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Mt Rigi

The scenic trip from Lucerne to Mt. Rigi, the Queen of the Mountains

One of the most rewarding memories of any trip to Switzerland is visiting the majestic mountains around Lucerne. Ranked among the prettiest cities in the world, Lucerne is settled on a beautiful waterfront along the shores of Lake Lucerne and the River Reuss. In addition to strolling the charming Old Town that allows visitors to travel back in time, you can easily relax on a boat across Lucerne Lake by taking a scenic cruise through the landmarks of this elegant city mixed with the panorama of the surrounding Swiss Alps’ peaks of Pilatus and Rigi. We visited Mt Rigi on a day trip from Zurich, the tour is free with the Swiss Travel Pass and the views are breathtaking. Check here everything you need to know to plan your visit to Mt Rigi.

How to visit Lucerne from Zurick

If you don’t have a chance to stay in Lucerne, the day trip from Zurick is very convenient by train. The trains leave Zurich every hour and you can start the tour to Mt Rigi right in front of the Lucerne train station. We left Zurick around 7:35am and arrived in Lucerne early in the morning to enjoy the entire day around the city. The train ride from Zurick to Lucerne takes around 50 minutes and we recommend reserve the full day to visit Rigi, the Queen of the mountains.

As soon as we left the train station, we could see the beautiful Old Town with charming historic buildings, churches and bridges along the lakeside. We took some pictures while waiting for the boat. The old town is incredible and worth reserving another day to visit the Lucerne sightseeing places.

Old town Lucerne

Time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time.

-Marthe Troly-Curtin.

How to visit Mt. Rigi from Lucerne

The tour to Rigi starts with a boat cruise from Lucerne to Vitznau. From there, you’ll take the cogwheel train up to the Rigi Kulm. You can purchase a day pass online in advance or at the boat station. And remember, the ride is free with GA and Swiss Travel Pass. 

I was a little bit afraid about missing the boat or finding the station to Rigi in Vitznau. However, everything is super organized and you don’t need to worry. As soon as you arrive in Lucerne, you just need to cross the street to take the boat, and when you arrive in Vitznau, the cogwheel train is right there waiting for everyone arriving on boat.

Boat from Lucerne to Vitznau

The first daily boat from Lucerne to Vitznau departs at 8:15am, and then, there is another departure each 15 minutes past the hour, 9:15, 10:15, 11:15 and so on. You can check the timetable here. The boat trip to Vitznau takes 48 minutes. And of course, we suggest visiting the Queen of the Mountains in the early morning, because the place is beautiful and the tour takes the entire day. In addition to Vitznau, visitors can also enjoy Mt. Rigi with a day ticket from other towns around Lucerne, including Goldau, Weggis, Kräbel. Check here the day tickets for details. The boats are big and comfortable, you can sit outside and enjoy the mountain views or sit inside for a delicious coffee. 

Boat from Lucerne to Vietznau
Cogwheel train from Vitznau to Rigi

Cogwheel train from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm

As soon as you arrive in Vitznau, get ready to board Europe’s oldest cogwheel train, which also runs every hour to the top of Mount Rigi. Try to get a seat on the left side for the best views and have your camera prepared, the landscapes are breathtaking!

Rigi Kulm
Photos Mt Rigi

What to visit at Mount Rigi

From the Vitznau station to the Rigi Kulm, these are the 3 main stops:

First stop is Rigi Kaltbad, where visitors can purchase some regional specialities in the village grocery store and ask questions about hiking and activities in the area in the Rigi Railways service center.

Second stop is the Rigi Känzeli. The Kreuztrichter viewpoint is the highlight and definitely worth a photo stop for beautiful pictures of Lake Lucerne.

Finally, after a scenic ascent by train, you will reach the summit of Rigi, the highest point on the Rigi-Kulm at 1,797m. The place offers a panoramic view of the highest Alpine peaks and a varied range of leisure activities.

About Rigi, the Queen of Mountains

Back in the 18th century, the Rigi was the pioneer mountain of Alpine tourism becaming a famous destination for travelers across Europe. Spas and fancy hotels opened one after another in Kaltbad, Rigi Kulm and on the Scheidegg to attend demanding guests. Several trains dating back to the early days still operate today. The restored steam locomotives dating back more than 100 years run with the modern panoramic cable car systems carrying more than 600,000 passengers up the mountain each year.

Mt Rigi

What to do in Mt Rigi

During the summer, guests can spend the day among 120km of hikings, see the region from above in the paragliding, take a bicycle tour or relax in the heights in the renowned Mineralbad & Spa Rigi Kaltbad. Snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are some of the fun activities during the winter, when the snow covers the Rigi Kulm. No matter what season you go, the 360-degree panoramic views are breathtaking and from the top you can spot as many as 13 lakes and witness a celestial spectacle of the famous sunrises and sunsets in the region.

From alpine cheese fondue to Michelin starred dishes, there are plenty of great restaurants in the area. This is the official site to research details about the gastronomy around the lake and on the mountain. After taking tons of pictures, we decided to have lunch at the Rigi Kulm Hotel (the price is affordable and the food is delicious), then, we returned from Rigi Staffel station to Vitznau and got the boat back enjoying the villages and landscapes from Lake Lucerne. As advertised by the tourism boards around Switzerland, the journey itself is the destination! Mt Rigi with no doubt is a must see destination in Switzerland.

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