Mount Rigi – Queen of the Mountains
Did you know that nearly 150 years ago the first mountain railway in Europe departed from Vitznau and went up Mount Rigi? It seemed fitting that we should try out this day trip for ourselves, with our teenage daughter and our dog in tow, and we absolutely LOVED the experience!
Starting in Vitznau with its quaint train station, we caught the 12.15 train up to Rigi Kaltbad. As the cogwheel train carved its way through the trees and offered ever more lovely views of the lake, it was surprising how quickly we slipped into a holiday mood and once we got off at Rigi Kaltbad, we were all looking forward for our two hour hike to Rigi Scheidegg.
Our hike began by crossing the tracks and taking the path out of the village following the nature trail. This path has loads of explanatory signs about the vegetation and even some of large ant hills which both our teenager and dog found very interesting! It was clear, simple and well explained. The views are breath-taking from the get-go so it’s great that there are plenty of opportunities to sit down and take in the scenery. Several paths lead to Rigi Scheidegg and we decided to start off along the scenic route but stuck to the flatter option. It’s a good thing that my camera is digital as I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the views. Although the last 20 minutes were a little steep, it’s still quite easy to do, and the reward which is lunch at the Berggasthaus Rigi Scheidegg was even sweeter.
The Berggastghaus Rigi Scheidegg is run by Peter and Rita Meier who are the friendliest people I have come across in a long time. The food is traditional Swiss and the dishes are cooked to order by Peter, although Rita steps in to make her speciality: the veal “cordon bleu”, which Rolf had and described as copious and delicious!
The main attraction at this restaurant has to be the playground, there is loads to keep the kids (big and small) busy, such as in the ground trampolines; whilst the grown ups enjoy a drink in the shade and/or take in the views.
After a lovely lunch we made our way back to Rigi Kaltbad – the return trip only taking 1.5 hours as it was downhill most of the way. We arrived in Rigi Kaltbad with a bit of time to spare so enjoyed an ice cream on the large terrace overlooking the lake and the mountains. Had the Mineralbad & Spa Rigi been open that would have been an ideal stop too.
It was a perfect family day out and we are looking forward to returning to the queen of mountains to do some more exploring.
Our round trip took about 5 hours including an hour and a half break at the restaurant, if that feels a bit long there are plenty of other routes to explore.
For a family with younger kids you could take the cable car from Goldau up to Rigi Scheidegg via Kräbel, enjoy lunch and some playtime before strolling down to Rigi Kaltbad where you could catch a train to Rigi Staffel and go back down to Goldau again. This is a nice, and not too strenuous, round trip. There are plenty more suggestions for families here.
The more adventurous could consider taking the boat from Luzern to Vitznau, the train up to Rigi Kaltbad, hiking to Rigi Scheidegg before going back down to Goldau and taking the train back to Luzern. Or you can check out more ideas here.
Going up Mount Rigi felt like taking a lovely vacation, which is perfect as we are all being advised to stay close to home this summer.
As Rita from the Berggasthaus said: “This summer is for locals to (re)discover this beautiful country without hordes of tourists.” So start right at your doorstep by (re)discovering the Queen of the Mountains: the lovely Mount Rigi.