View from Rigi Kulm
Lucerne Region Things to Do

How to Visit Mt. Rigi

February 8, 2022 Last Updated on May 8, 2024

Known as ‘Queen of the Mountains’, Mount Rigi is one of the top places in Switzerland to visit and one of the best day trips from Lucerne. This guide is here to help you to plan your perfect day or overnight stay there. 

Whether you visit in winter – when the weather in Rigi makes snow days what it’s all about – or head there for hiking in Rigi during the warmer months, by the end of this article you’ll know what to see and do as well as how to reach the summit.  

It’s not the most famous mountain in Switzerland – that accolade surely belongs to the mighty Mattherhorn – but Mount Rigi has so much going for it.

Not least the location: situated in the centre of the country, Rigi is easily reachable from all directions. If the Matterhorn is king, then surely Rigi is the queen. 

Speaking of which – the Rigi Bahn is actually the oldest mountain railway in Europe, and in 2021 celebrated its 150 year anniversary.

While the journey to Mt Rigi is incredibly scenic, the spectacular panoramic views from the summit are ample reward for any efforts you may have made in reaching the top. 

Read on to find out everything you should know when planning a trip up Rigi mountain in Switzerland – including where it is, how to get there, ticket options, top things to do, the weather and where to stay if you’d like to spend a little longer in the area.  

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Quick Summary of Mt. Rigi Ticket Options

Type of ticketPrice per adultWhere to Buy
Round trip ticketsCHF 78BUY HERE
Swiss Half Fare Card holderCHF 39BUY CARD HERE
Swiss Travel Pass holderFree travelBUY PASS HERE
Tell Pass holderFree travelBUY PASS HERE
Guided day trip from LucerneCHF 132BUY HERE
Guided day trip from ZurichCHF 140BUY HERE

What is Mt. Rigi?

Mount Rigi – aka Queen of the Mountains – is a massif forming part of the Alps in the heart of Switzerland. What’s really appealing about Rigi is the fact that it’s almost wholly surrounded by the waters of Lake Lucerne, Lake Lauerz and Lake Zug, making it stand out from other mountainous areas.

Due to its central location, Mount – or Mont – Rigi is easy to reach, particularly from larger places like Lucerne and Zurich.

Due to its proximity to the former, it is one of the most popular day trips among visitors staying in the medieval lakeside city. It makes an ideal inclusion in a Lucerne two day itinerary.

It’s also home of the Rigi mountain train, which is Europe’s oldest. 

The Mt. Rigi coghweel train at Rigi Kulm station.
Rigi Bahn operates both modern and historic trains on the line between Vitznau and Rigi Kulm.

Where is Mt. Rigi?

Mount Rigi is located around 22 kilometres (14 miles) east of Lucerne in central Switzerland. As well as mountainous terrain, this peaceful place gives visitors sweeping views over the waters of three Swiss lakes, including Lake Lucerne. 

In fact when the Rigi weather makes for particularly clear skies, you can see every canton of Switzerland except Geneva, and nineteen different lakes from the summit. 

How to get to Mt. Rigi

In this section we cover how to get to Mount Rigi from Weggis, Arth Goldau and Vitznau – as well as how to get to those destinations from Zurich or Lucerne.

Whether you pick a boat or train ride plus a Mount Rigi train or cable car trip, getting there is actually a major highlight. 

Getting from Vitznau to Mount Rigi

Taking the rack railway from Vitznau to Rigi is one of the best ways to reach the top. The trip takes just over half an hour and departures take place throughout the day (at least hourly in high season).

A historic cogwheel train – the Rigibahn – will carry you from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm, passing through the scenic Swiss landscape along the way. 

The vintage Vitznau to Rigi bahn route opened in 1871 and today has both modern and historic carriages that date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Your trip begins by the shores of Lake Lucerne before ascending via breathtaking lake and mountain scenery to the summit. 

Getting from Weggis to Mount Rigi

You can also travel from Weggis to Rigi Kaltbad by cable car. This aerial journey takes you over the forested and rugged, rocky terrain to the top, while panoramic views towards Lake Lucerne and the Bernese Alps are yours to enjoy en route. 

