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The distance between the cities of Zurich and Lucerne is only 52 kilometers, making flying a nonviable option. Switzerland has a system whereby cities are joined by either trains or buses. As regular trains run between the two cities there is no available bus route. Trains from Zurich to Lucerne take just under one hour.
Return trips from Lucerne to Zurich are also available.
Swiss Federal Railways operate direct trains from Zurich to Lucerne which run approximately every half hour throughout the day. The first train leaves at around 5:30 a.m. with departures continuing until just after midnight. The journey time between the two cities is just under one hour. Zurich Hauptbahnhof, or mainline station is a busy and important regional and international hub located in the Old Town and within walking distance of the city's tourist attractions. Zurich has an extensive and efficient public transport network which operates an integrated ticketing system making it very tourist friendly. The network consists of Swiss PostAuto buses, city buses, suburban and regional trains, as well as trams, cable cars and ferries. Trains arrive at Lucerne Hauptbahnhof which is centrally located next to Lake Lucerne and close to the city center. Lucerne has a network of frequent local buses which serve the city and the Lido beaches. Both train stations have car rentals and taxis available and both cities have night bus routes which run on Friday and Saturdays.