Last Updated on 08/01/2023
The Alpine Rhine in Switzerland is a wide and deep valley, inhabited and built up with factories for almost its entire length. The Rhine itself is surrounded by high dam so as not to flood the valley. There is a cycling route along the dam for many tens of kilometers. You can climb the dam and take pictures of the views of the Vaduz castle at the Rheintal highway car park.
In this post we look at Alpine Rhine delta (canton St Gallen) and canton Appenzell attractions.
Maps and regions nearby
Swiss side of Lake Constance
Vorarlberg attractions. From Bregenz to Ischgl
Lake Constance map of attractions
Tourist and guest cards of Lake Constance
Public transport around Lake Constance
Lake Constance family holidays
The Rhine Valley is a convenient and quick way to Ticino, except for the bottleneck in Bregenz. Distances are relatively short. This is one of few places where you can combine a swimming in the warm lake in the evening and day mountain hiking an hour away by car.
However, the countries themselves in this valley don’t care too much about tourism. Obviously they have enough transit flow. Everything in the center of Feldkirch closes at 6 p.m. A tourist information office in Höchst city hall hides travel brochures in a back cabinet. And you still have to find the tourist information – they are rare and have short working hours.
How to get
Highways require a vignette: for Swiss 40 francs per calendar year, for Austrian – depending on the period or only for the tunnel in Bregenz. The roads are often quite steep, the car must be in good condition. Steep roads to Appenzell cost us two days in repair.
Fuel is substantially cheaper in Austria, as are groceries and money exchange.
Public transport, as everywhere in Switzerland, is very developed and very expensive. It makes sense to use it if you are driving without a car and then you buy travel cards.
From travel cards there is a profitable Oscar ticket (15 francs for trips in three cantons) – but accommodation from the list of partners is required.
The Bodensee Ticket can also sometimes be used, but it should be understood that it will not be possible to recoup it as much as possible in this triangle. The zones there are configured very cleverly: a lot of time is spent on transfers from Switzerland to Austria, so the number of targets is sharply reduced, and at the same time the benefit.
In Switzerland itself, a more or less profitable Bodensee ticket for one zone applies only to the piece of St. Gallen closest to the lake, but to Appenzell is not included, you need to buy a ticket for all three zones. Therefore, an excursion with the family by tram to the cable car in Appenzell will cost a couple of hundred francs (travel plus cable car).
The route must be chosen in accordance with the map of zones, so as not to accidentally end up in an unpaid zone.
Of the Swiss travel cards, it is worth checking out Halbtax and the Swiss Pass first of all.
About public transport in Switzerland and travel cards.
There are many buses, but there are no maps at the stops, you need to find out in advance. Look at also in advance which villages the bus goes through, if you will buy a ticket from a machine. It offers several route options with very different prices. The bus number is not indicated in the machine when choosing routes, but only villages.
Cantons of St. Gallen and Appenzell attractions map
The Rhine carries a huge amount of all sorts of turbidity to Lake Constance, as it passes through limestone mountains. All the space below, the Rhine delta, is the Rhine drifts. Most often there are only farms, a conservation area and canals.
Settlements are pressed against the mountains. The slopes of the valley are quite high and steep. Closer to the lake, they are quite densely populated and, due to the fields and villages, seem to be soft hills, which is not at all the case when you go up by car or on foot. Therefore, I recommend checking any road up with the map approaching – numerous serpentines are suddenly found there. Half the road from Appenzell down into the Rhine valley was like ski jumping. It is easier to get to Appenzell via St. Gallen via Teufen.
The canton of Appenzell is divided into two sub-cantons, Innerrhoden and Ausserrhoden. They are very small and surrounded by the canton of St. Gallen.
The green lines on the map are the Appenzeller Bahn mountain railways. If the weather, finances and plans allow, then it is worth choosing these single-track roads rather than a car – scenic and less tiring for the driver and car.
The blue rectangles are cable cars. The only Swiss lift from the Rhine valley is the Frümsen cable car. Absolutely not promoted (there were no booklets for it), but, judging by the site, with excellent views.
