The Vierwaldstätterweg is a hiking trail that runs all around Lake Lucerne - from Brunnen to Rütli - passing through the "city of lights". The path offers wonderful panoramic views and is mostly easy to walk. Furthermore, if you would like to complete the tour around the lake, you can plan your hike by combining it with the better-known 'Weg der Schweiz', the path that runs along the southern part of the Vierwaldstätterweg, starting at Rütli and reaching Brunnen via Flüelen. In this article, we tell you about our route from Weggis to Küssnacht am Rigi and give you some useful tips!
We love... the Vierwaldstätterweg!
The Vierwaldstätterweg is a hiking trail that runs along Lake Lucerne – from Brunnen to Rütli – passing through the “City of Lights”. The total length is over 115 km, normally divided into 7 stages. It is therefore perfect for a multi-day hike as well as for individual day stages. The trail is absolutely fascinating and for the most part easy to walk. It also offers magnificent views of the lake and the surrounding mountains and combines coastal paths with sections in the mountains or along rivers and lakes. For those who have more days available or who simply want to complete the tour around the entire lake, it is possible to continue the hike along the better-known ‘Weg der Schweiz’, the path that runs along the southern part of the Vierwaldstättersee, starting from Rütli and reaching Brunnen via Flüelen. We have walked part of both trails on day hikes and in this article we tell you about our route from Weggis to Küssnacht am Rigi, an easy and absolutely scenic section of the entire Vierwaldstätterweg. Moreover, we walked it both in Summer – when the lake is alive and deep blue – and in Autumn – when the foliage makes the forest landscape even more colorful! Your choice!
Arriving by public transport
The starting point of this hike – Weggis – can be reached by public transportation. Unfortunately, the small town is off the main rail routes, so to get here from Zurich or Lucerne you will have to reach the Küssnacht am Rigi train station and from there take the bus 502 to the stop “Weggis, Dorfplatz”. In any case, the most pleasant – but slightly more expensive – way to reach Weggis is to get to the Lucerne train station and from there take one of the historic steamboats (which run regularly during the morning) that goes the length and breadth of the Vierwaldstättersee.
Train, bus or boat tickets can be purchased through the SBB website or through the SBB App and, as always, we suggest to check in advance the updated timetables and the different travel options.
Arriving by car
Weggis can also be easily reached by car via the excellent road network connecting major Swiss cities. From Lucerne and Zurich, the town can be reached in about 45-60 minutes by taking the A4 highway. If your starting point is not Lucerne or Zurich, you can check the best route for you at this link. In Weggis, a large multi-level pay parking is available just at the entrance of the town, at Parkstrasse 6353. Another two-level parking – smaller than the previous one – is available on Rigistrasse. However, as always, our suggestion is to choose public transportation: the proposed route is in fact a linear route and therefore at the end of your hike – in Küssnacht am Rigi – you will have to take public transportation – a bus – to return to Weggis and pick up your car. Take this into account and don’t forget to plan your return trip.
Hike overview & map
The walking route we propose is a linear route that starts from the town of Weggis – on Lake Lucerne – and following the shoreline and through meadows and forests reaches Küssnacht am Rigi, where it ends. Along the route, you can enjoy beautiful views of the lake and buy farm products and fresh fruit at one of the many self-services shops you will find along the way. The total route of 12.8 km can be walked in about three and a half hours at a relaxed pace. It is an easy trail, mostly flat or with slight ascents, and for a large part of the route runs in the shade of dense forest. Along the route you will find several dining options near the towns of Weggis and Küssnacht, where restrooms are also located.
From Weggis to the Haldi Hof farm
Our walk begins at the Weggis Ferry Terminal, on the shores of Lake Lucerne. The day is sunny, and during the Summer, Weggis is a lively and cheerful little town, the perfect destination even for a Sunday stroll (and if you are in the area, don’t miss the chance to have a lunch at the Seehotel Gotthard’s terrace restaurant!). In Weggis, we start our walk at the lovely lakefront, following the coastal road for about a kilometer. Here, a short climb among the houses leads us first to the hiking trail and then to a big farm – Hügerihof – where we find a small self-service shop with fruits and vegetables. During Summer, here you can fill up your backpack with cherries, which grow abundantly on the trees that surround this section of the path.
The next two kilometers run along lush green meadows in a slightly elevated position, and from there we can admire magnificent views of the lake and the Bürgenstock, right in front of us. A few more steps and the path reaches a dense forest. This section of the trail runs steeply over the lake for about 2 kilometers. But don’t worry! The path is wide and well-maintained, so absolutely safe. However, as always we suggest to wear good trekking shoes* and use trekking sticks*. At the end of the forest, a short climb takes us a little higher. Here we find a small café/restaurant and the little store of the Haldi Hof farm (organic products and some local alcoholic beverages). It is really worth a visit if you are in the area!
From the Haldi Hof farm to Küssnacht am Rigi
At the Haldihof farm we buy some jams and a small bottle of schnapps and start walking again toward our final destination. A few steps after the farm, the hiking trail meets the driveway and crosses it. From here we continue for about two more kilometers, passing just above the town of Greppen and crossing a small residential area. From here the trail runs smoothly on a gravel road and at one point crosses the cable car from Küssnacht am Rigi to Seebodenalp on the side of Mount Rigi. A little further on is the Restaurant Alpenhof, which offers traditional Swiss food, drinks and ice cream. Also a good destination for families. Here we take a well-deserved refreshment break and begin our descent to the small town of Küssnacht, back on the lakeshore. The historic center of the town is a little gem. If you have time, we suggest taking a stroll here and then stopping at a café or at one of the shaded benches on the tree-lined lakefront. From there, the train station is really close and is reached via a short climb up a paved road.
As mentioned above, this section of Vierwaldstätterweg is also wonderful during Fall, particularly in the more scenic or wooded stretches. Absolutely not to be missed!
If you are in the mood for adventure, near the Alpenhof restaurant – just above Küssnacht am Rigi and also easily accessible by car – you will find the adventure park “Seilpark Rigi”: bridges, ropes and climbing are the real stars here! You can find all the information at this link (german only).