Switzerland: Mt. Titlis

It’s up there somewhere

Mt. Titlis is one of the highest mountain peaks in Switzerland that you can easily visit. It’s over 10,000 feet in elevation. As you can see from my picture, it was a partly cloudy day and we took a chance that the top would be in clouds when we arrived. The train from Lucerne to Engelberg took around 45 minutes with some beautiful scenery. We walked from the train station to the bottom of the mountain in about 10 minutes. It was an easy walk. There were signs for a free shuttle, but we did not see it. Mt. Titlis gives Swiss passholders a 50% discount on tickets. The ticket includes a round trip ride to the peak, glacier cave, and cliff walk. Even with the discount, it cost almost $100 for both of us.

View from the funicular

As luck would have it, we arrived on a day in which the gondola was under repair. This meant that we would have to take the funicular, two gondolas, and the final rotating gondola. It took almost an hour to reach the peak and they crammed as many people as they could into each mode of transportation.

View from gondola…not promising
Rotating gondola coming from the peak

Our views were not spectacular. They were mostly white. It was a bummer, but we decided to make the most of our trip and check out the Glacier Cave. It is about 500 feet long and inside the temperature is around freezing. The ice thickness is between 10-65 feet. The floor is also ice as well so you need to walk carefully. I read a blog that said they change things in the cave each year. There is sometimes a sofa, colored lights, and objects encased in ice. When you reach the peak, there are five levels to explore and the Glacier Cave is on level 1, so we went there first while most people sped upstairs.

Jef in Glacier Cave
The walls look unreal
The squirrel from Ice Age
Jef had to duck a bit
So cool

After we explored the Glacier Cave we headed up to Level 5 to go outside. It was white. As we walked toward the Cliff Walk, it got even more white. People were having a good time making snowballs, lying in the snow, and clutching each other while trying to walk in the snow. I didn’t think it was that cold, but it may have been my Maine genes kicking in. Jef said he was freezing. The sign said that the Cliff Walk and Ice Flyer were only 250 steps, but the white out conditions made it seem further.

What we were supposed to see
People were actually taking pictures of the white
Cliff walk from the side
No idea how far we are walking
I told you not to look down
I saw the cliff!

This Cliff Walk is almost two miles in height and over a quarter of a mile above ground. It is Europe’s highest suspension bridge. Yes, suspension bridge, which means it does move when you walk on it. If there were a lot of people on it (it was just us and a family of three) it would move quite a lot. Even though there is not a lot of space on it, you feel pretty safe. The steel wire enclosing each side ensured your safety even if you did slip. As you can see from the pictures, we did not get an amazing panoramic view, but I hear it is the best place to see everything on a clear day. When we reached the end of the bridge, we could hear something scrambling on the rocks below. We were hoping to catch sight of an ibex because it did sound like hooves, but the cloud continued to block our view. I thought it was really fun to walk across the bridge in the clouds because you couldn’t tell where you would end up. I also loved the snow drifting over us as we walked.

They also have an Ice Flyer, which is basically a four person chairlift with a plexiglass covering. You can pay and extra $12 for it and it will take you over to Glacier Park where you can sled and snow tube in the summer. We did not see anyone riding the flyer. The lady at the ticket counter told us we could buy the ticket up at the top, if there was a view. I thought it was wonderful that she didn’t try to sell us one before we left.

It was about 12:30 and we were ready for lunch. We walked down to the fourth level and they had a panoramic lounge in which you saw a sea of white. The next level had ice cream, chocolate, and coffee. The restaurant was closed on that level. On the second level we found the self service restaurant. I thought they had a nice variety of offerings. We chose a half chicken and french fries and coke to share. It was $30. If you are looking to save money, bring your lunch with you. It would be super expensive for a family. Nonetheless, the food was very tasty.

Lunch view before the cloud took over

We stopped briefly at the souvenir shop before we left. There was also a place where you could dress in traditional Swiss clothes and take a picture. It seemed rather involved, but the pictures displayed were very well done. I behaved myself and did not buy anything in the shop. Even though the train was not supposed to leave Engelberg until 2:02pm, we decided to head back down a little before 1pm. If there were views to experience, we would have stayed up there much longer.

That rotating gondola did nothing for us
Partial view

After the rotating gondola, during our first regular gondola ride on the way down, we decided to stop in Trubsee, since the views were lovely. There are a couple of restaurants and a snack bar there. In the winter there is free sledding and in the summer you can go on hikes. We thought it was a perfect place to stop to actually get some nice pictures.

Snack bar
You can’t even see the mountain
The top is totally in a cloud

It started sprinkling a bit while in Trubsee, but it was clear when we arrived at the bottom of the mountain. The rides back down the mountain were quite roomy. I enjoyed it a lot more with some room to breathe. We did not get to explore Engelberg besides the walk from the train station because the train arrived at the station the same time we did. I did take a few pictures though.

Engelberg
Engelberg

I mentioned yesterday that I would be perfectly happy riding a train around Switzerland. This ride to Engelberg was no exception. The train went right through the middle of small towns and I got to see houses close up as well as amazing mountain vistas. Although I would have preferred to see some panoramic views when we reached the top of Mt. Titlis, it did not damper my day. I enjoyed the experiences of the Glacier Cave and Cliff Walk and the ride on the rotating gondola. It was an expensive trip, but I think it was worth the cost.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s