The Golden Round Trip to Pilatus Kulm in Lucerne, Switzerland
We’ve been meaning to tell you the story about our trip to Pilatus Kulm in the Swiss Alps, but we seem to keep putting it on the back burner. It feels like we just returned from our trip to Europe but, in reality, several months have already passed. Did you hear that Christmas is only a couple weeks away?! Apparently so is the end of the world, at least according to the Mayans. I guess that means I should stop rambling and get on with it then!
When we decided to add Lucerne to our Switzerland itinerary we did a quick search to educate ourselves on its popular attractions. We wanted to take full advantage of our surroundings and get outdoors, but we needed to find an excursion that was also baby friendly.
The Golden Round Trip is an interesting half-day or whole-day excursion that includes a boat trip on Lake Lucerne and ride up the world’s steepest cogwheel railway to the peak of Pilatus Kulm (altitude 2,132 metres or 7,000 feet). The image above gives a great visual of the tour, starting in Lucerne (spelled Luzern in Swiss) and traveling left on the boat before going up to the peak.
After exploring the futuristic facility, you descend down an aerial cableway and a series of panorama gondolas until reaching the town of Kriens. From Kriens, you catch a local bus back to Lucerne, completing the round trip. It offers a little something for everyone.
The first part of the trip was a 90 minute boat ride from central Lucerne to Alpnachstad. We captured the above photo of Mount Pilatus from the water. She’s quite the looker!
Here are more photos from that boat trip.
We disembarked the boat at Alpnachstad and made our way to Pilatus Bahn
After almost losing each other because it took a few moments to fold up our baby stroller (the Swiss are an efficient people with no tolerance for tardiness, even if said tardiness is baby related), we boarded the world’s steepest cogwheel railway and began the 30 minute journey deep into the Swiss alpine.
Baby B enjoyed the soothing clickity clack sounds of the railway and caught a quick nap, allowing us to soak up our beautiful mountain surroundings. It’s quite impressive to think about the development and technology behind such a rail system.
When we finally reached Pilatus Kulm we had worked up quite an appetite. It took a while for an outdoor table with a view to open up, but it was well worth the wait. The panoramic views of the Swiss Alps made for an unforgettable lunch setting.
Cam’s lunch – traditional wiener schnitzel with pomme frites and a cold bottle of Eichhof Lager (see more tasty beer from Europe here)
Nicole’s lunch – Aelplermagronen, a popular Swiss dish consisting of creamy macaroni and potatoes, servied with sweet apple sauce
A para-glider sets up his gear and gets ready for flight…
… in search of a different perspective!
Guests also have the option to spend the night at the legendary Pilatus-Kulm Mountain Hotel
The main facility on the mountain peak looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. We half expected it to transform into a spaceship and take off into space.
Within minutes, the weather changed and thick storm clouds began to circle the rocky summit. As you can see, one side is clear skies while the other covered by grey storm clouds.
A lone hiker on a personal mission
After lunch and some wandering around the mountain top facility, we began our initial descent and boarded the Aerial cableway. It was mid-day, so there was quite a line to board the tram, but it only takes 5 minutes to complete each trip, so things moved fairly quickly.
At each gondola station there are a variety of summer activities, including central Switzerland’s largest suspension rope park and the longest summer toboggan run. There’s enough activities to keep you playing for days, in summer and winter.
The gondola floats above the city before it arrives at Kriens
Thinking about visiting Pilatus Kulm?
How to get there – You can take the Golden Round Trip to Mount Pilatus described in this post or you can go the other way and start in Kriens. You don’t have to take the boat to Alpnachstad, you can also take the train from the main Lucerne railway station (Bahnhof Luzern). However, if the weather is nice, we recommend you take the boat option – here’s why.
How much does it cost – prices vary depending on your trip itinerary. You’re best to visit the Pilatus website for current pricing. Here’s the link – http://www.pilatus.ch/en/railway-cableways/prices/
Note – the cogwheel railway is only open during the summer months, from May to October.
More posts from our trip to Switzerland:
- From Our iPhone: A Photo Story from Switzerland
- Cruising Around Lake Lucerne
- Luzern, Switzerland – We Love Surprises
- From Our Lens – Exploring Zurich, Switzerland
Special thanks to the good people at Pilatus for providing us complimentary passes on the cogwheel railway, aerial cableway and gondolas. As always, expressed opinions are our own.