The highest glacier excursion destination and biggest ski and snow paradise in central Switzerland, Titlis, is phenomenal. Located just 45 minutes outside Lucerne, Titlis, at 3,238 meters above sea level, is a sight you can’t miss. A part of the Uri Alps, located on the border between the cantons of Obwalden and Berne, it is the highest summit of the range north of the Susten Pass.
Titlis offers several activities during the summer such as biking, hiking, kayaking and walking. During the winter, the mountain is a haven for snow activities such as winter walking, skiing, cross-country skiing, and tobogganing. And with several restaurants and three hotels (Hotel Terrace, Trübsee Alpine Lodge and the TITLIS Resort), the mountain is a tourist hotspot.
Since we were driving through Switzerland, we drove to Engelberg, the cable car station to climb to the top of Titlis. The drive was scenic from Lucerne, as we drove through small towns and villages. Engelberg, itself, is a village characterized by the imposing monastery and the collegiate church with about 30 monks still living and working there today. The village can also alternatively be accessed by a narrow-gauge railway in under an hour from Lucerne. At the car park of the Engelberg Valley Station, we met up with Dad’s friend and his family, who live in Lausanne.At Engelberg, we got onto gondolas that passed through Gerschnialp (1262m) onwards to Trübsee (1796m), where we switched to another gondola to go up to Stand (2,428 m). Both the gondolas had large panoramic windows from which we could see the Engelberg and the surrounding villages, that covered with lush greenery and we even spotted plenty of cows whose bells we could hear.
At Trübsee, besides, exploring Lake Trübsee on a rowing boat or kayak, visitors can check out the Titlis Adventure Park, where they can jump 3, 4 or 6 meters down on the airbag below in the BagJump Tower ride.
At Stand, it was quite chilly so we all bundled up in our winter wear before taking the final cable car, Titlis Rotair, up to the top of the Titlis (Klein Titlis). The cable car was revolving and had it not been a cloudy foggy day, the snow-covered views would have been incredible and I would have been able to enjoy a 360-degree panorama for the duration of the five-minute journey.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Titlis Rotair is the world’s first revolving aerial cableway.
Once we got to the Titlis Mountain Station, we passed by several shops, including a Lindt shop and the Swiss Lion shop (the world’s highest watch shop), and some restaurants, before going out to the terrace overlooking the summit. Here, I had to take a photo with the cardboard cutout of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol from their hit movie, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge as it was filmed on the mountain.
From the mountain station, the Glacier Cave, that forms a frosty heart of Titlis, is just a short walk away. I didn’t go here, though, I hear that the cave is bathed in a dim turquoise-blue light with millions of tiny ice crystals on the walls. The cave’s 150-meter-long walkways branch out in several directions and descend up to 20 meters below the surface of the glacier. Unfortunately, it isn’t wheelchair accessible.I hung around the terrace, trying to catch a glimpse of the peak of the Titlis when the clouds cleared for several seconds. I couldn’t quite go into the snowy area, so everyone else carried on to the Titlis Cliff Walk – Europe’s highest suspension bridge at 3041 meters above sea level and 500 meters off the ground. The 100-meter-long bridge was just built recently in 2012. It is an absolute must if you want to enjoy unique views of the mountains with a different perspective.
The Titlis Cliff Walk leads to the Ice Flyer chairlift, that visitors “fly” over the Titlis glacier and see it up close. It basically takes people to the Titlis Glacier Park, where all kinds of snow activities await them. Diva, Mom and Dad along with a few others from our group went on the Ice Flyer and then went tobogganing. Other activities available in the Titlis Glacier Park are snow tubing and snow sledding.
Meanwhile, the rest of us huddled up on the platform. Once they got back, we were quite cold (it was 1°C all day) so we headed back indoors to grab a bite to eat. On the Mountain Station, there are plenty of places to eat, including Panorama Restaurant Titlis, Mövenpick Ice Cream Bar and Titlis Snack bar.
We headed to the Panorama Self-Service restaurant. With an array of international cuisine to choose from, Diva and I decided to share a portion of Pav Bhaji with some French Fries. The Bhaji (mashed veggie curry) was tasty and the Pav (bread) was warm and buttery, just as we like it. The French Fries were hot and delicious. And we washed all this down with a hot cup of Masala Chai. But it wasn’t as good as the chai on the Jungfraujoch.Satisfied, we went back down to Engelberg where it was much warmer down at the Valley Station. There we noticed that there was a Spice Bistro Restaurant and Take-Away which was serving Indian specialties such as Samosas and Vada Pav. If we had known, I know Dad would have wanted us to eat here.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the city of Lucerne.
Photos by Hitesh & Diva Shah