Located in the heart of Central Switzerland, Mount Rigi is an excellent day trip from Lucerne or Zurich. The mountain offers a spectacular view of the Swiss Alps, the lakes, and an impressive variety of alpine flora.
In this guide, I’ll share all information you need to know to plan a perfect day trip to Mount Rigi.
How to get to Mount Rigi
You can easily get to Mt. Rigi by cogwheel train from Arth-Goldau or Vitznau, or cable car from Weggis.
Getting from Lucerne to Mount Rigi
You can take a boat from Lucerne to Vitznau and hop on the cogwheel train to the summit. For a hassle-free experience, it’s best to join a day trip from Lucerne to Rigi with a scenic cruise on Lake Lucerne and cable car.
Alternatively, you can take a boat to Weggis docks. Weggis dock is a 15-minute walk uphill to the cable car (Luftseilbahn), a station high above the resort. From there, you can take a 10-minute cable car to Rigi-Kaltbad, a small resort on a beautiful plateau.
Then, change to the red cogwheel train and ride the steep tracks of the Vitznau–Rigi line to the mountain’s summit.
Timetable: You can check the latest schedule of Rigi’s railways and cable cars here.
Getting from Zurich to Mount Rigi
You can take a direct train from Zurich to Arth-Goldau. The journey takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Then, you can switch to the blue cogwheel train (RIGI BAHNEN) that takes you up to Rigi Staffel and Rigi Kulm.
Timetable: Check the train schedule from Zurich to Arth-Goldau.
Mount Rigi ticket prices
No matter how you travel, the ticket price from the mountain base to Rigi Kulm is 45 CHF ($48/ € 47) one-way and 72 CHF ($76/ € 44) round-trip. If you book tickets online, you may get a discount and skip the line.
You’ll also need to add the transportation cost of getting from Lucerne/ Zurich to the cogwheel train or cable-car stations at the mountain’s base.
With a Swiss Travel Pass, the whole trip is free, from Lucerne/ Zurich to the top of Rigi.
Day trip from Lucerne to Mount Rigi
Here is a sample itinerary for a day trip from Lucerne to Rigi.
- 9 am: Departure by cruise from Lucerne to Vitznau.
- 10:15 am: Take cogwheel train from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm.
- 11 am: Explore and go hiking.
- 4 pm: Take cogwheel train from Rigi Kulm to Rigi Kaltbad. You can book tickets including transport from Vitznau and Kaltbad experience.
- 4:40 pm: Take a cable car from Rigi Kaltbad to Weggis.
- 5 pm: Explore Wegggis, a beautiful village famous for its mild, almost subtropical climate
- 7 pm: Leave by boat from Weggis to Lucerne.
Travel tips: Because trains run hourly, a missed connection can be a waste of time and jeopardize your travel plan. So check the timetable before you go.
Where to stay on Mt. Rigi
Staying on Mount Rigi and catching the first glimpse of sunrise or sunset would be a fantastic experience.
If you’d like to stay on the mountain, check out Rigi Kulm Hotel, the only inn just below the summit.
The hotel has a vast terrace, a self-catering restaurant, and an ala carte restaurant. Rooms here are comfortable and clean, with stunning views from every window.
Other hotels such as Rigi Kaltbad and Kräuterhotel Edelweiss (at Rigi Staffelhöhe) offer great experience too.
Best things to do on Mount Rigi, Switzerland
Do you know that Mount Rigi is dubbed Queen of the Mountains?
In addition to hiking, there are plenty of things to see and do on Mount Rigi on your day trip. Below are some of my favorite activities.
Take the historical railway
Mount Rigi is home to the oldest cogwheel train in Europe. Since 1871, its cogwheel railway has connected travelers from all over the world to the summit of Mount Rigi.
So, experience the nostalgia and travel with the Swiss historical railway. In addition to traveling by cogwheel train, you can try other transport methods such as cable car.
Enjoy the panoramic view
Surrounded by three lakes, Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, and Lake Lauerz, Mount Rigi claims to have one of the most impressive views in the region.
The combination of the lower lands with mountain ranges offers a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of hundreds of Alpine peaks and 13 lakes.
You can even view the French Alps and the Black Forest in Germany from afar on clearer days or sometimes immerse in an imposing sea of fog in the winter.
