Mt. Rigi- Queen of the Mountains

In our last travel post, we talked about how we spent an afternoon in Lucerne, Switzerland. If you’re looking for more to fill your day, how about spending your morning on top of one of the beautiful mountain peaks in Switzerland, Mt. Rigi! If Mt. Rigi sounds familiar, it may be because it was also referenced, along with Lucerne, in Mark Twain’s novel, A Tramp Abroad. Twain devotes an entire chapter to his experience on the “Queen of the Mountains”. Needless to say, our adventure up the mountain was significantly easier than Twain’s, and with much less yodeling (which may have been a downside, yodeling sounds fun).

How to Reach Mt. Rigi-

Thanks to its ideal location, Mt. Rigi can be easily traversed. There are two starting locations, one just above Lucerne, and another in Arth-Goldau. Our recommendation is to begin in Lucerne and take a boat ride across the lake to the Vitznau station. This is a quintessential location for catching a ride on the cogwheel train, which is one of the first locomotives to go up a mountain in all of Europe! {Pro-Tip: You can buy a Swiss Travel Pass on the Rail Europe website that includes both a boat ride, and a trip to the peak of the mountain.} For those of you making your grand entrance into the center of Switzerland via train, then you may want to consider the Arth-Goldau route. The cogwheel station is located next to the SBB train station, and has a sign-guided route to get you to the right place. Both starting points offer incredible views up the mountain that are sure to be Instagram worthy. {Pro-tip: Open the windows of your cogwheel car in order to take in the fresh air and capture the picturesque mountain tops. Also, be sure to remember which side of the car you sat on so that you can get pictures of the other peaks. If you are traveling in a pair, this allows for the opportunity to capture two different aspects. Take advantage of this!}

What To Do At the Top-

Once you are able to forge your path away from the tracks, you will see a small building that offers snacks, drinks, and a restroom if needed. As you continue your way up Rigi Kulm (the peak of Mt. Rigi), you will see a path that leads to a dome shaped area, which has a panoramic view of the Alps, and some pretty unique statues and crafted structures symbolizing allegiance. For example, there is the iconic Swiss cow fully equipped with a bell to ring, and let’s be honest, you will want to ring the bell after trekking your way up to the top. There is also a memorialized rock from Emei Shan, a basalt stone that measures 2.5 by 1.5 meters, and weighs 8 tons. The significance of this rock stems from the sister-like resemblance of the two mountains. Emei Shan and Mt. Rigi have two silhouettes that are almost identical, which makes this a prime destination for chinese tourists. The sisterhood began in 2009, but this stone was not added to Rigi Kulm until 2015. Another thing to do once you have reached the top is, of course, take a coffee. Just between the peak and the railroad is a hotel restaurant and cafe where you can find a quick bite and an afternoon caffeine boost. {Pro-tip: We ordered Swiss styled coffee, or in other words a generously portioned espresso, and Kagi fret, a type of Swiss chocolate.} As you are finding a place to sit, take the patio into consideration. The outside balcony is the perfect place for taking in the scenery, and enjoying one another’s company.


We hope that this article has inspired you to experience culture and drink crazy-awesome coffee! Have any of your own Pro-Tips that you would like to share with the GFT community? Leave your comments in the box below! Happy Travels! Or shall we say, Gueti Reis!