WHAT TO DO IN APPENZELL AND APPENZELLERLAND
- 1 WHAT TO DO IN APPENZELL AND APPENZELLERLAND
- 2 THINGS TO DO IN APPENZELLERLAND
- 3 VISIT EBENALP MOUNTAIN
- 4 WHAT TO DO IN APPENZELL TOWN CENTER
- 5 APPENZELL TRAVEL TIPS
Are you planning your trip to Appenzell and wondering about the best things to do in Appenzell or better Appenzellerland? Then this post is for you.
Appenzellerland is probably one of the less famous places in Switzerland (outside of Switzerland), which does not mean it has nothing to offer. Actually, there is quite a bit to see, and it is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful places.
Appenzellerland (consisting of Appenzell and the Alpstein mountains) is located in the north of Switzerland, close to Germany (the main language here is Swiss-German). It is one of Switzerland’s most original parts, with a beautiful tiny town center and stunning scenery. It is a paradise for nature lovers, hikers, and small town- and outdoor sports lovers.
I stayed for about 2 days in Appenzell or better in Appenzellerland, and this is my recommended itinerary for about 36 hours in Appenzellerland, and you´ll also find a tip for accommodation.
Disclaimer: the Appenzeller Tourism Board invited me. However, as always, the opinion is mine. This post also contains affiliate links, which means I might earn a small commission if you book any services/products via my link (at no extra cost to you).
THINGS TO DO IN APPENZELLERLAND
Let´s start the first day in Appenzell by visiting EBenalp Mountain. There are quite a few things to do and see up there, so plan in a full day.
VISIT EBENALP MOUNTAIN
If you enjoy hiking, I would definitely recommend starting with hiking up Ebenalp (about 1,600metres above sea level) – or at least getting up Ebenalp by cable car.
For that, you have to get to Wasserauen Station first. It is located is in the north-east of Switzerland, and it will take about 2 hours to get there from Zurich (you probably have to change trains in Gossau). From there, you will see the cable car station already.
From Appenzell town center, it is about a ten-minute drive (around 7km).
You could also walk from the town center of Appenzell, but I suggest saving the energy for later.
From Wasserauen Station, you can either hike up or get a cable car to get up Ebenalp Mountain.
Hiking / Using the Cable Car
Switzerland makes it very easy to reach mountain peaks without much effort as there are many cable cars/funiculars etc. to get you up. This also goes for Ebenalp Mountain.GET UP BY CABLE CAR: So, if you take the cable car, it will take about 6 minutes to get up (almost to the very top). Using the Ebenalp cable car to get up costs around 30€ for a return ticker, you will save money with a Swiss Travel Pass.
However, if you really want to get to the very top, you will have to do another 5-minute hike once you get off the cable car.HIKING: You can also hike up – it is a moderate hike though quite steep.
I have visited Ebenalp Mountain twice – the first time, I only used the cable car, and the second time I got up by cable car and hiked down. Though the hike itself wasn’t very challenging, it was very foggy and steep, and it was quite scary at times 🙂 Depending on your speed, it should take about 2-3 hours to reach the peak of Ebenalp Mountain.
You will start at Wasserauen Station and then walk uphill through the forest to Bommen. Your first main stop would be the Aescher Guesthouse (other stops will be on the list later). However, if you take a different route, the stops will be in a different order.
Elevation: Wasserauen 876m to Ebenalp 1644m
There are different paths, so it is a circular hike. If you hike, I suggest getting up and then on the hike down to Seealpsee (more on that later).
Best Things to on Ebenalp Mountain in Appenzellerland
Okay, hiking is one of the best things to do in Appenzell, and regardless of whether you use the cable car or your foot, there is quite a lot to do.
Visit Guesthouse Ebenalp
On the top of Ebenalp, you will find a guest house, Ebenalp, to sleep or, at least, to have a drink/lunch, etc., with great views. I stayed there for one night, and you can find my review of a hotel in 1,600 meters height here.
You can overlook Lake Seealp, for example, or you can enjoy the Alpine garden by the guest house. After a coffee there, I would recommend hiking down.
Do Outdoor Sport On Ebenalp Mountain
To date, I visited Ebenalp and Appenzellerland twice. Both times, the weather was not perfectly clear, but on my first trip, I was still kind of lucky with the weather that day (when I got up, it was raining, but the next day was not, and the weather was just nice though a bit misty) and spotted many hang- and paragliders.
Actually, it is not that surprising since it is a paradise for outdoor sports and well known amongst outdoor lovers. If I had not been there with my dog, I would have made sure to book such a tandem flight as well.
From the top of Ebenalp mountain, I started hiking down – after about 15 minutes (I am apparently a slow hiker), Ebenalp Wildkirchli was the next stop.Ebenalp Wildkirchli (about 1,500 meters above sea level) is a prehistoric cave and is free of entry charge. Just a small part is narrow, most of it is easy to pass, and it is just a short walk. There is some information (in German) that says that visitors were shown around in the 18th century, and when the cable cars started operating in 1955, many religious people came in fancy clothes to the church. Since the entrance was tiny, the clothes would get dirty. So, they blasted the entry to make it a bit bigger and avoid angry visitors (mostly from the rich society).
