Weggis-Vitznau Rigi & Luzern (LU) | Swiss Tour 2020
Known as the region of well-being at the heart of Switzerland, we also discovered that this area is perfect for families.
Our first trip to the Luzern region was just after we discovered I was expecting Jude and I remember then that we promised we could go back but up until now, we hadn’t found the right opportunity.
We were over the moon to discover that we would indeed have a chance to return to the Weggis-Vitznau area as part of our Swiss expats tour and set off excitedly last Friday. We saw on the map that our route would take us near to a wildlife park - the Tierpark in Goldau and decided to stop our our way.
Since it was a nice sunny day, the car park was already filling up when we arrived but we found a space, collected our tickets and set off.
The park seems to be in a fairly central location so the huge size of it within the walls was a bit of a surprise. We soon found ourselves walking around a large lake full of fish and ducks before we arrived at the area where the animals were free to roam around, which the children really loved. Obviously Alba was in heaven here and glued herself to a friendly deer who took a shine to her. You can buy a bag of pellet food for the animals if you wish to coax them closer. There is a lot to see in the park including bears, wolves, birds, wild boars (plus babies 🥰) and lots of deer and chickens. There is also a farm area where children can enter the enclosure to visit some small goats.
We stopped for a bite to eat at one of the restaurants and Jude found it hilarious that there were some bold birds marching around under his chair including a cockerel who started crowing right in front of us. The park is well spread out with plenty of places to stop to eat, including grill and picnic areas, plus some great playgrounds along the way. Jude and Alba stopped to splash about a bit in a large water fountain which helped to cool them down in the heat. It's paradise for children!
Once we were satisfied we had seen as much as possible of the park, we set off for our hotel which was the Seeburg Hotel, situated right next to the lake just outside Luzern. We were given two interconnecting rooms and once we were unpacked, we set off to explore the lakeside, starting with a visit to the Sunset Bar opposite which is a great spot directly on the lake. We enjoyed a cool drink before heading further along the lake to the restaurant we had chosen for dinner.
The following morning, after a nice breakfast on the hotel terrace, we set out with two missions in mind. The first was to visit the Museum of Transport, and the second was a trip to the Lido. Both of these were within walking distance from the hotel along the lake. We had originally planned to start with the museum but we saw the lido was filling up as we passed so we decided to reverse our plan and start with a trip to the beach instead before it got too busy...and too hot. It’s a really well organised and spacious place and we soon found a spot to pitch our rented umbrella and a sun lounger. Jude and Alba were extremely excited to get in the water and we took off Elio’s special boots and socks so that he could enjoy the feeling of the sand between his little toes. This was definitely one of the highlights of out trip and it felt so much like being on holiday, it did us all a lot of good. After an hour or two, we were ready for lunch so we went to the beach restaurant and had a quick bite before letting the children roam around the enormous play area which forms part of the lido complex.
Our next stop was the Museum of Transport (Verkehrshaus). We had heard so many good things about this place and had been meaning for visit for a long time and it definitely didn’t disappoint!
Each building houses an exhibit dedicated to a different mode of transport and we started with the trains where we learned not just about the evolution of the trains themselves, but also the development of the railways and impressive tunnels through Switzerland (the display about the construction of the Gothard Base Tunnel is especially interesting). From there you can head outside to the main open area where you can choose a different building to enjoy the many attractions for the children. Back outside and there is an enormous amount of activities to choose from including a bob sleigh ride, go carts, mini train rides, construction site area, pedalo boats and a huge aeroplane under which you can have a drink or an ice cream. The museum is so interactive, with plenty for young and old alike, films to watch, experiments to try, games to play and lots to learn. Jean especially enjoyed the area devoted to space travel, and the racing cars and Jude and Alba simply loved all of it!
To really make the most of the entry fee, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to explore because the museum is huge (you could easily spend a whole day there) and plan to go outside too with suncream, hats etc in the summer. It's really a "must-do" if you are in the area.
After we had explored as much as we could in the time we had, we went to the Swiss Chocolate Adventure housed in the main building. This was a really great experience as visitors are taken around a darkened route in a little revolving car which stops at various exhibits along the way to explain the process of making chocolate from the growing of the cacao beans to the finished product. It's a real feast for the senses and we all really loved it, and of course the sampling at the end was very welcome! :-)
We walked back to the hotel full of conversation about our amazing day and discussing our personal highlights of the things we had seen. We were pretty tired after so much excitement so we chose to eat at the hotel that evening where the food was very good and the service was excellent. Back in the room and Jean and I started to pack up our belongings before an early start the next morning.
Saturday was the day we would get to visit amount Rigi. This had been on our Swiss bucket list for a very long time so it was wonderful for us to realise this dream!
