Appenzell village is the capital of the Appenzell Innerrhoden Canton in northeastern Switzerland. This is the cultural, commercial, and tourist center of Appenzellerland, a pastoral region steeped in tradition.
The storied town center of Appenzell is a maze of streets, lined with colorful gabled buildings. Each building flaunts a shingle, or uniquely painted facade with cheerful designs.
The pedestrian zone is concentrated around Hauptgasse street, which stretches from Metzibrücke Bridge to the Landsgemeindeplatz square.
Here, you’ll find the highest concentration of accommodations, restaurants, and shops in the region.
Appenzell is also the gateway to the impressive Alpstein massif, which forms part of the Appenzell Alps. This is the range that harbors the cliffside Berggasthaus Aescher, Saxer Lücke saddle, Schäfler Ridge, Lake Seealpsee, Lake Fählensee, Marwees Ridge, and the thrilling, cable-secured Lisengrat ridge trail.
Appenzell village is the most convenient base for exploring Appenzellerland and the Alpstein mountains. The village center is linked to popular trailheads by train and by bus.
Visiting Appenzell Village: Where to Eat and Where to Stay
- Paid Parking: Brauereiplatz Car Park (Google Maps)
- Tourist Information: The Appenzellerland tourist office is housed in the same building as the Museum Appenzell (Google Maps)
- Closest Airport to Appenzell: Zurich (ZRH), Switzerland, and Memmingen (FMM), Germany
- Where to Stay in Appenzell Village: Alte Metzg – Hostel (budget), Blattenheimat (midrange), Hotel B&B Stossplatz (midrange), or Hotel Appenzell (luxury)
- Where to Stay in Weissbad Village: Weissbad Lodge (midrange), or Hotel Hof Weissbad (luxury)
- Where to Stay in Schwende: Hotel Frohe Aussicht (midrange)
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How Many Days Do You Need in Appenzell
We recommend staying in Appenzell for a minimum of three nights.
If you stay 3 or more consecutive nights in Appenzell Innerrhoden (official accommodations only), you’ll receive a Appenzeller Holiday Card.
This Appenzell Card gives you unlimited access to local public transit, free cableway rides (Wasserauen-Ebenalp cable car, Hoher Kasten cable car, Jakobsbad-Kronberg cableway), free museum and gallery entries (Museum Appenzell, Kunstmuseum Appenzell, Kunsthalle Appenzell, Appenzeller Volkskunde-Museum in Stein, Appenzeller Schaukäserei in Stein), and many other benefits.
Getting Around Appenzell
Appenzell is a destination you can easily visit without a car. The local transit system is very intuitive.
If you’re planning to visit without a car, either stay in Appenzell village, or in a village situated along the Gossau–Wasserauen line of the Appenzell Railways (e.g. Schwende, Weissbad, or Steinegg).
For those that are visiting Appenzell as part of a longer trip across Switzerland and the Alps, you may want to rent a car.
We use the Discovercars.com car rental platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.
Appenzell Village Bakeries
Bäckerei und Wirtschaft Drei Könige
Drei Könige is a pastry shop, bakery, and café, located on Hauptgasse street in the very heart of Appenzell village. It has been owned and operated by the same family since 1839.
You can order pastries to go, or sit down in the café. On weekdays, they offer a daily menu, comprising 2-3 seasonal dishes.
For a quick savory snack, head inside and order a slice of their delicious Käse-Zwiebelfladen, which is similar to a cheese and onion quiche.
They will ask you if you want “Zwiebel” (onions) and whether you’d like it heated up. Answer “Ja bitte” (yes please) to both questions.
Drei Könige is also the perfect place to buy edible souvenirs like the Appenzeller Biber and Biberli, a gingerbread biscuit filled with an almond paste.
Address | Hauptgasse 24/26, 9050 Appenzell | Google Maps
Opening Times | Open daily, except on Tuesdays. See exact opening times on drei-koenig.ch.
Gass 17 is a modern Swiss restaurant that serves fresh and down-to-earth dishes on the corner of Hauptgasse and Poststrasse, across from the historic town hall.
With its inviting outdoor terrace, it feels like the central hangout spot in Appenzell.
The Cordon bleu vom Grill mit Mostbröckli und Appenzellerkäse was excellent!
Address | Hauptgasse 17, 9050 Appenzell | Google Maps
Opening Times | Open Daily. See exact opening times on gass17.ch
The best-rated restaurant in Appenzell is a Vietnamese restaurant. And, it’s very very good! If you’ve had your fill of Rösti, we recommend eating at Chanh.
