Best Things to Do in Appenzell, Switzerland: 12 Must-see Attractions

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Best Things to Do in Appenzell, Switzerland
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Are you thinking about visiting Appenzell, Switzerland this year? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Appenzell. These quaint sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Ahh Appenzell—a name that might not ring as many bells as Zermatt or the Jungfrau region but is a Swiss gem that’s every bit as dazzling. Nestled in the heart of Switzerland, Appenzell is a treasure trove of jagged peaks, rolling hills, and quaint villages that seem to have sprung straight from a storybook.

But don’t let its idyllic charm fool you. Appenzell is also a haven for adventurers. Whether you’re scaling the heights of Ebenalp Mountain, dining on the edge at Aescher Cliff, or taking a serene boat ride on Lake Seealpsee, there’s no shortage of thrills. And for those who prefer their adventures to be gastronomic, let’s just say that Appenzell doesn’t disappoint. Ever tried cheese that’s been aged in a mountain cave? Well, you can do that here!

Ready to explore this Swiss paradise? Buckle up, because we’re about to dive into the 12 best things to do in Appenzell, Switzerland. From must-see attractions to hidden gems, this guide has got you covered. So grab your hiking boots and your appetite—we’re going on an adventure you won’t soon forget. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Appenzell.

The top places to visit in Appenzell, Switzerland right now
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Best Places to Visit in Appenzell

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Appenzell? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this enchanting vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Appenzell places to visit.

Are you looking to immerse yourself in the charm of traditional Swiss culture by exploring its well-preserved streets, adorned with ornate facades and colorful flower displays? Or would you prefer to embark on scenic hikes through the surrounding rolling hills and meadows? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Appenzell can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Appenzell that you should know about.

1. Ebenalp Mountain

If you’re wondering about the best things to do in Appenzell that’ll give you an adrenaline rush and a view to die for, look no further than Ebenalp Mountain. Standing tall at 1,640 meters, Ebenalp isn’t just a mountain; it’s an experience. Whether you’re an avid hiker or someone who prefers the comfort of a cable car, Ebenalp offers a variety of ways to reach its summit. And trust me, the journey is as breathtaking as the destination.

Once you’re at the top, you’ll be greeted by panoramic views that stretch as far as the eye can see. From the jagged peaks of the Alpstein mountain range to the rolling hills dotted with quaint Swiss villages, the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. But the real cherry on top? The Aescher Cliff restaurant. Imagine dining on Swiss delicacies while suspended on the edge of a cliff. It’s not just a meal; it’s an adventure in itself.

But Ebenalp isn’t just about the views and the food. It’s also a hiker’s paradise, offering trails that range from easy walks to challenging climbs. So, if you’re someone who likes to earn their views, Ebenalp has got you covered. And for the less adventurous, the cable car offers a comfortable and scenic ride to the top.

So, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a foodie—or better yet, both—Ebenalp Mountain is one of the best places to go in Appenzell. It’s not just a mountain; it’s a must-see, must-experience, must-love kind of place.

Exploring Ebenalp Mountain is one of the best things to do in Appenzell, Switzerland.
Experience the adrenaline and stunning views of Ebenalp Mountain in Appenzell, Switzerland.

2. Appenzell Town Center

When it comes to unique places in Appenzell, the Town Center is an essential place to visit. Imagine walking through a real-life fairy tale, complete with colorful facades, wooden chalets, and cobblestone streets. The moment you step into the town center, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time, right into the heart of traditional Swiss culture.

But don’t be fooled by its old-world charm; the town center is buzzing with life. From boutique shops selling handcrafted Swiss goods to cafes that offer the perfect cup of hot chocolate, there’s no shortage of things to explore. And let’s not forget the local cheese shops, where you can sample Appenzell’s world-famous cheese—aged to perfection and bursting with flavor.

What makes the town center even more special is its commitment to tradition. You’ll often hear the distant sound of cowbells and yodeling echoing through the streets, adding an authentic Swiss touch to your visit. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of locals in their traditional Appenzell attire—a sight that’s becoming increasingly rare in modern-day Switzerland.

If you’re wondering where to go in Appenzell for a dose of culture, history, and mouthwatering Swiss cuisine, the town center is your answer. It’s an experience that captures the essence of what makes Appenzell so unique. Is this one of the top things to do in Appenzell, Switzerland? You bet!

Visit the Town Center for a charming Swiss fairy tale experience.
Visit the Town Center for a charming Swiss fairy tale experience.

