unique charm lies in its ability to offer the best of both worlds: a peaceful suburban haven with swift access to urban amenities. Its strong sense of community, proximity to nature, family-friendly environment, and affordability make Littau an exceptional neighborhood that encapsulates the essence of high-quality living in Lucerne.
In recent years, Bellerive has emerged as one of Lucerne’s premier neighborhoods, enjoying an impressive blend of modern sophistication and idyllic surroundings – it is undoubtedly one of the more desirable and expensive places to live in the city. Nestled into the western enclaves of Lake Lucerne, Bellerive doesn’t skimp on luxury. Its contemporary, high-rise condos offer lake views, easy proximity to high-end dining, and are in easy walking distance of two of the city’s best golf clubs: Lucerne Golf Club and Gasthaus Badhof.
Its exclusivity, slow lifestyle, and high prices tend to attract a slightly older crowd, with many residents choosing to spend their retirement here. For this reason, you won’t find much of a commercial district or many educational institutions in this part of Lucerne, and nighttime activities are slow. That’s not to say that it is exclusively for the older generation – anyone who enjoys the quiet life and has a larger monthly budget will find Bellerive to be one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lucerne.
Further northeast of the upmarket neighborhood of Bellerive is, Würzenbach. Nestled amongst the city’s tranquil hillside, Würzenbach stands out as one of the best places to live in Lucerne, thanks to its welcoming blend of tranquility and convenience. Slightly elevated from the rest of the city, the neighborhood’s panoramic views are unparalleled in the local area.
Typically inhabited by families and those who have retired, Würzenbach harbors a close and friendly community atmosphere, with many local residents knowing one another. Its hillside location also lends itself perfectly to a myriad of outdoor activities, which are made even more possible thanks to its huge number of green spaces and parks. Spend weekends exploring the Würzenbach forest trails, cooling off in the Strandbad Lido, or enjoying a spot of golf in the local clubs.
While its slightly more remote location may cause issues for some commuters, a direct bus into the city center takes just 20 minutes from door to door. And, for those with their own car, it is a quick 15 minutes into the main CBD. If you love peace and quiet, as well as a more spacious property, you will find that this short commute is a small price to pay for the idyllic lifestyle in this neighborhood.
Nestled along the serene shores of Lake Lucerne, Horw captures the essence of idyllic lakeside living while offering seamless connectivity to urban amenities. This picturesque neighborhood boasts a captivating waterfront setting where residents can indulge in lakeside strolls, water-based activities, and breathtaking sunsets. The shimmering lake becomes a natural playground and a source of tranquility.
However, there is more to Horw’s appeal than just its appearance. A short journey from the neighborhood will take residents to historic landmarks, bustling markets, and artistic venues in Lucerne’s city center, ensuring a rich and diverse urban experience. Recently, the city has invested in this neighborhood, providing modern facilities for everyone to enjoy. These include a new sports center, tennis courts, and a swimming pool.
If you’re looking for the best neighborhood in Lucerne to live in when you’re on a budget, then Zürichstrasse could be for you. In the past, this area was a relatively rundown district, but in recent years it has seen a period of redevelopment and growth, turning it into one of Lucerne’s most multicultural and affordable neighborhoods. With development still in progress, rent remains low, with one or two-bedroom apartments making up the majority of the properties on offer. Rentals start from around $850/month for studio apartments. However, if your budget allows, you’ll find a range of two and three-bedroom houses with private gardens from $1,800/month.
The neighborhood’s fantastic location means residents here can enjoy effortless access to Lucerne’s vibrant city center, ensuring a seamless connection to an array of cultural, culinary, and entertainment offerings. However, you don’t always have to venture into the city center to find what you need; strolling through the Zürichstrasse reveals a myriad of locally-run shops, cafes, and restaurants, all of which can be explored by foot.
Zürichstrasse’s allure extends beyond its bustling streets, as nearby green spaces and parks offer up a great chance to get some fresh air. The Löwendenkmal is one of the neighborhood’s most stand-out features – a monument that commemorates the Swiss Guards who fell during the storming of the Tuileries in Paris. Surrounded by a pond, memorial chapel, and lush greenery, it offers a moment of reflection and tranquility.
