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Hoher Kasten: Top of Appenzell

Guide byHoher Kasten

Enjoy a unique summit experience on the Top of Appenzell and explore panoramic views from Hoher Kasten. 

 

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The hamlet of Brülisau is also the gateway to Hoher Kasten. Surrounded by green meadows and dotted with idyllic farmhouses, you will find the cable car departure. In no less than eight minutes, you will be lifted off the valley floor onto the summit of Hoher Kasten.

© Stefan Giger

The cable car ride to the top is an experience in its own right as you will be able to enjoy spectacular views shortly after departure. Pay attention to the friendly cabin attendants who will greet you in the special Appenzell dialect.

How charming, and how Swiss!

© Hoher Kasten

Good to know

Children up to 15 years travel free of charge on the Hoher Kasten cable car. So, why not make this an excursion for your entire family? Or why not show off the beauty of Switzerland to your friends with kids who are visiting from abroad?

The minute you step off that cabin, you will know why they call Hoher Kasten the 'Top of Appenzell'

The only revolving restaurant near and far is located smack on top of Hoher Kasten at 1.794 meters above sea. The restaurant revolves around its own axis within an hour, allowing for unobstructed panoramic views.

 

© Dominik Lanter

Whether you wish to have lunch at the restaurant or simply a cup of coffee, try to spend some time inside the restaurant to feel the rotating effect! Needless to say, local Appenzell delicacies, friendly hosts and just all-around a great atmosphere complete this experience.

Special events at the revolving restaurant

It is worth checking the Hoher Kasten event calendar as there are a variety of authentic events taking place on Hoher Kasten. Try their lavish brunch or the so-called "Vesperplättli", a traditional afternoon snack of Appenzell specialties.

 

© Hoher Kasten

Every month, there is an exclusive full-moon dinner in the revolving restaurant including traditional Appenzell music performances. For these special events and those beautiful sunset views, the cable car will kindly extend its opening hours.

 

© Othmar Fräfel

Unlimited panoramic views on the 'Europa-Rundweg' circular trail

The 'Europa - Rundweg' circular trail', built in 2016, is a 259 meter trail around the summit.

© Hoher Kasten

When visibility is good, you can view six neighbouring countries: Germany, France, Liechtenstein, Austria as well as the summit of the Monte di Zocca in Italy. (Switzerland is below your feet, so it counts, too!)

© Hoher Kasten

With five viewing platforms and lined with benches, the aptly named Europe circular trail invites to linger and marvel. There are free-of-charge telescopes to take a close-up look at all those peaks that can be seen from the Hoher Kasten.

Along this summit trail, a unique alpine garden features up to 300 alpine plants for you to see.

© Hoher Kasten

Access to the alpine garden is free of charge, and rare plants are even labelled. The Hoher Kasten alpine garden association breeds seeds with care, resettling endangered alpine plants. Every spring when the snow has melted, the plants awake from their hibernation and the spectacle of blooming flowers is quite an amazing sight!

The challenging Geological Trail features an impressive ridge

The Hoher Kasten is the perfect starting point for a variety of hikes across the entire Alpstein region - for all levels. From families with children to experienced hikers – there is a suitable hike for everyone. One of the most popular walks is the Geological Trail, which leads from the Hoher Kasten via Staubern and Saxerlücke to Bollenwees. It takes around four to five hours.

© Nicola Eichmann

With panoramic views over the Rhine Valley and the rolling Appenzell hills, as well as over the surrounding mountains, this trail is a must for everyone who likes a bit of a challenge. This first geological hiking trail in Switzerland makes its way from the Hoher Kasten along the southern chain of the Alpstein. It opens up a fascinating array of geological layers from past millennia - no special skills needed to enjoy this geological wonder.

Particularly impressive is the famous ridge to Saxerlücke, a gap in the Alpstein mountains with incredible rock formations.

© Christian Segmüller

Another must is a stop at the Bollenwees mountain inn. The food there is amazing, and the sights overlooking the Fälensee lake are stunning! (A cool dip in the Fälensee is absolutely worth it after such a long hike...)

© Franziska Ulmann

After a well-deserved break at the Bollenwees, the trail continues to yet another lake: Sämtisersee. In case you need another break or a refreshing Flouder soda, there is a mountain inn just a few minutes' walk from the lake. Essentially, there are so many idyllic mountain inns that you will never need to walk for more than an hour. Many offer overnight accommodations, too.

After another breathtaking stop, you will be hiking about 50 minutes to the Ruhesitz Mountain Inn. There, you have two options: either you can hike another 45 minutes down, or you hire a scooter and race down the street to Brülisau! Either way, you will have reached your final destination.

© Hoher Kasten

Next stop, the town of Appenzell

A visit to Appenzell is highly recommended, the small capital with its historic center. In fact, there are many things to see and do, such as window shopping among the specialty shops with local handcrafts. Another favourite is taking photographs along Hauptgasse, the town's main street. Lined up along the alleys are colourful houses that have been skilfully adorned in traditional fashion.

If you want to experience the ultimate Alpstein adventure, look into the so-called «Rondom zfrede» package, an all-inclusive offer which promises to leave you "utterly satisfied."

The package includes a cable car ride to Hoher Kasten, followed by a hike to the Plattenbödeli or Ruhesitz mountain inns, where you'll spend the night (with a delicious breakfast included). The next day, you may return to the bottom of the mountain or extend your hiking adventure along the geological trail.