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.
Where is Mount Rigi?
Mount Rigi is a mountain located in central Switzerland, just south of Lake Lucerne and between the two Swiss cities of Lucerne and Zug. It is the most visited mountain peak of the Swiss Alps, and its highest point sits at an elevation of 1,798 meters (5,905 feet).
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) roundtrip. 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.
How much time to spend at Rigi Mountain?
When planning your Mount Rigi trip, it’s important to consider how much time you can realistically spend at the peak. Depending on what activities you plan to do, the amount of time needed will vary significantly.
If you are simply looking to take in the views and get some photos, a few hours may be sufficient. However, if you are interested in exploring the mountain trails or taking part in other outdoor activities such as camping or fishing, then more time should be allotted.
Make sure to factor in travel times so that you don’t run out of daylight before packing up for home!
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 the cogwheel train from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm.
- 11 am: Explore and go hiking.
- 4 pm: Take the 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. For the best experience, I recommend joining a guided day trip from Lucerne. If you only want to book transport tickets for the roundtrip and not join the tour, check it out here.
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 experiences too.
Mount Rigi weather
Mount Rigi is one of the few places in Switzerland where you can experience all four seasons.
In summer, it enjoys warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine, while winter brings crisp alpine air and snow-covered slopes perfect for skiing and snowboarding. July is the warmest and sunniest month in Mount Rigi, with an average maximum temperature of 18°C (72°F) and 168 hours of sunshine.
January is the coldest month with an average maximum temperature of -4°C. During this time, temperatures can drop sharply and snowfall is common throughout the region. Springtime sees buzzing wildflowers and blooming trees, while autumn greets visitors with a stunning array of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns.
When is the best time to visit Mt. Rigi?
The weather in Mt. Rigi changes with the seasons, so there’s no single best time to visit.
If you’re looking for warmer weather and longer days, summer is a great time to visit. The weather at this time of year is mild and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the Rigi Mountain trails and enjoying outdoor activities like hiking or boating on the lake.
Winter months can be cold but also bring plenty of snowfall which creates a magical winter wonderland that’s perfect for skiing and snowshoeing trips.
Spring brings fresh green growth to Mt. Rigi, along with mild weather that’s great for bird watching or biking around the area. Lastly, autumn brings crisp temperatures and colorful foliage, providing an excellent opportunity to take in the seasonal beauty of the mountain.
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 in summer
What to do in Mount Rigi in the summer? When visiting Mount Rigi, there are plenty of activities to take part in and sights to explore.
Hiking along one of its many trails is a great way to reconnect with nature and appreciate the breathtaking views. You can also go lake hopping on Lake Lucerne or rent a boat for a leisurely ride around its shores.
For those who prefer something more adrenaline-filled, paragliding is available too. Mount Rigi’s cable car makes it easy to get up close to the peak and take in its majestic scenery.
If you have time, make sure to stop at the summit restaurant for some delicious Swiss cuisine. For a unique experience, you can even stay overnight in one of their mountain cabins or enjoy a night’s camping under the stars.
Mount Rigi in winter
Mount Rigi is a popular destination in winter because of its beautiful snowy weather. The weather conditions provide the perfect backdrop for all sorts of activities, from skiing and snowboarding to sledding and snowshoeing.
There are plenty of ski resorts nearby that offer a range of slopes for every skill level. If you’re looking for something a little less adventurous, there are still plenty of other things to do.
Take a leisurely walk through the snow-covered paths or go tubing down the slopes with your family. You could even try ice skating on one of the frozen lakes if you’re feeling brave.
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 trails to discover the best spots on Mount Rigi.
1. Take the Rigi Kulm–Rigi Staffel (20 min)
If you’re short on time, take the Rigi Kulm–Rigi Staffel cableway for a 20-minute descent to enjoy magnificent views of the landscape.
