9 Highlights at Säntis
- The Säntis is with 2502 m above sea level the highest peak in the Alpstein.
- From the summit you have a spectacular panoramic view of the Churfirsten, the rest of the Alpstein massif incl. the Hohen Kasten and other mountains, lakes and valleys of the Alps.
- The Säntis cable car is the oldest of its kind in Switzerland and offers a spectacular ride to the summit. You overcome about 1000 meters of altitude in 10 min.
- The Schwägalp/Säntis Nature Adventure Park near the valley station scores with five theme trails and exciting social programs. It is freely accessible every day, even with dogs on a leash.
- Demanding via ferratas are a challenge on and around the Säntis even for experienced climbers.
- In winter, the Säntis offers a popular platform for freeriders and tour specialists.
- Near the summit you can visit a number of glacier caves.
- The interactive adventure world on Säntis lets you create weather phenomena like a tornado yourself.
- Every year on August 1, the largest Swiss flag is displayed on Säntis on Switzerland's national holiday.
The Säntis is a place where you can experience the beauty of nature, from the alpine flowers in summer to the snow-covered peaks in winter. Three cantons meet here: Appenzell Ausserrhoden (municipality Hundwil), Appenzell Innerrhoden (district Schwende) and St. Gallen (municipality Wildhaus in Toggenburg).
Sights at Säntis
One of the sights at Säntis is definitely the wonderful panoramic view over the mountains, lakes and valleys of Eastern Switzerland and the Eastern Alps. Not only the seven Churfirsten are a popular photo motif. Several summit paths and a viewing platform provide all-round views.
Some of the most famous peaks that you can see from Säntis are
Piz Bernina: The highest peak in the Eastern Alps, with an elevation of 4049 meters above sea level. Altmann: The third highest peak in the Alpstein massif with an altitude of 2243 m above sea level. Hoher Kasten: A mountain in the Alpstein massif with an altitude of 1794 m a.s.l. and a popular revolving restaurant Churfirsten: A prominent mountain range in Toggenburg with an altitude of up to 2306 m above sea level. There are, of course, many more mountain peaks that you will see while looking in all directions.
World of experience on Säntis
An interactive world of experience on Säntis offers interesting facts about the history of the suspension railroad and about weather phenomena on the mountain. There is also a mineral exhibition, the Appenzell Event Hall and a store at the summit.
The climate and weather phenomena on the Säntis are often very unusual and similar to those in the high mountains. And this despite the fact that with its 2502 m above sea level it does not belong to the category of high mountains. The reason for this is the exposed position of the mountain. Therefore, it is a special experience for children as well as adults to create a tornado or other weather phenomena even fictitiously.
If you wonder why you don't see any paragliders on the Säntis: Because of the extreme location it is not possible to take off from here. Experienced paragliders descend to the Lisengrat and take off from Chalbersäntis (2376 m above sea level) or from the Rotsteinpass (2140 m above sea level).
Glacier caves at Säntis
Near the summit you will find a number of glacier caves that you can visit. They were formed by the natural erosion of glacial ice. From the top station of the Säntis cable car you can take a guided tour to the glacier caves, which takes about an hour.
You will see natural formations of ice columns, crevasses and glacial caves created by years of glacier movement. The reflection of the light creates impressive blue colors of the ice.
Säntis mountain railway
The Säntisbahn is an aerial tramway that leads from Schwägalp to the summit of Säntis. It runs all year round at least every 30 min and needs only 10 min for more than 1000 meters of altitude. The cabin holds 85 people.
The history of the Säntisbahn began with its opening as early as 1935, making it the oldest aerial tramway in Switzerland.
Offer at Swiss Activities:
Activities at Säntis
Säntis is excellent for both sporty visitors and families. For families, the themed trails in the NaturErlebnispark on Schwägalp and the interactive Erlebniswelt at the summit are particularly suitable.
Active visitors hike and climb in the rocky area around the Säntis. In winter, freeriders and ski tourers in particular are out and about on Säntis.
Four hiking routes on Säntis:
- Schwägalp - Meglisalp - Säntis - Rotsteinpass - Schäfler - Wildhaus: 12 km long, 6 hours duration, difficult
- Schwägalp - Meglisalp - Seealpsee - Wasserauen: 5.5 km length, 2.5 hours duration, medium difficulty
- Schwägalp - Äscher - Ebenalp - Wasserauen: 8 km length, 4 hours duration, medium difficulty
- Schwägalp - Hundstein - Hinterfallenchopf - Schafboden - Alt St. Johann: 10 km length, 5 hours duration, difficult
Another popular hike is the ascent from Schwägalp to Säntis, which takes about 3.5 hours. Afterwards you can fortify yourself in the restaurant before taking the cable car back to Schwägalp.
Four climbing routes in Alpstein
- Lisengrat via ferrata: This via ferrata is known for its breathtaking views and challenging climbing passages.
- Rotsteinpass via ferrata: This via ferrata leads over the Rotsteinpass and requires a good physical condition and experience in climbing.
- Schäfler via ferrata: This via ferrata starts at the Schäfler and offers a breathtaking view of the Säntis.
- Zwinglipass via ferrata: This via ferrata leads over the Zwinglipass and is ideal for experienced climbers who are looking for a demanding challenge.
Journey to the Säntis
From St. Gallen you drive via Herisau and Urnäsch to Schwägalp in Appenzellerland. The road is well built and offers a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape. At the valley station there is a large parking lot for which a fee is charged.
For those arriving by public transport, the post bus runs regularly from Urnäsch and from Nesslau in Toggenburg and ends directly at the Schwägalp valley station.
Even the journey to the Säntis is an experience in itself. You drive through picturesque landscapes and enjoy an impressive view of the mountain and its surroundings. It's definitely an excursion you shouldn't miss.