This trip takes only ten minutes, and from there it’s easy to get to the village square or the renowned mineral bath and spa in Rigi Kaltbad. If you want to ride the Rigi cable car, this is the one to choose. 

Mt. Rigi cogwheel train at Rigi Kulm station with a panoramic view of lakes and Alps.
The red Rigibahn is Europe’s oldest mountain railway and has been operating for over 150 years.

Getting from Arth Goldau to Mount Rigi

If you want to get from Arth Goldau to Rigi, the option here is another cogwheel train to Rigi Kulm.

This scenic Arth Goldau Rigi bahn journey takes around 40 minutes, on a mountain railway that’s been operating since 1875. This makes it almost as old as the Vitznau funicular. 

Again the trip takes place in vintage carriages, and this route winds through woodland, meadows and past waterfalls. Occasionally you can glimpse Lake Zug or the peaks of the central Swiss Alps along the way. 

Getting from Lucerne to Vitznau, Weggis or Arth Goldau

Deciding whether to take a funicular from Vitznau or Arth Goldau or the cable car from Weggis may be a matter of taking the first part of the trip into consideration.

Lucerne is about 22km from Mount Rigi, so none of the options from here need be time-consuming. 

Lucerne to Vitznau

It’s possible to travel from Lucerne to Vitznau by boat, train or car. The boat trip across the lake takes just under an hour.

Alternatively, take a train journey of over an hour or a car trip of around 30 minutes.  If you are arriving by car, there are two large parking garages close to the train station (hourly rates, maximum CHF 12 / 24 hours).

Lucerne to Weggis

Instead of taking the road or railway, passengers wishing to travel to the cable car station in Weggis can also take a 40 minute boat trip by ferry across the lake.

Otherwise, the drive takes about 20 minutes or the train around 50 minutes. 

Lucerne to Arth Goldau

It takes about 30 minutes by train from Lucerne to Arth Goldau, or you can drive the route in around 25 minutes. 

Cable car from Weggis to Mt. Rigi with a view of Lake Lucerne
Visitors from Weggis can reach Rigi Kaltbad by cable car. (c) RIGI BAHNEN AG.

Getting from Zurich to Vitznau, Weggis or Arth Goldau

Trips from Zurich to the aforementioned cable car and funicular stations take between 40 minutes and an hour or more. Ath Goldau is the easiest to reach by public transport. 

Zurich to Vitznau

You can either drive to Vitznau from Zurich in about 45 minutes, or take a combined train and bus trip via Rotkreuz or Arth Goldau. 

Zurich to Weggis

The drive between Zurich and Weggis takes about 40 minutes, or you could again take a train and bus journey via Rotkreuz.

Zurich to Arth Goldau

If you’re travelling from Zurich, you can reach Goldau in around 40 minutes from the city’s central station. When arriving by car, there is a large car park close to the Goldau motorway exit and right by the railway line.

The drive also takes around 40 minutes.

Rigi Kulm during winter
Mt. Rigi is popular for skiers in winter but also offers incredible views.

Mt. Rigi Timetable

Vitznau cogwheel railway

The Vitznau railway runs all year round, with about 15 trains per day travelling in each direction. The Rigibahn travels from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm via Rigi Kaltbad in 32 minutes. You can view the timetable here

Weggis cable car

The cable car from Weggis to Mount Rigi also operates during all seasons. It may be closed for maintenance outside peak times, though, so do check carefully.

There are generally two services per hour from early morning to mid afternoon. Travel time is just 10 minutes. See the timetable here

Arth Goldau cogwheel railway

The cogwheel train from Arth Goldau is also in operation throughout the year. About 11 trains a day depart, with around one service per hour between just before 8am and around 6.30pm.

Journey time is 45 minutes. Check the current timetable here

Mt. Rigi Tickets 

When buying tickets to Mount Rigi you can choose to travel independently by train or cable car, or you can take an organised day trip from Lucerne or Zurich. 

Rail and cable car tickets

Mount Rigi ticket prices vary according to the route chosen. Standard adult fares are the most costly, as children and holders of Half Fare Cards get 50% off while those with a Swiss Travel Pass or Tell Pass travel free of charge. 

