In central Switzerland, in the canton of Nidwalden, you can drive to the 1,898-meter-high peak of Stanserhorn by a cable car that is unique in the world. Opened in 2012, it offers a ride on the open deck, from which you have a wonderful view of Lake Luzern and the surrounding peaks.
Stans, the administrative center of the canton of Nidwalden, is located about 130 km from Bern, 65 km from Zurich and from Lucerne, it is a stone’s throw away.
By car: From Luzern, take Highway A2 to exit Stans Nord, enter the town and follow the signs to the Parking Stanserhorn-Gemeindeparkplatz. Right next to the station, there is also a parking lot but it has quite a small capacity. You can also park at the covered Bahnhof-Dorfplatz car park. From both parking lots, it is about 300 meters to the funicular station (the path is marked). Parking fee: 2CHF/2hours, 3CHF/4hours, 5CHF/day.
By train: Stans Station can easily be reached from Lucerne by Zentralbahn (direction Engelberg).
Since the Stanserhorn, despite the high fare, is a popular trip destination, it can happen that there will be big queues here. In good weather, during the holiday season in summer or on weekends, there might be longer waiting times (up to 1,5 hours). But it would not be the Swiss to not have everything well organized. Thanks to the Boarding Pass, you do not have to worry that you won´t fit into the small wooden wagon and then into the cabin of the cable car.
As soon as you approach the building with the cash desk, the friendly staff will give you a boarding pass with the closest departure time of the funicular. Then you join the queue for the tickets. And then you’ll just wait for the departure time. Do not forget to get your boarding pass after disembarking the cable car! Don´t be like us! But I’ll get to that …
In summer 2018, the local grocery chain Migros is offering discounts on 18 Swiss mountains (see the map below) through their Cumulus-Extra program. One of the mountains is also Stanserhorn, where you can save up to 49CHF on this trip. Which is great for your visitors, that don´t have half-fare cards. And how does it work?
How to get the discount?
The basis is to go shopping in Migros and have their loyalty Cumulus card (and no, this is not Migros sponsored post, but if it were :D). For your purchases, you collect cashback coupons in the value of 5 francs. You can use them as a discount during your next grocery shopping, or you can create an account on the Migros website, and here you can exchange them into discount vouchers – the link here. Then you print out the voucher and present when buying your ticket. Of course, you can get a discount even if you own a Half-fare card (although it’s not so significant).
We did during my parent´s visit and saved a bundle on this trip to Stanserhorn. I probably don´t have to say that they were happy to pay 25CHF for the return ticket instead of 74CHF! We, as half-fare cards owners, paid 25CHF instead of 37CHF.
This year, the funicular celebrates 125 years of its existence. Riding in historic wooden wagon through the pastures forms the first leg of the trip to the Stanserhorn.
CabriO cable car
After the first leg, we disembarked and went to the ride the cable car the rest of the way. From the cabin, which has a capacity of 60 people, you can reach the open deck after a spiral staircase. I probably don´t have to say that it´s an amazing experience with an awesome view. The funicular “pilot” was friendly and quite informative. Unfortunately in Swiss German 🙂 From what we understood, he kindly welcomed us and talked about what we can see from the cable car. Probably he had also said something about having to pick up our boarding pass for the return journey after disembarking the cabin, but we didn´t hear it (or didn´t understand 😀 ). So we headed straight to the lookout terrace.
I was so busy with taking pictures of my parents, so I didn´t go in.
After soaking up the sun on the deck chairs, we walked to the summit, passing the marmot “house” (unfortunately we didn´t see any marmot). If we had previously enjoyed views of Buochserhorn, Titlis, or the “big three” Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, we now enjoyed the views of Pilatus, Rigi, Bürgenstock, Luzern and, of course, Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Luzern).
Below the peak, there is “Grillstelle” with a stock of wood and two large tables for a family picnic.
Then we continued on the trail to the Adlerfluh (Eagle´s cliff) and then we went back to the cable car. The length of the loop trail is about 1km, so it is also suitable for little hikers 🙂
There was an unpleasant surprise we had to face. You probably guess (and guess right) that because of Boarding passes. The staff handed out tickets with return time at 16:55. And it was 14:00! Maybe you can imagine our horror! Do we not get down? What are we going to do the next three hours here?!
After the conversation with the attendant (during that – I admit – I had tears in my eyes), it turned out that we can ride down to the valley with the cable car at any time, but the boarding pass is due to the funicular and its limited capacity. So we were supposed to hike down the leg (we were said it would take about half an hour). But we were lucky that the cabin was not full, and eventually, there were vacant places in the funicular wagon for us! So it all went well (though true, the half-hour of hiking downhill wouldn´t surely kill us 😉 ).
You can take the cable car ride with a stroller, there are barrier-free accesses to both the funicular and the cabriolet. With a stroller, you can also get to the picnic area and Adlerfluh.
The trip to Stanserhorn was the peak of this season. At least for me. And what about you? Have you ever been to Stanserhorn? Have you used your Cumulus voucher to have your discounted ticket? Tell me in the comments! And don´t forget to pin this for later!