Gersau occupies a romantic location on the southern slopes of the Rigi by Lake Lucerne, on what is sometimes called the "Riviera of Central Switzerland". High above Gersau is the Rigi-Scheidegg area, both a paradise for walkers and a small winter sports area, with excellent views.
The resort of Gersau in the canton of Schwyz is a self-contained area in a hollow on the sunny, sheltered southern slopes of the Rigi. Until the 19th century, Gersau could only be reached by water or over the Gätterli Pass from Lauerz. From the 15th century until 1817, the secluded Gersau was a separate republic, measuring just 24 square kilometres, until the village – against its will at the time – was incorporated into the canton of Schwyz. The museum of local history tells of the long history of its independence.
From the shores of the lake, Gersau stretches along the slopes of the Rigi up to the viewing terrace of Rigi-Scheidegg (1656 m). In 1840 a large sanatorium with 300 beds was built here. On the themed walk called “On the tracks of culture”, walkers can learn about the interesting history of the Scheidegg. Today, two cable-cars lead to the area: on the Gersau side, one goes from Gschwänd to Rigi-Burggeist, about 100 metres below the Scheidegg. The second cable-car goes from the Kräbel stop on the Arth-Rigi railway line up to the Rigi-Scheidegg plateau.
The most well-known way of reaching the Scheidegg is from Rigi-Kaltbad (a stop on the Vitznau-Rigi line), taking the easy footpath along the former railway line from Rigi-Kaltbad to the Scheidegg. Nowadays this route is a panoramic walk with splendid views and popular places for picnics or making a barbecue.