Cable cars from Austria – in Bregenz and Dornbirn. The view from Bregenz can be seen on the Bregenz to Ischgl page. It covers the lake Constance and the relatively flat plains around. The mountains are visible, but rather far away. The view from the Dornbirn cable car is limited by the neighboring mountain and is directed mainly towards the Austrian lakeside settlement and the lake.
12-13. Rorschach, Rheineck, Rhine Delta Bodensee, St. Margrethen
More about the Rhine Delta and with photographs is told in the previous part.
Small old center.
The starting point for the train to Appenzell.
In the direction of the Rhine near Altstetten there are numerous canals, including one that then passes under the name of the Old Rhine through Reineck.
Take a ride along the canal and the Old Rhine, as well as spend time on the farm (including spending the night in straw or in your own tent), see different animals, including kangaroos, offers farm Steigmatt (Link)
The name of the village suggests that it was the economic point of the abbey in St. Gallen, where it collected products from subordinate lands. Officially, this is the capital of the canton, but the population here is hardly 6 thousand people.
The old center in Appenzell is small, but very popular with tourists.
Here you can see decorated houses from the 16th-18th centuries.
In the church, the most interesting are the choirs (16-18 century) and the gallery around it.
The Appenzell Museum in the town hall presents the history of the region and local embroidery. In Saint Gallen and the regions around it, embroidery and fabrics were a source of wealth in the 18th and 19th centuries. In Appenzell, they embroider in very light blue on white and remove excess threads from the fabric, forming a mesh.
In May-June, Alpabzug takes place – shepherds lead their cows to alpine meadows. In August, the return procession takes place. In Appenzell, this is not done centrally, so you can get to this event quite by accident. In other regions, all cattle, as a rule, are passe on one day. The procession consists of children in folk costumes, leading goats, shepherds, again in costumes, leading cows with huge buckets-bells around their necks. The bells are tuned in different keys to create a coherent melody. The shepherds were completely wound up and exhausted.
16. Alpstein: Hoher Kasten, Alp Sigel, Ebenalpbahn
Behind Appenzell, the mountains form a kind of pocket: one thin ridge rises above the Rhine valley, others approach from the side. In the formed valley there are several lakes and picturesque scenery from rugged rocky mountains.
The cable car Hoher Kasten lifts up the Rhine ridge. Upstairs is a revolving panoramic restaurant. Link This restaurant can be seen from the Rhine Valley thanks to its spire.
Alp Sigel – cable car that takes you only 600 meters to a hill with alpine meadows, small farms, cows and hiking trails with views of it all, partly of the Rhine valley up to Lake Constance and the surrounding Säntis massif. Link
Ebenalpbahn lifts to the opposite side. The main feature of this cable car is an exceptionally picturesque chapel, stuck on a cliff near a rock. Link
Of the hiking trails, the relatively short route from the train end station to the Seealpsee lake is especially popular. Above this lake rises Säntis.
The view from Kronberg opens up to Säntis and the other way to Lake Constance on the horizon. What is convenient – you can take the train to the cable car. Downstairs there is a bob, a rope park and other activities. Link
The most famous mountain in the region, visible from Lake Constance. There are solid rocks at the top, so only those who are prepared can hike. There are views of Lake Constance on the horizon, the surrounding mountains, including the Toggenburg range – with an interesting shape, like a dragon’s tail from many mountains standing one after another. Link
Säntis from Lake Constance
The center of Feldkirch is hidden between the mountains. There are a small old town, a castle and also a small Wildpark (link).
If Feldkirch is not in your way, then you should not try to put it there.
20. Sennwald, Kobelwald
Frümsen – a modern self-powered cable car lifts up the same ridge as Hoher Kasten. Link
Along a narrow ridge (Grat) there is a path from one cable car to another. Be sure to check what hiking niveau is needed for it.
The views are excellent in all directions, as the ridge is very thin. This is the only cable car that lifts from the Rhine valley itself, so you don’t have to go anywhere, and at the same time it has a view of both Rhine valley and the surrounding mountains. Views of Austrian cable cars include mainly only Lake Constance.
In Sennwald you might be interested in the Kybin center (Link), where they sew shoes on the “air cushion”. There are also some medical tests for visitors.
Kobewald – small cave with crystals. Link Please note very limited opening times.