Mount Pilatus is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland you can spend an amazing afternoon with your friends or family. It offers great views, it is very well developed and welcomes everyone all year round.
Where is Mount Pilatus?
Mount Pilatus (Lucerne mountain) is very very comfortabily sitting next to one of the most beautiful Swiss cities called Lucerne. If you ever go to Mount Pilatus, do not forget to visit Lucerne as it has an amazing oldtown, beautiful lake shore, delicious ice cream and great view to the white peaks.
Mount Pilatus is in between two cantons: Nidwalden and Obwalden and just a few kilometers from the Lucerne city center: 4km. Actually, in 4 km you will get to Kriens (it’s there the gondolas start their way up), but if you want to hike all the distance from Lucerne to Mount Pilatus peak, that would be 16 kilometers with a very decent elevation gain, so I would suggest to do it if you have a lot of time and power.
How high is Mt Pilatus in Switzerland? It is comfortably sitting at 2128 m, so it’s pretty high and the views are amazing.
So if you want to get as close as possible to Mount Pilatus cable cars, you must reach Kriens. You can reach it by car or bus. All information you can find here: Kriens, Lucerne.
Lucerne to Mt Pilatus
To get to Kriens you would need to take a bus No. 1 from Lucerne train station. Lucerne train station is at the address: Zentralstrasse 1. It is actually very easy to find as it is very close to the lake and is pretty easy to notice. From the Lucerne train station to Kriens would cost you just 3.10 CHF (less than 3 euros). For all the connections, times and prices, please have a look here: in the first gap put Lucerne, in the second Kriens Pilatus: Swiss trains. The ride is just around 20 minutes and you should get out at Zetrum/Pilatus bus station. From the bus station it is just 500m walk (so 6-8 minutes easy walk) to the cable car station which is at this address: Schlossweg 1.
Second option is to take the train up to Mount Pilatus. First, you have to go the train station of Lucerne (mentioned before) and take a train to Alpnachstad. As before, check all the connections in official Swiss trains station website. Price to Alpnachstad: 4.30 CHF. From Alpnachstad, there’s a very impressive cogwheel train going very very steep to Mount Pilatus. It doesn’t operate all year round, just from Mid May to Mid November. So now winter services.
How to get to the top of mount Pilatus
Now, first things first – I really really recommend to buy cable cars tickets already in Lucerne, all possible ticket places are here: Pilatus tickets; as the line to the tickets can be pretty long. I came to Mount Pilatus on a weekday and had to wait around 30 minutes in a very hot sun in the line (I can not imagine how long is the line on weekends).
Actually, second option, if you have more time, you can hike to Mount Pilatus (and it is completely free), I will write about it more later, but the most easy way is, of course, the cable car, you would need just around 30 minutes to reach the top and it is really really nice going up.
Zurich to Mount Pilatus
If you land in Zürich and want to reach Mount Pilatus, take the similar steps: go to Zürich train station (you can actually buy tickets right in the airport) and ride to Lucerne. Ticket from Zürich to Lucerne should cost you around 25 CHF and will take around 50 min.
If you land in the morning, I would suggest that you can do this whole Mount Pilatus stuff in one day, but if you land later, in the afternoon, I would suggest take it easy, spend an afternoon in Lucerne or Zürich and do Mount Pilatus trip the next day as you may want to spend more time on the top and rushing such a great experience is a pitty.
Pilatus Switzerland price
The price from Kriens to Mt. Pilatus and back is 72 CHF (the same price is for the cogwheel train from Alpnachstad). In my experience – it is one of the most costly cable cars experiences in Switzerland, but I really recommend it as it is very nice on the top. You will probably make 100 Instagram worthy pictures.
So, get a ticket, sit down in a mount Pilatus gondola (you will have to go out from a 4 places cable car once and get into the big one in the middle of the mountain), enjoy the views, breath in the mountains and wait till you get to the top.
