Tourist’s guide to Mount Pilatus in Switzerland

Mount Pilatus deserves a place of honor on the list of must-see places in Switzerland. Fans of outdoor activities will find a lot of decent entertainment here, and lovers of pristine nature will appreciate the local beauty. And if you decide to conquer this magnificent mountain, you should find out what it is and what events await you at its peaks.

Mount Pilatus

General information

Peak of Pilatus Mountain

Pilatus is a mountain range in the Alps, spread in the center of Switzerland. Located 10 km southeast of the small town of Lucerne. The highest point of the mountain is the peak of Tomlishorn (2128 meters), which offers breathtaking views of the Alpine peaks and Lake Lucerne. At the top of the Pilatus is the building of the tourist complex, inside which is the Bellevue Hotel, a souvenir shop, a restaurant with European and Swiss menus, as well as the cable car pavilion. On the way to the restaurant, tourists can see the world’s longest alpine horn, which due to its size even got into the Guinness Book of Records.

Hotel "Pilatus Kulm"
“Pilatus Kulm”

The observation deck on Pilatus deserves special attention: it is from here that a beautiful panorama of the city of Lucerne and the picturesque mountain landscapes of Switzerland opens. Next to the site is another Pilatus Kulm hotel, where you can grab a bite to eat at the self-service restaurant. Not far from the building of the complex there are several trails from which various mountain routes begin: some of them take several minutes, others take up to 4 hours. One of the most interesting paths is the “Dragon Pass”, overcoming which travelers explore a variety of caves and grottoes.

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Summer activities and prices

Mount Pilatus and its surroundings are suitable for outdoor activities both in summer and in winter. If you travel to Switzerland in the summer, then you have a great opportunity to go on a “gold” or “silver” tour. What are these trips, we tell below.

Golden Tour (Golden Roundtrip)
Golden Tour (Golden Roundtrip)

One of the most famous tourist routes to Mount Pilatus in Switzerland, the “golden” tour has incorporated a full range of entertainment that can happen in the mountain area. The tour starts with a cruise on the ship, the first flight of which leaves at 8.30. Within 50 minutes, the ship carries you along the picturesque Lake Lucerne to the village of Alpnahstadt.

Upon arrival on land, you transfer to a historic mountain train, which slowly raises you upward at an angle reaching a record 48 °. Tourists visiting Switzerland are advised to sit by the window to take unique photos of Pilatus Mountain. The train passes through forests and alpine meadows, reaching the peak of 2132 meters. Travel time takes an average of 30 minutes.

Mount Pilatus, view of the Firwaldstät Lake

Arriving at the top of the mountain at Pilatus Kulm, travelers set off on a two-level viewing platform to enjoy the bird’s-eye view of the surroundings. Many go to the mountains on the proposed three routes for exploring the natural scenery and local fauna. Exploring all three directions in general takes 2 hours, after which you can go down the lift to the Frakmuntegg station, where the cable park and picnic area are located.

Pilatus Mountain, cable car gondola

The final stage of the tour will be a thirty-minute trip over the forests and mountains on a panoramic gondola to the city of Kriens, where a bus to Lucerne will be waiting for you. In total, the “golden” tour takes 4-5 hours: if you wish, you can travel longer, but keep in mind that the cable car runs until 17.00.

The “Golden” tour is available to everyone who came to Switzerland from May to October, and offers different rates for Swiss pass, which depend on the option you choose:

Group up to 9 people Group from 10 people
Route What is included in addition to the general tour Cost for adult Cost for children (6-16 years old) Adult price Price for children (6-16 years old)
Lucerne – Alpnahstadt – Pilatus – Kriens class 2 cruise 99 ₣ 49,5 ₣ 79,2 ₣ 39,6 ₣
class 1 cruise 113 ₣ 56,5 ₣ 90,4 ₣ 45,2 ₣
Lucerne – Alpnahstadt – Pilatus – Kriens – Lucerne travel to the pier, cruise on a class 2 ship and a return bus to Lucerne 102,6 ₣ 51,7 ₣ 82,2 ₣ 41,8 ₣
passage to the pier, cruise on a class 1 ship and a return bus to Lucerne 116,6 ₣ 58,7 ₣ 93,4 ₣ 47.4 ₣
Silver Tour (Silver Roundtrip)
Train station in lucerne
Railway station in Lucerne

The “silver” tour package is available to everyone who came to Switzerland from May to November. The starting point here is the train station in Lucerne, from where you will take the train to Alpnachstadt. The trip takes 20 minutes: along the way you can enjoy the picturesque views of Lake Lucerne. When you arrive in Alpnahstadt, the route of the “silver” tour will begin to completely repeat the direction of the “golden” tour described above.

