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If you are visiting Lucerne, then a trip to Mount Pilatus is a must! Composed of many peaks, its tallest, Tomlishorn, stands at 6,982 feet (2,128 m). The views from the top are absolutely gorgeous and exactly what you would picture when you think of mountains in Switzerland! Make a day trip out of this, have lunch at the top and take the world’s steepest cogwheel train to go up or down! Here is my Visitor’s Guide to Mount Pilatus!
Lucerne Resources & Recommendations
- Accommodations– Compare prices on Agoda | Booking.com
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- Lonely Planet Switzerland Travel Guide– the best destination (and my favorite) guidebooks out there! You can also preorder the new 2018 version here.
The Way Up
We actually did what’s called the Golden Tour and it consists of visiting Mount Pilatus round-trip from Lucerne by taking a boat, cogwheel railway, gondola and cable car! We did it in the reverse by taking the gondola and cable cars up and descending via cogwheel railway. Because we had the Swiss Travel Pass from Rail Europe, we got our tickets half price!
We started by taking the bus from Lucerne to the town of Kriens.
From there, it’s just a short walk to get on the panorama gondola.
The views looking back on Kriens were beautiful!
Between Kriens and the top of Mount Pilatus is Fräkmüntegg. It takes around 30 minutes to get to this point. This is where you change from the gondola to the cable car to finish your ascent.
The stop at Fräkmüntegg offers rides on Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan! At 4,429 feet long (1350 m), it has several speedy curves and tunnels called “dragon caves”.
At the end, no worries about hiking back to the top. There’s a lift that pulls you back up! We had so much fun and I highly recommend it!
The cable car takes you the rest of the way up to the top of Mount Pilatus!
At The Top
Once you’re at the top there’s plenty to explore!
Take in the views…
from all sides…
because they are breathtaking
and stop for a moment to realize you are in the Swiss Alps!!!
Don’t forget those perspective photos
Also, keep your eyes open for wildlife. We got to see a family of Ibex (also called Capricorn) and the baby decided to pose. To see them this high up is rare according to a native who frequents the summit. She said this is the first time she’s seen them in 17 years!
Cows are more commonly spotted. While they may not be as exciting as Ibex, a cool thing about them is that they all wear true cowbells! Yes, you can hear them…loud and clear! 🙂
See that little zig-zag trail? For all the adventurers out there, you can hike to the top!
Time For Lunch
After you take in all the sites and get those amazing photos, have lunch outside the Hotel Pilatus-Kulm and continue to relax with stunning panoramic views!
The menu offers a good variety and includes Swiss cuisine; however, for me, it was a hamburger kind of day 😉
Can’t leave out dessert!
The Way Down
When you’re ready to leave, your return trip starts with the world’s steepest cogwheel train. Starting in the afternoon, there can be long lines for the cog train. There was a mass exodus when we left so we were told it would be about an hour and a half wait! Thank goodness it moved faster than this, but we did have a pretty decent wait.
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There were gorgeous views on our way…
as well as a few tunnels
From the cogwheel train, you transfer to a ferry (also covered by the Swiss Travel Pass from Rail Europe) in Alpnachstad and sail on a very picturesque journey back to Lucerne. Out on the open water sailing on Lake Lucerne…I love being on a boat so I can’t think of a better way to spend my afternoon!
This was probably my most favorite view while sailing. Does it not remind you of a postcard especially with the Swiss flag on the mountain?
But I couldn’t ignore this white castle either!
We even passed our hotel coming back into Luzern! If you are looking for the best place to stay, check out Palace Luzern!
- Don’t forget your jacket. Even in the summer!
- The cogwheel train is closed during the winter from mid-November to mid-May
- A Swiss Travel Pass will get you 50% off cable car tickets
- Keep in mind there could be a long line for the cogwheel train
- You don’t have to make reservations in advance
- Have fun!
‘Til next time…