Let’s face it – I come from a place where “the snow” is considered a destination (thanks Australia). So for one who has only ever been to “the snow” once, any chance to see a glimmer of those white flakes was surely going to be a highlight of the trip. I’ll admit, I was like a kid waking up on Christmas morning when reaching the summit of Mt Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland, and it was hands down one of the standouts of my European adventure. Although Mt Pilatus was particularly exciting for me because of the snow, the panoramic views of Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps were incredibly breathtaking and are sure to leave anyone in awe.
The first leg of the way up to the top of Mt Pilatus was by panorama gondola from Kriens through Krienseregg to Fräkmüntegg. A lovely and peaceful stretch of the outing, complete with pristine views of the Mt Pilatus and the luscious green meadows and wildlife below. If you were feeling adventurous, you could get off at this stop and head to the toboggan run and rope courses.
The final leg up from Fräkmüntegg to Pilatus Kulm by aerial cableway was more of an experience. Let’s just say that for anyone who is remotely scared of heights, this method of transport up the mountain is probably not the best for you. It’s not one for the faint hearted. I’m generally not one to be scared of heights, but as we made out way over the steep chasms, even I had an anxious, tight feeling in my chest. It was a relief to step out onto a normal surface again once we reached the top. The total journey up to the mountain station was about 30 minutes.
We encountered the first spectacular view as soon as we stepped out of the gondola area, and they kept getting better from there. We were lucky we were there on such a beautiful day with great visibility. It had been quite an overcast day at first but fortunately the clouds dispersed and the sun appeared.
Although there were hotels and restaurants up on Pilatus, we weren’t particularly interested in going to them – and when we did, they were pretty expensive (but I guess that’s standard in Switzerland). We set off straightaway to walk the peaks.
We made our way up to the top of the smaller peak, Oberhaupt, to begin with. At 6913ft, you get your first lot of amazing panoramic views. But it is not until you trek your way up Esel at 6953ft where you get the most spectacular, picturesque views of the Swiss Alps and Lucerne. Words cannot describe the view from Esel– absolutely flawless. I’m sure my photos speak for themselves.
We took the world’s steepest cogwheel railway on our way back down Mt Pilatus to Alpnachstad. At a gradient of 48%, this 4618m journey was the perfect way to finish our time at Mt Pilatus. For around 40 minutes, we passed by beautiful and quaint meadows ringing with cowbells – the scenic route looked as if it was straight from a postcard, it was that perfect.
Travel Tip: Don’t forget to take some good shoes and something warm to throw on! Even though we were up there in the middle of summer, it was still freezing!
Where did you find the most spectacular view? This is definitely one of my favourites that unexpectedly made its way into one of my European trip highlights.