Arth-Goldau in the canton of Schwyz is the ideal starting point for great hikes and excursions to the mountains or lakes. Find out the best tips here.
Text and pictures by Marc Gottwald
Arth-Goldau in the canton of Schwyz is not only a railway junction. No, it is also the perfect starting point for wonderful hikes and excursions such as the Rigi, Lake Zug or the Goldau Zoo.
The proximity to Lucerne and Zurich is a further plus. In the Ultimate Arth Goldau Guide you will find all the important top destinations near Arth-Goldau. From more well-known destinations to great insider tips. Let’s start the journey to your next Swiss adventure.
One of the most beautiful places and a great destination for an excursion near Arth-Goldau is the Goldseeli. Although the name comes from Arth Goldau, the lake almost seems golden. This place is for those seeking peace and quiet and for connoisseurs. Because the beauty of the lake and the region is stunning.
The lake was tragically formed by the Goldau landslide, where hundreds of people lost their lives. A nature reserve with a primeval forest was created. This wild forest is almost completely left to itself and is an ideal retreat for rare animals and plants. For example, with a little luck you can see a kingfisher at Goldseeli. Wild Swiss orchids also blossom around the Goldsee in May. Even grass snakes live in the ponds.
Those who wish can barbecue and picnic at Goldseeli. Please note that this is a nature reserve and no noise is to be made. In addition, leaving the paths and picking plants is strictly prohibited.
The easiest way to get there is by public transport via Goldau Buosingen Camping and follow the trail.
2. Circular hike Goldauer landslide
Ever heard of the Goldauer landslide circular hike in Canton Schwyz? This hike from Arth-Goldau is absolutely beautiful in May and June. Because here you hike through the landslide area that has developed into a biodiversity hotspot. This means that many rare animals and plants live here. For example, the Dactylorhiza calceous, a type of orchid found in very few locations in Switzerland, can be spotted here.
The round hike from Arth-Goldau is particularly worthwhile at the beginning of June. It takes about 3.5 hours and has a difference in altitude of around 600 meters.
Would you like to go on one of the most beautiful hikes near Arth-Goldau? Then I recommend the hike from Arth-Goldau to the Wildspitz. You start in Arth-Goldau with the first destination, the Gnipen. The 1000 meters of ascent are quite a challenge. But with every step, the view over Lake Lauerz, the Swiss Alps and Arth-Goldau becomes more and more majestic.
From the Gnipen you can see how impressive the Goldau landslide is. The panoramic view is as well stunning. However, our destination, the Wildspitz, is even better.
On a clear day, you can see as far as the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
The hike takes around 5.5h from Arth-Goldau – Gnipen – Wildspitz – Arth Goldau. Those arriving by public transport can also hike from Wildspitz in the direction of Halsegg and then Sattel.
4. Rigi above Arth-Goldau
The Rigi is the queen of the mountains. Because whether beautiful panoramic hikes, a ride on the Rigi cable car or enjoying the sunset in the wellness hotel. There is something for everyone here.
The mountain was also known very early on. Namely for bathing cures but also pilgrimages and educational trips. As early as 1450, the Rigi Cold Spa spring was mentioned for its healing properties for the first time. The Maria pilgrimage chapel also had many visitors. But this was far from mass tourism as we know it today. Because at that time in the 19th century, it was mainly artists, nature lovers, professors and students who visited the Rigi.
Even Goethe was really enthusiastic about the Rigi. So much that he thought for years to come.
Today, it is very easy to get up to the Queen of the Mountains with the Rigi Railway. That’s how the Swiss affectionately call the mountain. From Arth-Goldau, it takes around 45 minutes to reach the summit: Rigi Kulm. There you will not only find a unique 360-degree panoramic view of Lake Zug, Lake Lucerne, Arth-Goldau and the Swiss Alps. Furthermore, you will also find a restaurant and hotel on Rigi Kulm. Other hotels are waiting for you on the Rigi as well. For more detailed impressions, please check the reviews on Google and Tripadvisor.
One of my favorite hikes from Arth-Goldau to the Rigi has the following route. You start at Arth Goldau station and walk in the direction of Rigi Scheidegg. First you follow a road where you see the Lauerzersee and the two myths. Then you turn into the forest at an altitude of about 800 meters. What follows now is a very steep section with a difference in altitude of 600 meters.
But at a mountain hut you can enjoy the view over Lake Zug. As soon as you reach the crest of the Rigi, you can look down to Arth-Goldau. On the other hand, you can enjoy the beautiful view over Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps.
Half an hour further in the direction of Rigi Scheidegg you will encounter a restaurant: the Rigi Burggeist Gasthaus. From here you can reach Gersau by cable car and bus. The cable car runs every half an hour (00 and 30) during operating hours. The bus only runs in summer.
Another option is to take the cable car from Rigi Scheidegg back to Arth-Goldau. Here, however, you have to change to the Rigi cable car at Kräbel. Or you can hike the last stretch back if there is no train for a long time.
5. Goldau Zoo next to Arth-Goldau
As already mentioned, the rockfall in Arth-Goldau was one of the largest in Switzerland. But this landslide has created a new habitat for plants and animals. However, the Goldseeli and the wild forests show how an area can be left almost completely to nature.
