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Holidays to Switzerland Travel Podcast Episode 96 Transcript

May 25, 2024 Last Updated on May 25, 2024

Mount Stanserhorn – Add this mountain peak in Switzerland to your must-visit list!

You can see the full show notes and listen to this episode > here.

Hi there and welcome to episode 96 of the podcast. If you’re currently planning your trip to Switzerland, you’ve probably got a list as long as your arm of mountain excursions and activities that you’d like to experience.  

Whilst it can be really difficult to cross some of these from your list, time and cost can ultimately play a big part in deciding which activities end up on your itinerary and which ones you have to skip.

So what if you could combine a ride on an historic funicular with a ride on a super-modern cable car?  Well you can!  

This mountain excursion is one you may not have heard of but thanks to its proximity to Lucerne and its laid back vibe, it’s definitely one to consider including in your itinerary.  

So let’s dive in and discover the many reasons to visit Mt. Stanserhorn with my guest, Lena Häfelfinger.

Carolyn Schönafinger: Hello, Lena. Thank you very much for coming on to the podcast. It’s lovely to have you here to chat to you today.

Lena Häfelfinger: Thank you very much for inviting. Hi.

So could you start by introducing yourself and telling us about your role with Cabrio Stanserhorn?

Yeah, my name is Lena and I’m responsible for the marketing, and I do enjoy riding the Cabrio cable car since three years.

Very good. And have you always lived in the region?

I have not lived in the region. I was growing up near Basel and realised that the area with the Lake and the mountains is just too exciting, too good. So I must live here.

Well, that sounds like a very good reason. So for those listeners who don’t perhaps know about the Stanserhorn, what is it and whereabouts in Switzerland is it?

So Stansehorn is the name of the mountain, and it’s very near to Lucerne, so only 15 minutes by train or car, so literally right next to Lucerne.

And what height is the mountain?

The height is, oh, in metres, it’s 1,898. That’s good. It’s not too high. So when you go up, you’re close to the other mountains. That’s a good point. And when going up the mountain, you ride with a funicular first. 

And there is a middle station where you change, and then you ride up with a Cabrio cable car. And Cabrio is the German word for convertible cable car. So it has an open top.

Okay. And I think that’s a record, isn’t it? Was it the world’s first double-decker open cable car?

It is. It was the world’s first, and it still is the only in the world. So that’s an experience you can experience nowhere else than here at Mount Stanserhorn.

Yeah, fantastic. All right. So I’m quite interested in the history of tourism on the mountain. What can you tell us about that? When did the first tourists discover Mount Stanserhorn?

That was back in 1893, 131 years ago. Back then, it was the steepest funicular that they built. It was a split in three sections. So people had to change two times going up to mountain, and it lasted a long time until they reached the top. And there was a hotel at the top that was classic as back in these days. 

Unfortunately, there was a fire in 1971. And after the fire, they did decide to keep the restaurant but not to rebuild the hotel. So nowadays, there is a restaurant and no hotel anymore. 

And also a few years after the fire, they realised that it’s better to have a cable car instead of the funicular. So they kept the first section of funicular. And the two upper sections, they did not use anymore, and they built a cable car. So still now, when you go up with a cable car, you can see the tracks of the old funicular.

Okay.

And there was this cable car, and it was all regular. And 12 years ago, they built the Cabrio. And since then, the mountain is with this world’s first and unique cable car, a different experience.

I can imagine. So can you tell me about the cable car? So obviously it’s double-decker, so you can be inside the cabin part. But from the photos I’ve seen, you can also actually then go up onto the upper deck, which is like you’re standing out in the open. Is that right?

That’s right, yes. There’s a stair inside, so you can start inside if you want, or you can start at the top and you can change deck while riding. And since the cables are at the side of the cabin, so when you are at the top, you have a view and you can take pictures without having the cables on top of you.

Fantastic. And of course, no danger then of people touching those cables either if they’re not above where you’re standing.

Yeah, no danger at all. It’s really safe. All good. And the view you have is going to Lake Lucerne. So you have a fantastic view on the way up already.

