Appenzell Village located in the Appenzell Region (Appenzellerland in German) is an incredibly cute little town with pretty and colorful buildings, interesting boutiques, and sweet shops. Despite its colorful array of pretty houses and adorable shops, you might wonder if Appenzell is worth the trip. Is Appenzell worth visiting?
Is Appenzell Worth Visiting?
So the question is, is Appenzell worth visiting? Appenzell village is not as touristy as Interlaken, Lucerne, and Zermatt. It is likely not at the top of anyone’s list in visiting Switzerland. In my opinion, Appenzell village itself is worth visiting. To be even more precise, Appenzell Village is worth a stop if you are based in St. Gallen or somewhere in Lake Constance passing by the village en route to another location, or if you are spending a few days exploring the Appenzell region.
Why? Because Appenzell village is rather small. Appenzell is smaller than Zurich and Bern. The village itself consists of several small streets and one main street (the Hauptgasse). The main street is nationally significant.
However, if you are already based in St. Gallen, then YES – Appenzell is great for visiting as a day trip from St. Gallen. It is easy to get to Appenzell from St. Gallen by train.
Appenzell as a Base for the region
The Appenzell Region region itself is mainly agricultural and known for its cheese. They also produce sweets, drinks, and meat. Furthermore, the region is very protective of its traditions, music, art, and culture.
If you want to spend a couple of days in the Appenzell Region, then you can also choose Appenzell Village as a base. Appenzell Village showcases this well with the well-kept and beautiful building facades, the goods that they sell, and the museum on the main street.
The area of Appenzell is known for the Alpstein massif and its most prominent peak – the Säntis at 2,502 meters above sea level. From Appenzell, you can venture out and explore the region’s best sights:
You can read more about the best places to visit in the Appenzell Region here: 12 Best Things To Do in Appenzell Region, Switzerland.
Appenzell as a Day Trip from Zurich
Another option is joining a small-group tour to Appenzell to discover several sites alongside Appenzell village, such as the Appenzeller show dairy, Hoher Kasten, and a boutique chocolate manufacturer. You can join this 11-hour guided group tour from Zurich by purchasing a ticket from GetYourGuide.
You can book a ticket at GetYourGuide – Zürich: Appenzell Day-Trip with Cheese & Chocolate Tastings.
Things To Do in Appenzell Village
1. Stroll around Appenzell Village
Appenzell is a village in the Catholic canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. The other half of the Appenzell canton, Appenzell Ausserrhoden is the reformed part of the canton. It is located south of Lake Constance and surrounded by the Canton of Saint Gallen.
The village name comes from Abbot’s cell, referring to the abbot of the Abbey of Saint Gall.
The main street (Hauptgasse in German) is the epitome of the region’s traditional roots. Among the most interesting places that you can see in Appenzell Village are the following:
- Convent of Mary of the Angels – Monastery of the Capuchin religious order where you can buy some goods to take home.
- Appenzell Castle – Although it is privately owned and not open to visitors, you can still see it.
- Löwen Pharmacy – Beautiful paintings of medicinal herbs on its decorated facade by Johannes Hugentobler.
- Rathaus – Town hall with a beautiful facade painted by August Schmid from Diessenhofen (1928).
2. Check out the Landesgemeinde Platz
The western side of the village is the Landsgemeindeplatz. What began in 1378 continues until today. Landsgemeindeplatz is where the locals gather once a year, every last Sunday in April, to vote.
All eligible men and women from Appenzell Innerrhoden (18 years and older) gather in the Landsgemeindeplatz to appoint the highest authorities and pass resolutions regarding important state matters. They elect the governing mayor, members of the cantonal court, and the members of the ethics committee.
The Landesgemeinde event begins at 9:00 AM with a service in the parish church. Then the march is led by musicians toward the Landsgemeindeplatz. Votes are counted by raising the right hand.
Did you know? Appenzell Innerrhoden became the last Swiss canton to grant women the vote on local issues. This decision from the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland took place back in 1991.
