Appenzellerland, Switzerland

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The Appenzellerland, situated in the eastern part of Switzerland, is known for its gently rolling green hills, flowery meadows and rugged mountains. It takes just 1 hour and 15 minutes from Zurich or a mere 10 minutes from St. Gallen to reach this unique canton. The Alpstein massif in the eastern region of the Appenzellerland is one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Switzerland. Take the cable-cars up to the peaks of Säntis (2502 m/8209 ft), Hoher Kasten, Ebenalp and Kronberg and enjoy the breathtaking views.

It is said that once a giant with a bag full of little houses was crossing the Alpstein when the sharp tip of the Säntis ripped a hole in his bag. The houses tumbled out and scattered over the hills. When the giant noticed, he decided that the rural landscaping was to his liking and left them where they were. That is the way the landscape still looks today.

Tourists seeking culture and customs come to Appenzell to discover the immense wealth of tradition of painting, music and cheese-making. They are fascinated by the natural art of living. The wooden colourfully painted houses with ornate gables are mostly very well kept. Appenzell has also a long and rich history in mineral water (first exploited in 1657) and other culinary delights.

Various old traditions, such as the „Stobede“ (Alpine merrymaking with Appenzell string music, yodelling and dancing), „Alpaufzug/Alpabzug“ (the trek of the cows up to the Alpine pastures in May/June and down to the valley in August/ September) or the „Silvesterklausen“ (men dressed in traditional customes with bells) attract many onlookers every year.

The Appenzellerland is an ideal place for sports: hiking, biking, snow-shoe walking, skiing, kite-sailing, paragliding or nordic walking are just a few of the many opportunities. Play a round of golf while always seeing the imposing Alpstein massiv in the background.

In 1597 Appenzell was devided into two half-cantons for religious reasons. „Appenzell Innerrhoden“ (catholic) in the south is conservative and holds on to many old customs and costumes. It’s famous for its cattle-breeding and dairy products (especially the famous „Appenzeller" cheese). On the last Sunday in April the traditional „Landsgemeinde“, a democratic assembly in the open, is held. It elects the government and cantonal court of Appenzell Innerrhoden by open ballot.

The other half-canton, „Appenzell Ausserrhoden“ (in the north and west) is mostly protestant and largely industrialized. The export of cotton, muslins and embroidery is flourishing.

Visit this rural canton and get charmed by the beautiful scenery, discover its roots in the museums and discover another aspect of tradition.

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