Rest at Aescher Cliff Switzerland
From there – and after 20 minutes of walking – I finally saw it: “the world´s most interesting restaurant“ (Huffington Post) and probably the most prominent attraction in Appenzellerland. The Aescher!
Depending on your hiking route, the order of stops will be different.The Aescher used to be a hostel, but nowadays, it is not possible to sleep there anymore. However, as I did it, you can still have drinks or eat typical Swiss food (as a vegetarian, there was little choice, but the Rösti is a good alternative). The inside of the Aescher is actually not fancy – it is a simple building (with cool toilets though) and great to have a break and enjoy lunch with a view. Oh, did I mention it was very foggy on my second trip? If you walk behind the Aescher, you have a beautiful view of Lake Seealpsee.
Hike Down to Seealpsee
On my second trip, I hiked down to Lake Seealp with a couple of friends.It was totally cloudy and foggy, and even though it was hard to see much, the hike down was absolutely great, and it was fun to meet cows along the way, and then, finally, arrive at the beautiful Lake Seealp, which looks much better from a close distance than if looking at it from above. Hiking from the Aescher to Seealpsse took more than an hour, and since it was foggy and wet, the hike was not very easy. I am sure it is much easier on a clearer day (and on a dry day). However, it was definitely worth it as Seealpsee is beautiful, and there are more restaurants to spoil yourself with some coffee/tea. It takes another 20 minutes from Seealpsee to the Wasserauen station/parking space, and though it is mostly a paved street, the hike is quite exhausting as it is very steep.
PRO TIP: Definitely make sure to have your toenails shorten – it is quite steep, and if your toenails are not short… it is quite unpleasant.
If you hike and take your time, you will easily spend almost one full day here. If you get up by the cable car, it will take less time and relax more.
WHAT TO DO IN APPENZELL TOWN CENTER
Here is what to do in the town center of this little place named Appenzell.
Visit the Appenzell Town Center
There are actually some free tours offered for the Appenzell town center but only on certain days, so check the website if you are interested in joining such a tour.
For the second day in Appenzellerland, I definitely recommend exploring the town center, which is (very) small but charming. Appenzell is probably one of the most colorful and cutest towns, with perfect pretty houses still clearly influenced by Swiss tradition.
The “Hauptgasse“ is the main attraction here, and you can get lost here for a while, though I would also recommend a stroll by the river. I got a bit sick and wanted to get some medicine from the pharmacy – the town is so cute and small that the pharmacy was not open in the morning.I would recommend visiting one of the charming cafes and restaurants where you can watch, the definitely not hustle and bustle, but quiet town life of Appenzell. Coming from a “bigger” city in Germany, I am totally not used to this quiet and relaxed lifestyle, and it impresses me every time to see small and original places where it seems time has stopped and everything is so peaceful.
Stroll Along the River
The town center is pretty, but if you have energy left, I highly recommend leaving the pretty town center and go for nice walks along the river.
APPENZELL TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some quick tips for your Appenzell trip.
Where to Stay in Appenzell / Appenzellerland
Gasthaus Hotel Hof in Appenzell Town Center
I enjoyed a night at Gasthaus Hotel Hof in Appenzell and 1 night at a guest house at Ebenalp.The Gasthaus Hotel Hof is perfectly located in the town center (with free parking space), and you are could hardly be located more closely to the market square. I arrived quite late and left quite early the next morning, so I did not spend a lot of time there, but if you are looking for a friendly, welcoming family-run hotel, this might be a perfect choice.
It is quite simple and basic but a good choice.
If you want something fancier, check out this 4-star hotel in Appenzell.
How to Get Around AppenzellerLand
Ebenalp Mountain, as well as Appenzell town, is easily accessible via car or public transportation.
Parking in Appenzell can be tricky when it is really busy. However, Appenzell itself is very tiny, so you can walk to explore the town center.
In Wasserauen (cable car station for Ebenalp Mountain) are parking spots, but if you want to be sure to get a good spot, get there early. It is also easy to get there by train.
BEST TIME TO VISIT APPENZELL / APPENZELLERLAND
- I repeat myself when I say there is no reliability in the weather. It can be rainy and cold in the summer months and warm in spring or fall.
- However, I think it is good to visit between May-September. This is also the season to hike on Ebenalp Mountain.
- Appenzell also hosts many festivals – if you are interested in certain festivals, plan your trip accordingly.
- Winter is also a popular time to visit – and great if you are into winter sports.
WHAT TO PACK FOR APPENZELL
If you are an experienced hiker, you know how to dress and what to pack. However, if you have not been to many mountain peaks yet, keep in mind to dress in layers.
Even if it seems warm and sunny, it might be chilly at the top. You’ll find a full packing list for Switzerland.
I always look out for water fountains and freshwater sources. As far as I can remember, I did not see any, but I might have just missed it. So, there is the Aescher and the Ebenalp Guesthouse and a restaurant at Seealpsee where you can buy drinks and snacks, but I still suggest packing enough water and snacks.
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