Mount Rigi cogwheel train

Mount Rigi: your ultimate guide for a magical day

Ready to explore Mount Rigi, the “Queen of the Mountains” in Switzerland? Located near Lucerne, this destination is a must-visit for nature lovers. Moreover, it offers breathtaking panoramas of the Swiss Alps peaks.

In this article, I will first give you all the information you need to easily reach the summit of Mount Rigi from Lucerne. Then, I will share a hiking idea at Rigi. Finally, I will tell you where to stay, and give you my best tips for exploring Rigi and its region.

Useful links

Before we dive into the details, here are some useful links to easily plan your trip to Switzerland:

How do you get to the summit of Mount Rigi?

Here are your options for an adventure to Rigi and reaching its summit:

The cogwheel train, the Rigi-Bahn

Board the Rigi-Bahn, Europe’s first cogwheel railway, from Vitznau. This historic cogwheel train takes you to the summit of the Rigi, the Rigi Kulm, making several stops along the way. During the drive, you pass through charming Alpine landscapes.

You can take the cogwheel train to Mount Rigi from Vitznau or from Goldau. Both Vitznau and Goldau are located about thirty minutes’ drive from Lucerne and are easily accessible by public transport or car.

Mount Rigi Bahn
The cogwheel railway to Vitznau and Rigi Klum

The cable car from Weggis to Rigi Kaltbad

Take the Weggis cable car up to Kaltbad. This journey offers spectacular views of Lake Lucerne and Pilatus. From here, you can either take the train to the summit (the same train that comes from Vitznau) or hike up.

weggis cable car
View from the Weggis cable car

Various tickets for spending a day on the Mount Rigi and explore it

You can enjoy total flexibility with a day pass that includes access to cogwheel trains and cable cars to easily explore Rigi.

This option is very appealing since the round-trip journey from Vitznau to the summit of Rigi (Kulm) by cogwheel train costs 78 CHF. Additionally, this type of ticket allows you to avoid waiting at the ticket counters (check below for availability).

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GetYourGuide, our trusted partner, also offers a combined ticket that includes unlimited transportation for the day on cogwheel trains and cable cars leading to Mount Rigi, with access to the thermal baths at Rigi Kaltbad.

This ticket allows you to climb to the summit for exceptional panoramic views, and relax in the spa’s rich, heated mineral waters with a breathtaking view of the Alps.

Click below to check availability.

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Another option: for a day trip from Lucerne and a touch of romance, you can opt for this self-guided tour. It includes the boat trip from Lucerne, cogwheel train and cable car rides, as well as the access to the spa.

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Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass is an extremely convenient all-in-one ticket if you’re visiting Switzerland for several consecutive days. It offers unlimited access to public transportation (trains, buses, and boats) across the Swiss public transport networks. The Swiss Travel Pass is available in various durations, ranging from 3 to 15 consecutive days, making it suitable for different itineraries and lengths of stay in Switzerland. This pass eliminates the need to buy individual tickets for each journey, greatly simplifying travel planning and transportation budget management.

One of the biggest advantages of the Swiss Travel Pass is that it fully covers the cost of transport to Mount Rigi, which can represent a significant saving.

This really is the ideal option if you’re traveling for several consecutive days in Switzerland and wish to explore this beautiful Swiss mountain and its surroundings.

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Click for information on public transport and parking in Goldau, Vitznau or Weggis.

The hike from Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi summit

Whether you choose to take the cable car from Weggis or the cogwheel train from Vitznau, you can plan a hike from Rigi Kaltbad up to Rigi Kulm. Along the way, you will enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountains. Additionally, you will be able to see other lakes in the distance, peaks that rise over 4000 meters, and the Vosges massif.

view one the lake from the Mount Rigi
View on the lake from the Mount Rigi

Hiking details

  • ⛰️ Summary: From Kaltbad, climb to Rigi Kulm, the highest point, for breathtaking views of the surrounding Alps and lakes. The trail is well-maintained and marked, ideal for hikers of all levels. You can also make a detour to Rotstock.
  • 🧭 Routes : Rigi Kaltbad > Rigi Staffelhöhe > Rigi Staffel > Rigi Kulm
  • 💪🏼 Time and difficulty: 1h15 – 3km – 360m of elevation gain. Perfect for a morning or afternoon of exploration.
  • 🔄 Alternative: There is an option to make a loop back to the starting point via First. 3h30 – 10 km – 500m of elevation gain.
  • 🥪 Picnic: Several benches are installed along the route for enjoying a picnic with a view.
  • 🍽 Where to eat: There are lunch or dining options along the trail, bring cash for some places that do not accept credit cards (small snack shops).
  • 🥾 Equipment: Make sure to wear good shoes, bring snacks, water, a hat or cap, sunscreen, and a windbreaker.

