Appenzellerland: one of Switzerland’s best-kept secrets
If we may be a little presumptuous, we’d say that ‘You haven’t been to Switzerland unless you’ve been to Appenzellerland'. The fact that it is so under-commercialised makes it extremely appealing. The local population have strived relentlessly to preserve their colourful heritage and cultural integrity, which is visible everywhere.
The natural beauty of Appenzellerland matches its cultural richness, which you can easily see, also during winter.
One word of warning - no matter how hard you have worked on your Schweizerdeutsch, there are local farmers here with dialects and accents that will leave you uttering, ‘okay – I didn’t understand a single word!’. Let’s agree, it just reflects part of the authentic gem of an adventure that you are about to embark upon.
A Snowy Europe at your Feet
From Brülisau you begin a journey that is truly unforgettable. This is the starting point for Hoher Kasten, a destination known mostly to Swiss people. Hoher Kasten overlooks the Alpstein massif.
6 European countries at your feet © Hoher Kasten/Marc Bollhalder
In just eight minutes a cableway will gently take you to the mountaintop where an incredible panoramic view of six countries (Switzerland, Germany, France, Liechtenstein, Austria and Italy) will dazzle and impress even the most experienced travellers.
Here, day-trippers stand silently in awe of the immense winter view instead of rushing to take selfies. It really is that special.
Breathtaking Winter Views over Alpstein
The cable car to the top station shows unmatched winter views © Hoher Kasten/Marc Fessler
The journey to the top of the Hoher Kasten cable car in winter is an experience in itself. Plus, it takes just eight minutes to reach the summit at 1794 metres above sea level.
On the way, you can see nature slowly changing from the hilly landscape with typical Appenzell houses to frosty forests and snow-covered mountain peaks.
Chill Winter Hiking on the Europa Circular Trail
Charming winter views above Alpstein region © Hoher Kasten/Patrick Fässler
The Europa Circular Trail circles the striking silhouette of Hoher Kasten and offers exceptional views in all directions. It is wheelchair-accessible and therefore also suitable for families with prams and people with mobility issues.
In winter, the path is cleared of snow daily. After heavy snowfall, however, there is only limited access.
Enjoy a path peppered with plenty of seating spots, viewing terraces, panorama boards, free telescopes with integrated labels of the peaks and settlements.
💡 Our tip: Special offers at the Hoher Kasten Revolving Restaurant
After marvelling at one of the country's finest winter vistas on Hoher Kasten, why not pamper yourself with the delectable local cuisine at the only revolving restaurant in eastern Switzerland?
After all, there's nothing more rewarding than a hearty meal on a winter day. Delight in a bountiful breakfast buffet or choose from the tantalizing à la carte menu, showcasing seasonal and regional specialties. Be sure not to miss the sliced venison with cranberry cream sauce, served alongside buttered 'spaetzli' and fresh seasonal vegetables.
Breakfast buffet at the Hoher Kasten revolving restaurant © Hoher Kasten/ Andreas Butz
RESTAURANT DEALS: Every day until 10:30 a.m. and from 02:30 p.m., you can get combined offers for Breakfast or Snack Platter included with your cable car ride at the lower terminus ticket office. Children up to 15 years of age ride the cableway free of charge.
The Revolving Restaurant is the perfect comfort spot in winter© Hoher Kasten/ Marc Bollhalder
Below the revolving restaurant is the Panorama Restaurant and Café, which offers a more simplified buffet-style menu. If you go there for a coffee, don’t miss their Apfelecken, which is delightful, but more so the exceptional Mandelstange.Explore more
Why not stay longer?
The town of Appenzell offers a variety of accommodation options at different price ranges. If you stay for three consecutive nights or more with the same provider in Appenzell or the surrounding area, request the Appenzell Holiday Card from your host.
This card provides over 20 benefits, including 2 free trips on the cableway to Hoher Kasten. With complimentary museum tickets, extra cable car rides, a 15-zone travel ticket, free pool admission, and other gifts, it is one of the greatest deals available in Switzerland.
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Need more inspiration for this winter?
Hoher Kasten is a fantastic destination in Switzerland, but just in case you want to explore more...Show me