A GUIDE TO VISITING MT PILATUS
When you visit Switzerland you are genuinely spoilt for choice for mountains to climb (or in my case go up via any sort of transport other than my feet). One of my favourite excursions if you are near Lucerne is a trip up Mt Pilatus.
I have made the trip twice – once on a lovely clear day and the second when a cloud stubbornly refused to move from the top.Trying to get a day when the weather is clear can be quite difficult and even though the forecast was clear for the second trip that cloud was not moving. I would recommend going on a clear day – the views are spectacular and it is worth it.
RECOMMENDED OPTION – GOLDEN ROUND TRIP
If a day travelling on lots of different transportation interests you then this trip is for you! From Lucerne you take a boat, a cog railway, a cable car, a gondola, a bus then back to a Lucerne by train.
It is however not cheap (it is Switzerland after all) but more of that below! If you are considering a holiday in Switzerland then these 20 photographs will certainly inspire you to get it booked asap!
There are many fantastic places to visit in Switzerland – amazing cities, mountains and beautiful lakes – read all about these in a guide to the “Best Places to visit in Switzerland.”
ITINERARY ON THE GOLDEN ROUND TRIP OPTION
If you take the ‘GOLDEN ROUND TRIP’ option this involves the 5 different forms of transportation mentioned above.
First catching a boat for an hour trip from Lucerne to Alpnachstad followed by the cog railway up to the top of Mt Pilatus (7000ft) – this takes 40 minutes and the views are magnificent. Have your camera ready.
After spending some time at the top you descend for 3 1/2 minutes via an aerial cableway (the so-called Dragon ride though to be perfectly honest I didn’t see one) and then finally a 30 minute descent in a panorama gondola (more great views) to Kriens before catching a bus back to Lucerne – a great day out! (If you want you can do this trip the other way around and start in Kriens)
As the cloud didn’t shift for this second visit I am going to include some pictures from 2013 as you really want a no-cloud day to fully appreciate it!
What are the other ticket options? Well you could take the ‘SILVER ROUND TRIP‘ which is basically all the above but instead of a boat to Alpnachstad you catch a train from Lucerne!
A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY OF THE GOLDEN ROUND TRIP
Here are the pictures and details of each step of your journey (GOLDEN ROUND TRIP)
1. CATCH THE BOAT FROM LUCERNE
Once you arrive in Lucerne train station walk out of the station and across the road to the piers to catch the boat. You are heading for Alpnachstad to catch the cog railway so you need Pier 2.
The boat trip is wonderful in itself – what can be better than sailing across a beautiful lake with the sun shining and the beauty of Switzerland all around. The boat takes about an hour.
2. CATCH THE COG RAILWAY
The cog railway is the steepest in the world with in parts a gradient of 48%!!!!!! It was opened in 1889 (amazingly engineer Eduard Locher came up with the idea of constructing two horizontally revolving cogwheels to enable the railway to climb the mountain).
The views on the way up are breathtaking!
There is one stop on the way up at Amsigen as this is the train passing point. Look out for the farmer’s house with the enormous cow bells!
The views of Lake Lucerne are spectacular. I was lucky also to get a great shot of the a car passing us on its way down the mountain. I think this gives an excellent idea of just how steep it is!
3. ARRIVE AT THE TOP OF MT PILATUS
Once at the top there are lots of viewing areas, walks, a couple of restaurants, toilets and a gift shop. There are also 2 hotels at the top of Mt Pilatus – you could book a stay and enjoy a night or two. You can book a stay at these hotels here – Hotel Pilatus Klum and Hotel Bellevue.
There are a number of walks that you can take at the top of the mountain which range from easy to medium and take between 10 mins and 35 mins.
4. CATCH THE AERIAL CABLEWAY
The cableway takes you from the top of Mt Pilatus to the gondola station at Frakmuntegg. There are lots of activities available there such as the Pilatus rope park and a toboggan run.
5. CATCH THE GONDOLA
The panoramic gondolas take you from Frakmuntegg to Kriens (where you catch the bus) The gondolas take about 30 minutes to descend.
6. CATCH THE BUS BACK TO LUCERNE
Once in Kriens it is about a 5 minute walk to the bus stop. There are signs and if you use the map you will soon find the bus stop for Bus No.1
Couldn’t resist taking a picture of this beautiful window on the walk past!
7. ARRIVE BACK IN LUCERNE
Don’t forget to have a look around Lucerne! It is one of my favourite cites to visit when I am in Switzerland and I generally get there once a year for a stroll around!
Highlights for me are the Kappelbrucke (Chapel Bridge) constructed in 1333 and the Lion Monument a rock relief carved out of the rock face in 1820/1 by Lukas Ahorn.
Watch out for a post soon about Lucerne!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE PLANNING A TRIP UP MT PILATUS
- As described we took the Golden Round Trip which includes the boat, cog railway, cableway, gondola and bus. This runs between May and October. For up-to-date prices check here.
- There is also the Silver Round Trip option which involves a 20 minute train ride from Luzern to Alpnachstad along the lake (so no boat trip) before you catch the cog railway. If you have the time I would the golden round trip as the boat trip is truly beautiful!
- Please check up to date times and prices on the on the Mt Pilatus website before you go.
Considering a trip to Switzerland? Check out – “5o unique things to do in Switzerland”
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