Legends of Pilatus Mount. Discovering Central Switzerland

For those who plan their trip to Lucerne Mount Pilatus is a place to visit! This massive peak towering above the city is one the most beautiful places in Central Switzerland. It is also a mystical place. SUISSEPIC discovered some legends.

This Mount is located 20 minutes ride from Lucerne’s city center. Pilatus is like a huge guard for Lucerne, a pearl of Switzerland. You realize that having a walk around the lake beside Kapellbrücke, the most famous wooden bridge. From there the shape of Pilatus reminds a sleeping dragon’s body, who has stone peaks as his spin crests. The highest summit of Pilatus chain is Tomlishorn (2,128 m).


Mountain Pilatus is full of myths and legends. It is said that it was named after Pontius Pilate, fifth prefect of Judaea province in Roman Empire under Tiberius. He agreed to condemn Jesus Christ to crucifixion. Due to some accounts Pilate committed suicide and his body was thrown into River Tiber, which could not stand that and was overflowed causing damage to Rome. Emperor Tiberius decided to place the body in the Lake Leman, near Lausanne. But the waters of the largest alpine lake did not take him.

Some legends said that severe diseases spread in Geneva region at that time and the lake was not calm. So Pilate’s body was moved Central Switzerland, where the mountains were higher and the lake under Pilatus mountain accepted it. The Swiss say that once a year on Good Friday, the ghost of Pilate comes out of the Lake to wash his hands from the blood of Jesus Christ.  


Another Pilatus story reffers to a huge man named Pilate, who had body shape of a large man with a belly. “Pileatus” means “wearing a hat”. Its top is almost invisible behind the clouds like the mountain is wearing a bouffant hat.

Pilatus is also called Dragon Mountain. This legend goes back to the Middle Ages, when people believed that dragons with healing powers lived in the darkness of the mountain.


Hotels at Pilatus

There are 2 hotels at Pilatus Kulm. 3* Pulatus-Kulm hotel is a historic mountain lodge at 2,132 meters above sea level was built in 1890 and completely renovated in 2010. Another one is 20-rooms 3* Hotel Belvue with a panoramic view is truly magnificent and leaves a lasting impression, no matter the time of year or weather.

To get to Mount Pilatus

The easiest way to get a round-trip ticket from Lucerne to Pilatus is to buy it at Lucerne train station. It includes a bus ride from Lucerne to Kriens and a ticket for a cable-car round-trip from Kriens to Pilatus Kulm. The price is around CHF 80.

Also you can go by train to Alpnachstad, then cogwheel train to the top. Another way is to take a boat to Alpnachstad, then cogwheel train to the top.

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