3. Aescher Cliff Restaurant

The Aescher Cliff Restaurant is a jaw-dropping experience and a visit here is among the unique things to do in Appenzell that you shouldn’t miss. Perched on the side of a mountain, this eatery offers more than just a meal; it offers an adventure. As you dine on traditional Swiss fare, you’ll be treated to panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking.

But it’s not just the vistas that make this place special. The restaurant itself is a marvel of engineering and a testament to Swiss ingenuity. Built directly into the rock face, it’s a feat that has to be seen to be believed. And the food? Think hearty mountain fare that warms the soul—perfect after a day of exploring the great outdoors.

So, what’s on the menu? From Rösti to fondue, the offerings are as Swiss as it gets. But let’s be honest, you’re not just here for the food; you’re here for the experience. And in that department, Aescher Cliff delivers in spades. Whether you hike up or take the cable car, getting there is half the fun.

In addition to it being a restauant, Berggasthaus Aescher is also a guesthouse. I definitely recommend staying overnight to experience the magic of Appenzeller country firsthand!

In a land known for its stunning landscapes and outdoor activities, Aescher Cliff stands out as one of the coolest activities in Appenzell. It’s not just a restaurant; it’s a bucket-list experience that combines gastronomy with jaw-dropping scenery.

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Don’t miss the Aescher Cliff Restaurant, perched on a mountain, for a jaw-dropping dining adventure with breathtaking views.

4. Lake Seealpsee

Ah, Lake Seealpsee—a slice of paradise that’s a must-see in Appenzell. Imagine a crystal-clear alpine lake surrounded by lush meadows and towering mountains.

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It’s the kind of place that makes you want to drop everything and just be. Whether you’re into photography, picnicking, or paddleboarding, Lake Seealpsee offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle.

The lake is accessible by a moderate hike, making it a rewarding destination for those who love to be active. And for the anglers among us, the lake is teeming with fish. Picture yourself casting a line in the still waters, the mountain air filling your lungs, and the world seeming a million miles away.

Lake Seealpsee isn’t just for daytime activities. As the sun sets, the lake transforms into a magical landscape, with the surrounding mountains reflecting in its calm waters. It’s a sight that’s as romantic as it is awe-inspiring.

So, you’re a nature lover curious about the best places in Appenzell to unwind and reconnect? Well, Lake Seealpsee should be at the top of your list. It’s not just a destination; it’s a sanctuary for the soul, offering peace, beauty, and a touch of Swiss serenity.

Lake Seealpsee: A tranquil alpine paradise for photography, picnics, and relaxation amidst stunning natural beauty.
Lake Seealpsee is a tranquil alpine paradise for photography, picnics, and relaxation amidst stunning natural beauty.

5. Shäfler Ridge Hike

Ready for an adventure that’ll make your Instagram followers green with envy? Shäfler Ridge is one of those Appenzell places to visit that you’ll be talking about for years to come. This hike is not for the faint of heart, but oh boy, does it deliver on thrills and views. Picture yourself walking along a narrow ridge, with sheer drops on either side and the majestic Alpstein range as your backdrop.

The hike starts from Wasserauen and takes you through a series of steep ascents and jaw-dropping vistas. Along the way, you’ll encounter charming mountain huts where you can catch your breath and maybe even grab a quick bite. Trust me, the Swiss cheese tastes even better at altitude.

But let’s get to the main event: reaching the Shäfler summit. Once you’re there, it’s a 360-degree panorama of alpine glory. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world, and technically, you kind of are.

Are you an adrenaline junkie searching for the coolest things to do in Appenzell? Look no further. Shäfler Ridge offers the kind of high-stakes, high-reward adventure that turns a trip into a tale worth telling.

Experience Shäfler Ridge, an Instagram-worthy adventure with thrilling hikes and stunning Alpstein views.
Experience Shäfler Ridge, an Instagram-worthy adventure with thrilling hikes and stunning Alpstein views.

6. Appenzeller Schaukäserei

Cheese aficionados, make your way to Appenzeller Schaukäserei, the show dairy in the heart of Appenzell. This isn’t just a cheese-tasting experience; it’s a deep dive into the region’s rich, cheesy heritage. What sets Appenzell cheese apart? It’s aged to perfection in mountain caves, each wheel absorbing the essence of the alpine air.

You might think, “Cheese is cheese, right?” Not when it comes to Appenzell cheese. With a history that spans centuries, this dairy delight is a blend of tradition, artisanal skill, and, let’s not forget, happy Swiss cows grazing on lush alpine meadows.

