If you are staying in a lakeside resort on Lake Lucerne and aim to use the lake steamers, cog wheel trains, funicular, cable-cars plus the ordinary train and post bus services to explore the attractions of central switzerland then invest in a Tell Pass - although not in resort for 15 days we opted for the 15 day pass as it gave us 5 days free travel on all transport in the area and the remaining days at half-price. We used it on our day of arrival to travel by boat from Lucerne to Vitznau for half price. Cost for 15 day pass was 188 Sfr - this may sound a lot but full price travel in Switzerland soon adds up - plus if you make the 2 most popular round trips to Pilatus and Titlis at Engelberg then the card has paid for itself in just 2 days! You can nominate the free days over the length of the pass - does not have to be consecutive, so it really is a flexible pass. The card will be punched by a ticket inspector for each nominated free day.
Each resort has a list of excursion possible with the pass - complete with time schedule - and states prices with and without the Tell Pass, so you can see how much it saves you. We didn't stick rigidly to their suggested schedules but it was a good guide and saves hunting through various bus/train/funicular timetables.
Website link below has all the details.
Arth Goldau Train
Another train ascends the Rigi - this one from the opposite side of the mountain to Vitznau at Arth Goldau on the Zugsee. These trains are blue (RigiBahn are red) The tracks merge towards the top near to Rigi First.
Towards the back of Vitznau village are two privately owned gondolas which ascend to restaurants perched high on the cliff faces above overlooking the lake. One goes to Hinterbergen and the other to Wissfluh - also good starting points for hikes. The gondolas run on demand (simply telephone from the base station and follow the given instructions) and are not covered by the Tell Pass. The Hinterbergen one was closed during our stay but we did ride in the Wissfluh one which was a bit of an experience! The fairly old 2 person gondola creaked and groaned its way up the cliff, slowing down even more as it neared the cliff face to avoid banging into it - glad it wasn't windy! The gondola cabins we saw in the restaurant garden though were even older!
Arriving in Vitznau from Basle
Arriving in Vitznau involved a bit of a journey for us. BA no longer have the Manchester to Zurich route and landing fees for Zurich are too expensive for Easyjet so our best option was an Easyjet flight from Liverpool to Basle. From Basle EuroAirport you have the option of entering France or Switzerland! No direct train link as at Zurich or Geneva so bus number 50 from the airport for a few francs will take you to Basle main railway station (tickets available from change counter in the airport baggage hall or from ticket machine outside. From Basle station we caught a train to Lucerne (just over an hours journey). The train was late!! (actually this happened several times during our visit but fortunately connections do wait!) We just had time to run with our cases down to the Lucerne boat quai and catch the boat - the last one of the evening for the other hours journey to Vitznau. So a bit of a trek to reach Vitznau but our evening sail there was rewarded with a wonderful sunset over Lucerne - a lovely start to the holiday and a promise of good things to come.
- Sailing and Boating
Vitznau is handily placed for exploring other resorts on Lake Lucerne - the boat staion is right by the train station too. Boats ply the lake and there is a large selection of craft, if you time it right you can enjoy a ride on on the several paddle steamers too.
Inclined to travel by train?
We took the bus into Vitznau on the scenic lake of Luzern drive. We arrived at the cog train just as it was about to head up the mountain. Incredible vistas (shown in tips) as you head straight up the incline towards the summit of Rigi.
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