By Shirene Hays, Travel Enthusiast
Have you ever wondered what the world looks like from a top the Swiss Alps? Have you ever ridden on a cogwheel railway up the side of a mountain? I was lucky enough to experience both in Lucerne, Switzerland! Mt. Pilatus was one of my must experience destinations… along with enjoying a great deal of chocolate and hot cocoa.
My journey began on a Swiss Air flight from JFK to Zurich. Everything from the flight crew, plane comfort, food, wine, and of course, Swiss chocolate, was perfect. I landed in Zurich at 7:30 the next morning, ready for my adventure.
European airports are like a mini city. The Zurich airport has high-end shopping, a train station, markets with fresh fruits and vegetables, cafes and even a movie theatre.
It From the airport to Lucerne it is a ninety-eight-minute train ride through the most beautiful scenery you can imagine.
I arrived in Lucerne, found a nearby boutique hotel for $165 a night including breakfast and went out to explore. Lucerne is like a fairytale Swiss town and yet at the same time it has the excitement and cultural richness of a city. It is clean, safe and easy to get around.
A few highlights not to be missed are The Lion Monument, designed in 1820, Chappel bridge, the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, built in 1333 and a ride on the gondola up Mt. Pilatus.
Mt Pilatus tickets can only be purchased during the hours of 8am to 5pm at the local city center. For $49 you will experience a picturesque gondola ride 7,000 feet up the side of the swiss alps. Commissioned in 1889 it is the steepest cogwheel railway in the world.
The following day, after a luscious Swiss breakfast at my hotel, next stop, Mt Pilatus! Riding the gondola up the mountainside was breathtaking. Once at the top, there is so much to do, explore caverns, marvel at the spectacular views of the alps, sip wine or drink coffee at the café, or shop to your hearts content. It is a memorable way to spend the day.
The ride down was a bit unnerving as it travels at a 48% steep grade but still worth every moment. Once off the gondola I took the Lake Lucerne boat back to the city.
Lucerne is a beautiful place to visit. The people are friendly, the food is delicious and the chocolate is amazing!