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Appenzell/St. Gallen vs. Locarno?

We will be spending two weeks in Switzerland and one in Tuscany in July. We'll be traveling by train only. We've visited the Lake Geneva area before. This time we're planning to spend a week in the Berner Oberland and a week in Ticino before heading to Italy. Now we're reconsidering whether we should spend a week or so in the Appenzell/St. Gallen area rather than Locarno. We have to travel back from Locarno to Luzern before we could go to Italy (previous commitment) so it's not "on the way." We're also thinking that Locarno will be very crowded. We like to hike/walk/sightsee, etc. We also like to stay put for at least 4/5 nights in one place. Anyone have any insight about this? Where would be a good spot to stay in the Appenzell area? Thank you all again for your help.

Posted by
12040 posts

I can recommend Flumserberg in St. Gallen. Like the villages of the Berner Oberland that get all the rave reviews here, this one also sits at a high altitude on the side of the mountain. Unlike the BO, though, the town is accessible by car. And it isn't so much a single village as a series of hamlets scattered across the mountain slope. The Alps here aren't as towering as you'll find elsehere, but still stunning. The summit of the mountain offers several kilometers of relatively flat trails and several restaurants. You can either hike up or take the ski lift.

Flumserberg is more like a weekend getaway for Zürich residents than an international resort, so it has enough infrastructure to support a traveler's needs without being overwhelmed by the tourist industry.

Posted by
32244 posts


You could also stay in the town of Appenzell. It's a wonderful smaller town with good tourist facilities, and there are some good hiking opportunities in the area (provided the weather co-operates). While there you could spend a night at Guesthouse Aescher which is built onto the side of the mountain. Accommodations are quite "spartan", but it would be a unique experience.

Posted by
82 posts

Thank you. I think we will spend time in the Appenzell area rather than Locarno.

Posted by
16894 posts

I have not been to Locarno, but have very much enjoyed Appenzell on more than one visit. I also recommend the schaukaeserei and the folk museum in Stein; without your own car, Rick's book suggests getting to Stein with the PubliCar shuttle.