Regular adult round trip fares are as follows, for the purposes of comparison:

Children up to the age of 15 travel free when accompanied by a paying adult. As mentioned above, holders of the Tell Pass travel for free (more info here) as do holders of the Swiss Travel Pass. Find out more here.  

A paraglider flies over Mt. Rigi as the Rigibahn cogwheel train passes by.
Spectacular views await you around every corner during your ascent to Mt. Rigi.

Mount Rigi day trips

The following are two highly recommended day trips you can take to Mount Rigi from Lucerne or Zurich.

A key advantage of booking these is that you can cancel up to 24 hours before travel for a full refund, which is ideal if your plans do change or the weather doesn’t look favourable on the day you plan to visit. 

Classic Mount Rigi from Lucerne

This self-guided day trip includes all your travel by boat, funicular and cable car. It’s a pass that is valid for a day, so you can choose whether to take a full or half day trip.

You’ll travel by ferry from Lucerne to Vitznau before ascending by cogwheel railway.

For the descent, you’ll experience the cable car ride between the summit and Weggis before returning to Lucerne by boat. 

> Click here for more information and prices

Mount Rigi & Lucerne from Zurich

Those short of time will be delighted to discover that you really can see both Lucerne and Mount Rigi in one day.

This ‘Queen of the Mountains’ day trip includes the cable car trip from Weggis as well as the descent by funicular railway.

You’ll also take a ferry ride across the lake to Lucerne, where there’s time to explore the Old Town before making the return trip to Zurich. 

> Click here for more information and prices

Private day tours to Mt. Rigi

If you would prefer to have a day trip to Mt. Rigi tailor made to suit you, a private tour is the ideal choice.

As well as being picked up from your hotel in Lucerne, Zurich, Interlaken or elsewhere in Switzerland, you’ll benefit from having your own private driver/guide who will accompany you throughout the day.

Private tours are perfect if you are short on time or would rather leave the organisation to someone else.

> Click here for more about about private tours to Mt. Rigi.

Where to buy Mt. Rigi Tickets

Use the links below to purchase your tickets to visit Mt. Rigi.

Type of ticketPrice per adultWhere to Buy
Round trip tickets to Rigi KulmCHF 78BUY HERE
Swiss Half Fare Card holderCHF 39BUY PASS HERE
Swiss Travel Pass holderFree travelBUY PASS HERE
Tell Pass holderFree travelBUY PASS HERE
Guided day trip from LucerneCHF 132BOOK HERE
Day trip from ZurichCHF 140BOOK HERE
Private day tour VariesENQUIRE HERE

Things to do at Mt. Rigi

There are interesting things to do once you reach Mount Rigi, wherever you end up spending your time. The options include Rigi Kulm, Rigi Kaltbad, Rigi Scheidegg and Rigi Staffel. 

To see a map of Mt. Rigi in summer > click here and for a map of Mt. Rigi in winter > click here.

Table set for dinner
There are numerous restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets at Mt. Rigi. (c) RIGI BAHNEN AG.

Rigi Kulm

At almost 1,800 metres above sea level, Rigi Kulm is Mount Rigi’s highest peak. The superlative 360 degree views from this point are nothing short of sensational.

Whether you take the train from Vitznau or Arth Goldau, the final station is at Rigi Kulm. 

There is also a 200-year-old hotel here, the Rigi Kulm hotel, which you can stay at if you wish to. It’s certainly a fabulous place to be at sunrise or sunset.

More on this option can be found below, as well as the Old Station House Airbnb, which is also located in Rigi Kulm.

If you’d like to walk between Rigi Kulm and Rigi Kaltbad, following the popular Classic Trail, it will take you between the two via Rigi Staffel. The easy walk takes around one hour.

Once you arrive, you can reward yourself with a hot chocolate or ice cream at one of the restaurants in Rigi Kaltbad – recommendations detailed below. 

Other seasonal activities available at Rigi Kulm include paragliding, sledding and snowshoeing in winter. 

