Enjoy a date with the Alps at Mt. Pilatus

Arriving in Switzerland is itself romantic. The green pastures, grazing cattle, unending landscapes that blur into horizon and many more such picturesque spots take you by awe. And of course, Switzerland cannot be described without the mention of the beautiful Alps.

Now picture this – climbing across the rocky mountain in Switzerland on a Cogwheel, with loveliest brown Swiss cows flaunting the famous Swiss cow bells, magnificent green slopes and huge hill tops that stretch till the blue skies, in the backdrop.

Well, all that is possible while visiting Mount Pilatus near Lucerne, a north-central city in Switzerland. In fact, a visit to Mt. Pilatus gives you the wholesome enjoyment of rides on a cogwheel, toboggan (an open sled carrying people down the slope), cable car, aerial gondolas and even a boat ride in Lake Lucerne.

Journey to Mt. Pilatus begins from Lucerne, which lies on the shores of Lake Lucerne and is well connected by train or bus from all the major cities in Europe. From Lucerne, you can either board a bus or train or choose to cruise across Lake Lucerne to reach Alpnachstad, from where the world’s steepest cogwheel train chugs up the Pilatus Mountain.

Reaching Alpnachstad by train or road should take you an hour while by lake it takes double the time. But reaching by Lake Lucerne is recommended the most for you to enjoy the serenity of turquoise waters of the lake while soaking in the beauty of Mt. Pilatus in sight. All you need is to take a day’s time out for Pilatus expedition; otherwise it’s a half-day excursion.

The enthralling surrounding enamors as one goes up on the cogwheel train. Glimpse of Alps moving up and down our eye-sight every time the train crosses through a tunnel take passengers in surprise. It’s a magical moment that fleets away before you prepare your camera for a quick click. As the cogwheel creeps further, you feel being in the lap of the great Alps that stands magnificently looking over Lake Lucerne. Ecstatic is the word to describe the view from the top.

On top of a mountain is always a heavenly experience where sun, sky and the mountains all around never let one realize that another world too existed beyond. On top of Mt. Pilatus, in Swiss Alps, at 7,000 feet (2,132 meters) above sea level, imparts similar thoughts. Take a stately walk around the mountain on top that turns out to be more awe-inspiring at every twirl. There could be some narrow, snow-clad passages; so watch your steps. What follows next is the extreme of adventure.

There are two options to get back – on a cable car or aerial gondola and on the toboggan, if you are that adventure-freak. Pilatus toboggan track is the longest in Switzerland. As you get down, a leisurely five- minute walk takes you to Alpnachstad bus stand and from there 15-minute ride back to the Lucerne train station.

In fact, the whole round trip from boat rides on Lake Lucerne to cogwheel to cable car/toboggan and finally from bus ride to the Lucerne station is popular as “Golden Round Trip” among tourists. Tickets for the same are available on Lucerne station as well as on the Lake Steamer section. Even though the period between May to October is considered best for visiting the place, carrying warm clothes is a must any time. To see the beauty of Alps at the confluence of fall and winter when the rocky mountain boasts of both greeneries and the white snow, visit there in October.

The breathtaking mountainous panorama, the pristinely serene Lake Lucerne, the thrilling ascent on the steepest cogwheel, the freaking descend down Mt. Pilatus and more excitements notwithstanding will have you craving for more. And forgetting to buy some tiny Swiss cow bells is a strict no-no.


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