It was winter, and we had just arrived in Switzerland. We were searching for a perfect day trip, one that would take us to the famous Alps, but also let us see a bit of the cities – and that is how we ended up on a train heading to Mount Titlis.
- How to get there
Titlis is a perfect one-day destination for everyone, regardless of where you’re based. Best way to get to the mountain is to take a train to Engelberg, a charming, small city lying at its base, and from there move up with the cable car.
If you don’t want to pay too much for the ride (the trains are quite expensive here), it’s good to ask a local friend for a daily ticket, which will not only allow you to freely explore the country by train, tram and boat, but also grant you a discount on the cable car fares. It costs about 40chf and can only be obtained by the Swiss citizens. If you’re traveling independently, you can purchase the Swiss Travel Pass, but be prepared for a pretty hefty expense – a 3-days pass for 2nd class will cost you 210chf, so its only reasonable if you’ll travel a lot.
- What to see on the way
Using the official SBB timetable, you can plan the details of your travel and include some interesting places on the way. We decided to stop by in Luzerne, one of the most beautiful and charming cities of Switzerland… and, well, we only saw the neighborhood of the train station, because we didn’t have enough time to catch the train back home. Luckily, the famous Kapellbrücke is very close to the main rail hub, so we managed to do some lazy, touristic sightseeing (still worth it). If you don’t feel like getting up extremely early and rushing to see something more, hiking around Titlis can also nicely fill up the whole day by itself.
- What to do up there
In order to get to the top of the mountain, you have to transfer twice: in Trübsee and Stand. From Stand, you go up with the world’s first rotating gondola, Rotair, and the panoramic view is already stunning from there. You don’t have to go all the way at once – the activities and facilities are spread between all the stops leading to the summit. In the winter, you can go crazy in the snow park in Trübsee, sliding down in minibobs and snowtubes, and in the summer you should go to the peak of the mountain and visit the Glacier park, which offers even more attractions (all year round!).
If you’re as lucky as us, it will probably turn out that it’s this one day when most of the attractions are closed – but you can limit the probability of this by checking the Open trails on the Titlis website. Still, the mountains can be unpredictable, and even if everything is working when you’re heading out, it can already be too windy to take the Ice Flyer a couple of hours later.
Since the fog made it almost impossible and too dangerous to hike too far from the base, we chose to focus on what was available and went to see the highest European suspension bridge, even though it was completely covered in the milky clouds. Afterwards, we entered the fairytale-like Glacier cave and headed out for a refreshing (meaning: extremely windy) walk around the glacier.
Even if the weather lets you down a bit, there’s still a lot to do on Titlis. Apart from the activities above, you can also eat a delicious meal in one of the mountain-top restaurants with a stunning view, take a touristy (and hilarious) photo in the traditional Swiss garments, shop for a watch (hey, you’re in Switzerland) or spend all your money on buying a ton of chocolate (again – Switzerland).
It might not be off the beaten path, but we don’t always go for the least visited places. It’s also good to see some of the most characteristic places in a country, even if lots of other people been there already. The beautiful, raw atmosphere of the sharp, snow-capped mountain peaks definitely outweighs the touristy feel that you get in the lodges and makes this trip one of the most enjoyable ones.