Visiting Appenzell — a tour of Switzerland’s most traditional village

Appenzell village, Switzerland.

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.

Appenzell's Altstadt (Old Town) has many frescoes on its buildings.
Alstadt (Old Town), Appenzell. Photo by Tom Dempsey.

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!

At this square, the Landsgemeinde takes place every spring.
At this square, the Landsgemeinde takes place every spring. The space is used as a parking lot throughout the rest of the year. Photo by Tom Dempsey.

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!

The Appenzell Alps are home to beautiful scenery.
A hiking trail in the Appenzell Alps. Photo by Tom Dempsey.

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.

Whitney Brown

2 Replies to “Visiting Appenzell — a tour of Switzerland’s most traditional village”

  1. Mr Michael Curnow says:

    Me and my wife are Australian Farmers and will be visiting Appenzell on the 18th Sept,we would like to book a local guide or farmer to show us around and visit and talk to some farmers

    • Alpenwild says:

      Hello Mr. Curnow,
      We apologize for the late reply. We hope you were able to enjoy your trip. If you’d like help planning a trip to the Alps in the future, please do not hesitate to call us at 1+801-226-9026.
      Thank you,
      The Alpenwild Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter

Stay up to date on the latest Alpenwild news. You're free to opt out at any time.