The hike to the Mount Rigi summit - photos

From Kaltbad station, head towards Rigi Kulm. You’ll first pass through a bit of forest until you reach Rigi Staffelhöhe.

rigi hike
Rigi Staffelhöhe
Rigi Staffelhöhe

Then follow the cogwheel railway to the summit.

rails du train à crémaillère du rigi
Cogwheel railway
vue sur les montagnes et le lac
View of the mountains and Lake Lucerne

Next, head towards Rigi Staffel. Here, you’ll find restaurants and benches where you can sit and enjoy the view.

train rouge qui arrive à la gare de Rigi Staffel
Rigi Staffel
zoom sur le lac des quatres cantons

Finally, continue to Rigi Kulm and take the Kulmweg to reach the summit, which stands at 1798 meters.

antenne du rigi kulm
The antenna on the summit
swiss alps view from Mount Rigi
View from the hiking trail
vue sur le lac depuis le sommet du rigi, le rigi kulm
View on the lake
alpes suisses
The Swiss Alps

Once you reach the summit, several options are available to you. You can either walk back down to Kaltbad the same way, take a train to continue your exploration of Rigi, or hike back to Staffel and head towards Klösterli/First to make a loop and return to your starting point, Kaltbad.

Extended hike

To extend your hike, you can create a loop and return to your starting point via First. From the summit, turn back and head towards Staffel. From there, take one of the trails located behind the Bahnhöfli Restaurant towards Klösterli or First. We chose the trail on the left, which is more exposed to the sun.

Sur le sentier de randonnée avec vue montagnes enneigées et sapins en Suisse
On the hiking trail to First
On regarde en arrière et on voit l'antenne du sommet du rigi
Looking back, we can see the antenna at the summit

Once you arrive at First, head towards Kaltbad on the panorama trail. This section offers incredible views on the lake and the mountains.

Vue sur le lac des quatre cantons et les montagnes depuis le sentier panoramique
View from the panorama trail

Where to stay near the Mount Rigi?

On Mount Rigi, Hotel Bergsonne Rigi in Kaltbad

If you wish to stay directly on Mount Rigi, Hotel Bergsonne Rigi is ideally located in Rigi Kaltbad. As mentioned earlier, this area is accessible only by cable car or cogwheel train, ensuring exceptional tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of cars and noisy cities. The hotel’s elevated position offers spectacular panoramic views of the Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne. This hotel provides a true immersion into the natural beauty of the region.

panorama alpes

Near Lucerne, at the Seehotel Pilatus in Hergiswill

The Seehotel Pilatus is strategically located for exploring the Lucerne region and Mount Rigi. This charming hotel offers lake views and cozy comfort with a spa and an excellent restaurant, perfect for recharging after a day in the mountains.

Hergiswil is about 10 minutes from Lucerne. This proximity provides easy access to the city of Lucerne, ideal for exploring the city while staying in a quieter, more scenic lakeside location.

Although Seehotel Pilatus is not directly on Mount Rigi or at the foot of the mountain, it is an excellent choice if you are looking for quality accommodation in the Lucerne area, offering both a peaceful lakeside escape and easy access to the sightseeings of the region.

Seehotel Pilatus

At the foot of Mount Rigi, the Romantik Hotel Beau Rivage in Weggis

The Romantik Hotel Beau Rivage is located at the foot of Mount Rigi, just a few minutes from the Weegis cable car station. It’s ideal if you want to stay by the lake and avoid any driving before or after your mountain day.

Indeed, you can relax in the comfort and luxury of the hotel. The spa, its dining options, and its peaceful atmosphere are perfect for recovering after a day of hiking and exploring.

In summary, the Romantik Hotel Beau Rivage in Weggis is not just an excellent choice for luxury accommodation but also an ideal starting point to explore Mount Rigi. Its location provides quick and easy access to the mountain while offering a peaceful retreat at the end of the day, with all the necessary amenities to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Switzerland.

Tips for your Mount Rigi adventure

lac, burgenstock et pilatus depuis le mont rigi
  • Plan ahead: The schedules for cable cars and cogwheel trains can vary depending on the season. Additionally, at the start of the season, some facilities may be closed or under maintenance. Check this information before you leave. Click here to check the timetables.
  • Bring appropriate clothing: Mountain weather can change quickly. Bring suitable clothing for hiking and be prepared for temperature changes.
  • Stay hydrated: Don’t forget to bring enough water, especially if you plan on doing a long hike.
  • Respect nature: Rigi is a natural treasure. Make sure to keep the place clean, follow the marked trails, and respect the local wildlife and plants.


In conclusion, Mount Rigi is not just a destination, it’s an immersive experience in the heart of Switzerland. Whether you choose to climb its slopes on a cogwheel railway, hike its trails, or simply relax in its thermal baths, Rigi promises indelible memories.

train à crémaillère du mont rigi

Don’t wait any longer to discover Rigi, the majestic Queen of the Mountains. Plan your visit, get ready for an exceptional adventure, and don’t forget to share your experiences. If this article has inspired you or helped in planning your trip, share it with your friends or leave a comment below. Your participation helps our community grow and explore new wonders together.

Enjoy your trip to the Rigi!


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