The Hammetschwand Lift: Europe’s Tallest Outdoor Elevator

Sep 11, 2015 1 comments

The lookout point at the summit of Switzerland’s famous mountain Bürgenstock offers stunning panoramic views of the Alps, Lake Lucerne, and the city of Lucerne. But in order to reach the top of the 1,127 meters-tall peak, you have to hop into a more than hundred-year-old, rickety elevator called the Hammetschwand Lift, which also happens to be the tallest outdoor elevator in Europe. The lift whisks passengers up the face of the rocky cliff, making the 153 meters journey in just under a minute. If you survive the trip without attacks of vertigo, you’ll be able to exit at the top, and then cross a bridge that leads to the mountaintop.


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The Hammetschwand elevator was built in 1905 by the owners of the Burgenstock Hotel, which has been a popular vacation spot since 1872. The elevator was originally constructed from wood and covered with zinc sheet metal, as was the shaft. The small, squarish cabin could transport up to eight passengers, and the ride to the top originally took about three minutes.

The elevator was upgraded in 1935, and its speed was increased from one meter per second to its current speed of almost 3 meters per second. After the upgrade, it became not only the highest public external elevator of Europe, but also the fastest elevator in the world.

The filigrain, metal lattice tower has a surface area of 2×2 meters, is 118 meters high and is located on a 44 meter high rock pit. The elevator entrance, the engine room and the first 14 meters of this pit are completely on the inside of the mountain, while the last 30 meters it elevates with a full view of the Lake of Lucerne.

Passengers take assurance from the fact that the elevator today is made from sturdier but lighter metal. It still takes immense courage to step into that contraption though.


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Sources: Wikipedia


  1. Stunning and great place - don't miss it out - if you ever make it to Switzerland.


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