3. Discover Appenzell’s Heritage at the Museum Appenzell
Located in Hauptgasse 4 in the center of the village entrance, Museum Appenzell shares the building with Appenzell’s Tourist Information. The museum showcases the local history of the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden.
Its focus is folklore, hand embroidery, arts, and tourism. They exhibit hand embroidery – a popular way women used to earn income or supplement the family’s income.
Sometimes, they have craftworkers on-site who present insights into their particular craft. These craftworkers include a saddler, a traditional costume seamstress, or a folk artist.
Appenzell peasant and furniture paintings are unique in their kind within Alpine folk art. Artists such as Carl August Liner and Johannes Hugentobler helped shape the colorful and beautiful image of the canton.
4. Visit the Parish Church of St. Mauritius
The Parish Church of St. Mauritius is the Roman Catholic parish church of Appenzell. It is dedicated to the patron saint of the canton Saint Mauritius. Built first back in 1069, this church has been rebuilt several times.
The high altar dates back to 1622, whereas the rest of the church has seen various changes throughout the years. It is under federal monument protection and well worth visiting inside if you are in the area. It is located right by the entrance of the village.
Not far from the Catholic Church is the Evangelical Church. Below the church at Adlerplatz is a turntable created by Roman Signer.
5. Shop in their Boutiques and Bakeries
Shops such as Bazar Hersche (toy store), Flauderei from Goba Manufaktur, the Cheese shop Chäslade, and various bakeries and boutiques along Hauptgasse.
6. Explore the Appenzeller Art Museum
The Appenzeller Art Museum (Kunstmuseum Appenzell in German), also formerly known as Museum Liner, was first opened in 1998. This museum was dedicated to the artist Carl August Liner and his son Carl Walter Liner. The building was designed by Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer – well-known architects themselves who also designed Kirchner Museum Davos and the extension to Art Museum Winterthur.
Admission here is free with the Swiss Museum Pass.
How to Get to Appenzell
How to Get to Appenzell by Train
To get from Zurich to Appenzell by train, take the train from Zurich HB to St. Gallen. In St. Gallen, change to the connecting train to Herisau. In Herisau, change to the regional train going to Appenzell.
Another option is to take the train from Zurich’s main train station to Gossau, St. Gallen (Gossau SG). From Gossau, St. Gallen, there are direct trains going to Appenzell.
How to Get to Appenzell by Car
To get from Zurich to Appenzell by car, drive via A1 and take the St. Gallen exit. Follow Route 8, signs to Appenzell / Hundwil, and exit onto Sonder. Once you are in Appenzell town, there is a parking lot right about the entrance of the village called Parkplatz Brauereiplatz.
You can see the parking lot to the left in the image above. Cross this bridge that runs above the stream and you will find yourself in Appenzell.
Final Thoughts: Is Appenzell Worth Visiting?
Appenzell is a charming little village known for its beautiful buildings, alpine folk traditions, and art.
- Appenzell village is worth visiting from St. Gallen – 23 minutes by car, 30 minutes by train
- Appenzell village is worth a day trip from Zurich – 70 minutes by car, 2 hours by train
- Appenzell is not worth visiting from Zermatt or Interlaken, as it takes 4 to 5 hours by train and the village itself is too small (in my opinion).
- Appenzell is worth visiting from other regions of Switzerland only if you combine the village visit with discovering the nearby mountains such as Säntis, Ebenalp (with Aescher-Wildkirchli), Kronberg, and Hoher Kasten. Herisau, the capital of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, is also worth visiting.
- Appenzell Village is worth visiting when they have special events going on and the traditional Appenzell feast day costumes are worn. Some such events include Ascension Day (typically in May), Pentecost (typically in May), Corpus Christi Procession (typically in June), Assumption of the Virgin Mary (August 15), and Feast of St. Maurice (September 22).
- Zurich to Appenzell Train: All You Need To Know
- 12 Best Things To Do in Appenzell Region, Switzerland
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- Museum of Appenzell Traditions: What to Expect
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- How to Spend 1 Day in St. Gallen, Switzerland
Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.