See the Swiss Alps from the water on a scenic boat tour in Lucerne. Sail around the lake in a yacht or steamer, taking in the top sights including majestic mountain peaks, traditional villages, and historic castles.
Lucerne is known as the heart of Switzerland, and there is nowhere better to explore if you want a good dose of Alpine scenery and traditional heritage.
What are the most popular boat tours in Lucerne?
There are several different types of Lucerne boat tours to choose from, giving you plenty of time to see the main sights.
These hour-long excursions can be enjoyed on board two different types of vessel. The panoramic yacht offers multiple seating options, including the scenic upper deck or the restaurant. A retractable roof is in operation for optimal viewing. An elegant catamaran is a fun choice too and has a bar on board for purchasing drinks and snacks. These cruises take in the major sights in a short space of time.
Paddle steamer lunch cruises
Step on board an authentic paddle steamer dating back to 1902, and enjoy a summer spin around the lake in traditional style. Tuck into a delicious 3-course meal that uses fresh regional produce, eating either in the ornate Baroque salon or on the upper panoramic deck.
Cheese fondue and raclette evening tours
This tasty boat trip follows a walking tour in the city, combining two of Lucerne’s highlights in one. Take a leisurely cruise around the lake admiring the dramatic scenery on all sides, as you enjoy a Swiss cheese feast fit for royalty. You are invited to eat as much as you like, with drinks available to purchase separately.
Private lake charters
For a truly exclusive boat tour in Lucerne, charter a private yacht and visit hidden bays far from the tourist crowds. Soak up the mountain views and learn about the history of this ancient lake as you sail around on a 1- or 2-hour cruise. For additional cost, an onboard sushi lunch or wine tasting can be arranged.
How much do boat tours in Lucerne cost?
The price of Lucerne boat tours depends on the type of vessel and length of trip:
- Sightseeing cruises on panoramic yachts cost between €25 - €29 per person for 1 hour on the lake. For an hour on a catamaran expect to pay €23 each. The price includes audio commentary.
- Gourmet lunch cruises on the paddle steamer are €99 per person, including a 3-course meal and a soft drink or tea/coffee.
- The fondue and raclette evening cruise with a combined city walking tour is €324 for the 5.5-hour trip. It includes as much cheese as you can eat.
- Private yacht charters are €1889 for 1 hour (up to 4 people), and €1424 for 2 hours (up to 12 guests).
Which places are seen with a boat tour from Lucerne?
This 150-year-old castle is spectacularly located on a peninsula that juts out into the lake. Surrounded by vineyards and gardens, Meggenhorn Castle is a French-inspired pile that has become an iconic symbol of the region.
This mountain sits majestically on the shores of Lake Lucerne, with an attractive resort of the same name nestled beneath. The dramatic ridge stretches for 10 kilometers with steep slopes plunging into the water making for eye-catching photos.
Küssnacht am Rigi
This pretty little village on the lakeshore is hidden away at the end of an inlet. Enjoy views over the historic buildings and beautiful promenade, and find out the link between this sleepy region and William Tell - the famous folk hero who was an expert shot with a bow and arrow.
How long does a boat trip last?
The most popular Lucerne boat tours last an hour. This is enough time to see the main sights from the water, leaving you the opportunity to continue your day with a land-based excursion.
The gourmet lunch cruises on the paddle steamer are 2 hours long, with ample time to enjoy your 3-course meal. The fondue and raclette evening cruise lasts 3 hours and is part of a combination tour that follows a 2.5-hour city walking excursion.
Private charters are either 1 or 2 hours in length.
Where do boat tours leave from?
The scenic Lucerne boat tours depart from bridge 7 at Swiss Hofquai, which is directly opposite the Schweizerhof Hotel. Meanwhile, the catamaran cruise leaves from bridge 3.
For the paddle steamer, you will need to make your way to pier 1 or 3 at Bahnhofquai – do check your joining details to make sure you head to the correct one. The fondue and raclette evening cruise leaves from Torbogen beside the train station.
The meeting point for the private charters is either Torbogen or the fountain in Europaplatz, but these tours offer hotel pick-ups if you are staying near the lake.
When is the best time for a boat trip in Lucerne?
The best time of year for boat tours in Lucerne is during the summer when the weather is warm and the views of the Alpine scenery are at their best. The paddle steamer only operates between May and the beginning of Fall.
There are scenic boat tours during mornings and afternoons, as well as the cheese fondue and raclette evening trip which will be on the water in time for you to catch the sunset.
Which other outdoor activities can be done in Lucerne?
You can enjoy the best of Lucerne on foot or from the air with the following activities. Alternatively, head to nearby Interlaken for a huge range of outdoor adventures and adrenaline sports.
- Paragliding: take to the skies above Lucerne on a tandem flight and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of spectacular Alpine scenery.
- Helicopter flights: enjoy front row seats on a helicopter tour, keeping an eye out for the famous peaks of Rigi and Pilatus.
- Airplane tours: hop on board a light aircraft and soar over mountains on a customized flight.
- Hiking: lace up your boots and check out the panoramic hiking trails that snake their way up through Alpine meadows.
- Cycling: pedal through historic city neighborhoods and along the lakeshore, soaking up the rugged views.
- Canyoning: delve into hidden gorges in the Bernese Oberland, and discover waterfalls and steep ravines, all the while surrounded by nature.
- Arrive 10 minutes before departure to allow time for boarding.
- Pack sunscreen and a windproof jacket as it can get breezy out on the lake.
- Make sure your camera batteries are fully charged – you will be needing them!
- Drinks and snacks can be purchased on board, so remember to take your wallet.
- Lucerne boat tours can easily be combined with city walking excursions and trips to Mount Pilatus or Mount Rigi.