Dramatic mountain scenery seen from the summit of Hoher Kasten mountain, Switzerland.
Photo: Armando Branchi

5 great things to do on Hoher Kasten

From epic cable cars to alpine gardens, this mountain makes an awesome day out

Written by Time Out. Paid for in partnership with Switzerland Tourism.
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There are few places that offer as big a sense of freedom as the top of a mountain – even more so when that mountain is the mighty Hoher Kasten, found within the magnificent Appenzell Alps. Once you reach the summit of this natural wonder you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world, largely due to the stunning panoramic views surrounding you.

Being atop Hoher Kasten is a genuine spectacle to behold, but believe it or not there’s actually much more to enjoy than ‘just’ the mountain itself. Below, we’ve picked five fantastic activities to seek out when you’re visiting Hoher Kasten, allowing you to make this mountain excursion a truly unforgettable one.

And that’s just to get you started. For more information on Hoher Kasten and the other amazing experiences on offer, simply click here and start mapping out your trip.

Start your mountain adventure with a suitably thrilling journey, which is something of a mini-adventure in itself. The Hoher Kasten cableway whisks passengers up to the summit in just eight minutes, during which time you’ll pass over lush, green meadows as you begin to spy snow-tipped peaks all around you, arriving at 1,794 metres-above-sea-level before you know it. Get your camera ready before you board the cable car, as you won’t want to miss a moment of this ride. And as a great bonus for families, children up to 15 can travel on the cable car for free when accompanied by an adult.

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2. View six countries from one location

The popular Europa Rundweg Circular Trail traces the dramatic outline of Hoher Kasten’s summit, offering jaw-dropping vistas in every direction you look. But while you’re soaking up those vistas from the observation terraces, take a minute to appreciate the fact that you can view a staggering six countries from the spot you’re standing on: Germany, France, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy (via the summit of Monte di Zocca) and, of course, Switzerland. The trail is also accessible for both wheelchairs and prams, making this marvellous experience open for all.

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Reaching the summit of a mountain is a special occasion, so why not treat yourself to an equally special meal once you reach the top? The Hoher Kasten revolving restaurant is the only one of its kind in the region, revolving around its own axis within one hour and providing yet more blissful panoramic views across that gorgeous landscape. Whether you stop by for a quick coffee and cake or to enjoy the local Appenzell specialities on the sun terrace, a visit to the restaurant is an essential part of the Hoher Kasten experience, as you’ll appreciate when you feel yourself slowly rotating while you eat!

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Thanks to its huge variety of walking routes, Hoher Kasten is a paradise for hikers. But you don’t have to be a ‘serious’ hiker to enjoy what’s on offer, as there are paths to suit anyone and everyone, from experienced veterans to families to those just wanting a gentle stroll. Anyone visiting with children will enjoy the family trail, leading from the mountain to Brülisau, via the Kamor mountain ridge, pine forests and Forstseeli Lake, which makes an idyllic picnic spot. Those wanting a challenge can embark on the Geological Trail, which winds through the Rhine Valley and glorious Appenzell hills, past mountains and wondrous rock formations, ending in Brülisau after 5.5 to 6 hours later.

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5. Get to know nature in an Alpine garden

Marvel at over 300 species of plant in the Hoher Kasten Alpine Garden, set at almost 1,800 metres-above-sea-level. Spread across 5,000m², this beautiful garden is a colourful delight for any nature-lover and makes the perfect addition to any Hoher Kasten visit. But as well as being an aesthetic treat, the garden is also a place of education for anyone wanting to find out more about the native Alpine species, and visitors of all ages can learn how both plants and animals don’t just endure but actually thrive in these challenging conditions.

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