Take a moment to conjure up every stereotype you’ve heard about Switzerland. Picture the towering mountains, the pretty buildings, the bright wildflowers, the alpine clothing… Believe it or not, you can find all of those things in Appenzell.
This tiny village is probably the most traditional location in Switzerland. And with its scenic streets and close proximity to the Alps, who could resist a visit?
If Appenzell has already cast a spell on you, we completely understand! And since it’s our Swiss City of the Month, we wanted to share a little more information about it.
What to do in Appenzell
Although this village is small, it has something for everyone. It’s more than worth your time, especially if you’d like to see what Switzerland looked like a few centuries ago.
The village’s Altstadt (Old Town) looks like a fairytale setting. In this area, colorful frescoes, vibrant flower boxes, and old-fashioned signs decorate the buildings. Spend a few hours prowling the streets, but don’t forget your camera!
For a glimpse back in time, pop into the Appenzell Museum. You’ll spot everything from paintings to traditional costumes, old furniture, weapons, flags, and cheese-making equipment. This is a great stop, especially on a rainy day, but the hours are a little unusual. Make sure to check the website before you visit!
For 364 days every year, the Landsgemeindeplatz is just a parking lot. But on the last Sunday in April, it becomes the open-air meeting place of the canton’s voters. The citizens vote by show of hands, so the process takes a couple of hours. If you’re visiting on that day, then you should take a look — but there’s not much to see during the rest of the year.
If you’d love nothing more than to embark on a scenic train ride through the Alps, you’re in luck! The Appenzeller Bahnen operates trains that go from Appenzell to nearby towns, including St. Gallen, Gais, Gossau, and Wasserauen. And from May to September, an open-air observation car offers an immersive way to experience the nearby countryside.
And of course, this region is home to incredible alpine hikes. With peaks like Mt. Säntis in the area, exploring the Appenzell Alps is a real treat for trekkers. On our own tours, we hike along ridgelines and make excursions to high-altitude berghotels. We admire the views that extend all the way into neighboring countries, and we visit traditional farms and dairies. Don’t forget to sample Appenzeller cheese during your dairy visit.
Appenzell is calling!
Dreaming of Appenzell?
We can’t get it out of our heads either! That’s why we visit every year on our Appenzell Inn-to-Inn tour. If you’d like to join in (or if you have any questions), then please let us know. We hope to see you in Switzerland!
Cover photo by Tom Dempsey.