We missed the cog train directly from Vitznau up the mountain by minutes because we couldn't find a parking spot, so rather than wait an hour for the next one, we decided to drive over to Weggis where we could take a cable car which would take us up to Kaltbad which is a middle station on the mountain. Worth mentioning here that the car park (P1) at Weggis was very busy and rather difficult to negotiate with a large car so we parked in P2 which is just below and where there were many more free places. The cable car was very crowded but we managed to find space for us all plus Elio in the pushchair. From Kaltbad we could get a more regular cog train up to Rigi Kulm and from there we did the walk to the summit. There is a fairly steep path or a more gentle option but Jean decided to push Elio up the steeper path and we were soon at the top admiring the incredible panoramic views over the magnificent lakes below. It’s really worth a visit to enjoy this unique view which we agreed was amongst the best we have seen.
Our original plan had been to take the cog train back down to Kaltbad and have lunch, but there was a long wait for the next train so we decided to walk. This turned out to be a brilliant turn of events as there is a relatively gentle path all the way down, which we managed easily with the pushchair and the children. It was a really pleasant walk and enabled us to fully appreciate our surroundings as we passed through the countryside flanking the rail tracks on the way down.
Back down at Kaltbad after about 50 minute walk, and we were ready for lunch so we installed ourselves at the Rigi Kaltbad Hotel restaurant and tucked into a delicious plate of local charcuteries and cheeses. Kaltbad is a busy spot with hotels and restaurants, little shops and a spa as well as, most importantly as far as our children were concerned, Rigi Land which is a lovely hillside play ground. The children skipped off to play as soon as we arrived and enjoyed the pond area where they tried to spot dragonflies and lizards. There are plenty of places to have a bite to eat and benches for parents to catch their breath.
Mount Rigi has so much to offer, it’s a really great outing with plenty of hikes, long and short for all abilities. Had we not walked down from Rigi Kulm to to Kaltbad, we would have followed the Rigi “Wildmannli” trail which passes a great viewing platform, but we judged that the children would have rebelled if we had announced another walk, so we took the cable car back to Weggis.
The final part of our holiday arrived all too quickly, but we were going out in style with an overnight stay at the magnificent Vitznauerhof hotel in Vitznau. This is a really special place situated in a beautiful building right on the banks of the lake, with stunning views and tasteful decor. To our delight and amazement, we were given a two floor suite overlooking the lake! During check in, we spotted a gorgeous bride about to get married in the grounds and Alba was instantly awe struck, so we took her downstairs a little later to watch the wedding ceremony from the hotel garden and she came back full of joy at having seen the "queen" :-).
The hotel has a spa and swimming pool so Jean took Jude downstairs for a splash in the pool, and they also took a dip in the lake, where the hotel has private access, so that he could compare the two (he preferred the pool). The hotel garden is a beautiful, tranquil spot and we were lucky to have been able to enjoy it with perfect weather.
A couple of hours later we were all clean and tidy and ready for a wonderful dinner. We were given a fabulous table on the terrace by the lake and were beautifully looked after by the lovely Belinda who was really kind and helpful, especially with the children. We ate a delicious meal (Jean thoroughly recommends the ribs) which was topped off perfectly by a firework display on the lake organised for the wedding party. Alba was convinced that the fireworks were the result of her “Frozen” hand movements and was utterly lost in the moment. We really couldn’t have wished for a better end to a magical evening and we all went to bed feeling happy.
The next morning we were up early for a delicious breakfast (featuring chocolate fondue!) before we began the Fox Trail which began just down the road from the hotel. We had explained to the children this was a kind of treasure hunt around Vitznau. Alba was convinced I had said "cheddar hunt"and we had quite a job explaining that we weren't going to be scavenging for cheese, but instead we would be following clues, starting when we collected our pre-booked tickets at the cog train station and cracked the first clue.
This is a brilliant activity which led us round the area to places we would never have discovered on our own as we completed the little tasks along the way. It’s a great way to keep the children motivated as we hunted for the next clue and worked together to solve the puzzles. We just about managed it with Elio in the pushchair but I would suggest a baby carrier would be more appropriate and wear some good shoes as it is quite hilly and there were rather a lot of steps in the descent. We’ll leave you to discover the trail yourself (I'll just mention that Jude loved the telephone part) but it’s definitely a great way to explore the area and fun for all the family. Having completed the Fox Trail, it was time for us to pack up the car and head home after what had been a truly memorable few days.
We have to say a big thank you to the tourism office of Luzern for putting together this wonderful trip to their beautiful region which marked the end of our holiday. It was such a fun filled visit and we came away with the feeling there is still plenty more to discover....we’ll just have to go back another time :-).
Luzern Tourismus AG
Luzern Tourismus AG
Tourist Information Weggis
RIGI BAHNEN AG
Tel. +41 41 399 87 87
Swiss Museum of Transport