Okay. So if someone is staying in Lucerne, you mentioned before that they travel by funicular part of the way and then the cable car from the middle station to get to the summit. How much time do they need by public transport if they’re coming right from Lucerne?

So the the record is from Lucerne to the top of Mount Stanserhorn, you can make it in one hour.

Okay. Oh, well, that’s very convenient.

It is. The train ride is about 15 minutes. The walk from the train station is very easy, just five minutes. The funicular is 10 minutes, and also the cable car is about 10 minutes. So in total, a quick excursion.

Yeah, okay, that’s great. So how frequent are the funicular and the cable car services? Do they run very frequently throughout the day?

Yes, totally. We run every 30 minutes. But as soon as we are busy, we run every 10 minutes.

Oh, okay. So you’ve got the option to be able to add on extra services if there’s a lot of people there.

Absolutely. And there’s also an option to book a boarding pass in advance, so you have your spot reserved and you don’t need to wait in line.

Okay. And do people just do that on the Stanserhorn website?

Yes. And on the website, And if you forget to book a boarding pass, you can also just take one when you arrive. If you have to wait, then you don’t need to stand in line. You can discover the village, have a coffee. Yeah.

Okay, and is there an additional cost for the boarding pass?

If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, for example, and you don’t need a ticket, then the boarding pass is 2 francs. And if you buy a ticket, then the boarding pass is included.

Okay, excellent. So what are some of the things that visitors can do when they get to the top of Mount Stanserhorn?

First of all, they experience a fantastic view on the one side, they see Lake Lucerne, and on the other side, to the snow-capped mountains. And as I said before, since the mountain is not the highest, you’re really close to the mountains. And that’s something people never expect but really enjoy.

Okay. Yeah.

There is a circular summit trail that goes about 45 minutes, including taking pictures. And on the way of this circular summit trail, there is our marmot. Not sure if the word marmot is well known everywhere.

They’re a small, furry animal that lives on the mountain sides.

Yeah, exactly. And then there is the Stanserhorn Rangers. Every day from 10:00 until 4:00 in the afternoon, there is a one ranger at the mountain, just answering questions from our guests, showing the most beautiful plants or where the eagle flies. 

Another very exciting thing you can do on the mountain is to do a hang gliding tandem flight. We have one pilot offering tandem flights, and he won championships earlier in his days. And that’s a very exciting thing you can do if you’re looking for some adrenaline.

Okay. And can people just book that on arrival at the mountain?

They can, actually. They can book in advance. It’s also easy to find on our website, or they can just walk up to the pilot and ask if he’s available for a flight.

Wonderful.

And there is the revolving restaurant. And there we serve food with ingredients from Switzerland and the Alps. So really, really local kitchen. 

Mount Stanserhorn is a laidback, lazy mountain. So there’s a lot of benches. People can really enjoy nature and a calm experience. So it’s really a place where we can take a deep breath and enjoy what you see.

Sounds wonderful. And being so close to Lucerne, what a great contrast. You can have perhaps a busy morning in Lucerne, rushing around the city, seeing the sights there, and then come out and go up to Mount Stanserhorn and just totally totally unwind for the rest of the day.

Yeah, absolutely. We do evening rides from Thursday to Saturday. So you can even have a busy full day and enjoy, take the breath in the evening. See the sunset.

All right. So when those evening services are operating, what time would the last cable car and funicular head back down to Stans?

At 11:00.

All right. So it’s quite late.

Yeah, it’s late, and it will be dark at 11:00. So it’s also very unique to see the lights, the city lights of Lucerne and all the small villages from the top. That’s really cool.

Yeah, that would be something very special. So I know you already mentioned that you can get from Lucerne to the summit in an hour. How long would you recommend that people spend on the mountain itself?

I think three hours is a good amount of time to go up and have the experience and go back. If you can make it to half a day, I think you get more out of it since you have more time to see and experience the nature.

Yeah, for sure. So can you visit Stanserhorn all year round?

We are operating from April to November.

