Appenzellerland, extending from Lake Constance to Mount Santis in the northeast corner of Switzerland, is truly a place where time stands still…in a good way. Lofty mountain ranges serve as a backdrop for steep rolling emerald meadows. The sound of cow bells clanking in the fields follow you as you hike up alpine trails through mountain passes. Trails are well marked and upon approaching the summit of Ebenalp, you’ll have the pleasure of a hearty lunch like venison stew and Röschti (similar to hash browns) served at Berggasthaus Aescher, a rugged wooden inn perched on the edge of a rock cliff. You’ll also pass through Wildkirchli Caves where prehistoric cave bear skeletons were excavated before reaching the summit. If you’re too tired or your itinerary doesn’t allow for pressing on, you can take a high speed tram, one of many in the Swiss alps, back down to the village of Wasserauren within 5 minutes.
The nearby villages of Weissbad and Appenzell are genuine treasure troves filled with local crafts and traditions that have been undisturbed for generations. Drop in on a yodeling class and demonstrate your new
found talent in the town square, watch a leather artisan making his belts from scratch, or try your hand at making Biber, an ornately decorated treat made with gingerbread and marzipan. And when it’s time to hang your hat, plenty of inns await to serve as a rejuvenating respite. Whether staying at an in-town apartment or a full resort spa fed with nearby geothermic heated mineral water from the mountains like at the Hof Weissbad, you’re in for a restful escape. All of this is only less than an hour train ride from Zurich on Switzerland’s super efficient and comfortable public transit system.
photos courtesy of Steve Mirsky
story made possible by a sponsored trip