But the experience at Appenzeller Schaukäserei doesn’t stop at admiration. You get to witness the cheesemaking process up close, from curdling to aging. It’s a behind-the-scenes look that adds layers to your understanding of this culinary art form.

And then comes the grand finale: the tasting sessions. Here, you’ll sample an array of cheeses, each with its unique texture and flavor profile. It’s not just a feast for your taste buds but an education for your palate.

Visiting Appenzeller Schaukäserei is one of the best things to do in Appenzell, Switzerland.
Visit Appenzeller Schaukäserei for a cheese lover’s journey into the town’s rich dairy heritage, featuring perfectly aged cheese in mountain caves.

7. Appenzell Museum

For history enthusiasts and culture vultures, the Appenzell Museum is among the best things to doin Appenzell. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill museum; it’s a time capsule that takes you on a journey through Appenzell’s rich history and vibrant culture. Housed in a building that’s a historical artifact in itself, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the traditions and customs that make Appenzell so unique.

As you wander through the exhibits, you’ll encounter everything from ancient artifacts to traditional costumes. Ever wondered how Appenzell’s famous cheese is made? There’s an exhibit for that. Curious about the local art scene? You’ll find it here. The museum is a treasure trove of information, presented in a way that’s both engaging and educational.

But the real highlight? The interactive displays. Get hands-on with traditional crafts, try your hand at yodeling, or even participate in a mock voting ceremony—Appenzell is known for its open-air voting, after all. It’s not just a visit; it’s an experience that allows you to live a day in the life of an Appenzeller.

For those seeking cool destinations in Appenzell that offer more than just pretty views, the Appenzell Museum is a cultural feast waiting to be explored. It’s a journey into the heart and soul of Appenzell.

Explore the Appenzell Museum, a captivating time capsule of the region's rich history and culture in a historic building.
Explore the Appenzell Museum, a captivating time capsule of the region’s rich history and culture in a historic building.

8. Wildkirchli Caves

Are you looking for an experience that’s both mystical and awe-inspiring? The Wildkirchli Caves are places in Appenzell you simply can’t miss. Hidden within the Alpstein mountain range, these caves offer a unique blend of natural beauty and spiritual significance. As you make your way through the labyrinthine tunnels, you’ll encounter stunning rock formations that have been shaped by the hands of time.

But these caves aren’t just geological wonders; they’re also steeped in history and folklore. Legend has it that hermits and monks once used these caves for meditation and spiritual retreats. And you can feel it—the sense of peace and tranquility that permeates the air is almost palpable.

The journey to the caves is an adventure in itself. You can either hike up the scenic trail or take the cable car for a more leisurely ascent. Either way, the views along the way are nothing short of spectacular.

When compiling a list of best places to go in Appenzell, make sure the Wildkirchli Caves are on it. It’s a spiritual journey that offers a unique perspective on Appenzell’s rich tapestry of history and culture.

Don't miss the Wildkirchli Caves—an awe-inspiring blend of natural beauty and spiritual significance within the Alpstein mountain range.
Wildkirchli Caves—an awe-inspiring blend of natural beauty and spiritual significance within the Alpstein mountain range in Appenzell, Switzerland

9. Alpabzug in Appenzell

Longing for a truly authentic experience? Alpabzug is one of those Appenzell things to do that you’ll remember long after you’ve left Switzerland. Held annually, this traditional cattle descent festival is a spectacle of colors, sounds, and, of course, cows! Decked out in flower crowns and bells, the cows make their way down from the alpine pastures to the village, and let me tell you, it’s a sight to behold.

But Alpabzug is more than just a cattle parade; it’s a celebration of Appenzell’s agricultural heritage. The air fills with the aroma of local delicacies, from sizzling sausages to freshly baked bread. Folk music and yodeling add to the festive atmosphere, making it a day of joyous revelry.

Wondering what to do in Appenzell to have a taste of its history? Don’t forget to try the local brews and spirits. Appenzell is known for its craft beers and herbal liqueurs, and what better occasion to sample them than a local festival? It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in the community spirit.

Mark your calendar for Alpabzug. It’s a cultural extravaganza that offers a window into the soul of this charming Swiss region.

Experience the authentic spectacle of Alpabzug, an annual cattle descent festival filled with colorful traditions and adorned cows.
Experience the authentic spectacle of Alpabzug, an annual cattle descent festival filled with colorful traditions and adorned cows.

