Swiss Vacations

Eastern Switzerland


Eastern Switzerland (German: "Ostschweiz") is the common name of the region situated to the north of the Glarus Alps, with the Swiss Cantons of Schaffhausen, Thurgau, St. Gallen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden and Glarus. The region of Eastern Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein is embedded between Lake Constance and the foothills of the Alps. A holiday and day-out region with many faces: enjoy countryside with gentle hills in Appenzellerland, snow-white mountain tops in Heidiland, never-ending green in Thurgau, delightful vineyards in Schaffhausen, unique embroidery craftwork in St. Gallen or unadulterated nature with the historic paddle steamer on Lake Constance.

The Appenzellerland with its gently rolling green hills, flowery meadows and rugged mountains is a hiking paradiseThe Appenzellerland is known for its gently rolling green hills, flowery meadows and rugged mountains. 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 (2,502 m / 8,209 ft), Hoher Kasten, Ebenalp and Kronberg and enjoy the breathtaking views.

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

Alpaufzug / Alpabzug in Appenzell, Switzerland - the traditional trek of the cows up to the Alpine pastures and down to the valleyTourists 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), „Silvesterklausen“ (men dressed in traditional customes with bells), or „Alpaufzug / Alpabzug“ (the trek of the cows up to the Alpine pastures in May/June and down to the valley in August/ September) attract many onlookers every year.

Landsgemeinde at Appenzell - the Appenzellerland is very traditional SwitzerlandIn 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.

the Heidiland - a family-friendly vacation region - offers various attractions and sports activities during summer and winter months.

The Heidiland, named after the Heidi books, is a popular tourist area in Switzerland; the town of Maienfeld is the center and one of the villages, formerly called Oberrofels, is actually renamed "Heididorf." This region is well known for family vacations, and offers numerous sights, attractions and activities such as the spa city of Bad Ragaz with its grand hotels, wellness offerings, casino and exclusive golf courses; the skiing and hiking regions of Flumserberg and Pizol; the vacation paradise of Kerenzerberg, the Lake Walen vacation resorts of Amden and Weesen, as well as the medieval castles of Sargans and Werdenberg.

The Thurgau - the land of a thousand and one apple trees...The Thurgau, located on the southern shore of Lake Constance between the lake and the foothills of the Swiss Alps, offers a charming green landscape with many rivers running through it. This region characterised by snug farming villages, the occasional little castle, peaceful woods, numerous orchards and vineyards and Lake Constance has a very natural feel and seems to be waiting to be explored. Several villages and towns with historic buildings provide visitors with an opportunity to gain insights into the area's past. The Thurgau - the land of a thousand and one apple trees - is known for its fruits and wine, manor houses and castles, and is the vacation region for active people who want to spend their holidays surrounded by unspoilt countryside remote from popular tourist destinations and enjoy boat rides, cycling trips, walking, hiking, swimming, sailing, relaxing and recharging!

Schaffhausen with its landmark, the Munot Fortress
Schaffhausen, located on the Upper Rhine between the Black Forest and Lake Constance, and surrounded by vineyards, is in the northernmost corner of Switzerland and a popular destination for holidays and day-trips. Over the medieval Old Town looms the imposing Munot fortress (built 1564 - 1589). The traffic-free Old Town of Schaffhausen is considered one of the prettiest in Switzerland with houses that are richly decorated with oriel windows and lavishly painted facades. The riverside landscape along the Rhine is a lovely area for cycling, walking and boating, and offers attractive sights such as the Rhine Falls, the monastery of St. Georgen with its monastery museum, the castle of Hohenklingen, or the vine-clad slopes of the Klettgau with the Trasadingen Wine Trail or the Museum of Viticulture in Hallau.

St. Gallen, the capital of Eastern Switzerland, with the Cathedral and the Abbe Library, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
St. Gallen is the metropolis of Eastern Switzerland offering a charming, traffic-free old town with colorfully-painted oriel windows. St. Gallen’s most famous landmark is its Baroque cathedral with the Abbey Library - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - which houses some 140,000 documents – in part hand-written and over a thousand years old. St. Gallen's location in the four-country corner Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein make it an excellent starting point for excursions to the Lake Constance region including the neighboring countries, or to the Appenzellerland with Mt. Säntis.

Liechtenstein - a small country, but many tourism highlights
The 160 square kilometres (62 sq miles) of the Principality of Liechtenstein constitute a wonderfully beautiful spot that stretches from the fascinating world of the Rhine valley up to the healthimbuing mountainscapes of the alpine region at 2,500 m (8,200 ft asl). Culturally rich with unspoilt nature and culinaryromantic highlights, Liechtenstein promises moments of pure bliss for body and soul. Liechtenstein ranks highly as an excursion and holiday destination offering museum attractions such as the Museum of Art, the State Museum or the FIS Ski Museum, numerous festivals, top-notch cuisine, Vaduz, the Capital with its car-free upmarket shopping street and the imposing castle atop a steep hill, and the Malbun valley, a paradise for all who enjoy hiking, cycling, mountain biking or winter sports activities.

For a more detailed description of St. Gallen and the Eastern Switzerland region, including a section with attractions and activities, and a list of recommended hotels, click here.