The Pilatus day trip by the steepest cog railway or cableway
A few different local legends about the origin of the name exist. One claims that Pilatus was named so because Pontius Pilate was buried there. A medieval legend had dragons with healing powers living on the mountain. Therefore, the mountain is also nicknamed: Mountain of Dragons.
Commissioned in 1889, a gradient of up to 48 percent, about 30 minutes travel time: that is the steepest cogwheel railway in the world in figures. Meter by meter it scales the way from Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm, passing alpine meadows and striking rock formations.
On the north side of the mountain a gondola and cableway lead to the top. Therefore the mountain can be reached from different sides. And for those who want to take up a challenge, it can also be climbed by foot.
Since well over one hundred years, the rail cars of the Pilatus railway have climbed to the summit of the imposing Mt. Pilatus on the boldest cogwheel railway in the world. At a maximum gradient of 48% it is the steepest cogwheel railway in the world and the only one of its kind. Such exceptional steepness bore the risk that the driving teeth used at the time would jump out of engagement. The engineers therefore had to create a special cogwheel system with a special toothed bar.
The summit or better, summits (the mountain has multiple peaks) offer a great view over Lake Lucerne. Towards the south the whole alpine range can be seen with Mt. Titlis and the Bernese Alps.
The steepest cog railway in the world is definitely a highlight of this Pilatus day trip. Also a climb of the “Esel” peak makes you not feel like a donkey, which is the name of this peak in English. You will stand on a real summit and enjoy a panoramic view.
Well, this is going to be hard, because there is a choice of no less than 5 restaurants, ranging from self-service to the Belle Epoque style Pilatus Kulm restaurant. Depending the weather and temperature, you can decide to go indoors or enjoy the sunny terrace.
During the summer, the “Golden Round Trip”, a popular route for tourists, involves taking a boat from Lucerne across Lake Lucerne to Alpnachstad, going up on the cogwheel railway, coming down on the aerial cableways and panorama gondolas, and taking the local bus back to Lucerne. This is the recommend route.
Included is some time at the restaurant for drinks or a meal.
Mid May to mid November: cog railway, gondola, boat
Year round: gondola (closed for maintaince 2 weeks end October/beginning November)
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