Shopping is a favorite pastime for many people all over the world, and Switzerland is no exception here. Most of the major cities have large shopping streets where shoppers can find a wide variety of stores. Additionally, Switzerland also has a few larger shopping malls away from the historic city centres. The newest and perhaps well known one is located close to Luzern: Mall of Switzerland.
Mall of Switzerland is conveniently located
The name ‘Mall of (insert geographical location)’ is a fairly new phenomenon in Europe, with malls such as Mall of Scandinavia, Mall of Berlin and Mall of the Netherlands having very similar names as their Swiss counterpart. Can Mall of Switzerland compete with these popular shopping destinations and is it truly a mall for all of Switzerland?
Naturally, with the mall being bound to its geographical location in central Switzerland, this is not the place to shop for people in Geneva, Lausanne of Ticino. However, you can reach the mall within an hour by car and public transport from major cities such as Basel, Bern and Zürich. Additionally, Luzern is only a short distance away. With these prerequisites, Mall of Switzerland has the potential to become a favorite destination of Swiss shopaholics. But is it? We paid a visit on a snowy Saturday in April, to see what the hype is all about.
As mentioned already, the mall is easily accessible by train. The Buchrain station is located right next to the Mall of Switzerland. Additionally, the Ebikon, Fildern bus stop is right outside the shopping mall too, taking you to the city centre of Luzern within 15 minutes.
The mall opened in 2017 and is bright, modern and easy to navigate thanks to its’ broad paths. There are some pretty nice brands represented in the mall, especially for people shopping for furniture. Casa, MiCasa by Migros, Dondi Salotti and Maison du Monde all have fairly large stores in the mall where furniture lovers will definitely find what they are looking for. On the ground floor of the mall, there is a very big Migros (MMM) as well as a Denner supermarket. The Migros especially did get very busy during our visit, but don’t forget every Swiss seems to love to do their grocery shopping on Saturday afternoons.
There are plenty of food options in the mall, both on the top floor of the actual mall, a McDonalds and italian restaurant on the ground floor as well as in the ‘entertainment building’ next to the mall.
Speaking of entertainment, this is where Mall of Switzerland hits big with two popular restaurants, an indoor wave surfing facility (!) and a big Pathé cinema. This part of the mall particular does make it for a nice way to spend your evening or weekend day here.
Let’s start with the obvious – Switzerland is quite conservative when it comes to opening hours of shops. Stores are generally not open on Sundays, with the exception of train stations. This means: yes, the Mall of Switzerland is closed on Sundays. Now, to be fair, this is not something they can help or are to blame for. But it does severely limit the ability of your average person to visit, as malls in particular are weekend destinations. To counterbalance this slightly, the mall is open until 9 PM on Fridays. For all opening times, see the mall website.
The entertainment building (with earlier mentioned surfing facility, restaurants and cinema) are open on Sundays though.
Lacking the wow-factor
Another thought that I can not shake after visiting the Mall of Switzerland is: why should people actually visit? I have been to both Mall of Berlin and Mall of Scandinavia before. However, I was left longing for more of basically everything at Mall of Switzerland. Yes, it has some clothing brands represented, but is hardly a fashion lover walhalla. Additionally, the Mall of Switzerland simply doesn’t seem to have any brands that would have shoppers leave the city shopping streets in favor of the mall.
Having lived in Stockholm before moving to Switzerland, I am very familiar with the Mall of Scandinavia. While it definitely was not my favorite place to spend a Saturday afternoon, their Nike outlet, Disney Flagship store and Selfie museum do attract large crowds because the mall offers something unique they can’t find anywhere else.
Speaking of crowds: it might have been the snowy weather but the mall almost felt empty, which seems like a bad sign on a Saturday afternoon. As mentioned, the only busy store was the Migros supermarket. The Wikipedia of Mall of Switzerland boasts that the mall has 150 shops and restaurants, but parts of the store spaces were boarded up and empty. An effect of the corona pandemic, or a sign that the strategy is a bit off?
Verdict – is the Mall of Switzerland worth a visit?
Don’t get me wrong – the Mall of Switzerland is a bright and modern mall with a lot of potential. We did enjoy our visit because we were on the hunt for new furniture, and the mall does have plenty of stores for that. However, I can not imagine that someone going to buy clothes would choose the mall over say shopping in Zürich, Bern or Luzern. The mall simply misses unique brands or experiences to become the preferred shopping destinations for it.
However, the large cinema and indoor surfing are unique experiences. I can imagine this does draw crowds to Ebikon where the mall is. But I doubt that was the strategy of the Mall of Switzerland to begin with.
Want to see for yourself and form your own opinion? Mall of Switzerland is open Monday to Friday. The mall is easy to reach by car, bus or through the Buchrain train station.