Climb every mountain! A trip up Mt Pilatus
When you go to 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 favourites is a trip up Mt Pilatus near Lucerne.
This was the second time I have managed to do this trip. The last time was in 2013 on a very clear day! Trying to get a day when the weather is clear can be quite difficult and even though the forecast was clear for this second trip (September 2016) there was a cloud stuck at the top of the mountain. (Like glue)
If you fancy a day taking lots of different transportation then this trip is for you! It consists of a train/car (of you have to get Lucerne, a boat, a cog railway, a cable car, a gondola, a bus then back onto a train!!!) It is however not cheap (it is Switzerland after all) but more of that below!
I recommend that 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 day visiting Mt Pilatus
Here are the pictures and details of each step of your journey (GOLDEN ROUND TRIP)
The Voralpen Express
As we were not staying in Lucerne itself we had to get there first of all. We caught the Voralpen Express from Pfaffikon on Lake Zurich. This is a great train journey in itself with beautiful scenery to enjoy.
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.
I also have seen the house of my dreams…when those magic numbers come up I am off to make the owners an offer they can’t refuse! (Better win more than a few million then!!)
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 get up 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!
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 (and the Hotel Pilatus Klum and Hotel Bellevue if you decided to stay on the mountain)
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.
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.
The panoramic gondolas take you from Frakmuntegg to Kriens (where you catch the bus) The gondolas take about 30 minutes to descend.
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!
Have a walk around 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!
Logistics when planning a trip up Mt Pilatus
We took the Golden Round Trip which includes the boat, cog railway, cableway, gondola and bus. This costs 106CH per adult and runs between May and October.
There is a Silver Round Trip option too which involves a 20 minute train ride from Luzern to Alpnachstad along the lake (so no boat trip)before you catch the cog railway up Mt Pilatus. 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 website http://www.pilatus.ch before you go though!
Considering a trip to Switzerland? Check out – “5o unique things to do in Switzerland”
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Have you been up Mt Pilatus? Is it something you would consider on a visit to Lucerne?