A newly reopened mountain restaurant at the summit of Mount Säntis offers specialties from the Appenzell region and a special vantage point with views of six countries.
New Experiences on Mount Säntis
Back in January 2019, an approximately 300-meter wide avalanche caused a wave of snow to enter the hotel at the base of Mount Säntis. A second avalanche days later also damaged one of the pillars for the cable car, whose station sits adjacent to the hotel. This spring, after significant renovations, all the facilities are back up and running — just in time for the summer season. This includes a new experiential world about the weather conditions on this landmark mountain.
In June 2019, I found myself riding on the newly renovated cable car. At the top — as part of the Influencer Summit organized by Switzerland Tourism — I enjoyed a special lunch of traditional Appenzeller dishes on the second day of the grand re-opening of the redesigned Säntisgipfel Restaurant. Its panoramic terrace offers exceptional mountain views, and thankfully this space has once again opened to the public.
Some facts about Mount Säntis…
- Mount Säntis is the highest peak within the Alpstein massif, a predominantly limestone mountain range in the eastern part of the Switzerland.
- This mountain falls within three Swiss cantons: Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, and St. Gallen (SG).
- From the summit of Mount Säntis, you can catch a glimpse of six countries on a clear day: France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
- The weather station at Mount Säntis has existed since 1882, making it the site of the “world’s longest series of summit station measurements.” Mount Säntis has a reputation for having some extreme weather conditions. For example, it’s known as the place in Switzerland with the highest level of precipitation (average annual precipitation: 2,837 mm / about 112 inches). It also holds the record for the largest concentration of lightning strikes. And, the highest recorded snowfall in Switzerland occurred there: 816 centimeters (about 26 feet) in April 1999.
- On Switzerland’s National Day (August 1), Mount Säntis plays a very patriotic role. The largest Swiss flag in the world hangs against the mountainside.
The Säntis Cable Car
The first cable car on Mount Säntis opened in 1935 with two cabins, each carrying 35 passengers. In comparison, today’s two-way aerial tramway has cable cars carry 85 passengers each. The ride from Schwägalp takes about 10 minutes from top to bottom and vice versa.
When you plan your visit, be sure to check the timetable. The cable car generally runs every 30 minutes. Sunrise and sunset cable car rides are also available, among other special trip packages.
On the cable car, expect a smooth ride with lots of incredible views, as you ascend to Mount Säntis or descend to Schwägalp. A one-way cable car ride presents a nice option if you want to hike up, enjoy lunch at the Säntisgipfel Restaurant and then take a leisurely way down.
The Säntisgipfel Restaurant
With a comfortable interior that features wooden benches and stone walls, the Säntisgipfel Restaurant (gipfel means summit in German) officially reopened in June.
Our lunch started with a glass of Appenzeller Alpenbitter. A well-known Swiss herbal liqueur from the region, it contains a secret blend of 42 herbs. In my opinion, it has a rather strong flavor of anise. You can sit inside the restaurant or outside on the terrace, which has views of the Churfirsten mountain range and beyond to Italy.
Following the Alpenbitter, we moved on to thin slices of Appenzeller Mostbröckli, a local dried, smoked beef, and a few types of Appenzeller cheese. For our main course, we had Appenzeller Siedwurst, a beef and pork sausage seasoned with caraway seeds. This white sausage, the casing of which must be removed before eating, was served with Chäshörnli. A Swiss-style macaroni and cheese, it was topped with fried onions and served with its usual side dish, applesauce. The summer menu includes vegetarian options, such as the Appenzeller cheese ravioli, and local meat dishes, such as Grossmutters Hackbraten (Grandmother’s meatloaf) with a Säntis Malt Whisky sauce.
For dessert, we had one of my favorite tarts from this region: the Schlorzifladen. A shortcrust pastry shell holds a layer of pureed dried pears topped with a layer of baked custard. I highly recommend a slice of this tart when you visit this restaurant.
Planning Your Visit
- The Säntisgipfel Restaurant is open when the cable car is running.
- There is a daily breakfast buffet for those on the first cable car up that runs until 10:30 a.m.
- On Sundays, you can attend a special Appenzeller brunch buffet with live music from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (reservations required).
- In addition to this weekly brunch, it has other special offerings, some of which include tickets for the cable car.
- The restaurant has rooms available for private events.
Säntisgipfel Panorama Restaurant, c/o Säntis-Schwebebahn AG, CH-9107
+41 (0)71 365 65 00, email@example.com
Please note: I had lunch at the Säntisgipfel Panorama Restaurant as a guest of Switzerland Tourism and St. Gallen-Bodensee Tourism during the Influencer Summit 2019. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are purely my own.