Housed in a yellow, gabled building, near the Landsgemeindeplatz (the cantonal assembly square), this hospitable restaurant offers a wide variety of flavorful soups, curries, and noodle dishes.
Hotel Appenzell is situated on the historic Landgemeinde Square in the center of Appenzell village.
Boasting an excellent restaurant with an outdoor terrace as well as a confiserie (patisserie), this traditional Appenzell hotel is a great place to eat and stay (see rate on Booking.com).
Their seasonal menu features Appenzeller classics as well as many salads and vegetarian dishes as well.
We loved their Hausgemachte Käsespäzli and Rösti.
Address | am Landsgemeindeplatz CH-9050 Appenzell | Google Maps
Opening Times | Open Daily
Appenzell Museums and Galleries
Housed in Buherre Hanisef’s house on Hauptgasse, Museum Appenzell shares the same building as the tourist office.
This museum is dedicated to the rural, Catholic-influenced history of the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden.
This multi-floor museum showcases special exhibits and a collection of over 30,000 artifacts that shed light on Appenzell’s rural culture: hand embroidery, folk painting, hand-painted furniture, religious art, traditional costumes, and farming tools.
Entry is free with the Appenzell Card. When you enter, ask for the English booklet, which describes the collection in detail.
Address | Hauptgasse 4, 9050 Appenzell | Google Maps
Opening Times | Open daily between April and October. See exact opening times on museum.ai.ch.
Set in a modern building with a glistening silver facade, the Appenzell Art Museum is the most eye-catching structure in the town. According to the custodian, the building was not well-received at first by the conservative locals.
Kunstmuseum Appenzell is located near the train station, a 6-minute walk from the village center.
The museum’s rotating exhibits feature art from the 20th and 21st centuries.
When we visited, the entire space was dedicated to the sculptures and installations of UK-artist Alice Channer.
Entry is free with the Appenzell Card.
Address | Unterrainstrasse 5, 9050 Appenzell | Google Maps
Opening Times | kunstmuseum-kunsthalle.ch
Appenzell Special Events
Cattle and goats graze in the Appenzell Alps during the summer season. At the end of the grazing season (mid-August – late-September), farmers herd their animals from the alpine pastures back down to their winter stables in the valley.
To learn more about this tradition, read Almabtrieb: Cattle Drive Festival in the Alps.
Unlike other areas in the Alps, there isn’t a single homecoming procession. Each farmer decides when they want to herd their animals back down to their farm. So, many cattle drives take place in Appenzell at the end of the summer.
If you’re visiting Appenzell between mid-August and mid/late September, contact the tourist office to find out if there are any scheduled Alpabzüge. Most cattle drives are only announced a few days in advance.
Many of the cattle drive processions lead up Hauptgasse street through the middle of the village. Spectators line the street and shop owners offer refreshments to the herdsmen/women.
Garbed in the distinct Appenzeller Trachten (folk costumes), farmers and herdsmen steer their goats and cows home, whilst singing Rugguusseli (alpine yodeling songs).
Appenzell is the main gateway to the Alpstein, a dramatic limestone massif in the Appenzell Alps.
Read Best Hikes in Appenzell for an overview of our favorite day hikes and multi-day hikes.
We’ve also written detailed trail guides:
- Ebenalp to Berggasthaus Aescher
- Ebenalp to the Schäfler Ridge
- Lake Seealpsee Circuit Trail
- Hoher Kasten – Saxer Lücke – Fälensee Circuit Trail
- Marwees – Meglisalp Circuit Trail
- Lisengrat Ridge Trail
- 3-Day Alpstein High Trail
If you’re interested in hut-to-hut hiking around the Appenzell Alps, but you want help with route planning and booking huts, check out these self-guided treks: Swiss Whiskey Trek (whiskey-themed, 8-day trek), 8-Day Hut to Hut in Appenzell Alps Standard Itinerary (moderately-paced), 6-Day Hut to Hut in Appenzell Alps Active Itinerary (fast-paced), and 6-Day Easy Appenzell Alps Relaxed Itinerary (beginner and kid friendly).
Where to Stay in Appenzell
Appenzell Village Hotels and Accommodations
We recommend staying in, or near the town center of Appenzell, because it offers the most in terms of dining, shopping, and cultural activities.
Appenzell is also a great base for those traveling without a car. With train connections to Wasserauen and Weissbad (bus transfer to Brüllisau), it’s effortless to get around to various trailheads.
