Exploring Appenzell region


Appenzell region actually consists of 2 half-cantons - Appenzell Innerrhoden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden. It is considered to be one of the most conservative areas of Switzerland. For example, women got voting rights in Appenzell Innerrhoden as late as in 1991!!!

Symbol of Appenzell

Both Appenzells were in my cantons challenge list and I managed to visit both in one day. I decided to do a hike that starts from Appenzell District (capital of Appenzell Innerrhoden) and ends in Urnäsch (a small town in Appenzell Ausserrhoden).

Appenzell District
Appenzell District with its colorful houses is a definite must-see. It is full of tourists and tourist shops but it is just lovely. You can try the famous products from Appenzell - pastries (Biber, Chäsflade, Chrempfli), beer, cheese, sausages etc. You can read more about it here.

Appenzell District
After walking around in Appenzell District for a little bit, we started the hike. There is a 5-km stretch that is meant for barefoot hiking and most of there people were doing it barefoot, including us. It starts from Gontenbad and ends in Jakobsbad. Mostly you walk on a grass, but there are small sections of gravel as well.

Hiking barefoot

This part of the hike is mostly flat. The trail also passes by the golf course which looks very nice with the small ponds and hills in the background.

Gontenbad golf course
In the beginning and end of the hike and also in Gonten there are options to wash your feet. We had lunch in Gonten which is a small village but has still couple of restaurants and hotels.

Gasthaus Bären in Gonten where we had lunch
The barefoot trail ends in Jakobsbad where you can take a cable car up to Kronberg, visit a climbing park or take a summer bob ride as we did.

Bob sledges


Getting up to the sledge ride starting point
After getting our adrenaline levels up we continued the hike to Urnäsch. This was the part of the hike where you gain quite a lot of elevation.

Hilly terrain from Jakobsbad to Urnäsch

There are also sections that go through the woods where you can enjoy the shady escape from the sun. And then finally we saw Urnäsch:

View to Urnäsch
Urnäsch isn't as spectacular as Appenzell District. There is a museum of Appenzell customs but by the time we reached there, it was already closed. Other than that, there is not much to see.

Main street of Urnäsch
I really recommend the barefoot hike because it's really nice experience and as these 5 km are completely flat, it is really easy walk with nice views to the Alps.

Some useful links:

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