The zoo in Goldau (Tierpark Goldau) is the other example of how to turn this into a vision. This means that the area with huge rocks and stones is now home to around 100 animal species. Many of these animals are native, such as free-ranging deer and roe deer, sheep or caged wolves, lynx and wild boars.
But the Goldau Zoo in the canton of Schwyz is also committed to a species breeding program. For example, rare birds such as the bald ibis are bred here. It is also important to the park to educate the park visitors by passing on knowledge.
The Goldau Zoo is a great place for young and old and is only 400 meters from Arth-Goldau railway station.
6. Lake Zug
Arth-Goldau borders with the charming village of Arth directly on Lake Zug . This is also a great destination for an excursion. In summer you can enjoy a cool swim in the lake at the Seebad Arth. The baths even have a jumping tower and a small restaurant. Parking is available at the bathing complex.
But there are other beautiful places around Lake Zug that invite you to swim or linger. How about Immensee or Walchwil?
7. Lake Lauerz
Lake Lauerz is very close to Arth-Goldau. On one side of the lake is the motorway, on the other side is a road. As this is not very attractive, the lake is almost completely ignored by many.
But Lake Lauerz also has its pearls. How about a visit to the island of Schwanau. Here you can enjoy a delicious meal in the restaurant or visit the castle ruins. However, the island can only be reached by boat.
Or with a hike through the moorland of Lauerz? Rare plants and animals can be observed here. Especially in May there is a great chance, as many orchids are in bloom then.
8. Grosser Mythen
The hike up the Grosser Mythen in Canton Schwyz is one of the highlights near Arth-Goldau. But also many people from Zurich venture up the mountain every year. You can take the cable car from Rickenbach to the Rothenflue. From there you hike to Holzegg, where the hard climb up the myths begins.
The hike has almost 50 hairpin bends and 500 meters in altitude. But the panoramic view over the Swiss Alps, Lake Lucerne and Arth-Goldau is fantastic. If you want, you can also climb the “Grosser Mythen” at sunrise. But then a torch is absolutely necessary.
On the mountain, a restaurant awaits you with delicious delicacies. Please note that you have to pay in cash. You can find more information about the Grosser Mythen Hike in this report.
9. Mostelberg near Sattel
The Mostelberg above Sattel in Canton Schwyz is a destination for families, adventurers and hikers. This is because the suspension bridge on the Mostelberg is one of the longest in Europe. A toboggan run also awaits you for a great alpine adventure. It’s a great excursion destination near Arth-Goldau.
But not only that. If you want, you can go skiing in winter. The slopes are especially suitable for children. There is also a wonderful circular hike in the Mostelberg area, with a unique view over the “Grosser Mythen” and the “Kleiner Mythen”. It takes about 3 hours and goes from Mostelberg to Herrenboden, Mostelegg back to Mostelberg. The hike is also suitable in winter.
10. Ilgau – St. Karl
Another great hike near Arth-Goldau and Schwyz and an absolute insider tip is the excursion to Illgau-St.Karl. You park in the car park in Illgau and take the cable car to Oberberg St.Karl. From here you start the hike to Ibergeregg. A gigantic view over the Swiss Alps, idyllic small forests and several restaurants await you.
In winter, you can even rent a sled from the Oberberg St. Karl mountain station to the valley station. By the way, this hike is also a great destination close to Zurich.
In summer, there is theoretically also a bus on the Ibergeregg pass road.
Stoos can also be reached quite easily and quickly from Arth-Goldau. From here you can go on unique hikes and excursions. How about the ridge hike on the Fronalpstock in summer? Then you can enjoy an incredible mountain panorama over Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps. In winter, a number of snowy hikes attract guests as well.
But restaurants also spoil you with culinary delights in various places. There is even a wellness hotel, and a second one is under construction.
The beginning of your Stoos journey is already a source of amazement. Then you ride the steepest funicular in the world. At the some point, it has a gradient of approx. 110%.
12. Ibergeregg to Rothenflue
The hike from Ibergeregg to Rothenflue is one of the most beautiful hikes in Canton Schwyz. Especially in winter, the snow hike is a great tip and, among other things, an excursion destination for families. You can enjoy the view over the two myths and the Swiss Alps on a prepared path.
There are restaurants along the way where you can get something to eat. After about an hour on the easy hiking trail, you will reach the Rothenflue. “What a fantastic view,” you will say to yourself.
From here you can see three lakes: Lake Lauerz, Lake Zug and Lake Lucerne. The towns of Schwyz and Arth-Goldau are also clearly visible. And before 10 am you are almost alone here. After that, especially on weekends, quite a lot of people do this hike.
The hike takes about 2 hours in total and can also be done with children.
Conclusion excursions from Arth-Goldau
Arth-Goldau in the canton of Schwyz is not only an important railway junction. The town is the ideal starting point for hikes and excursions to the Alps or various Swiss lakes. There is something for everyone in the region around Arth-Goldau. Whether adventurer, hiker, family or bon vivant.