Rigi Kaltbad

Those taking the cable car from Weggis will arrive in Rigi Kaltbad. It’s a small Swiss village, providing a permanent home to a small number of local people. At an elevation of 1,433 metres, the views from this spot are also pretty special. 

The Hotel Rigi Kaltbad is also home to the Rigi wellness centre and spa, and boasts one of the most sun-drenched terraces in the whole of Switzerland.

The popular spa in Rigi Kaltbad is also known as the ‘thermalbad Rigi’ – or sometimes referred to as the ‘mineralbad’ in Rigi Kaltbad.  

To enjoy this relaxing experience at Rigi Kaltbad, you can pre-book tickets with your train tickets. > Click here for prices and details.

The wellness facilities are excellent and we highly recommend a visit to the centre whether you are just visiting for the day or staying on Mt. Rigi overnight.

Also found in Rigi Kaltbad is the Michelin-starred Regina Montium restaurant. This fine dining eatery serves up exquisite cuisine made solely from Swiss ingredients.

For a more low-key option, Chalet Schild in Rigi Kaltbad is a local mountain restaurant which specialises in regional dishes and there’s a restaurant at the Hotel Rigi Kaltbad, too.

As well as relaxing at the spa or sampling local or gourmet fare, you may like to do a little shopping in Rigi Kaltbad.

The village also has a small grocery store and snack bar (for takeaway coffees, ice creams, etc.), BBQ area and an ice skating rink, and you can book a horse-drawn carriage ride around town. 

Rigi Kaltbad thermal spa
The spa and wellness centre at Rigi Kaltbad is popular with both day visitors and hotel guests. (c) RIGI BAHNEN AG.

Rigi Scheidegg

You can get to Rigi Scheidegg by cable car from Goldau. Once you arrive, the most popular pastimes include the circular hiking trail here and the lookout point. 

While there isn’t a lot to do here compared to Rigi Kaltbad and Rigi Kulm, this is a place abundant in natural beauty. 

Rigi Staffel

Rigi Staffel is something of a crossroads for the mountain. Both railway routes pass by on their way up or down the mountain and various hiking trails lead from here to other areas including Kaltbad, Seebodenalp and Klösterli. 

Explore the top hiking trails to follow from Rigi Staffel here

Can you stay on Mt. Rigi?

If one day on the mountain doesn’t sound like enough, you’ll be pleased to know that you can indeed stay on Mount Rigi.

There are three recommended hotels to choose from. 

Rigi Kulm Hotel
Rigi Kulm Hotel has been welcoming guests for two centuries.

Rigi Kulm Hotel 3*

This Rigi hotel on the summit of the mountain is a three star property offering 70 beds in traditionally styled rooms.

With a relaxed air, there are fabulous mountain views from the building and it has a restaurant with a sunny outdoor terrace. 

Hotel Rigi Kulm has been operating for around 200 years and is one of the loveliest spots you’ll find anywhere to watch the sunset. Rooms also come equipped with modern amenities such as free WiFi and flatscreen TVs. 

Hotel Rigi Kaltbad 3*

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys a spa break, this three star hotel in Rigi Kaltbad could be the one for you. It’s close to the cable car station and the train station and also offers sweeping views over Lake Lucerne.

Rooms here are bright and tastefully furnished, and come complete with flat screen TVs, safes and WiFi. Some have a lounge area, balcony or terrace.

Hotel facilities also include indoor and outdoor pools, a sundeck and a bar and restaurant, while at the spa you’ll find a sauna, hot tub and steam bath.  > Click here for details and prices. 

Interior of room at Hotel Rigi Kaltbad
Mountain view room at Hotel Rigi Kaltbad

Old Station House

It’s also possible to stay in the Old Station House which you can learn more about in episode 30 of the Holidays to Switzerland travel podcast.

It’s a clean, fresh apartment that can accommodate up to six guests in contemporary style. 

How long should you spend at Mt. Rigi?

Half a day would be the absolute minimum amount of time to spend at Mount Rigi, and this will give you scope to take in the magnificent views before or after stopping at one of the restaurants to enjoy a meal. 

If you want to enjoy hiking in the Rigi area, allow a full day. This will also apply if you want to have more time to spend on other activities while in the area. 