Take in the serene beauty of nature as you make your way down from the summit and explore different terrains along this beautiful hike. Take a few stops along the way to capture some amazing shots of captivating scenery and quaint hamlets nestled in valleys.
2. Hike from Rigi Staffel to Rigi Kaltbad (via Känzeli, 50 min)
Start your journey at the top of Rigi Staffel and hike down to the base station of Rigi Kaltbad. Enjoy stunning views of the Swiss landscape towards both the north and south as you make your way down, passing campfire sites along the way.
Keep an eye out for the famous “Känzeli” viewpoint near Hirschberg, offering a wonderful panorama of Lake Lucerne below.
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)
Once you have descended Rigi Kulm, the highest peak of Rigi Mountain, you’ll find yourself at the famous Alpine Farm Chäserenholz. This traditional cheese dairy is known for its specialty Rigi mountain cheese and other fresh produce.
After a delicious tasting session, it’s time to put on your walking shoes and make a short ascent up the winding forest path to Rigi Staffel.
5. Rigi Scheidegg–Rigi Kaltbad (2h 30 min)
The Rigi Scheidegg–Rigi Kaltbad trail offers a refreshing and pleasant walk suitable for all skill levels. You can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the Swiss Alps while walking through the lush meadows that connect both sides of the Rigi mountain range.
What to pack for Mount Rigi
If you’re planning a trip to Mount Rigi, it is important to make sure your packing list will take into account the conditions of both summer and winter.
You have the right gear for a safe and comfortable time outdoors. Here’s what you should bring for hiking any time of the year.
- Personal first aid kit
- Small knife or multi-tool
- Food and water
- High energy snacks
- Toilet paper
- Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries
- Hiking shoes
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 sunburn 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
If you’re heading for a hike on Mount Rigi in the winter, it is important to make sure that you are appropriately dressed and have all the necessary items with you. Here is our list of essential items for your winter hike up Mount Rigi:
- Waterproof and windproof jacket with attached hood
- Fleece pullover
- Waterproof and windproof pants
- Fleece or wool hat
- Thermal underwear
- 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
What to wear when visiting Mount Rigi
When visiting Mount Rigi, make sure you dress for the weather! Wear layered clothing that can easily be adjusted to changing temperatures.
Layers should include a base layer like long underwear, a mid-layer such as a fleece or wool sweater, and an outer layer that can be anything from a light jacket to a waterproof parka.
You’ll also want to wear durable shoes with good grip – this is especially important if you’re planning on engaging in any winter activities such as skiing or snowshoeing.
On sunny days, remember to bring sunglasses and sunscreen – the sun’s rays are extra intense at higher altitudes! For extra comfort and warmth, don’t forget a hat and mittens or gloves.
Food & Drinks
If you’re visiting Mount Rigi and would like to grab a bite nearby, there are plenty of restaurants in the area.
Located just a 20-minute walk away from Rigi Kulm, Alpwirtschaft Chäserenholz is an alpine dining experience like no other.
You can enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the Alp while indulging in some delicious local cheeses and other delights such as Käseschnitte (cheese on toast) or fondue. Or be adventurous and try something new with their specialties like carpaccio with alpine cheese.
Gourmet Restaurant Regina Montium is the next perfect place to explore delicious Swiss cuisine. The chefs combine traditional flavors with long-forgotten herbs from their own garden, creating unique and exciting dishes that are sure to please your palate.
You can choose between an à la carte menu and a herb surprise menu with five or nine courses, as well as opt for one of the specially selected Swiss wines or even a mixed alcoholic beverage accompaniment.
Whether you’re looking for intense outdoor activities or simply a scenic view, Mount Rigi is sure to be the perfect destination. Make your visit to Switzerland even more memorable by having a day trip around this beautiful structure.
With breathtaking scenery and plenty of activities to choose from, you’ll be able to enjoy numerous hours of breathtaking ambiance and peaceful relaxation. On your way back from an unforgettable Mount Rigi experience, don’t forget to bring home a souvenir as a reminder of your journey!