Kleinstadt stands as an inviting and distinctive neighborhood within Lucerne, offering an enchanting blend of historic allure and modern convenience. Not quite the city center, but not quite the suburbs either, Kleinstadt oozes old-world charm through its cobbled streets and century-old buildings while providing modern convenience, including cozy cafes, boutique shops, and artisanal markets. In fact, each corner of this underrated neighborhood seems to unveil a new treasure, whether it’s a quaint bookshop tucked away on a quiet lane or a hidden courtyard adorned with vibrant flowers.
Kleinstadt fosters a strong sense of community, where local events and festivals breathe life into the streets. Residents gather for lively markets, cultural celebrations, and art exhibitions on a monthly basis. The nearby waterfront promenade, bustling with activity, promises lakeside dining, live performances, and panoramic views of the iconic Kapellbrücke and the surrounding Alps.
Characterized by its picturesque surroundings, the neighborhood of Schönbühl provides a much-needed respite from the busy city center of Lucerne. While many of the city’s neighborhoods are a short walk or drive away from the lake, Schönbühl gives residents direct access, providing hours of endless water activities right on their doorstep. Choose from lakeside picnics, renting a boat, or an afternoon of fishing.
Like the nearby neighborhoods, Schönbühl sees a busy schedule of events throughout the year, including Lozärner Oktoberfest, Rakete Music Festival, and the much-anticipated Lucerne Festival during the summer. Architecturally, Schönbühl showcases a harmonious blend of traditional Swiss charm and contemporary designs; quaint streets lined with historic facades lead to modern residences, encapsulating the neighborhood’s dynamic character.
Despite its peaceful ambiance, Schönbühl’s residents have swift access to Lucerne’s urban offerings via three direct bus lines or a ten-minute drive. The city’s cultural attractions, shopping destinations, and dining establishments are just a short journey away, striking a perfect balance between peaceful retreat and urban convenience
As you head out of the city toward the magical Biregg Forest, you’ll stumble upon Sternmatt, one of Lucerne’s outer suburbs. Innovative and forward-thinking, this neighborhood has attempted to redefine urban living and introduce a more sustainable ethos. The neighborhood is a showcase of eco-friendly initiatives, boasting energy-efficient buildings, solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, and thoughtfully integrated green spaces. While not all of the neighborhood is built in this way, there is a drive to expand this ethos throughout Sternmatt.
Architecturally, Sternmatt is considered to be the best neighborhood in Lucerne, thanks to its contemporary design. Modern, sleek buildings blend seamlessly into the landscape, while open spaces, community gardens, and pedestrian-friendly walkways promote active lifestyles and provide spaces for friendly interactions. Despite its eco-conscious focus, the neighborhood doesn’t scrimp on modern conveniences. Schools, healthcare facilities, shopping centers, and recreational areas are all integrated into Sternmatt’s streets.
Sprawling out across Lucerne’s southwestern suburbs, Allmend is an oasis for anyone that loves spending time outdoors. With Allmend Park at its center, this neighborhood offers up endless days of recreational activities, from jogging trails and idyllic lakeside vistas to picnics and outdoor gym sessions. In fact, some go as far as to say that this is one of the best neighborhoods in Lucerne, thanks to this park alone.
Despite its slightly more remote location, the neighborhood also boasts enough shopping amenities, diverse dining options, and entertainment venues to cater to a variety of preferences. As a resident, you’ll even have the Swiss Museum of Transport just moments away from your home, a great option for a rainy-day activity.
Great for commuters and families alike, as well as the curious tourist, Allmend enjoys easy connections to the city center. Choose from the number 20 bus, which will have you in the city in eight short minutes, or jump on the city’s tram, which will get you there in under five minutes.
Final Thoughts on the Best Neighborhoods in Lucerne
From the enchanting streets of Kleinstadt, where history echoes through its cobblestone streets, to the lakeside haven of Schönbühl, where nature’s beauty and urban vitality coexist harmoniously, each of Lucerne’s neighborhoods paint a distinct picture of life in this Swiss gem.
As we come to the end of our exploration of the best neighborhoods to live in Lucerne, it’s clear that choosing the ideal place to call home in this city is a personal journey. Each neighborhood offers its own experiences, catering to diverse lifestyles, wants, and needs. What can be said, though, is that if you’re seeking urban vibrancy, natural tranquility, or a seamless fusion of both, Lucerne’s neighborhoods stand ready to embrace and inspire as a fantastic place to call home.