A Complete Guide to the Golden Round Trip to Mount Pilatus Lucerne Switzerland

A Complete Guide to the Golden Round Trip to Mount Pilatus Lucerne Switzerland
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When you visit Switzerland you are genuinely spoilt for choice for mountains to climb and amazing views to admire!

One of my favourite excursions from Lucerne in Switzerland is the golden round trip to Mount Pilatus. This is a day trip from Lucerne which involves trains, boats, gondolas and more – a truly wonderful way to see and appreciate the Swiss countryside!

Mount Pilaus on the shores of Lake Lucerne is steeped in legends and folklore with stories of dragons and hidden caves. Legend has that there is a dragon’s lair and once giants roamed the mountain side. Or maybe they still do? Keep a look out for these mystical creatures on your visit!

The summit of Mount Pilatus at 2132 metres high gives a stunning panoramic view of Lucerne and its beautiful lake but also of the of the Bernese Alps, Jungfrau and Titlis and on to the French Alps. On a clear day a total of 73 Alpine Peaks can be viewed from 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 if you can – the views are spectacular and it is worth it.


Lucerne to Mount Pilatus on this option involves a day traveling on lots of different transportation. If this interests you then this is the Mount Pilatus trip for you!

From Lucerne you take a boat, a cog railway, a cable car, a gondola, a bus then return to Lucerne by train.

It is however not cheap (it is Switzerland after all) but more of that below!

Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time


If you take the ‘GOLDEN ROUND TRIP TO MOUNT PILATUS’ option this involves 5 different forms of transportation

  1. Boat across Lake Lucerne to Alpnachstad.
  2. Mt Pilatus cogwheel train from Alpnachstad to the summit of Pilatus
  3. Aerial cableway – a trip on the Mt Pilatus cable car
  4. Panoramic gondola to Kriens
  5. Bus to Lucerne

The boat from Lucerne to Alpnachstad takes about an hour. Enjoy sailing across the lake and admire the million dollar houses on its shores!

After arriving in Alpnachstad transfer to the cog railway which will takes 40 minutes to climb the 7000 feet to the summit of Mount Pilatus. The views are spectacular so have your camera handy. The steepness of the climb will take your breath away at times (if you don’t like heights do not look down!)

After  spending some time at the top you then 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!


Here are the pictures and details of each step of your journey on the Golden Round Trip to Mount Pilatus


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.

Pier 2 sign for Pilatus Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time

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.

 Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time

the boat from Lucerne


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).

 Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time

The views on the way up are breathtaking!

 Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time

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!

If you are considering a holiday in Switzerland then these 20 photographs will certainly inspire you to get it booked asap!

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!


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 Mount Pilatus – you could book a stay and enjoy a night or two.

CLICK HERE to book a stay at the Hotel Pilatus Klum or the 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.

 Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time




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.

 Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time


The panoramic gondolas take you from Frakmuntegg to Kriens (where you catch the bus) The gondolas take about 30 minutes to descend.

 Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time


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

bus back to Lucerne Luzern | Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time


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.

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.”

My mother at the Lion Monument in Lucerne | Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time The Chapel Bridge


  • As described we took the Golden Round Trip to Pilatus which included 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”



 | Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time | Golden round trip to Mount Pilatus featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time



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Author: Tracy

Tracy has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)

With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!

This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclaimer for additional information.

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  1. November 7, 2016 / 8:30 pm

    Can’t believe I never heard of Mt PIlatus. That view from the top looks phenomenal! Adding this to my list for our next summer trip to Switzerland. Thanks for sharing, Tracy!

  2. November 8, 2016 / 7:56 am

    Woah – those views! And I quite like that sticky little cloud. That train journey would freak me out but I know a certain spouse who would absolutely love it!

    • November 8, 2016 / 9:00 am

      Haha yes that cloud wouldn’t budge! Its a bit jaw dropping the cog railway but worth it for the views!

  3. November 8, 2016 / 8:51 am

    LOVING every picture and every tip! I live in Italy so I will follow this route next summer! Thank you for sharing all the great ideas. Love your blog!!!

    • November 8, 2016 / 8:58 am

      Thank you Ari! Its a great trip to take – have you seen my post on the Bernini Express as thats a brilliant train journey from Italy to Switzerland!

  4. November 11, 2016 / 7:28 am

    Wow what an amazing trip! I’d love to visit Switzerland properly one day. Have only crossed the country by train so far. I would love the view from those mountains too! They’re so much higher than what we have in Tromso 😀

    • November 13, 2016 / 3:12 pm

      The mountain views are so wonderful in Switzerland – I hope you get the chance to visit soon.

  5. November 11, 2016 / 10:54 am

    Great report! Personally, I find Pilatus a bit too touristy, but it is definitely a mountain well worth visiting. The views from the top are super nice. 🙂

    • November 11, 2016 / 5:48 pm

      Yes I know what you mean but everywhere in Switzerland is touristy – seems to be a very popular inclusion on coach tours of Europe. I have been up Rigi too but the views from Pilatus for me are so breathtakingly beautiful it makes it a worthwhile visit.

