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Lucerne Switzerland, Pilatus and Folklore

Let’s check out scenic Switzerland with a drive through the Swiss alps, views up a Swiss mountain Pilatus and farm countryside, visit the city of Lucerne with some yodeling with Swiss locals. Let’s explore!

Snow capped Swiss mountains and more
Snow capped Swiss mountains and more!

Up Mt Pilatus, highest Tomlishorn

Pilatus, also often referred to as Mount Pilatus, is a mountain massif overlooking Lucerne in Central Switzerland. It sits at an elevation of 2,128 meters above sea level, comprising of several peaks, and is the highest in the Tomlishorn region.

180 degree Mount Pilatus scenic Panorama

swiss-pilatus mountain pana top

Furthermore, there are two ways to get up the mountain, first by a classic mountain railway and secondly via a cable car. It is advised to use either to get up and down. I took the mountain railway for my Pilatus upward journey.

Mount Pilatus base railway station Lucerne Switzerland
Mount Pilatus base railway station.
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Hill map
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Climb up
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View down

Additionally, the railway runs through the mountain passes and a series of ridges and tunnels, snaking up the mountain side. Interestingly, due to the constant upward incline, the car, station and carriages have their seats rotated level to create a comfortable and level climbing experience.

The Pilatus Mountain Railway making it route climb up
The Pilatus Mountain Railway making it route climb up.

Also, up here at the top, you can also find the cable car ropeway station situated not too far off from the top visitor center area too.

Going up the mountain railway
Going up the mountain railway!
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Train station
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Cable car station
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Cable station

180 degree Mount Pilatus Panorama distant lakes

swiss-pilatus mountain pana peak

Views up on Mountain Pilatus

Moreover, at the summit, there is an open observation deck, and a visitor center building housing a restaurant and cafe. Here, at every spot, you are treated to vast panoramic views of the Swiss mountain side and the flat lands beyond.

View out from the top of Mt Pilatus
View out from the top of Mt Pilatus.

Interestingly, it does look tad a Ricola cough drop and breath mints advertisement, as popularised through their TV ads featuring the Swiss alps. There are some locals who brought their own Alphorns here for a play, interesting.

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Visitor center
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Measuring instruments
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Where are we?

Furthermore, the visitor center has large spacious courtyards great for events. Also, a climb up an adjacent high point brings you up to one of the few vantage viewing spots. These points are also home to radar communication towers. Also, it is not uncommon to see random radar towers in the mountains, probably for defense purposes. The Swiss are known to have subterranean army and airfields hidden within mountains.

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Got mountain goat?
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Ridge side trek
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Mountain trail

If you are up for it, there is a mountain trial which runs along the cliff-side of the mountain. Also, if you are lucky you can spot a couple of mountain wildlife, birds and mountain goats seemingly defying gravity on the mountain side.

Large cable car down from Pilatus summit area
Large cable car down from Pilatus summit area.

Up here, there are two cable cars lines serving the mountain. One with a large bus-sized car taking you from the mountain high point to an intermediate lower mountain green area.

Smaller cable car down from the lower mid transition point
Smaller cable car down from the lower mid transition point.

Also, this mid-spot is notably home to a picnic and adventure camp area. There is a smaller connecting cable car here connecting you to the ground level.

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Cable car mid station
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Down to ground level
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Ground station

Swiss Farm tours

Wrapping up my countryside tours is a working Swiss farm visit. My visit was hosted by a local family farm which rears cows for milk and cheese. My trip begins with a welcome and horse carriage ride around the Swiss country side.

Horse ride through the Swss countryside
Horse ride through the Swss countryside.

Here, you are greeted with lush green fields surrounded by rolling mountains. Thereafter I got to do a farm tasting of fresh home-made cheese and do a farm and barn tour courtesy of a Swiss farmer family. It is nice that farming is still a big thing, even for developed countries like Switzerland.

Farm visit

Swiss Mountain Roads into Lucerne

Next stop on is the city of Lucerne. Home to a population of about 80 thousand, it is a small compact city surrounded amid by snow-capped mountains on Lake Lucerne.

Swiss Alps
Winding roads

Moreover, when driving into the city to Lake Lucerne, the mountain views follows through the scenic St. Gotthard route with spectacular countryside. Highway tunnel roads a common sight here in mountainous Switzerland, it is not uncommon to cut right through impassable mountains here.

One of the many mountain road tunnels and bridges going into Lucerne Switzerland
One of the many mountain road tunnels and bridges going into Lucerne Switzerland.

Also, Lucerne is not far and drivable from major European cities, such as Milan, Innsbruck, Austria and Munich, Germany (about 200km away). Here, you pass through, in typical Swiss fashion a variety of meandering mountain passes, tunnels and bridges along the Swiss border. These road arteries connects the various mountains along the Swiss mountain passes.