Okay, so as this podcast goes to air, it’ll be just about the opening of the 2024 season for the Stanserhorn.

Yeah, that’s amazing. We are preparing for the opening and excited for the start.

Yeah, I can imagine. So for those listeners who are interested in visiting Mount Stanserhorn, what do they need to be aware of in regards to ticket prices?

Mount Stanserhorn is included in the Swiss Travel Pass. I think, really, if I would travel to Switzerland, I would totally book a Swiss Travel Pass since then you have unlimited chances to experience the area. 

And also in the Tell Pass that is valid in central Switzerland, we are fully included. I think that’s personally the best option. 

And also, of course, it’s possible to book a ticket. That’s recommended to book it in advance on our website, since then you have the boarding pass included. And the ticket price is 82, or with the Half-Fare Card, it’s 41 per adult.

Okay. And what about for children? What price do they pay?

Children, when under six years, they are travelling for free. And when they travel with the parents until the age of 16, they ride for 20 francs.

Okay, great. But then, of course, those parents that have the Swiss Travel Pass, if they’ve bought the or obtained the Swiss Family Card for the children, then do the children travel free as well?

Yes, exactly.

Yeah, fantastic. So you can have a fantastic family day out and not pay anything if you’ve already bought your Swiss Travel Pass in advance.

Yeah, totally. Yeah.

Excellent. So do you have any tips to help our listeners prepare for their visit to Stanserhorn? Any important information that they should know?

I think really important is to check out if there is evening rides. Since then, you can really make the most of every single day you have while travelling. 

And then, yes, just really make sure you have the spot reserved to avoid waiting. And then, take your camera and you’re ready.

Wonderful. So for people who are thinking of perhaps doing one of those night excursions, should they make a reservation for the restaurant if they’re planning to eat up there?

So in general, the restaurant is open also in the evenings, and we have a self-service restaurant. And you never need a reservation. 

But good that you ask, because on Friday and Saturday, we have a candlelight dinner in addition to the self-service restaurant. And for the candlelight dinner, you need a reservation.

Okay, that’s very good to know. I think I might have to include that in my next visit to Switzerland. That sounds like something very, very special.

Absolutely.

So where can our listeners find out more information about visiting Mount Stanserhorn?

On our website, stanserhorn.ch. And also, of course, on Instagram, you can follow under @stanserhorn.cabrio.

Excellent. So I’ll put those links in the show notes for this episode so anyone interested can follow along and get additional information.

That would be great. Thank you so much.

Well, thank you for joining us, Lena, and telling us all about the world’s first double-decker, open-air cable car. What a wonderful experience for people to go and ride on that.

Thank you so much for your interest, and see everybody soon on the mountain.

Absolutely. Thank you. Bye-bye.

An historic funicular, the world’s only double-decker CabriO cable car, stunning views and the chance to see Swiss flora and fauna – what’s not to love about Mt. Stanserhorn?  

Its relaxed vibe adds to the appeal and that candlelight dinner is definitely something I’m going to try and include in my next visit to Switzerland.  There aren’t many mountains in Switzerland that you can visit at night so that would be an extra-special experience.

The free excursion to Mt. Stanserhorn is just one of many benefits of having a Swiss Travel Pass – it’s an all-in-one-ticket that includes travel on public transport right around the country – that’s trains, buses, boats and trams. 

The Swiss Travel Pass also includes 3 free mountain excursions (Stanserhorn, Stoos and Rigi) and up to 50% off most other mountain excursions, plus you get free entry to around 500 museums across Switzerland.

Sound good?  Why not get a copy of my free ‘Swiss Travel Pass Guide’ and discover all the reasons why buying a Swiss Travel Pass for your vacation can be a convenient and economical way to travel? 

Head on over to the website holidaystoswitzerland.com/stpguide for your free downloadable guide – or find the link in the show notes.

Thanks for joining me today. Don’t miss our next episode for more Swiss travel tips and Swiss-piration.  Until then, tschuss.

You can see the full show notes and listen to this episode > here.