  6. November 13, 2016 / 8:03 pm

    I would looooove to do a train ride though the Alps! I’ll be saving this for when the time comes! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  7. November 13, 2016 / 8:42 pm

    Hi Tracy, thank you for joining #TheWeeklyPostcard this week-end. I love your post about Mount Pilatus. I’ve been in Lucerne last year but didn’t get to spend more than a couple of days there. I would have liked to climb up Mt. Pilatus and enjoy the beautiful views of the entire region from up there, but there was no time. Your photos are so beautiful!

  8. November 14, 2016 / 10:14 am

    We went to Lucerne last Spring but didn’t do this trip because we found it way too expensive for a family. Next time maybe. #MondayEscapes

    • November 14, 2016 / 4:56 pm

      It is expensive and as I had done it before we did think about it – but my husband really wanted to do it. It was a pity that cloud wouldn’t shift as the views are some of the best i have seen when its a totally clear day. The boat trip was lovely too and i am glad we decided to do the golden round trip in the end.

  9. November 14, 2016 / 11:03 am

    Wow I didn’t really know there was a golden route but it looks so amazing. I’ve admired Switzerland for a long time and have wanted to see it all. I might have to dig a bit more this year 🙂

    • November 14, 2016 / 4:53 pm

      It was a great trip! A bit expensive but the views were worth it. The boat trip across the lake is a lovely part of it too so i would recommend the golden route!

    • November 14, 2016 / 4:50 pm

      It was a great trip Tanja! And the views are amazing!

  10. November 14, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    Oh my what a great way to travel, the sights are amazing and so much change and interest too. #mondayescapes

  11. November 15, 2016 / 1:31 am

    5 different forms of transportation is very impressive – it would certainly be a new record for me! And that view from Mt Pilatus is stellar!! We were only in Lucerne for an afternoon but I dreamed of seeing the top (and not having to hike it). #MondayEscapes

    • November 15, 2016 / 11:16 am

      It was a really great day out. I will definitely pop over to your page to read your recent post – we have been de-cluttering our lives!

  12. November 15, 2016 / 2:37 am

    I did this journey long time ago. Sadly, I do not remember a lot of it even though it was beautiful. The weather didn’t cooperate that day (and it was summer). Therefore, there were no views for us from the top. Hope to go back one day when the weather is nicer ;0) #MondayEscapes

    • November 15, 2016 / 11:17 am

      Its a pity the weather wasn’t on your side Ruth as the views are so spectacular – hope you get back there on a clear day!

  13. November 16, 2016 / 7:17 pm

    What a brilliant round robin. The views from the mountain are wonderful. This sounds like something you have to do when you visit Switzerland. I’ve taken note! Thanks for sharing this on #MondayEscapes

    • November 17, 2016 / 6:37 pm

      Thank-you Claire Recommend this trip if you are in Lucerne as its such fun and the views (on a really clear day when no cloud decides to stick to the top!!) are beautiful.

  14. November 16, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    Ahh Switzerland! I’ve never been but we love anywhere we can get outside and explore the mountains. I’d love the take the Golden Round Trip option up the mountain – my kids would love every one of the 5 modes of transport we would need to go on. #mondayescapes

    • November 17, 2016 / 6:32 pm

      Switzerland is a lovely place to visit – loads of great walks and places to explore. Check out fullsuitcase.com as Jurga (whose blog it is) has done some great hikes with her three boys in Switzerland.

      Its so much fun taking the Golden Round Trip – its a great adventure!

  15. December 19, 2016 / 3:36 am

    How fun to see this part of Switzerland in the warmer months. I was there in late winter and could only appreciate Pilatus from afar. Did make it up to Jungfraujoc from Interlaken – another extraordinary experience and the highest you can get in Europe by train.

    • December 19, 2016 / 8:12 pm

      I have yet to go to the Top of Europe but i would love to. (My step-sister has and kindly wrote a post for my blog all about it) I visit quite a lot as my Mum and her husband live near Zurich. I love it in winter as I love snow but always visit at least once in the summer.

  16. March 16, 2018 / 8:37 am

    Since it’s been a while, I can update my comment – we went to Lucerne last year and couldn’t decide between Mt. Pilatus and Mt Rigi Kulm, but we opted for Rigi-Kulm as we had found it to be the most affordable. Would love to do the whole route for Mt. Pilatus! #FeetDoTravel

  17. March 16, 2018 / 9:18 am

    Aren’t the mountains in Switzerland just stunning! I love these cable car things too. The views are breathtaking! Lots of useful information here. Thanks for sharing!

  18. March 16, 2018 / 2:52 pm

    Oh i just looove Switzerland! Been there so many times but never visited Mt Pilatus. After reading your post it’s definitely on my list for my next visit though!

  19. March 21, 2018 / 11:26 am

    That’s a day trip I would adore. The different modes of transport only add to the fun. Breathtaking views from the top and approaching the mountain. Stunning!

  20. March 22, 2018 / 6:57 am

    I agree, the views are atunning, but with my fear of heights, looking around as I ride on the gondola may end in tears haha. I would definitely visit though, I adore panoramic views such as this and I won’t let my fear stop me! Pinned for the future #feetdotravel

    • TracyJane
      March 23, 2018 / 10:43 am

      Definitely worth it Angie!

  21. March 27, 2018 / 2:07 am

    It looks absolutely magnificent. I really hope I get to visit that side of the world one day.