So the total cost from Zürich to Mount Pilatus should be: ticket to Lucerne 25CHF, from Lucerne to Kriens: 3.10 CHF, cable car costs: 72CHF; that sums up to 100.10 CHF.
On the top of Mount Pilatus
Once you come to the top, you will be let out in the inside of the big building, but simply head forwards and you will go out in a very big and beautiful viewing point. It’s a massive square on the top of the mountain.
As usual in Switzerland, in such mountain stations you can find anything you want: a hotel, a restaurant, many shops for souvenirs and many more.
Once you walk out, you can see couple of possibilities to walk even more up – do it. The views are even better from the top of the top. It is very steep to get to the top, but if you take it easy, it’s just a few minutes and you will get the best Mount Pilatus can offer.
The prices in the restaurants up on Mount Pilatus are pretty steep, but it’s a perfect place to enjoy fondue, hot soup or whatever you prefer. If you don’t like restaurants, you can find a massive meadow just below the before mentioned square and sit down there. It really depends on the weather, but even that high it can be a very pleasant picnic place.
Mount Pilatus weather
As you may know, weather in such height can change pretty fast and can be very surprising (especially in a bad way). I have visited Mount Pilatus in July and it was crazy hot down in Kriens. On the top of Mount Pilatus it was still very pleasant, around 20 degrees by Celsius, but once wind hits you – it gets cold very fast and you start to look for your sweater.
I would suggest always Google weather conditions before you decide to go up: it can easily be foggy all day long (or rainy) and that would be a waist of your time and money. Once it’s foggy, you will have a problem even to see the hotel next to you. I like to be on the mountain when it’s foggy, it’s an interesting experience, but to pay 72 CHF and get no view to the mountains can be painful. Go there then it’s sunny or at least when clouds don’t cover the mountain all day long (just a small gap in the clouds can open up amazing views).
Always check webcams as well, that gives the best indication how it is on the top: Mount Pilatus webcam.
Pilatus mountain hike
If you want to have an ultimate challenge regarding Mount Pilatus, you can hike it up. But you must now this: Kriens is comfortably sitting at 500 m elevation and Mount Pilatus at 2128 m elevation. So that is more than 1600m elevation gain, and the hike in kilometers is about 12km. It’s not an easy hike. It can take you more than 4 hours. But just look at the picture below, it’s beautiful!
So, if you really want to do this hike, I really encourage you as it can be really rewarding, but you must have a look at my recommendations how to do it correctly. It is a real Swiss Alps hiking material, it’s well prepared, people are always close to you, but come on, it is more than 1600 m elevation gain, you must be ready and prepared: take some good clothes (even in the middle of summer), take enough water, take some food and be careful (especially in the end it gets very steep and rocky) and don’t rush. I haven’t done it yet, but I will definitely do. It looks amazing.
Which mountain is better – Rigi or Pilatus?
That is a very often asked question, which is better? Why is it asked? Because they are very close to each other and you can choose to visit one of them or both. They are both very easily reachable from Lucerne.
I have visited both of them and as comparing nature wonders is not a fair game, but I think that Mount Pilatus has lot more to offer: there’s much more money invested, much more to see, restaurants, the photos possibilities, the hike up to Mount Pilatus: all seems a bit better. If you have to choose: I would choose mount Pilatus. It is higher, bigger, has more on the top of it.
But if you have more time, visit both of them, you won’t be disappointed 🙂 If you are there just for a day, go to Mount Pilatus 🙂
It is definitely worth visiting Mount Pilatus. I’ve done it in the summer of 2019 and don’t regret it.
It’s one of the most beautiful cable car rides in Switzerland, the place on the top looks amazing and is very relaxing: you can spend time in the restaurants, on the rocks or on a meadow and just take as many pictures as you want. Your Instagram will blow up 🙂
As well, I would like to mention that the beautiful pictures you see here I got from this man: Claudio Schwarz, here is his profile: https://unsplash.com/@purzlbaum
If you have any questions about Mount Pilatus, just let me know, I will try to find every detail for you 🙂