Switzerland’s most famous tourist city, Lucerne is gorgeous from nearly every angle. With its signature walking bridges connecting the train station area with the main tourist area, this is a compact city that is easy to get to know.
In addition to shopping, the main attraction in Lucerne is the lake and boat rides to nearby towns and sights. If you want to see the Alps, go to Interlaken instead. Lucerne is mainly a summer getaway and just a pleasant town in general.
Similar to everywhere else in Switzerland, things in Lucerne are very expensive, even by European standards. Sit-down meals and drinks in bars will drain your budget before you even realize it, so visitors who want to keep costs down will self-cater at least one or two meals a day.
Hotels and hostels in Lucerne are also predictably expensive, although most places have good locations in or near the center, so at least you’ll be close to the action.