The first aerial cableway with rotating cabins – the oldest cogwheel railway – the steepest funicular railway: the Lake Lucerne Region boasts a number of record-breaking railways and aerial cableways. Not only do these five railways and aerial cableways convey you quickly and comfortably to the peaks of Central Switzerland, but the journey itself is an experience.
Inaugurated in 1871, Europe's first cogwheel railway linked Vitznau with Rigi Staffelhöhe. The Vitznau-Rigi Railway was extended up to Rigi Kulm two years later. It takes around 30 minutes to reach the summit at 1797 metres above sea level, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Lake Lucerne, the Alps and the Swiss Central Plateau. The "Royal Round Trip" excursion starts in Lucerne on board a vintage paddle steamer, crossing Lake Lucerne to Vitznau and changing to the cogwheel railway for Rigi Kulm.
Boasting a gradient that reaches 48 percent, the cogwheel railway on the Pilatus is the steepest such railway in the world. Inaugurated in 1889, its ingenious construction continues to amaze to this day. The trip between Alpnachstadt and Pilatus Kulm at 2132 metres above sea level takes around 30 minutes. The 4.6-kilometre railway negotiates glorious mountain meadows and awe-inspiring cliffs. You may even spot marmots and ibexes. Experience the Pilatus by boat, cogwheel railway and aerial cableway courtesy of the "Golden Round Trip".
Enjoy a trip on the TITLIS Rotair, the world's first aerial cableway with rotating cabins. The cabins rotate 360 degrees during the 5-minute ride, offering unique panoramic views of snow-capped peaks and glacier crevasses. Your ascent begins in Engelberg on the Titlis-Xpress gondola cableway to Stand, where you change to the Rotair, which whisks you to the top of the Titlis. Visit the icy glacier grotto or cross the Titlis Cliff Walk suspension bridge.
Experience the wind in your hair on the world's first aerial cableway cabins with an open-air upper deck. The trip up the Stanserhorn starts on the vintage 1893 funicular railway, which takes you to Kälti, the intermediate terminus, where you switch to the CabriO aerial cableway: this whisks you up the Stanserhorn (alt. 1900 metres) in six minutes. The lower deck of the double-deck cabins features lots of glazing, while the upper deck is open to the elements.
The world's steepest funicular railway links Schwyz-Schlattli in the valley with the car-free mountain village of Stoos at alt. 1300 metres. Featuring a gradient that reaches 110 percent, it takes seven minutes to cover the 744 metres of altitude difference. The cars' automatic levelling system keeps passengers level at all times. The Stoos offers 35 kilometres of skiing in winter and countless footpaths in summer. The local Fronalpstock can be reached on foot or via chair lift: it boasts views of the Pilatus, Rigi and Rütli Meadow, as well as of ten lakes and the high Alps.