Is Appenzell Worth Visiting?

Appenzell village located in Appenzell Region (Appenzellerland in German) is an incredibly cute little town with pretty and colorful buildings, interesting boutiques, and sweet shops. They have so many bakeries in this village – it’s unbelievable.

The main street (Hauptgasse in German) is the epitome of the region’s traditional roots. Appenzell region is very protective of its traditions, music, art, and culture. 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.

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 definitely worth a stop if you are based in St. Gallen, passing by the village en route to anoAescher: Famous Restaurant at the Cliff Edge of Ebenalpther location, or if you are spending a few days exploring the Appenzell region.

Why? Because Appenzell village is rather small. Appenzell is definitely smaller than Zurich and Basel. The village itself consists of several small streets and one main street (the Hauptgasse). In fact, the main street is a nationally significant street (as it is listed as one of the heritage sites of national significance).

I wouldn’t necessarily visit Appenzell if I were based in Zermatt or Interlaken. I think there are other suitable places to visit near Zermatt or Interlaken if that is your base. (In fact, we have a list of mountains near Interlaken worth visiting here – Mountains Close to Interlaken Worth Visiting)

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.

If you want to spend a couple of days in the Appenzell region, then you can also choose Appenzell village as a base. From Appenzell, you can venture out and explore the region’s sights: Säntis, Ebenalp, Hoher Kasten, Kronberg, and Herisau. They are definitely worth visiting.

Appenzell Village. Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

Appenzell village is definitely worth a stop if you are based in St. Gallen, passing by the village en route to another location, or if you are spending a few days exploring the Appenzell region.

Appenzell (the 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. The region itself is mainly agricultural. Appenzell is well known for its cheese. They also produce sweets, drinks, and meat. The village name comes from Abbot’s cell, referring to the abbot of the Abbey of Saint Gall.

Cute toy store in Appenzell. Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

Appenzell village (or sometimes referred to as a town – I’m not really sure, to be honest) is located south of Lake Constance and surrounded by the Canton of Saint Gallen. The area of Appenzell is known for the Alpstein massif and its most prominent peak – the Säntis at 2,502 meters above sea level.

Landsgemeindeplatz

View of Landsgemeindeplatz. Image by Wikipedia

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 towards 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.

Things To Do in Appenzell Village

  • Museum Appenzell – located in Hauptgasse 4 in the center of the village entrance. It showcases the local history of the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. The focus of the museum 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.

Appenzell peasant and furniture painting 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.

  • Parish Church of St. Mauritius – 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.
Parish Church of St. Mauritius, Appenzell. Image by TouringSwitzerland.com
  • Shopping – shops such as Bazar Hersche (toy store), Flauderei from Goba Manufaktur, the Cheese shop Chäslade, various bakeries and boutiques along Hauptgasse
  • Appenzeller Art Museum (Kunstmuseum Appenzell in German) – formerly known as Museum Liner, this museum 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 do I get from Zurich to Appenzell?

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.

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 below. Cross this bridge that runs above the stream and you will find yourself in Appenzell.

You can see the parking lot to the left. The image was taken in Appenzell by TouringSwitzerland.com.

Summary

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, Hoher Kasten. Herisau, the capital of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, is also worth visiting.

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