Destinations Magazine

A Day Trip From Zurich to Lucerne and Mount Pilatus

By Aswesawit @aswesawit

Dear Luke and Leia,

Today we took a day train trip from Zurich to Lucerne and nearby Mount Pilatus. Whenever we think of Switzerland, Swiss cheese, snow-capped mountains and gorgeous mountain lakes come to mind. This trip has them all and brought a full representation of every icon I think of when Switzerland comes to mind.

A Day Trip From Zurich to Mount Pilatus in Lucerne
Switzerland has very efficient train service. The train ride was beautiful and we decided to start our day with seeing Mount Pilatus. We took a gondola to the top of the mountain and it proved to be half the fun. Stunning views surrounded us as we climbed the mountain. Higher and higher we rose and it brought the full view of Lake Lucerne and the city around it. Even with the famous Swiss cheese you need cows and we were rewarded with that as well, complete with the cow bells.

Gondola ride to the top of Mount Pilatus

Gondolas ascend to the top of Mount Pilatus

Linda enjoying the spectacular views from the gondola.

Linda enjoying the spectacular views from the gondola.

A zip-line is available at Mount Pilatus.

A zip-line is available at Mount Pilatus. What a view!

View of Lake Lucerne from gondola to the top of Mount Pilatus.

View of Lake Lucerne from gondola, halfway to the top of Mount Pilatus..

View of Lake Lucerne and the city of Lucerne from Mount Pilatus.

View of Lake Lucerne and the city of Lucerne from Mount Pilatus.

A train to the top of Mount Pilatus is also available.

A cogwheel train to the top of Mount Pilatus is also available, for those who don’t like heights.

We heard these cow bells all the way up on the gondola.

We heard these cow bells all the way up on the gondola.

At the top of Mount Pilatus

Next on the list was seeing the snow capped mountains that make up the Swiss Alps. The top of the mountain has a visitor’s center, an observation platform and a historic hotel.

There are also some really good trails, including one called the Dragon Trail. Nana was fascinated to learn that dragons were once said to live in the caves on Mt. Pilatus. We hiked another trail to the highest point and were rewarded with a view of Lucerne and a 360-degree view of snow capped mountains – even now, in August! And to top it off, far below on the observation platform we could actually hear a busker play an alphorn, that 8-foot-long straight horn you sometimes see in ads about Switzerland.

The best thing I saw was a base jumper riding the thermals with his parachute. His was a far better view than the one we had, stuck on the ground.

Snow capped Swiss Alps

Snow capped Swiss Alps

Visitor center on top of Mount Pilatus.

Visitor center on top of Mount Pilatus.

Mount Pilatus visitor center.

Mount Pilatus visitor center.

Make sure you do the hike to the top of Mount Pilatus..

Make sure you do the hike to the top of Mount Pilatus.

View of Lake Lucerne from Mount Pilatus.

View of Lake Lucerne from Mount Pilatus.

Looking toward the Matterhorn of the Swiss Alps.

Looking toward the Matterhorn of the Swiss Alps.

High above the visitor center.

High above the visitor center.

Riding the thermals on Mount Pilatus.

Riding the thermals on Mount Pilatus.

Parachutists over Mount Pilatus visitor center.

Parachutists over Mount Pilatus visitor center.

The Lucerne part of our day trip

After we had our fill of Mount Pilatus, we returned to Lucerne to see the up-close view of the city and the lake around it. We loved the wooden covered bridge that crossed the azure lake and was lined with boxes of colorful pansies. It’s called the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) and was originally built in 1333; it is the oldest covered bridge in Europe.

Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), wooden covered Bridge on Lake Lucerne.

Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), the wooden covered Bridge on Lake Lucerne.

Colorful flowers line Kapellbrücke covered bridge, Lucerne.

Photo of Kapellbrücke covered bridge on Lake Lucerne.

Because we had to catch the train back to Zurich we had a limited time to explore the city and no time for an official tour. What we did see was great architecture, fun street performers and a fantastic city that makes great use of its lakefront. Lucerne, set against the back drop of the Swiss Alps and a deep blue mountain lake, deserves more than the paltry amount of time we were able to give it.

Jesuit Church in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Jesuit Church in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Solo cellist in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Solo cellist busking in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Human statue along Lake Lucerne.

Human statue along Lake Lucerne.

View of Lucerne and its lake.

Beautiful mountain Lake Lucerne in the Swiss Alps.

Beautiful mountain Lake Lucerne in the Swiss Alps.

It is time to close for now and get ready for our last city visit before embarking on our river cruise. We miss you two, as always.

Love,

Nana and Pap

P.S. – If you have Pinterest you can click the top left of any photos in our story to add them to your Pinterest boards. We would actually like that a whole lot.

Train up to Mount Pilatus from Lucerne, Switzerland.

Train up to Mount Pilatus from Lucerne, Switzerland.

Chapel Bridge on Lake Lucerne.

Chapel Bridge on Lake Lucerne.

View from the top of Mount Pilatus.

View from the top of Mount Pilatus.


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