Mount Pilatus Golden Roundtrip is one of the highlights on my first visit to Switzerland. The “Golden Roundtrip” allowed me to ascend and descend to Mount Pilatus by boarding different modes of transportation which offers distinct perspectives of Switzerland’s marvelous sceneries. This trip to the summit of Mount Pilatus got me the chance to experience the countryside, and enjoy the wonderful views of the valleys, lakes, meadows, and of course the Swiss Alps.
Mount Pilatus is a mountain overlooking Lucerne in central Switzerland associated with many legends. Whether it is a dragon’s hideout or a burial site of Pontius Pilate, this legendary mountain towering approximately more than 2000 meters is the excellent place to observe and be astonished with a number of Alpine peaks.
Where Does the Golden Roundtrip to Mount Pilatus START?
The starting point is the city in Central Switzerland called Lucerne, popular for its Chapel Bridge. It begins in front of the Lucerne Central Train Station where the pier is situated. You could either start with a boat ride on Lake Lucerne towards Alpnachstad or a short coach ride to Kriens where you will board the panoramic gondolas.
Where to buy the Tickets?
1. You could buy tickets online through www.pilatus.ch or www.lakelucerne.ch in advance; or
2. Directly at the ticket counter near the boat station on the same day
Note: You can get discounts according to the travel pass you are holding. Just present your travel pass (Swiss Travel Pass, Eurail Global Pass, etc) before acquiring tickets.
Is this Operating all-year round?
This excursion is only available from mid-May to mid-November. Though visitors could reach the peak of Pilatus all-year round through cable cars, the cogwheel train is not operational during the winter season. Check the timetables online for detailed information.
MY Mount Pilatus Golden Roundtrip Experience
Upon acquiring the ticket directly from the ticket counter next to the pier station, I hopped on the bus right away going to Kriens, situated at the foot of Mount Pilatus, where I took the gondola to Fräkmüntegg.
The red gondolas which could accommodate up to 4 passengers brought me to another stop in Fräkmüntegg where guests would transfer to another aerial mode of transport. The relaxing 30-minute ride on a gondola entertained me with panoramic views of Switzerland’s nature.
Upon arrival in Fräkmüntegg, you don’t need to ride immediately on the aerial cableway to proceed to the top of Pilatus. Visitors could indulge in several outdoor activities such as climbing ropes, and riding the longest summer toboggan in Switzerland. If you are not into these kinds of sports, you could spend some time to enjoy the surroundings, take some pictures, or eat on the restaurant.
The DRAGON RIDE
After taking some photographs, I decided to continue up to the summit of Mount Pilatus with the aerial cableway called the “Dragon Ride.” This cable car is a lot bigger than the first which could accommodate large groups of people. Only few seats are available but others are allowed to stand and admire the sceneries through the large windows. It is an exciting 5-minute ride where I felt like I was flying to the peak of the mountain.
MOUNT PILATUS SUMMIT
The weather was fine when I reached the summit of Pilatus. The clouds disappeared making the skies clear for me to see the spectacular vistas of the Swiss Alps. It was a great day, indeed. I strolled around the gallery, walked around the terrace, hiked on one of the peaks, and relaxed on the restaurant. Visitors could spend their time at the summit and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes or walk around following the several hiking trails.
STEEPEST COGWHEEL TRAIN RIDE
It was late in the afternoon when I decided to start my descent with a ride on the steepest cogwheel train inclined at 48%. The descent was slow but smooth and enjoyable. Sitting right next to the window has given me the full advantage of witnessing the gorgeous landscapes in quick transitions from tall pine trees, rock faces, pasture lands, typical Alpine chalets, and finally to Lake Lucerne.
I reached Alpnachstad just in time when the boat arrives. Cruising for an hour in Lake Lucerne is the best way to complete the golden round trip. The ferry ride provided me with a spectacle of Switzerland’s amazing nature in an entirely different perspective.
The Mount Pilatus Golden Roundtrip ended when we arrived at the starting point – the Lucerne ferry station (in front of Lucerne train station).
The excursion could be done as either half day or full day activity which is appropriate for the whole family with young children and senior citizens. It is a worthwhile experience not only for first time visitors but for everyone who loves nature-tripping. This is the perfect way to find peace with the environment and appreciate the finest moments of nature in Switzerland.