Mount Pilatus, Switzerland

Mount Pilatus Lucerne Switzerland

Here’s another fun way to spend a day in Switzerland! Lucerne is an easy point of departure, so take the ferry (or the train if you prefer) from there to Alpnachstad. Then, you can take the world’s steepest cog wheel train up the mountain for beautiful views of the lake and region. When done with the awe-inspiring vista, take the cable car part of the way down. The rest of the descent can either be by walking or by a fun ride on Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan run! Either way makes for a memorable adventure!

Why to go:  This is a great way to pass a beautiful day outside in the fresh Swiss air.  It includes breathtaking scenery, an interesting train ride, a bit of a hike and lots of other outdoor activities.

When to go:  Summer is probably the best time for this excursion.  While access by train, boat and cable car is available year round (more limited times in the winter though), the toboggan run is only open May-October.

What to do: You can make this as long an adventure as you’d like since there are plenty of things to keep you busy on Mount Pilatus. Just getting to the base of the mountain is an outing including trains and boats giving passengers a glimpse of some of Switzerland’s most stunning landscapes. The area includes hotels, restaurants, cable cars, central Switzerland’s biggest rope park, the country’s longest summer toboggan run and the world’s steepest cog wheel train.  Not to mention the great hiking. The Swiss railway makes the classic excursion easy for visitors by offering a pass called the “Golden Round Trip” which includes the boat ride from Lucerne, the trip on the cog railway up the mountain and then the return by cable car.

What to eat:  The restaurants you’ll find on the mountain are a bit limited in selection.  My recommendation would be to bring or buy snacks for the visit to the mountain top but plan your timing so that you can have your meal in Lucerne.  It’s a lively town with lots of options for classic Swiss cuisine (as well as other possibilities) with charming lakefront (or river facing) ambiance.

Where to make a detour:  When you plan your excursion to Mount Pilatus, definitely allow yourself extra time to explore Lucerne.  It is very walkable and has a colorful and lively old town.  You’ll also want to admire the beautiful medieval Chapel Bridge that is the town’s icon and is one of the oldest, covered wooden bridges in Europe.