6 reasons to visit Appenzell in Switzerland

May 12, 2014 (Last Updated: September 15, 2023)
by Carolyn
Appenzell, Switzerland

The Swiss region of Appenzell, about an hour and a half’s drive from Zurich, is cuteness with a capital C.

With its rolling green hills – home to thousands of cows – the area is well known for its production of Appenzeller cheese but the little villages and towns that dot the region are worth a visit in their own right, and none more so than the town which also bears the name of Appenzell.

Here are six reasons to visit Appenzell.

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1. Delicious cheese

On your way to the town of Appenzell, make sure you stop at the Appenzeller Schaukaserei (Showcase) in Stein where you can see the famous cheese being made and enjoy a free tasting.

Appenzell cheese
The Appenzell Cheese Showcase gives visitors the chance to see how this famous cheese is made.

2. Cute cows

Of course with so much cheese being made, lots of milk is required and cows are in abundance in Appenzell. These cows are special, too.

Milk for Appenzeller cheese comes only from cows that are fed exclusively with grass and hay on pastures between Alpstein and Lake Constance to ensure the cheese taste remains consistent and unique.

Cows in Appenzell
In Appenzell you’ll see lots of cows – complete with Swiss cow bells of course!

3. Pretty shops

Hauptgasse, the main street, and many of the streets in town, are beautifully decorated. Shops have intricately painted facades and wrought iron signs which give the town an instant appeal.

6 reasons to visit Appenzell
Appenzell’s pretty main street, Hauptgasse.

4. Gorgeous houses

Just like the beautifully maintained buildings in the main street, lots of Appenzell houses are also a feast for the eyes. I loved the gelati-coloured houses a couple of streets away from Hauptgasse.

Appenzell houses
Aren’t these houses cute?

5. Lovely countryside

The gently rolling countryside, scattered with typically Swiss chalet-style houses and dotted with cows, is the perfect backdrop.

Appenzell, Switzerland
With scenes like this, why not get out of the city for a day?

6. Cafes

With an abundance of cafes to choose from, Appenzell is a great place to take a break from the city and enjoy country hospitality with delicious coffee and cakes.

6 reasons to visit Appenzell
One of Appenzell’s many appealing cafes.

Did you know?

It wasn’t until the early 1990’s that women in Appenzell were given the right to vote – and that was only after the Federal Court forced the Canton to change their laws.

The region is a very conservative one and is proud of its strong farming traditions.

How to get to Appenzell

If you don’t have a car, Appenzell can be reached by train from Zurich in around 90 minutes. Trains depart every 30 minutes or so. 

I visited Appenzell as part of a ‘Swiss Traditions’ day tour which also included a stop at the Lindt Chocolate Factory in Altendorf and the Schaukaserie in Stein.