Relax in a mineral bath
For a relaxing time on Mount Rigi, head to Rigi Kaltbad, a spa tradition with a history of 600 years.
Here, you can bathe in the mineral waters from the healing Drei-Schwestern-Brunnen spring while surrounded by impressive mountain landscapes. You can also enjoy a steam bath, massages, crystal spa, and infusion sauna.
Day admission fee: 37 CHF ($40). It includes
- Day admission to the mineral bath and spa area
- Tea and spring water
Visit the cheese-making farm
For cheese lovers, don’t forget to stop by Alp Chäserenholz cheese dairy, a 20-minute walk from Rigi Kulm.
The Chäserenholz facilities include a cheese shop, a cheese dairy building with a cheese aging cellar, a barn, and an indoor and outdoor restaurant. There’re also Sleep in Straw & Dorm lodging facilities and restrooms.
This farm produces up to 15 different types and 12,000 kg of cheese every summer.
Their daily production starts early in the morning and continues until midday, and you can visit the cheese dairy at 2 CHF (Swiss Franc).
Here, the restaurant offers a variety of delicious cheese dishes, including raclette, fondue, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
- How to find it: From the top of Mt. Rigi Kulm by the big antenna, you’ll see a Swiss Flag in the south.
- Opening hours: 9 am to 6 pm
- Address: Alpwirtschaft Chäserenholz, Kulmweg 19, 6410 Rigi Kulm
Enjoy winter sports
Rigi offers a wide range of activities, including sledding, snowshoeing, and even ski experiences for those who visit in the winter.
Mount Rigi hiking trails
With more than 120 km of hiking trails in summer and 35 km of snow hiking trails in winter, Mount Rigi offers many options for hikers and other attractions to keep you busy for an evening.
For serious hikers, you can opt for hiking to the top on foot.
There are well-marked trails at Weggis, Vitznau, and Arth-Goldau, and it takes about 3-4 hours uphill from Weggis or Vitznau.
On my trip to Mt. Rigi, I took the train straight to the summit at Rigi Kulm, then took a short walk up top where the views were.
Then, I strolled down from the summit to the cable-car station at Rigi Kaltbad. It took me about 1 hour and was a pleasant walk.
Note: You can shorten the walk by meeting the train at the scenic Staffel stop.
Popular Mount. Rigi hiking trails
Here are some suggestions for hiking trail suggestions to discover the best spots on Mount Rigi.
1. Take the Rigi Kulm–Rigi Staffel (20 min)
For those in a hurry, take this short hike down from the summit to the next base and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
2. Hike from Rigi Staffel to Rigi Kaltbad (via Känzeli, 50 min)
Stroll down from the mountain with a view to the north and the south, pass campfire sites and enjoy the famous “Känzeli” viewpoint.
3. Circle Rigi Kaltbad and back (35 min)
It’s a hike through the local village of Rigi Kaltbad with views of Lake Lucerne.
4. Rigi Kulm–Alpine Farm Chäserenholz–Rigi Staffel (55 min)
Descend the mountain to a famous cheese dairy / alpine farm, followed by a short ascent and a forest trail to Rigi Staffel.
5. Rigi Scheidegg–Rigi Kaltbad (2h 30 min)
This easy and flat trail offers a beautiful panoramic view of the Alpine scenery while combining both sides of the mountain.
What to pack for Mount Rigi
Packing for Mount Rigi can vary greatly depending on traveling in the summer or the winter.
Here are essential items for hiking any time of the year.
- Personal first aid kit
- Small knife or multi-tool
- High energy snacks
- Toilet paper
If you visit Mount Rigi during summer, don’t forget to apply suncream before getting to the summit. We visited Rigi Kulm on a cloudy day, but my friend had quite a bad sunburnt at the end of our trip.
Here is our recommendation for a summer packing list:
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Comfortable shoes
- Summer clothes
- Light jacket
Winter packing list
These items will keep you safe and comfortable hiking on Mount Rigi on a winter day.
- Waterproof and windproof jacket with attached hood
- Fleece pullover
- Waterproof and windproof pants
- Fleece or wool hat
- Waterproof gloves/ Lightweight fleece or wool gloves
- Insulated hiking boots
- Warm socks
- High gaiters
- Spare Clothing (long sleeve shirt, extra pair of socks)
- Winter traction aids
- Heat pads