This summer, we got to spend exploring at our doorstep and traveling around our home country Switzerland. Usually, we are not much of a mountain people and prefer spending our time by the sea. But these last months, we realized how much we enjoy hiking and how beautiful it is to spend summer days in the mountains. We enjoyed the beautiful green landscapes, the incredible views, refreshing mountain lakes, and sunset above the clouds so much. Our favorite region for hiking in Switzerland is the Appenzell. This ultimate guide includes the best hikes and places to stay around the dreamy Appenzellerland.
Best time to visit Appenzell
The best time to hike in Switzerland is during the summer months from May to September. The temperatures in the mountains are a bit cooler, and during these months, there is usually no snow at these hiking trails. There are a lot of green grasslands and cows, and the landscapes are dreamy. During the warmer months, you can refresh yourself in the clear and cold mountain lakes, and you will see many pretty flowers during your hike in the Appenzell.
How to get there
When you travel around Switzerland, the best way to get around is by renting a car or by train. You can get to the Appenzell by train very easily from all around Switzerland. If you want to make the same trail as we did, you can take the train to Wasserauen.
Top things to do in Appenzell
We spent three nights around Appenzell and will share all the places we have visited and where we have stayed in this post. When we first arrived at Wasserauen we took the cablecar up to the Ebenalp. The price is CHF 20.00 (18 Euro) for a one-way ticket. You can hike this part if you like it will take you around 2.5 hours.
Once you will arrive at Ebenalp you can follow the hiking trail to the famous Aescher. The trail will lead you through some caves and across the so-called Wildkirchli which is like an outdoor seating church. The Aescher is a 175 years old Guesthouse that is built at the side of a mountain.
The Aescher is the perfect place to have lunch or a coffee and snack with an incredible view. You can stay here overnight as well. They offer shared rooms for 8-12 people and single-/double-rooms.
Sunset on the Schäfler
After taking a break at the Aescher, we continued our hike up to the Schäfler. The trail took us around 1.5 to 2 hours. The complete hike from Wasserauen up to the Schäfler is 8.5 hours. It’s a lovely trail with lots of flowers and beautiful views.
Where to stay at Schäfler
Upon the Schäfler, you will find the Berggasthaus Schäfler. We highly recommend staying up here because, like that, you can enjoy the sunset without having to hike down in the dark. Young people run the guesthouse, it’s a very traditional house, and the rooms are cute. We were lucky to have the perfect view from our sweet little room. There is no running water in the rooms, but a shared bathroom and breakfast is included in the room rate.
The sunset up here was nothing but spectacular, and we highly recommend this experience when visiting Appenzell.
Rowing around Seealpsee at Sunrise
From the Schäfler, we hiked down to the Seealpsee, which took us around 3 hours. It’s quite a steep hike down if you go directly. You can also hike the same way down which you came up from the Aescher and then hike down to the Seealpsee from there.
We chose the direct way, which was a bit more tricky, and for that reason, we walked slow and enjoyed the views. When we arrived, we had lunch on the Berggasthause Forelle terrace, and in the afternoon we spent relaxing and reading because the weather wasn’t perfect that day.
Where to stay at Seealpsee
We stayed overnight at the Berggasthouse Forelle. The house is newly renovated, and the rooms each have a private bathroom. There is breakfast included in the room rate. The guesthouse offers boat rental for CHF 5.00 per hour. We took a boat in the early morning when the lake was tranquil, and we had the perfect reflections on the water. It was a magical experience, and we were fortunate with the weather that morning.
Refreshing Swim at Fählensee
After that dreamy morning, we walked from Seealpsee back down to Wasserauen, where we took the train to Brülisau. From here, we hiked up to Plattenbödeli, which is quite a steep hike of 1.5 to 2 hours. When we arrived, we checked into the guesthouse Plattenbödeli, changed clothes, and went to the lake right next to it called Sämtisersee for a refreshing swim.
Later, we had lunch at the guesthouse’s terrace and continued our hike up to the beautiful Fählensee. It’s a wonderful trail along with green grasslands and very typically Swiss landscapes. We did not swim again at Fählensee but made a picnic with the famous nut croissants you can’t miss when visiting the Appenzell and enjoyed the view. There is a restaurant right next to it, as well.
Incredible view of Saxer Lücke
Last but not least spot we hiked during our time in Appenzell was the peak at Saxer Lücke. The trail from Fählensee up there is quite steep and took us around an hour, but it was so worth it. It was one of the most spectacular views we have ever seen.
We left right after the sunset behind the peak and walked back to our guesthouse in the dusk. Luckily during the summertime in Switzerland, it gets dark quite late, so we had enough time and light to walk back.
Where to stay close from Saxer Lücke and Fählensee
We stayed at Berggasthaus Plattenbödeli and had a lovely rustic and traditional room. The bathrooms are shared, and there is a delicious breakfast included.
Visit the charming town of Appenzell
On the last day, we walked back down to Brülisau and, from there, took the train to the city of Appenzell. It’s such a lovely town and should not be missed. It is full of colorful traditional houses and delicious treats. For example, three king’s bakery is worth visiting because they offer all the Appenzell’s famous sweets like the “Biber.”
As you might know, Switzerland is quite an expensive country to travel also for us citizens. We have listed our expenses, so you will have an idea what a long weekend hiking the Appenzell will cost you:
- Accommodation: CHF 120.00 – 150.00 per night
- Food: CHF 70.00 per day
- Cablecar: CHF 20.00 per person one-way
- Train-ticket: depending on where you come from, the cheapest option is to buy a day-pass for CHF 52.00
What to bring for a hiking trip in the Appenzell
We have listed our top things to bring for a hiking trip to Switzerland:
- Wear good/comfortable shoes
- Bring a drinking bottle; you can refill it everywhere. During the hikes, you will cross fountains with drinking water all around Switzerland.
- Have a rain cover with you; the weather can change quickly in the mountains.
- Always have some snacks with you, we usually bring some fruits and nuts with us.