Opening in late summer 2023
Something unique is being built on the Gornergrat! Europe's highest alpine garden will open in late summer 2023! It feels like a walk in paradise when you stroll through the Alpine Garden on the Gornergrat ridge. Plants and flowers in countless colours and shapes adorn Europe’s highest Alpine Garden. You will be thrilled by the breathtaking view at 2,800 m.a.s.l. at Rotenboden station. The Matterhorn, Riffelhorn and Lake Riffelsee are all within sight.
As far as the eye can see, young and old alike can explore the unique flora and vegetation of the Gornergrat ridge. The Alpine Garden covers more than 5,000 m2 and its location in the Swiss Alps makes the plant world even more special. Here, many plant species grow much higher than in comparable areas and it is a joy to explore them.
Various paths lead past the special alpine flower world and many colourful butterflies can be found between the blooming buds. To immerse yourself even more in the world of mountain plants, there are numerous signs with QR codes at the edge of the trail.
Even those who are not normally mountain walkers have the opportunity to enjoy the unique flora and learn a lot about the endangered and rare species in the garden.
Rules of conduct
Plant life at 2,800 m.a.s.l. is hard and fragile. Many visitors also want to experience the feeling of strolling through a piece of paradise. We need your help to preserve this unique natural heritage and ensure it will delight many guests in years to come. Please observe the following rules:
- Always stay on the paths – treading on the plants damages and destroys them
- Do not pick plants in the Alpine Garden
- Keep dogs on a leash and take children by the hand
- Do not leave litter lying
- Please do not touch the plants and signs
Larch and other upstarts – altitude records in the Alpine Garden
More than 200 years ago, Swiss botanist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure explored the Himalayas. At over 6,400 m.a.s.l., he discovered a Giant Scabiosa, which is the absolute altitude record for a plant to this day. From the Himalayas, the Giant Scabiosa has now also found its way into the Alpine Garden.
From an altitude of 3,000 m.a.s.l. and higher, summers in the Alps are too short, the climatic conditions too harsh and the solar radiation too high. The fact that plants grow in the Gornergrat region is an exception. Many species seem to feel at home here. Including the larch. In the Alpine Garden, it grows at an altitude of 2,800 m.a.s.l., which is a record-breaking occurrence for a tree in the Alps.
Gardening at this altitude is difficult and the conditions for the plants are harsh. For this reason, visitors to the Alpine Garden can primarily see plants that occur naturally in this location. However, that still means a total of over 100 different species, which is another record-breaking number at this height. In the interests of sustainability, all additional plants come from the immediate environment.
Location, climate and geology
With the wonderful view of the Matterhorn and the Gorner Glacier, a garden could hardly be more beautiful. It borders directly on an area belonging to the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments (BLN). These BLN areas are considered to be the most valuable landscapes worthy of preservation in Switzerland and are subject to special protection.
Surrounded by 22 majestic four-thousand-metre peaks, the climate on the Gornergrat is particularly mild. The peaks protect against rain and the south-facing position ensures intense sunshine. Not surprisingly, the region is one of the sunniest areas in Switzerland.
If you go for a walk in the Alpine Garden, you will always discover a naturally occurring green rock. What many people don’t know is that it has its own flora with special and adapted species. Geologically, the Rotenboden area is very diverse – most rocks result in alkaline soil conditions, which is reflected in a rich limestone flora. For geologists and mineralogists, the Gornergrat is therefore an El Dorado for various rocks.