This cogwheel railway is just one of five modes of transportation that you get to travel on in order to get the best views of Mount Pilatus. Mount Pilatus is located in Central Switzerland, and overlooks the town of Lucerne. This trip can be done via the “Golden Round Trip” ticket (106 CHF or 53 CHF with the Swiss Half Fare pass). Of course, you can also hike up the mountain, but it looked like it was for more experienced hikers. Since I’m not one, I opted for the Golden Round Trip. This is what was included:
- Boat ride from Lucerne to Alpnachstad (90 minutes). It doesn’t get much better than taking a cruise on Lake Lucerne. You have the wind in your hair, all while you get sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. One thing I thought was really cool – peoples’ homes were right at the foot of the mountains, and each home had a ladder into the lake. They literally had an entire lake in their backyards. I could easily picture myself living there.
- Cogwheel railway from Alpnachstad up to Mount Pilatus (30 minutes). This is where you start your ascent to the top of the mountain. There isn’t really much to see during the ride up – just a bunch of rocks, trees, and cows jingling with their cowbells. Once you get to the top is where the view is at. Plus, you can snap a picture of the distinct red railway inching out of the tunnel. There are plenty of hiking trails up there so be sure to dress appropriately.
- Aerial cableway from Mount Pilatus down to Fräkmüntegg (3.5 minutes). I’d recommend trying to nab a front row seat if you can. The cars can fit about 15 people, and they come every 15 minutes, but it is worth the wait to get an unobstructed view of Lucerne, all from the safety and warmth of a cable car.
- Gondola from Fräkmüntegg to Kriens (10 minutes). Now, it says gondola on the brochures, but it really just means a smaller form of a cable car. It’s more private than the cableway to Fräkmüntegg, as it only seats four people so if you’re a couple, you’ll likely get the whole car to yourselves. It works almost like a ferris wheel – you just hop on and off.
- Bus from Kriens back to Lucerne (15 minutes). Clearly, this is the least interesting ride of the five. But by the end of it, you’ll probably be so tired that you just want to get back to the hotel anyway. It’s about a five minute walk to the bus and it’ll drop you off right in the city. It’s the perfect opportunity to get that shot of the Chapel Bridge.
Tip – make sure you dress warmly. It gets colder as you elevate.