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How to Travel From Vitznau to Rigi

Last Updated on December 12, 2023 by Darla

Rigi is a well-known mountain range that attracts visitors from all over the world due to its stunning panoramic views of the surrounding lakes and mountains. Many tourists who want to visit Rigi often start their trip from Vitznau. In this article, we will discuss how to travel from Vitznau to Rigi by train, cable car, or hike.

Image of Mount Rigi Views by TouringSwitzerland.com

The scenic cogwheel railway from Vitznau to Rigi takes passengers to one of the most picturesque panoramic viewpoints in Central Switzerland. The railway itself is over 150 years old, having been in operation since 1871. The ride takes you from the lakeside resort of Vitznau through forests, traditional farms, flower meadows, and Swiss chalets, up the mountain summit.

With its impressive panoramic views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountain peaks of Central Switzerland, Mount Rigi is without a doubt, one of the best places to visit near Lucerne.

If you are thinking of traveling from Vitznau to Rigi, read below.

Overview: Navigating Swiss Trains

You can start by visiting the SBB website: www.sbb.ch. Using the website, you can type in your departure and arrival destinations. It will then guide you to where and when you need to be. An app is also available for iOS and Android devices.

If you wish to pay half the fare for all your train rides in Switzerland, a Half Fare Discount Card (1-month validity) is available on www.sbb.ch. This allows you to travel for half the price on all SBB routes and most other railways during the duration of your discount card.

Using the Swiss Pass, you get unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat in Switzerland. Over 500 museums are also free or discounted, and there are free or discounted excursions to mountain summits.

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Getting tickets from RailEurope is convenient while traveling within Europe and/or visiting multiple countries. Having been in operation since the 1930s, RailEurope‘s extensive history, user-friendly website and mobile apps, flexible currency payment options, commitment to customer satisfaction, and strategic partnerships with leading rail operators, collectively establish it as a reliable and trustworthy platform for booking European train travel.

You can obtain from RailEurope the following travel passes:

  • Swiss Travel Pass – choose between continuous or flexible Swiss train passes for 3, 4, 8, or 15 days. The perks? unlimited use in over 90 Swiss cities, free admission to more than 500 museums, and discounts on mountain railways and cable cars. You also get discounts on high-speed Lyria trains between France and Switzerland as well as Nightjet trains that go through Switzerland. See RailEurope for more information.
  • Eurail Global Pass – unlimited train travel to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for non-EU residents
  • Interrail Global Pass – access to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for citizens and permanent residents of the EU

How to Travel From Vitznau to Rigi

Image of Vitznau by TouringSwitzerland.com

The small village of Vitznau is a pretty village on the shore of Lake Lucerne. It is home to several luxury hotels and a popular starting point to explore the nearby Mount Rigi. You can get from Vitznau to Rigi in a variety of ways. Hiking, riding the cable car, and taking the train are all ways to get there.

Here are three options to get from Vitznau to Rigi:

Option 1: Vitznau to Rigi by Train

Image of Rigi Train in Vitznau by TouringSwitzerland.com

The easiest and most scenic way to travel from Vitznau to Rigi is by cogwheel train from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm (1,748 meters). The railway offers stunning views of the landscape along the way.

It takes 32 minutes to reach Rigi Kulm from Vitznau. Rigi Kulm is typically served by one train every hour from Vitznau.


Option 2: Vitznau to Rigi by Hiking

Image of a Hiking Trail, Rigi by TouringSwitzerland.com

For those who prefer to explore on foot, it is possible to hike from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm. You should be able to complete it in about three to five hours, depending on your chosen route, fitness level, and speed.

  1. Hike from Vitznau to Rigi Kaltbad (3 hours, difficult)
  2. Hike from Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Staffel (50 minutes, easy) or Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Kulm (90 minutes, moderate)

Note: I recommend taking the cogwheel train up to Rigi Kaltbad and hiking to Känzeli, Rigi Staffel, or Rigi Kulm from there. You can also take the cogwheel train up to Rigi Kulm and hike down to Rigi Staffel or Rigi Kaltbad.


Option 3: Vitznau to Rigi by Cable Car

Image of Rigi Views by TouringSwitzerland.com

From Vitznau, you can also take the cable car and hike to Rigi afterward.

  1. Take the cable car from Vitznau to Hinterbergen.
  2. Hike from Hinterbergen to Rigi Kaltbad (3 hours, moderate)

Is There a Direct Train From Vitznau to Rigi?

Yes, the cogwheel train will take you from Vitznau directly to the following destinations:

  • Rigi Kaltbad-First (1,433 meters)
  • Rigi Staffelhöhe (1,550 meters)
  • Rigi Staffel (1,603 meters)
  • Rigi Kulm (1,748 meters)

How Long Is the Train Ride From Vitznau to Rigi?

Image of Rigi Kaltbad-First by TouringSwitzerland.com

The following table shows the train ride duration from Vitznau to Rigi (updated December 2023):

RouteDuration (fastest)
Vitznau – Rigi Kaltbad-First20 minutes
Vitznau – Rigi Staffelhöhe22 minutes
Vitznau – Rigi Staffel27 minutes
Vitznau – Rigi Kulm32 minutes

Is the Train Route From Vitznau to Rigi Scenic?

Yes, the route from Vitznau to Rigi is very scenic. I recommend riding it up to Rigi Kulm where an impressive mountain panorama awaits you.


How Much Will the Train Ticket From Vitznau to Rigi Cost?

As of the time of writing (updated December 2023), here are the train ticket prices from Vitznau to Rigi:

RouteFull Fare (CHF)Half Fare (CHF)
Vitznau – Rigi Kaltbad-First36.0018.00
Vitznau – Rigi Staffelhöhe39.0019.50
Vitznau – Rigi Staffel44.0022.00
Vitznau – Rigi Kulm49.0024.50

As you can see, if you avail of the Half Fare Travel Card, you can save on your fare for long train journeys. So this is something to consider during your travel to Switzerland. You can do simple calculations and decide from there if it will be worth it for you.


Do You Need a Seat Reservation on the Train?

No, there is no need to reserve a spot on the train.


Darla is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country. Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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