I’m not going to lie, our trip up to Mount Pilatus, one of Lucerne’s most popular and highest mountain peaks, did not go quite as we had hoped. We only had two days in Lucerne and being able to see the very top of the snow-capped mountain from our hotel room at Hotel Continental Park had made us super excited, but of course we had to pick the day with the worst weather (cloudy, rainy, couldn’t see further than a few metres in front of you, etc.) which did not bode well for an adventure to the top of a mountain.
I’m fully aware that people do go up snowy mountains in the depths of winter to ski but we are not skiers and I don’t ever intend to be one thank you very much. I’m more likely to roll head first down the side of a mountain than I am to successfully ski down one so we did the wise thing and stuck to the mountain for the non-skiers.
A 12 month old doesn’t need much entertainment so Evie was perfectly happy just riding the cable car and staring out in wonder at the views. But us big kids do need a bit more to keep us entertained so luckily there were plenty of other things to do on the mountain even in bad weather.
As we made our way up in the ariel cable car, the city below us got smaller and further away, the buildings replaced by lush green hills, and then the green hills were gradually replaced by a blanket of white.
We couldn’t believe how much snow there was! Down on the ground wandering around the city we had been a little chilly but not enough to get the hats and gloves out. Up here it was like we had stepped (or flown thanks to the cable car) into a different world.
Everything was dusted in white. The snow was still falling all around us and there was even a little trickle of a snowy waterfall pouring over the side of the mountain. We were indeed in a magical winter wonderland.
Because we were so cold the first stop on our mountain adventure was of course the incredibly cosy log cabin restaurant to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate.
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We climbed the mountain. It was cloudy. But that didn't stop us from having fun! We played in the snow, imagined we were flying through the air on a cable car surrounded by clouds, and we camped out with hot chocolates and traditional Swiss rosti in the cutest log cabin cafe. Even though we didn't get to see those mountain views it's still not a bad way to spend a day in the Swiss Alps.
They had a range of food on offer too so of course we ordered a traditional Swiss rosti because we had to try out the local food while we were there didn’t we? Like a delicious giant hashbrown – so I don’t really see how you can go wrong – all three of us dug in with a magical view of the snowy mountains as we ate.
Once we were all ready and wrapped up warm again we braved the cold once more to go up even higher in another gondola. This time it was terrifying! It wasn’t the height that had me fearing for the three of us plus the 20 or so other tourists who were riding in the gondola with us. It was the fact that after about 30 seconds of going up we literally couldn’t see a thing. The mix of snow and fog turned everything bright white. We could no longer see the ground below us or the side of the mountain in front of us, and could only slightly catch a glimpse of the wire that we were suspended from.
I clung onto Evie tightly and my heart didn’t settle back at its normal pace again until our feet were safely back on firm ground. Well as firm as the ground can be when you’re 2,132 metres above sea level!
At the viewing platform at the very top of Pilatus it felt like we were completely snowed in. Huge piles of snow covered the ground, the walkways and the sides of the buildings in every direction we turned. It seemed that the gondola had taken us to Narnia and the big kids that we all are loved it!
There are a range of activities up here to keep you occupied from beautiful hikes to simply taking in the views while listening to this happy old guy playing his giant horn come rain or shine.
There is also another restaurant and even a hotel which I imagine would have the most incredible views to wake up to in the morning.
Pilu Land, a big playground area on the first level up Pilatus, is watched over by Pilu the friendly dragon. It’s a fantastic area for children to play, swing and climb.
There is also a rope park (think Go Ape but in the mountains!) as well as an amazing toboggan run all the way down the slopes. Unfortunately Evie was a little too young for the toboggan so I had to keep my feet sulkily on the ground this time.
If you’re planning a trip to Lucerne and want to take a trip up a mountain to get that proper Swiss Alps experience (and you really should) I would recommend Pilatus but during the summer months I’m sure would be better. Then you can make your way up in the world’s steepest cogwheel railway which is open from May to November where instead of being greeted by a blanket of white you would hopefully have this panorama to completely wow you. Yes, I think I definitely need to go back again one day to see this for myself.
Have you been to the top of a mountain? Where is your favourite mountain view in the world? Let me know in the comments below or at:
Thank you to Pilatus for hosting our mountain adventure