If you ever happen to be visiting Lucerne (Luzern) in Switzerland. There is one place you HAVE to visit; Mount Pilatus. Legends say that there was once a dragon spotted flying high above the mountain which gives everything a dragon theme. But all legends aside, this is one place you surely don’t want to miss out on.
Pilatus Kulm is located 7000 feet high. On one side of the mountain, you can see the beautiful Lake Lucerne and its surroundings while on the other side you can catch the beautiful valleys and luscious green land. All while in the background are stunning snowy mountains of the Swiss Alps. This is a great lookout to see the many landscapes Switzerland has to offer!
Things to do here?
Once you arrive at the top you will notice the spectacular views around, but then realize that there isn’t really much to do on top a mountain. Mount Pilatus is no exception. There are few short hikes to give you better views of everything surrounding Pilatus.
On top, there is also a hotel that guest have the option of staying at and along with it are 2 restaurants. One is similar to a food court setting while the other is your typical sit-down restaurant. We were relieved to find the prices to be quite reasonable with the Switzerland standard and was definitely not inflated due to the fact that it was on top a mountain.
You also have the option of paragliding from Mount Pilatus. This isn’t the most popular place in Switzerland but nevertheless offers a beautiful view. Also, you must make a reservation in advance. A couple of companies offer the experience but are all very similar in both experience and price. You can check out (http://www.paragliding-luzern.ch/) for more details if you’re interested.
Other than that, there’s no better place than to just relax and enjoy the nature around you! You’ll definitely enjoy staring at the beautiful mountains far off in the distance.
How do I get here?
Fortunately, getting to the top of Mount Pilatus is extremely accessible. Most people will be coming in from Lucerne as that’s the closest major city.
You have a variety of options to get to the base of Mount Pilatus from Lucerne. First of all, the mountain has 2 major sides which will have different methods of transportation.
On one side, you can take the bus from Lucerne and then switch onto a cable car that takes you to the top of the mountain. While on the other side, you can either take a train or boat to the base (Alpnachstad), then take a cogwheel up to Pilatus Kulm.
Another option would be to hike all the way up to Pilatus Kulm (summit). We saw many people do the trek up but it would definitely take the whole day. Also, it would not be considered the easiest hike as the terrain can get quite steep.
On the way down, you also have the option of paragliding down to Lucerne! As I mentioned earlier, you must make a reservation early and the whole experience is quite costly.
The most popular and scenic route is called the “Golden Roundtrip”. The Golden Roundtrip is comprised of taking a boat from Lucerne central station and getting off at Alpnachstad. Then from Alpnachstad, you take the world’s steepest cogwheel up to the top of Pilatus Kulm.
After you’re done exploring the summit, you then take a cable car down from the other side enjoying the different views both sides have to offer.
I highly recommend this route for all the different views it’s able to offer.
Time to spend here?
Depending on your choice of transportation or lack of transportation. A trip to Pilatus can vary anywhere from a couple hours to a full day depending on what you enjoy to do.
For some people, they arrive at the summit, take a picture and then head down immediately. They come here just to witness the scenic surrounding when on the cogwheel and/or cable car.
Then there are other people who spend an entire day hiking up and down the mountain.
For me personally, I would definitely allocate at least 3 hours to get here from Lucerne and enjoy a couple of short at the summit before heading down by your choice of transportation. We spent about 3 hours at the summit enjoying all the views and even got a bite at the restaurant at the top.
At the end of the day, you’re on vacation! Enjoy your time at the top, take your time and grab a drink at the restaurant. For most of you, this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so enjoy it while you can!
I hope you guys found this enlightening and if you have any specific questions or concerns feel free to contact me.
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