10. Seealpsee Valley

If you’re preparing a list of unique places to in Appenzell, the Seealpsee Valley deserves a spot. No, it’s not the same as the lake; this is the valley that cradles that iconic body of water. Picture rolling meadows, babbling brooks, and the kind of scenery that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale.

The valley is a hiker’s paradise, offering trails that range from leisurely strolls to challenging treks. Along the way, you’ll pass through quaint wooden bridges, dense forests, and open fields that offer panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. It’s the kind of place where every turn reveals a new postcard-perfect vista.

And let’s talk about wildlife. From marmots to eagles, the valley is teeming with creatures that call this idyllic landscape home. So, don’t forget to pack your binoculars and camera; you’ll want to capture every moment.

For those who love to combine physical activity with stunning natural beauty, the Seealpsee Valley is one of those Appenzell attractions that ticks all the boxes. It’s not just a hike; it’s an experience that nourishes the soul and invigorates the senses.

Include Seealpsee Valley in your list of unique places, a picturesque valley cradling the iconic lake with meadows and enchanting scenery.
Include Seealpsee Valley in your list of unique places, a picturesque valley cradling the iconic lake with meadows and enchanting scenery.

11. Appenzeller Bahnen

All aboard for one of the coolest activities in Appenzell—a journey on the Appenzeller Bahnen, the local railway that’s more than just a mode of transportation. It’s a scenic adventure that offers some of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see from a train window. Picture this: rolling hills, charming villages, and the majestic Alpstein mountain range serving as the backdrop. It’s like a moving postcard.

The train itself is a blend of old-world charm and modern comfort. Plush seats, panoramic windows, and even a dining car serving local delicacies make the journey as enjoyable as the destination. And speaking of destinations, the Appenzeller Bahnen connects you to some of the region’s most iconic spots, making it a convenient way to explore.

For photographers and Instagrammers, the opportunities for that perfect shot are endless. From golden sunsets over the hills to the intricate architecture of Appenzell’s quaint stations, every moment is a photo op waiting to happen.

Thinking of where to visit in Appenzell? Let the Appenzeller Bahnen guide your way.

Hop on the Appenzeller Bahnen for a scenic railway journey showcasing breathtaking views.
Hop on the Appenzeller Bahnen in Appenzell, Switzerland for a scenic railway journey showcasing breathtaking views.

12. Schwende District

For a slice of authentic Swiss life, the Schwende District is a must-see in Appenzell, Switzerland. This charming area is like a living postcard, complete with wooden chalets, flower-filled balconies, and the ever-present backdrop of the Alpstein mountains. It’s the epitome of Swiss charm and a place where time seems to stand still.

What sets Schwende apart is its commitment to tradition. Here, you’ll find locals in their colorful Appenzell attire, complete with embroidered vests and silver spoons hanging from their belts. It’s not just for show; it’s a proud display of their heritage.

But don’t let the traditional vibe fool you. Schwende is also home to modern amenities like cozy cafes, artisan shops, and even a few boutique hotels. It’s the perfect blend of old and new, making it one of those Appenzell places to visit that offers something for everyone.

Whether you’re strolling through the cobblestone streets, sipping on a cup of local herbal tea, or simply soaking in the stunning views, Schwende is a place that captures the heart. It’s not just a destination; it’s an experience that encapsulates the essence of Appenzell.

Exploring Schwende District is one of the best things to do in Appenzell, Switzerland.
Schwende District in Appenzell, Switzerland is a charming area with wooden chalets, flower-filled balconies, and the timeless Alpstein mountain backdrop.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Appenzell

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Appenzell? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Appenzell:

What’s the best time to visit Appenzell?

The ideal time to visit Appenzell depends on what you’re looking to do. For hiking and outdoor activities, late spring through early autumn is perfect.

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If you’re a fan of winter sports, December to February won’t disappoint.

How do I get around Appenzell?

The Appenzeller Bahnen railway is a convenient and scenic way to explore the region. Buses and taxis are also available, but honestly, some of the best places in Appenzell are best discovered on foot.

How much time do you need in Appenzell?

The amount of time you’ll want to spend in Appenzell really depends on what you’re looking to get out of your visit. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Day Trip: If you’re short on time, a day trip from a nearby city like Zurich or St. Gallen can give you a taste of Appenzell’s charm. You can explore the town, visit a museum, and perhaps take a short hike.
  • Weekend Getaway: A 2-3 day trip allows you to delve deeper into the local culture and landscapes. You’ll have time for multiple hikes, a thorough exploration of the town, and perhaps a visit to a local cheese dairy to see Appenzeller cheese being made.
  • Extended Stay: If you have more time, a stay of 4-5 days or even a week would allow you to fully experience what the region has to offer, including more challenging hikes, visits to neighboring villages, and a deeper immersion into the local culture.

