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. The article includes the following sections:
- Amazing things to do on Mt. Rigi
- Best hiking trails
- How to get to Mount Rigi from Lucerne and Zurich
- Ticket prices
- Itinerary for a day trip from Lucerne
- Where to stay
- What to pack
Best things to do on Mount Rigi, Switzerland
Do you know that Mount Rigi is dubbed as 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 down from Rigi Kulm.
The Chäserenholz facilities include a cheese shop, a cheese dairy building with a cheese aging cellar, a barn, 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 visible in the South direction.
- 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 all the way 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 decided to take the train straight to the summit at Rigi Kulm, then take 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.
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 straight to Vitznau and hop on the cogwheel train to the summit from Lucerne.
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 here, 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 ($49) one-way, 72 CHF ($79) round-trip.
You’ll also need to add the transportation cost of getting from Lucerne/ Zurich to the cogwheel train or cable-car stations at the base of the mountain.
With a Swiss Travel Pass, the whole trip is free, from Lucerne/ Zurich all the way 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
- Depart by boat from Lucerne to Vitznau
- Take a cogwheel train from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm
- Stroll down from Rigi Kulm to Rigi Kaltbad
- Take a cable car from Rigi Kaltbad to Weggis
- Explore Wegggis, a beautiful village famous for its mild, almost subtropical climate
- Get back by boat from Weggis to Lucerne
- Arrival back in Lucerne and finish your day trip
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, and there are stunning views from every window.
Other hotels such as Hotel Rigi Kaltbad and Kräuterhotel Edelweiss (at Rigi Staffelhöhe) offer great experience too.
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