The stunning mastiff, Mount Pilatus rises high above the city of Lucerne, Switzerland. Lucerne is an easy and beautiful drive from Stuttgart, Germany for those of you stationed there. The drive from Germany travels through the Swiss Alps and is breathtaking and worth renting a car for. This beautiful area is greatly enhanced by the views and folklore tales of this ancient stoic mountain. Visiting Mount Pilatus with kids means you get you to indulge your inner child with stories of myths and legends.
The Myth of Mount Pilatus
The first known legends regarding dragon sightings on Mount Pilatus date back to the early 1400s. It was common knowledge to the locals of Lucerne—the village surrounding the base of the mountain—that dragons resided in the crevices and jagged ledges of Pilatus. In the summer of 1421, a dragon misjudged his landing and crashed into a farmer’s field just feet away from the farmer. The farmer fainted from the collision and when he came to he found a clump of dried dragon blood and the dragon stone. In 1509 the dragon stone’s magical healing powers were recognized by law.
It gets better…
In the early morning hours of May 26, 1499, there was a wondrous spectacle in Lucerne. After a terrible storm a gigantic, wingless dragon emerged from the tumultuous waters of the Reuss river near Spreuer bridge. The storm had probably caught the Lindworm by surprise and swept it from the Pilatus into Krienbach stream, which flows into the Reuss downriver of the Jesuit church. Several honorable and educated citizens vouched for the authenticity of this story.
One more tale…
Another legend says that one year, in the fall, a young man on the Pilatus fell into a deep cavern and found himself lying between two dragons. But they didn’t do anything to him. When spring came, one of the two dragons left its winter home and flew off. The other dragon crawled to the exit, extended its tail toward the man, and pulled him out of the cavern. It’s easy to see why Mount Pilatus has adopted the name Dragon Mountain, and why visiting Mount Pilatus with kids can be a whole lot of fun.
The Dragon Walk
The local tourism plays up the dragon legends very well, which makes it even more exceptional of a destination for families. Once at the top of Mount Pilatus with your kids, hopefully arriving via cable car, you can take the dragon walk. A covered sidewalk can be found in the mountain, carved by both natural and man-made forces. The route takes you around the majority of the outside of the mountain. The Dragon Walk gives way to some of the most stunning views in the world.
You can book tours of the dragon walk, but it is just as enjoyable to take your time peering out every opening on your own. For the most part, climbing Mount Pilatus with kids is safe, even the summit. The few areas that would be considered dangerous are not easily accessible. If you are a thrill-seeker, getting that near-death-standing-on-the-edge photo is very easy.
Mount Pilatus with Kids: Fun for Days!
Because Mount Pilatus is so big and the cable car schedule so reliable, Mount Pilatus has numerous stops on the way up. On one level there is a zip line obstacle course where older children can test their skills. On that same level, there is a restaurant with a view of a lovely Waldorf park. The park goes on and on, providing hours of fun for kids of all ages.
If you take the cable car to the next stop, you will find the longest summer toboggan in Europe. At almost two miles long you are guaranteed a spectacular time. This is one benefit to visiting Mount Pilatus with kids—you can ride with them on the toboggan.
If viewing the majestic mountain from the bottom is more your style, then Lake Lucerne offers every water sport imaginable. Take in the views, the rides, the tours from the top and, of course, the myths. Mount Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland has everything to make a perfect holiday. Plus, what’s better than your children being enthralled by tales of dragons while you eat Swiss Chocolates?? Not Much.
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Photo Credit: Lydia Bradbury