I'm going to be in Luzern in late February for a couple of days and a friend suggested visiting Mount Pilatus and going up to the summit. He visited in summer and it looked amazing, however is it still worth visiting in winter? I know the cog railway is closed but the cable cars are still operating. I imagine it will still be spectacular views if the weather is clear but what are the chances of fog and/or bad weather?
Mount Pilatus is not really a high mountain, so you can expect that the temperatures are almost the same as in the lowlands. For example just today, it is -2 degrees on the mountain and -4 degrees in the surrounding lowlands. But nevertheless, you should prepare well and take appropriate clothing with you. The actual day to day temperature you can check for example on this weather forecast.
AS bchetty already mentioned, you could also visit the Jungfrau, also called Top of Europe. In my opinion you can't really compare this two places. Because Jungfrau is way higher. It is actually the highest train station in Europe. There it can easily get below -25 degrees and if you go there on winter you should really take warm clothing with you. The ticket to the Jungfrau is also way more expensive than Mount Pilatus. Additionally, you shouldn't be scared of altitude sickness, but you have to consider it, if you're going up to the Jungfrau. But it is definitely more of an adventure and experience than Mount Pilatus.
A third option that you could consider is Mount Rigi. There are a lot of different options to get on top of the mountain and almost all of them are also accessible during winter.
It is very difficult to predict the chance of bad weather or fog. But in this region the weather is more or less stable. This means, if it is clear, the chance are high that it stays clear. But also the other way round. If it is foggy the chance are high that it stays foggy. Maybe you should plan to go there on the afternoon, since very often during winter it is foggy until lunch and then it gets clearer and clearer. Obviously the chance are worse on the Jungfrau since there it could be that you're over the clouds and won't see anything. But the Jungfrau has also other spectacular views to offer than just a bird's eye view of the lowlands. There are glaciers and huge mountains very close.
Pilatus is a good day out from Luzern however also very easy to get to is Mount Titlis via Engelberg (an easy train ride out of Luzern station also with cog railway), it also has station at the top and is much higher. Titlis has magnificent views. If you've got the time do both, if your not a skier you can hire toboggan on both mountains, awesome. I took my Wife on valentines day(which was amazing but difficult now to beat), also best time it with the mardi-gras in luzern.
Why not? I've been to the top of Jungfrau mountain in January and liked it. It might not offer great views, but it is still worth it. Also, Interlaken ain't that far from Luzern. If you travel by train, it takes an hour approximately and offers great views through the windows of the train. Interlaken and it's surroundings have some great things to offer.
Consider that the cog railway "at the back" of Mount Pilatus is closed during winter. Thus the really nice golden round-trip from
- Luzern to Alpnach-Staad by (Steam-)Ship,
- climbing up with one of the steepest cog railway,
- and finally descend with the Cable Car to Kriens (suburb of Luzern)
is not possible.
The mentioned trip to Jungfrau (Top of Europe) is not comparable to a trip on Mount Pilatus. Jungfrau is much higher but also presumes more time effort to reach. You can spontaneously decide to visit Mount Pilatus at Lunch time and be up there at 3 o'clock
Whenever you decide to visit Mount Pilatus, always check before whether you can see the top of the Pilatus from Luzern. Without the great view, the trip is... not worth.