As it’s such a memorable place to witness the sunrise or sunset, an overnight stay is ideal if you can spare the time. 

Mt Rigi cogwheel train
With views of 19 different lakes from the summit, it’s no surprise that Mt. Rigi is known as the Queen of the Mountains.

Mt. Rigi weather

So when is the best time to visit Mt. Rigi? As you’d expect, seasonal highs and lows vary throughout the year. In winter it’s a popular snow sports area, while in summer people head here to hike the trails.

For views, it’s incredible all year round. 

Before heading off to the mountain, it’s a good idea to look at a webcam in Rigi, which will give you an insider’s perspective into live weather conditions and what they mean for visitors.

Find a reliable Mt. Rigi webcam on the official site here

During winter, Rigi weather temperatures during the day and night will typically be below zero, while between March and November you can expect it to be a little warmer. 

Summer highs in June, July and August may reach around 18°C, and even at night temperatures tend to stay above zero Celsius between May and October. 

Is Mt. Rigi worth visiting?

Mount Rigi in Switzerland is absolutely worth taking the time to visit – even if you only have half a day at your disposal.

For those who want to see as much of Switzerland as possible in a short time, the elevation will give you a new perspective on this beautiful country, while you marvel at the fact that some people actually call this their permanent home.

Whether you’re keen to try out the Rigi spa, wander the hiking the trails or want to dine at a local or fine dining restaurant in Rigi, you can do it all here.

Not to mention the range of winter activities offered – or those astounding views. 

View from Mt Rigi cable car over Lake Lucerne
Whichever way you reach Mt. Rigi – by cable car or train – it will be a ride to remember. (c) RIGI BAHNEN AG.

Visiting Mount Rigi – FAQs

Is Mt. Rigi worth it?

Mount Rigi is totally worth it. Few places on earth offer such stunning scenery, for a start. Then you have Rigi hiking opportunities in summer that offer well over 100km of trails, while the Rigi winter provides visitors with the chance to ski, sledge or go snowshoeing. 

Wellness in Rigi is also a big thing, thanks to the spa in Rigi Kaltbad which has a steam bath, hot tub, sauna and swimming pools. Top that off with the fact that whatever the Mount Rigi weather, you can dine out in style here too. 

Mt. Rigi or Mt. Pilatus?

If you’re wondering whether to take a day trip from Lucerne to Mt. Rigi or Mt. Pilatus, this article should help you decide. Mt. Titlis is also covered there. There’s no easy answer as which mountain to visit depends on your interests and timings. 

By comparison, Mount Pilatus is more commercialised than Mount Rigi, which means it tends to be busier. There may be more to do there, depending on the time of year, such as the Christmas market and various attractions that might appeal to those travelling with children. 

Mount Rigi is more natural and peaceful, which for many is one of the very reasons to choose a day trip to Rigi from Lucerne. The Rigi railway and cable car rides are also very much part of the experience. 

Where is Mt. Rigi, Switzerland?

Mount Rigi is in central Switzerland, and is particularly easy to get to from the nearby city of Lucerne. The area is surrounded by scenic lakes, which can be seen from the top of the mountain. Its highest point is at over 1,800 metres above sea level. 

How to get to Mt. Rigi from Lucerne

If you want to travel to Rigi from Luzern (as it is spelt in German), you’ll find all you need to know above. The first leg of the journey involves taking a boat trip across the lake or a short train ride, after which you can take a funicular or cable car up to the summit. Whichever you choose, making this scenic journey is all part of the pleasure of a day at Mount Rigi. 

How to get from Zurich to Mt. Rigi

It takes a little longer to get to Mount Rigi from Zurich. By car the drive will take about 40 minutes, with a combined rail and bus journey taking a little longer. An easier option is to take a day tour, which you can also do from Lucerne if you like. 

🇨🇭 If you don’t plan to stay on Mt. Rigi but would prefer to base yourself in Lucerne, read our Lucerne Hotels Guide to find the perfect place to stay. You can also read more about Lucerne in our Lucerne Travel Guide.


Views from Mt. Rigi

Switzerland Travel Essentials