Mt. Pilatus @ Lucerne, Switzerland

Nearing weekend in Zurich, one of my colleague advised “If you are looking for adventure, go to Mt. Pilatus. You can get there through the steepest railway in the world“. That was enough to give me an adrenaline rush enough to push me to head to Mt.Pilatus, a journey which can easily be done as a day trip from Zurich.

To get to Mt. Pilatus one must take a train to Lucerne. There are frequent trains to Lucerne  from Zurich Hbf station typically running once every hour. The tickets can be collected at any train station by expressing that one would like to go to Mt. Pilatus. As this is a tourist attraction you are given a package which includes the complete itinery with bus, cable car , boat and train ride to the mount and back , and the return train ride to Lucerne and your final destination. I was charged 76 CHF for the complete package.

My Journey to the Summit:

The First leg of my itinery was a train ride from Oerlikon station (this was the station closest to the place I stay) to Zurich Hbf which is the main station of Zurich.

Zurich Hbf station is the main station in Zurich. I am waiting at platform #8 for the arrival of the train to Lucerne
On reaching Lucerne Hbf station which is the central station of Lucerne, walk across to the bus station to take bus #1 to Kreins

From the bus station I was to take bus#1 to Kreins, and I was getting a bit restless on the bus with thoughts on what if I get down at the wrong stop. There was a kind old lady who was sitting beside me and tried hard to help me and reassure that I would get down at the right stop though she did not speak one word of English. Finally after she spoke repeatedly in signs I understood that I need to get down at the stop after one stop she gets off at. After I got off I followed a group of youngsters who also got off at the same stop as they were heading to Mt. Pilatus as well. I could make out that they were going to Mt.Pilatus as they seemed a bit clueless like me and they were talking to each other in English which made me realise that we belonged to the same party. As I was following them I came across signs pointing the way to Mt.Pilatus and thereby I knew I was on the right track.

The reassuring sign to Pilatus
Another sign that eventually takes you up to the cable car station
The cable car station

At the cable car station one can show their package tickets and they will receive a ticket that allows entry into the cable car.

A click of a cable car from the cable car I was riding

The cable car crosses couple of stations before reaching the station from where the Gondola begins. Hikers and bikers usually get off at one of the first 2 stations and go all the way down by walk or bike. The Gondola goes up all the way to the summit.

The gondola arriving at the 3rd station
Sights from the Gondola. The straight path down are used to slide down in a toboaggan. I should try this sometime.
Sights from the Gondola- A lone church up the hill
Finally reached the top most station

What can be seen from the Mount:

Views, Views, Views!! Need I say more…  The stony mountains looks sprinkled with green thanks to the trees that have their abode there, with the bluest sky in their midst, is sure to take your breath away when the weather is right.

View of the valleys
More views
The cogwheel train riding up the mountain
The mountain backdrop looks awesome indeed

Para gliders:

When the weather is right, you will see these extreme sport lovers taking to the skies. Their chutes adding more color to the scenary and a treat to the eyes. Some times though you may wonder if they could land on you, fear not, they know what they are doing as they gracefully glide high above you.

A paraglider going to take flight
This paraglider waits for the right wind movement to lift his chute. I was amazed at his perseverance. It took more than an hour for him to get this to flight as the chute lifted and dropped many times till it was finally able to lift away
A paraglider trying to get his chute to fly


The eye exercise from staring so much and legs from walking around to get a 360 degree view of the place can make one quite hungry indeed. There are a few eateries in this place. An indoor restaurant and a restaurant at the roof top.

I hogged on a veal sausage from the roof top restaurant
Music troupe to soothe your meal


One can also find a bunch of people peacefully dozing in the beauty of the place. I wondered why these people came all the way to the mountain top to sleep. But I don’t blame them, that the cool mountain breeze must have lulled them to sleep.

Dozing off in the cool mountain breeze
How peaceful the guy looks

Journey back to Lucerne:

For the ride down the mountain, I took the cog wheel railway. This is said to be the steepest railway in the world. The tickets provided at the cable station are to be used here as well. So after your cable car ride, make sure that you don’t throw those tickets away.

The cog wheel train arrives at the station
The Para gliders can be seen for a while on the way down as well
A peek from the train
When I see those huge bells on the cows and hear the jingle jangle sounds from the bells, I realize why the cow bells are so popular as souvenirs here 
Eventually the train reaches the train station down the mountain
Heading to the boat jetty
The Alpnashtad boat jetty. The boat is not as frequent as the buses or train. I had to wait for more than an hour here for the boat to arrive.
The Swiss flag hoisted on the boat
The sail boats on the lake
One of the stops enroute to Lucerne

It takes about 1.5 hours journey by boat to reach Lucerne from base of Mt. Pilatus. However the journey will be entertaining as there are lots of lovely scenary around and there are high chances that few of your fellow passengers are social butterflies.

After reaching Lucerne, one can walk around the Lucerne lake which is a definitely a must do activity in Lucerne.

Lucerne Lake:

This is an important landmark in Lucerne and is one of the largest lake in Switzerland. Going around the lake is a must do for every visitor here. There are plenty of sights around the lake that can keep one occupied for a few hours.

Lucerne lake
One cannot help notice the elegant swans swimming on the lake. Many visitors just sit on the rim of the lake watching them
This swan swam up quite close to me thinking that I will have some food for it, and swam away when it found that I did not have anything to give it
This duo are street performers and their story is interesting. They are Pamela and Eduardo. Pamela is a painter and Eduardo is a hand pan music maker. They have travelled around the world in their campervan for 1.5 years.
The Bucherer building. Bucherer is the most famous retailer for watches and jewellery in Switzerland
Children performing at a concert conducted by You church
One last long look at the lake before heading of to the Lucern bahnhof to catch the train back to Zurich

Switzerland has many beautiful spots that are amongst the best in the world, Mt, Pilatus and Lucerne lake being a few of them. No wonder Bollywood choose Switzerland as their most popular shooting location for their movies.

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