This tour differs from the previous one only in that it does not include a boat cruise on the lake. Therefore, the price of Swiss pass will be lower. You can choose one of two routes to the Pilatus Mountain in Lucerne:

Group up to 9 people Group from 10 people
Route What is included in addition to the general tour Full price Children’s ticket (6-16 years old) Full price Children’s ticket (6-16 years old)
Lucerne – Alpnahstadt – Pilatus – Kriens – Lucerne Class 2 train ride from Lucerne and return bus to Lucerne 85,2 ₣ 42,6 ₣ 68,2 ₣ 34,2 ₣
1 class train ride from Lucerne and return bus to Lucerne 90,8 ₣ 45,4 ₣ 72,8 ₣ 36,4 ₣

Winter fun

Pilatus sledding

If you like winter sports, then you have the opportunity to have a great time in Switzerland on Pilatus. Indeed, in winter, the Snow & Fun amusement park begins its work here. Sledding and bobsledding, winter snowshoeing in the surroundings – all this becomes available on the Dragon Mountain. There are tracks of different lengths at the facility: for example, the smallest descent is 200 meters, and the longest is 3 km. All the necessary equipment can be rented next to the gondola parking lot located at the intermediate station Frakmuntegg.

Pilatus Lookout in winter

In addition, from December to March, you can go on a special tour along the route Kriens-Pilatus-Kriens and enjoy the local beauties shrouded in snow. The cost of such a trip for an adult will be 57.6 ₣, and for children from 6 to 16 years – 32, 4 ₣. If you decide to stay here for more than one day, you can always book a room at the Pilatus Kulm hotel located on Pilatus.

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How to climb a mountain yourself and how much does it cost

Many travelers prefer to organize an independent climb to Pilatus in Switzerland, which can be reached in three ways: by lift, by train or on foot.

On the cable car
Cableway to Pilatus

To take the cable car, you need to get to the city of Kriens. You can get here from Lucerne by bus number 1, paying 4 ₣ and disembarking at the Pilatus stop. In this case, the travel time will take no more than 10 minutes. Then you take the lift, which takes you to the gondola, which rises to the very top. The total travel time will be approximately 30 minutes, and the cost of a full journey to the mountain in one direction will be 36 ₣.

By train

You can get to the mountain by alpine train departing from the station Alpnakhstadt. This unhurried train, traveling at a speed of 10-12 km / h, will take you along the cog railway to Pilatus in half an hour. The cost of a trip in both directions will be approximately 60 ₣.

Take the train to Pilatus
On foot
Climbing Pilatus

Well, the most courageous and prepared travelers in Switzerland go to Pilatus on foot. You can start your trip from the point where the first lift from Kriens arrives (that is, you do not change to a gondola, but you overcome this path on foot). This area has two paths: the right one will lead you to the top in 2 hours 40 minutes, the left one in 2 hours 25 minutes.

Overcoming the given route, you will climb the rocks, and in some places you will have to pull yourself up with the help of chains driven uphill. Signs and special signs are placed around the mountain perimeter, so it is almost impossible to get lost here. But such a trip is not easy and requires special equipment and good physical preparation.

All prices on the page are relevant for the season 2018.

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Useful Tips

If you plan to go to Pilatus Mountain in Switzerland, we recommend you to use some useful tips, sponsored by tourists who have already visited Lucerne:

  1. Focus on the weather forecast. It is best to go up the mountain in sunny weather, otherwise fog and clouds can ruin the whole impression of local landscapes.
  2. Take trekking boots
  3. Take trekking boots. They are especially useful if you decide to climb the mountain on foot. At the very top there are also many relief routes, which are best explored in comfortable shoes.
  4. Arm yourself with a flashlight and a navigator. If your plans include walking the mountain, then tools such as a flashlight and a navigator will come in handy.
  5. Prepare warm clothes. Even in the hot months, the top of Pilatus can be quite cool, so always carry a warm jacket with you.
  6. Sledding at Frakmuntegg Station
  7. Take a ride on a sled. In winter, on the way to Pilatus, you can disembark at the Frakmuntegg intermediate station and ride a free sled.
  8. Do not overpay for excursions. If you want to go on a “golden” tour, then it is best to buy tickets without extra charges at the box office at the pier.
  9. Visit the cable park. If you are relaxing with children, be sure to check out the rope park located at the Frakmuntegg interchange station.

If you follow these simple recommendations, Mount Pilatus will definitely give you a lot of new experiences, and you might want to conquer it more than once.

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