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Mt. Pilatus

Hi, Rick Steves fans,
We would like visit Mt. Pilatus. We have 2 nights in Luzern.

Watched RS for his whole festival thing and he suggested getting on Mt. Pilatus in the morning, otherwise
the afternoons get cloudy and you can't see anything. We want to do the whole thing: cable car, cogwheel,
gondola ride and at the end, a Lake Luzern boat tour. The tours I've seen all start at 12:30 pm, which stinks
because it's probably going to be cloudy when we get up there. Any tour guides or ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks
Donna

Posted by
4535 posts

What is the time of year?
There is likely a web cam where you can check conditions before going.
You don't really need a tour--it's a snap to get there on your own, though I don't know about getting in all four conveyances. We just took a train then the cogwheel up and back (time of year will determine this--be sure to share that). I'd rather get there quicker and enjoy the views and a walk around. We had the cable car experience elsewhere so did not care about that.

Posted by
7061 posts

This website gives information on doing it on your own (vs. a tour).

When I went, and it was a long time ago, we were on a tour and I think we went up late morning/early afternoon and it was lovely that day, no clouds in the sky at all. This was in mid-September. It doesn't always cloud up in the afternoon, but it is much more likely in the PM than it is in the AM.. It's best to just check the weather before you decide to go - which may rule out booking a tour in advance. So, better to do on your own.

Posted by
8586 posts

You dont need a tour or guide to do any of this. You can and should do it on your own. Just look at the steps it takes to get there and follow them. Plenty of other people will be doing the same. To me, you dont need a tour guide point you to the line to go up, or the line to go down. You can figure out everything else. But yeah, it would be a waste of a good morning to wait for an afternoon tour. Get lost? It's OK, plenty of people to help.

Posted by
23 posts

So we only have the 1 day to do Mt. Pilatus. We will be there June 14th and checking out the 16th.
And that's what Rick said, that there's more of a chance of cloud cover in the PM.
I'm happy to take a tour to get in as much as possible, but it seems like most of the tours don't
get to Mt. Pilatus until noon-ish. I'm going to look at the website on doing it myself that you sent. Thanks for sending.
Any ideas on lodging would be helpful too. We have a total of 3 nights there.

Posted by
8504 posts

I purchased the “golden ticket” from the front desk at my hotel. They went over the map and process with me and that was all I really needed. A tour guide was not necessary! The one ticket covers everything.

I took the city bus to near the gondola start point and took the gondolas up to the top. I hung around there for awhile and took the cogwheel train down to the lakeshore. I had a delicious lunch at the restaurant there and then boarded the lake steamer for a pleasant journey back to Luzern.

It was a very nice day.

Posted by
23 posts

Sounds exactly what we want to do. I'll research all that. Any accommodation recommendations are appreciated too.

Posted by
4993 posts

The RS Swiss Guide book includes all the necessary info for Mt Pilatus, and the various modes for ascent and descent.
I agree, you don't need a tour , it's easy to do on your own.

If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you may consider Mt Rigi, which is completely covered, along with Mt Stanserhorn. Mt Rigi includes the delightful hour boat ride to Vitnau , where you catch the cogwheel train to the summit. The efficient Swiss time the boat and train to connect smoothly. Altho I haven't done it, there is also a gondola on the opposite side, which takes you to Weggis to catch the boat. This option requires a little bit of walking. ( Or you can reverse the order .) For us, this was a half - day outing, as I think we took a boat a little after 9am, and returned to Lucerne after 1:00pm.

My Stanserhorn is a much shorter trip, and is a nice sunset outing. It took us a total of 45 minutes from the Lucerne train station to the summit, and included an open air gondola, which was really cool! There are an eating options at the summit. This is also completely covered by the Swiss Travel Pass.

Mt. Pilatus is only discounted by the various travel passes .
A poster here noted a Swiss Travel Pass sale starting April 15.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
4993 posts

Our RS Tour stayed at the Hotel Des Alpes, and we returned there on a subsequent trip. You can book directly with them and ask for the RS discount. Also ask for a room overlooking the Chapel Bridge. Sadly, they no longer offer the buffet breakfast, but they do serve breakfast that is not included in the room price. Direct Communication with the hotel was quite easy.

Posted by
32244 posts

Donna,

I also used the Golden Pass for the trip to Mt. Pilatus - https://www.pilatus.ch/en/discover/golden-round-trip . I started with boat trip in the morning to Alphachstad and then the Cogwheel Funicular. I used the cable cars for the trip down to Kriens and then the bus back to Lucerne. It was all very easy, and can be done in less than a full day.

There are two hotels and restaurants at the top so you can have a nice lunch before heading back to Lucerne.

Check the schedule to make sure everything will be operating at the time of your trip - https://www.pilatus.ch/en/inform/timetable .

One other point to mention is that the trip down in the cable cars actually uses two different systems. The larger gondolas travel from the top to an intermediate point, and then the smaller four person telecabines travel from there down to the station in Kriens. When you arrive at Kriens, there's a short downhill walk to reach the bus stop. It's a very easy and enjoyable trip.

Posted by
203 posts

This link is great for explaining how to get to Mt. Pilatus on your own via the Golden or Silver Pass:
https://fullsuitcase.com/lucerne-to-mount-pilatus/
When we were last in Luzern we were on a self-drive visit and stayed at the Hotel Balm in Meggen with free parking and a bus stop right in front of the hotel, which was free with the City Pass.
This September we will be at the Continental Park which we chose for its proximity to the rail station, its rooftop terrace and A/C rooms!

Posted by
8504 posts

I stayed at the Hotel des Alpes as well. It is a fabulous location. Very short walk from the train station and right on the river. The front desk will help you with your ticket and to plan your day.

Posted by
8586 posts

We also stayed at Hotel Des Alpes. It was the front desk clerk (it was mid-morning) at check-in who told us to drop our bags and immediately head for Pilatus as the weather was good but going to cloud up in the afternoon. Which it did. We had a fabulous time up on the mountain and so glad we didnt wait.

Posted by
2771 posts

Another vote for Hotel des Alpes. 😊 Just note that the hotel has no air conditioning. I was there last June and the room did get a little stuffy. The hotel does provide a fan that helps. I'd stay there again for the price and great location.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you all for all the great tips. I checked out Hotel Des Alpes and they've raised their prices quite a bit and eliminated the breakfast. Additionally, with climate change, I'm a little worried about the fact there's no AC and we're going to be there in June. I booked a hotel called Ameron Luzern Hotel Flora. Unfortunately not on the river but in the middle of everything like Rick suggests. I can cancel if someone has been there and/or thinks it's not a great place to go. Also I booked a Get Your Guide tour to Mt. Pilatus. It' the whole kit and caboddle -- gondola, cog wheel train and even a boat ride back to town. Cost wasn't bad. We only have 1 and a half days in Luzern so I didn't want to mess up and not see Pilatus and with the amount of people wanting to travel this summer, it could be a challenge , hence the reason for the tour. I didn't think the cost was too bad considering it includes all that stuff.

Posted by
6996 posts

The location of the hotel you picked is perfect!
As for the tour, even though the extra boat ride (Stansstad to Luzern I assume) is a nice touch, I do not think it was necessary, especially since tickets up Pilatus cannot sell-out. If you can cancel for free, I would do so, because what if it rains / is super cloudy on June 15th?