Swiss Mountain roads with snow-capped mountains in the distance
Swiss Mountain roads with snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Rest stops

In addition, besides the breath taking scenic views, you can also find snow and ice up here, even in the heat of the Summer months. The temperature here is T-shirt cool, but strange to see snow still not melted up here.

Snow up in the Swiss Alps even in the heat of summer to Lucerne Switzerland
Snow up in the Swiss Alps even in the heat of summer.

Lucerne Switzerland Kapellbrücke (Chapel) bridge

Furthermore, a highlight here in the city of Lucerne is the Kapellbrücke bridge and is a centre piece of the city. Also known as the Chapel Bridge, named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel and is the oldest surviving truss bridge, and wooden covered-bridge in Europe.

Lucerne Kapellbrücke (Chapel) bridge

Also, the ancient wooden covered footbridge was built in 1333 and spans diagonally over the River Reuss. Beside providing a great photo opportunity, it also serves to span two parts of the city, linking the Aldstadt to the Reuss River’s right bank.

On the bridge!
Chapel by the river

Lake Lucerne Switzerland and Kapellbrücke Panorama

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Moreover, walking on the Kapellbrücke bridge itself you would notice the roof trusses contains a number of interior paintings. These dates back to the 17th century. However, these paintings were mostly restored from the originals, which were destroyed in a 1993 fire.

Decorative flowers by the Kapellbrücke bridge
Decorative flowers by the Kapellbrücke bridge.
Central station
Inside the station

Additionally, the lake area is also where other notable landmarks such as the St Peter chapel and the city Central railway station reside. There are many resident swans here on the lake too. Moreover, Lucerne itself albeit a chill place is a rather expensive place to live in. The old town is one of activity in the city, where you can find most of the commerce and eateries here too.

Lucerne Switzerland old town area (Altstadt)
Lucerne Switzerland old town area (Altstadt).

Additionally, in Switzerland known for its well-preserved medieval architecture. You can take your time (a couple of hours) to visit the city old town (Altstadt). It sits surrounded by the 14-century Museggmauer (Musegg Wall) rampart. Altstadt is amongst the prettiest old towns in Switzerland.

Town area
Rolex stores
Sigg bottles

However, things are expensive here. Meals cost upwards of $50 per meal and interestingly, even entry to the central railway station toilets costs 2 CHF (about S$3) per entry use. The main shopping street here is also a spot to purchase uniquely Swiss merchandise. Examples includes cuckoo clocks, Rolex watches, SIGG Swiss bottles and Wenger Swiss army knives just to name a few.

Cuckoo clocks
Limited Swiss knives
Lion overview

Lion Monument

Furthermore, a key landmark here is the Lion Monument stone statue located in a park. The rock relief is known as the Lion of Lucerne. It is dedicated to the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss Guards  (Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti) who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution.

The Lucerne lion monument dedicated to the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss Guards
The Lucerne lion monument dedicated to the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss Guards.

Completed on 1821, the statue portrayed a dying lion impaled by a spear. Part of a spear can be seen embedded into its torso. The 10 by 6 meter monument, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and hewn, from 1820 to 1821, and was carved into the cliff face by Lukas Ahorn.

On a boat!
Sail ahoy!
Lake Lucerne

You can wrap up your city visit with a short river cruise on the river Lucerne itself. The enclosed lake itself is relatively calm and is popular with holiday goers, especially for sailing and yachting. You can find several river side establishments and hotels based along its shores too.

Cruising along
Cruising along.

Dine in Swiss folklore

Moreover, one of the quickest way to get acquainted is to attend a typically “classical” Swiss dinner. I got to visit Stadtkeller Swiss folklore restaurant in Lucerne Switzerland. A typical dinner meal consist of a 5-course Swiss menu with veal, rosti, wine and beer. It is quite a rich and filling meal.

Stadtkeller Restaurant exterior
Stadtkeller Restaurant exterior.

Also, it is tad like a beer tavern similar to the Hofbrauhaus tavern we previously visited in Munich. Everything here upbeat, from the long table seating great for large groups to live stage performances of music.

Live entertainment at Stadtkeller restaurant evening dinner shows
Live entertainment at Stadtkeller restaurant evening dinner shows.

You also get folklore performances and try it out sessions with patrons, conga line to entertain you throughout the evening. You can even have a go a Swiss yodelling or blowing a Swiss mountain horn. Cheese, wine and beer seems to be available without much limits too, or at best how much you can consume for the night.

Dining Interior
Blow horns

All in all, whether it is exploring Lucerne city, monuments, going up Swiss mountains (Pilatus), sailing the lake Lucerne, visiting a farm and dining like a Swiss, there is definitely one of a unique experiences this part of Switzerland can provide.



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