Budget | Alte Metzg – Hostel offers 3 spotless rooms with communal bathrooms and kitchen facilities. This intimate hostel is walking distance to the Appenzell village center and train station. On-site parking is available, but must be reserved in advance (fees apply). They also run the neighboring midrange Alte Metzg Boutique Pension with private single, double, and family rooms.
Midrange | Blattenheimat – im traditionellen Appenzeller Haus (2 nights minimum stay) is a traditional, gabled house with 2-3 bedroom apartments and free private parking, very close to the Hauptgasse (pedestrain main street of Appenzell). Guests have access to a washing machine and dryer in the basement.
Midrange | Located very close to the Appenzell train station, Hotel B&B Stossplatz is a darling bed and breakfast with free private parking, free bikes, and a shared lounge. Rooms either have shared, or private bathrooms.
Luxury | Hotel Appenzell is located on the historic Landgemeinde Square in the center of Appenzell village. Boasting an excellent restaurant with an outdoor terrace as well as a confiserie (patisserie), this traditional Appenzell hotel is a great option for your stay. Breakfast and parking are included in the rate.
Luxury | Adler Hotel is centrally located at the start of the pedestrian Hauptgasse (main street), across from the Parish Church of St. Mauritius and the Metzibrücke Bridge. This traditional hotel with two restaurants is a great place to stay if you’re traveling without a car. No parking available on-site.
Weissbad Village Hotels and Accommodations
Weissbad is a quiet village in Schwendetal Valley between Appenzell and Wasserauen.
Situated on the Gossau–Wasserauen train line of the Appenzell Railways, Weissbad is a great base for exploring the region. It takes a mere 6 minutes to reach Appenzell village by train. It takes only 10 minutes to ride the train to Wasserauen (Ebenalp cable car valley station, Seealpsee trailhead, Marwees trailhead, etc…). And, it’s only an 8-minute bus ride to Brüllisau (Hoher Kasten cable car, Saxer Lücke and Fählensee trailhead).
Midrange | Weissbad Lodge, not to be confused with the nearby sister property of Hotel Hof Weissbad (luxury), is a comfortable accommodation with spacious, modern rooms and free on-site parking. The lodge is located on the bank of the Sitter River, just a block away from the Weissbad train station and bus stop. The only negative is the self-service breakfast.
Luxury | Hotel Hof Weissbad accommodates luxury-minded travelers with its two restaurants and bar, two swimming pools, fitness center, spa and wellness area. Breakfast and parking are included in the room rate. The price is rather steep.
Schwende Village Hotels and Accommodations
Schwende lies in Schwendetal Valley, just south of Weissbad.
This village is also located along the Gossau–Wasserauen train line, with direct connections to Wasserauen, Weissbad, and Appenzell.
Midrange | The family-run Hotel Frohe Aussicht, which means “happy outlook,” is a hillside hotel and restaurant surrounded by beautiful countryside. It’s a short uphill walk from the Schwende train station to the hotel. Guests love the views and the restaurant!!!
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Alps Trip Planning Essentials
When to Visit the Alps
We recommend visiting the Alps in summer (June – mid September), fall (mid September – late October) or winter (late December – March).
Read Alps in Summer to learn everything you need to know about visiting the Alps between June and mid/late September.
Alps Road Trips
Most destinations in the Alps are accessible by transit. If you’re visiting during peak seasons, we recommend traveling with trains and buses.
If you’re visiting during shoulder seasons (late May, early June, late September, October), a car is often essential in getting around.
When we go on hut-to-hut hikes, we always travel with transit. When we want to do a lot of day hikes, we find it easier to travel with a car.
We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.
Alps Road Trip Itineraries
- Italian Alps: 5 Day Dolomites Road Trip
- Italian Alps: 7 Day Dolomites Road Trip
- Italian Alps: 10-14 Day Dolomites Road Trip
- Bavarian Alps and Tyrolean Alps: 10-Day Bavaria and Tyrol Road Trip
- Austrian Alps: 2-Week Austria Road Trip
- Austrian Alps: 1 Week Austria Road Trip
- Slovenian Alps: 2-Week Slovenia Road Trip
- Slovenian Alps: 5-Day Slovenia Road Trip
Alps Hiking Guides
Hiking in the Alps is our passion.
For region specific trail inspiration, read:
- Bavarian Alps: Best Hikes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- Italian Alps: Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
- Austrian Alps: Best Day Hikes in Austria
- Slovenian Alps: Best Hikes in Slovenia
Alps Hiking Essentials
- Day Pack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip