image Visiting Lucerne with a toddler

After a pause of two years, we’re back at travelling! We went to Lucerne, Switzerland, for a brief holiday – and this time we travelled with a toddler.

Travelling with a toddler – we survived

I’m not gonna lie: the idea of travelling with a toddler abroad concerned us a little. Because of the pandemic and the several lockdowns, we didn’t have many chances to go anywhere with our daughter Lavinia.

At the time we went to Switzerland she was almost 22 months old – probably the worst time for travelling with a toddler, let alone for the first time ever: at this age, she’s too old to be treated like a baby, but she’s too young to behave and respond to commands like an older toddler.

Well, as always Lavinia surprised us: she’s been brilliant, happy as Larry and in a good mood throughout the whole holiday. She napped when she was tired, she enjoyed all the food, and it looked like she had a nice time. We had no problems when travelling on our way to Switzerland, while she was grumpy on our way back to the UK. It was nothing we couldn’t manage – maybe she didn’t want to go home :)

About Lucerne and surroundings

Lucerne is a family-friendly city you can visit in three days. It’s very tied and clean, and it’s one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in Europe, showing off two long beautiful wooden bridges which are one of the most important attractions to visit. There are also several towers and a long chunk of preserved walls to follow (if you like walking!), surrounding the old town centre.

Besides the old town centre, Lucerne has many other things to offer: there are trekking paths and walks for everyone – from the most experienced trekkers to beginners walkers and families with young children. The paths go around the lake and up to the mountains surrounding the city. You can also take a boat and enjoy a cruise: you can go for a one-hour cruise or use the entire day to reach Lugano.

If you go to Lucerne in summer and fancy some beach time, there are two lidos available: one is free and small, while the second one is much bigger and fully equipped–but you need to pay to access it.

The mountains are popular winter destinations, and they offer activities and breathtaking views in the summer too. We went to Mount Pilatus by taking the steepest cogwheel in the world, which reaches an inclination of 48%, with an average of 38%. It was crazy! On our way back down to Lucerne, we chose to pick a gondola; Lavinia loved it.

Last but not least, you cannot miss the Swiss Transport Museum. It’s the most visited museum in Switzerland, and you’ll understand why when you go there. Stating that the museum is impressive it’s an understatement. You will need to allocate one entire day to visit it all. It’s designed to amaze grown-ups and children with no exceptions, so it is definitely a must-go even when travelling with a toddler.

Eating in Lucerne

We ate very well in Lucerne – Lavinia devoured anything she tried… but it’s not really a surprise). The cost of everything is very high, and we knew about that: Switzerland is an expensive country, not only food-wise! For example, we had to buy a bunch of nappies for Lavinia and their cost was almost double as compared to the UK. We learned a practical/logistic lesson that we’ll treasure the next time we’ll be travelling with a toddler.

Among all the places and restaurants we tried during our holiday, here is my top list (not in a specific order of preference):

  • Zunfthausrestaurant Pfistern. This tavern served food and beers since 1578! We had traditional Swiss food such as fondue, giant bratwursts and rösti (spoiler: rösti is everywhere).
  • Dieci gelateria. Yummy gelati with a decent choice of tastes. We don’t have an ice cream place in Reading we can call it “gelateria”, so we took advantage of this place and had as many gelati we could.
  • Alpineum Kaffeehaus. Another place where to taste traditional Swiss cusine. We tried cheesy veggie rösti and veal with creamy mushrooms. Absolutely delicious.
  • Mega pizza kebab. Yes, it’s exactly the next-door kebab place. We tried a number of kebabs in Lucerne, and this one really nailed it. I regret I didn’t try the falafel 😭
  • Heini Conditorei. It’s a popular bakery chain a local friend suggested us to try; we had a couple of dessert/cakes and it did deliver. Ask Franz about a cake he had early in the morning without knowing it had lots of brandy inside 😂
  • Hotel restaurant Hofgarten. We had veal with creamy mushroom and polenta (instead of rösti), and vitello tonnato (veal with tuna-caper sauce) which for some reason appeared pretty much in every menu (despite being an Italian/Piemonte region traditional recipe). We also had gourmet desserts. I am usually not a fan of gourmet-starred cusine, but I thorougly enjoed this one.

A downside of Lucerne when travelling with a toddler

The only con about Lucerne is related to its medieval nature. Because of this, the town is not really step-free, so if you’re travelling with a young toddler who still needs a stroller (or if you need a wheelchair to move around) then you have to factor that when planning transfers or simply walking around. It wasn’t a big of a deal at the end of the day, but I was constantly thinking of all the struggles a wheelchair person can have in Lucerne. That’s a shame as we noticed the lack of step-free access also in the more modern areas of the city.

A DailyPinner vlog about Lucerne

I made a video about our trip to Lucerne you’re welcome to watch it!