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How to Get from Lucerne to Pilatus

(Last Updated On: December 12, 2023)

Pilatus is a well-known excursion and viewpoint in Lucerne for both tourists and locals alike. In case you were wondering how to get from Lucerne to Pilatus, then this guide is for you.

Going from Lucerne to Pilatus
Image of Pilatus by Rene Staempfli from Pixabay

Pilatus wasn’t always this well-known though. In fact, back in 1370, the local government did not allow visitors to the Pilatus Lake on Oberalp. Locals regarded areas in the alps as scary places. The locals feared ghosts, witches, and dragons. Good thing we do not believe the same thing nowadays as those who lived during the Middle Ages!

The genius Eduard Locher envisioned a futuristic train on Pilatus at the end of the 19th century. Pilatus has the steepest cogwheel railway in the world. It has a maximum gradient of 48% and an average gradient of 35%. The train links Alpnachstad in Obwalden to Pilatus Kulm at 2,073 Meters.

It is possible to go from Lucerne to Pilatus in one day. Based on the travel time we have already experienced, I estimate around 70 minutes each way.

On this page, you can find all the information you need regarding the journey from Lucerne to Pilatus.

Overview: Navigating Swiss Trains

You can start by visiting the SBB website: www.sbb.ch. Using the website, you can type in your departure and arrival destinations. It will then guide you to where and when you need to be. An app is also available for iOS and Android devices.

If you wish to pay half the fare for all your train rides in Switzerland, a Half Fare Discount Card (1-month validity) is available on www.sbb.ch. This allows you to travel for half the price on all SBB routes and most other railways during the duration of your discount card.

Using the Swiss Pass, you get unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat in Switzerland. Over 500 museums are also free or discounted, and there are free or discounted excursions to mountain summits.

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Getting tickets from RailEurope is a convenient option if you’re traveling within Europe and/or visiting multiple countries. Having been in operation since the 1930s, RailEurope‘s extensive history, user-friendly website and mobile apps, flexible currency payment options, commitment to customer satisfaction, and strategic partnerships with leading rail operators, collectively establish it as a reliable and trustworthy platform for booking European train travel.

You can obtain from RailEurope the following travel passes:

  • Swiss Travel Pass – choose between continuous or flexible Swiss train passes for 3, 4, 8, or 15 days. The perks? unlimited use in over 90 Swiss cities, free admission to more than 500 museums, and discounts on mountain railways and cable cars. You also get discounts on high-speed Lyria trains between France and Switzerland as well as Nightjet trains that go through Switzerland. See RailEurope for more information.
  • Eurail Global Pass – unlimited train travel to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for non-EU residents
  • Interrail Global Pass – access to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for citizens and permanent residents of the EU

Are There Direct Trains From Lucerne to Pilatus?

As of the time of writing (updated December 2023), there are no direct trains from Lucerne to Pilatus.


How to Get From Lucerne to Pilatus

Image of Lucerne Train Station by TouringSwitzerland.com

How to Get From Lucerne to Pilatus via Kriens

To get from Lucerne to Pilatus via Kriens, you will have to take the following connections:

  1. Take the bus from Lucerne to Kriens.
  2. In Kriens, take the gondola to Fräkmüntegg.
  3. In Fräkmüntegg, you will take the cable car to Pilatus Kulm.

How to Get From Lucerne to Pilatus via Alpnachstad

To get from Lucerne to Pilatus via Alpnachstad, you will have to take the following connections:

  1. Take the train from Lucerne to Alpnachstad.
  2. In Alpnachstad, take the rack railway to Pilatus Kulm.
Image of a Boat in Lake Lucerne by TouringSwitzerland.com

How to Get From Lucerne to Pilatus with the Golden Round Trip


You can experience the Golden Round Trip from Lucerne to Pilatus through a delightful combination of boat rides, rack railways, and cable airways, connecting you effortlessly between both destinations.

To get from Lucerne to Pilatus with the Golden Round Trip, you will have to take the following connections:

  1. Take the boat from Lake Lucerne to Alpnachstad.
  2. In Alpnachstad, take the rack railway to Pilatus Kulm.
  3. In Pilatus Kulm, take the cable car to Fräkmüntegg.
  4. In Fräkmüntegg, take the gondola to Kriens.
  5. In Kriens, take the bus back to Lucerne.

How to Get From Lucerne to Pilatus with the Silver Round Trip

To get from Lucerne to Pilatus with the Silver Round Trip, you will have to take the following connections:

  1. Take the train from Lucerne to Alpnachstad.
  2. In Alpnachstad, take the rack railway to Pilatus Kulm.
  3. In Pilatus Kulm, take the cable car to Fräkmüntegg.
  4. In Fräkmüntegg, take the gondola to Kriens.
  5. In Kriens, take the bus back to Lucerne.

How to Get From Lucerne to Pilatus with a Tour Guide

If you would like to embark on a highly-rated and popular guided tour of Mount Pilatus, you could do so with a multilingual guide. You can book this on GetYourGuide.com. It is going to cost a little more than doing it yourself, but you’ll have access to a guide who can provide additional information.

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GetYourGuide.com is a renowned travel platform in Europe that gives you the flexibility to book either travel guides or tickets, depending on your preference. Additionally, it offers the convenience of reserving your spot now and settling the payment at a later time.

You will travel by coach until Kriens where you will ride the gondolas to Fräkmüntegg and cable car up to Mount Pilatus.

After finishing your visit to Mount Pilatus, you will descend the mountain on the world’s steepest cogwheel railway before embarking on a one-hour cruise back to Lucerne (only available in summer).

You can book this popular guided tour on GetYourGuideLucerne: Mt. Pilatus Cable Car, Cogwheel Train & Lake Cruise.


How Long Does It Take From Lucerne to Pilatus?

The following table shows the travel duration from Lucerne to Pilatus (updated December 2023):

RouteDuration (Fastest)
Lucerne – Alpnachstad – Pilatus Kulm55 minutes
Lucerne – Kriens – Fräkmüntegg – Pilatus Kulm1 hour 9 minutes

How Much Will the Train Ticket From Lucerne to Pilatus Cost?

According to pilatus.ch (as of December 2023), ticket prices are as follows:

RouteDescriptionFull Fare (CHF)Half Fare (CHF)
Lucerne – Kriens – Pilatus – Alpnachstad – Lucerne (boat and bus, May to October), Second ClassGolden Round Trip111.6056.20
Lucerne – Kriens – Pilatus – Alpnachstad – Lucerne (boat only, May to October), Second ClassGolden Round Trip108.0054.00
Lucerne – Kriens – Pilatus – Alpnachstad – Lucerne (train only, May to November), Second ClassSilver Round Trip89.4045.50
Guided Tour with GetYourGuideRound Trip152.00n/a
Lucerne to Pilatus Expected Cost / pilatus.ch

As you can see, if you avail of the Half Fare Travel Card, you can save on your fare for long train journeys. So this is something to consider during your travel to Switzerland. You can do simple calculations and decide from there if it will be worth it for you.

You will also get reductions if you have one of the following tickets: Interrail, Eurail, Generalabonnement, Swiss Travel Pass, and Swiss Travel Pass Flex.


Do You Need a Seat Reservation on the Train?

No, there is no need to reserve a spot on the train. But you can always add this option if that is your wish.

* Disclosure: By clicking on our affiliate links, you may support TouringSwitzerland.com while incurring no additional costs. We appreciate your support!


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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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