So, whether you’re an avid hiker, a culture enthusiast, or just looking to relax in a beautiful setting, Appenzell offers enough variety to fill any length of stay.

Is Appenzell family-friendly?

Absolutely, Appenzell is family-friendly with its welcoming atmosphere and diverse activities. Kids will enjoy the Alpabzug festival, exploring the Swiss countryside, and visiting local farms. Trails, museums, and interactive experiences cater to all ages. The region’s charm and safety make it an ideal destination for a family vacation.

What is Appenzell Switzerland known for?

Appenzell, Switzerland is best known for its idyllic landscapes, traditional Swiss culture, and artisanal cheese. Nestled in the Alpstein mountain range, it’s a haven for hikers and nature lovers. The region is famous for Appenzeller cheese, a key ingredient in Swiss cuisine. Appenzell is also known for its well-preserved customs and colorful, ornately decorated buildings, making it a window into traditional Swiss life.

Hiking amidst scenic landscapes in Appenzell, Switzerland
Hiking amidst scenic landscapes in Appenzell, Switzerland

What should I pack when going to Appenzell?

Pack comfortable walking shoes, weather-appropriate clothing (layers for temperature changes), rain gear, a camera, Swiss power adapter, any necessary medications, and a small backpack for outings. Don’t forget essentials like your passport, travel insurance, and credit cards. Pack light to make room for local souvenirs and treasures.

Is Appenzell worth visiting?

Absolutely, Appenzell is a Swiss gem that’s worth every moment spent there. It’s a harmonious blend of stunning natural landscapes and rich cultural traditions. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a history buff, Appenzell offers a unique experience that’s both refreshing and deeply authentic. Here’s why it’s worth visiting Appenzell for any traveler:

  • Picturesque Landscape: Nestled between rolling hills and lush meadows, Appenzell offers some of Switzerland’s most beautiful landscapes. It’s a hiker’s paradise with well-marked trails that offer panoramic views of the surrounding Alps.
  • Traditional Swiss Culture: Appenzell is one of the best places to experience traditional Swiss culture, including yodeling, cheese-making, and the colorful buildings that the region is famous for.
  • Unique Governance: The region still practices a form of direct democracy that dates back to the Middle Ages. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the Landsgemeinde, you can witness locals gathering in the square to vote by raising their hands.
  • Art and Museums: The town is home to the Museum Appenzell, which offers insights into the local history, art, and culture. The region is also known for its hand-embroidery, which you can learn about at the Appenzeller Volkskunde-Museum.
  • Local Cuisine: Don’t leave without trying Appenzeller cheese, which is produced in the region and is a key ingredient in many local dishes. The area also has charming restaurants where you can enjoy traditional Swiss meals.
  • Accessibility: Despite its somewhat remote location, Appenzell is easily accessible by train and makes for a perfect day trip or weekend getaway from larger Swiss cities like Zurich or St. Gallen.
  • Outdoor Activities: Beyond hiking, the region offers a range of outdoor activities like mountain biking and paragliding for those looking to add an adrenaline rush to their scenic escape.

Why should I visit Appenzell?

Visit Appenzell for its breathtaking Alpine scenery, rich cultural heritage, and charming small-town vibe. Whether you’re hiking through the Alpstein range or exploring traditional Swiss architecture, Appenzell offers a unique blend of natural beauty and authentic experiences that make it a must-visit destination for any traveler.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Appenzell

So there you have it, folks! From the towering peaks of the Alpstein range to the cobblestone streets of its charming districts, Appenzell is a destination that defies the ordinary. It’s a place where tradition and modernity coexist in the most beautiful way, offering a range of unique things to do in Appenzell that cater to all kinds of travelers.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a culture vulture, or someone who just wants to take it easy, Appenzell has got you covered. It’s not just a trip; it’s an experience that will leave you yearning for more. And trust me, one visit is never enough. You’ll leave Appenzell with a full heart and a camera roll full of memories, already planning your next trip back.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack those bags and set your sights on Appenzell. It’s a journey you won’t soon forget.

The top things to do in Appenzell, Switzerland for all types of travelers
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