The ornate and fabulous Appenzell is certainly the most unusual canton
in Switzerland. The Santis range that towers over the quirky
and charming village of Appenzell is a magnificently convoluted
maze of limestone peaks and spires. Our circumnavigation of
the range begins and ends in this wonderful village and travels
through the most remote high valleys en route.
a trek with a high adventure component. The trails, while
not particularly strenuous are exciting and engaging as they
snake their way in and around and over these fabulous limestone
features. A sophisticated hut system makes keeping our altitude
in this range possible. These are not the huts you normally
think of in the Alps. Many are magnificent affairs in great
locations with outstanding cuisine, big down comforters, and
hot water and showers. This is the perfect outing for those
wishing to experience an adventure very few people know exists
in this marvelous part of the world.
prides itself on a highly evolved culinary tradition. This
ranges from exquisite continental cuisine in the towns and
superb and satisfying traditional cooking in the high mountains.
Appenzell has what most experts and aficionados declare to
be the best cheese in Switzerland and this year, for the second
in a row, the canton has received the award for the best raclette
cheese in the country.
of Appenzell are a remarkably proud bunch. They seceded from
St. Gallen in 1403 and have morphed into two "half cantons",
Appenzell Innerhoden and Appenzell Usserhoden. Appenzell Innerhoden
is the Protestant pocket cradled in the arms of Appenzell
Usserhoden, the Roman Catholic counterpart. All ballots are
by popular vote with the people of Appenzell not trusting
their elected officials to represent them.
is extremely important in this canton. It is not unusual to
see Appenzeller men carefully tending their herds shoeless,
dressed in traditional garb, smoking a pipe and with a small
cow earring shining brightly on one ear.
on which we travel on this trek are superb and meticulously
made. This is a good thing since the terrain through which
they travel is sometimes extremely steep. Cables and short
ladders are not unusual to help ease sections it steeper terrain.
Were it not for the proximity of St. Gallen, one of Switzerlands
larger cities, we would not enjoy such high quality trails
in this region. The people of St, Gallen treat the Santis
range as their personal and highly beloved mountain playground
and have invested extensively in its upkeep.
the terrain and the hiking in Appenzell are absolutely unique
and a delight to all who have the good fortune to explore
1 Travel to Appenzell and meet your guides and
group for orientation and dinner at an excellent four star
hotel on the main square.
2 Begin a fabulous odyssey through this land seemingly plucked
right out of a fairy tale. The trails are serpentine, precipitous
and exciting. The first night is spent on the lakeside of
the Falensee in the Berghaus Bollenwees.
3 The second day travels into the heart of the
range with a hike over the Zwinglipass and Rotsteinpass. Along
the way enjoy an optional ascent of the Altmann, the second
highest peak in the range. Time permitting you can try your
hand at rock climbing in the afternoon or just relax on the
pastoral grounds of the Berghaus Meglisalp, a fascinating
place that is also a working farm.
4 The next day climbs to the summit of the Santis,
the highest peak in the range. Overnight in a fabulous guesthouse
perched high on a ridge overlooking northeastern Switzerland.
5 Today you have a lovely ridgewalk and traverse
to Ebenalp. Ebenalp is a dramatically situated hut and chapel
that are carved into a steep limestone cliffband high above
the valley. Return to Appenzell through forest and meadows
and finish in our superb hotel situated on the town square.