Eastern Switzerland & Liechtenstein
Eastern Switzerland and the pocket-sized Liechtenstein are often sidelined by tourists anxious to get to the big glitz-and-glamour resorts further south, yet they are both amazing in their own right.
About this Switzerland walking region
Eastern Switzerland stretches from the sparkling waters of Lake Constance (Bodensee), across the gentle Alpine pastures of the Appenzellerland, to the Alpine landscapes of Toggenburg, the Heidiland walking area, and the Glarnerland walking area. The neighbouring principality of Liechtenstein is a tiny, landlocked country tucked away between Switzerland and Austria, with stunning mountain slopes rising above the Rhine valley.
Nestling in Switzerland’s northeast corner, where Switzerland meets Germany and Austria, the Appenzellerland offers a wealth of natural beauty for spirited walkers and nature-loving ramblers. Appenzellerland is one of the greenest and prettiest regions in Switzerland, and with 1,200 kilometres/750 miles of clearly-marked walking trails it offers a broad selection of walks for everyone. The Alpstein Mountains, which are small in Swiss terms, are dominated by the 2,503m/8,212ft summit of Mt. Säntis. However, the mountain range juts up abruptly from the softly-rolling hills surrounding Appenzell town, with the result that their relatively moderate height is not obvious.
Toggenburg lies between the Säntis mountain range and the Churfirsten mountain range. Only an hour from Zürich or Lake Constance, this peaceful walking area feels like a world apart; a natural paradise with a range of themed walks and 300 km/187 miles of scenic hiking trails. Or would you rather follow Heidi’s footsteps and relive the stories by the Swiss author Johanny Spyri in the romantic Heidiland, which is located between Lake Walen and the spa town Bad Ragaz? Or perhaps you are looking for an active walking holiday away from the crowds and yet still close to where it is all ‘happening’? If yes then the picturesque Glarnerland region, only one hour’s drive from Zürich, might be for you.
Despite its tiny size (population of 35,000 in 2009), walkers are never short of walking routes to choose from in Liechtenstein, whether it be gentle lowland rambles or more demanding Alpine hikes. Due to the engagement of the local villages and also the Liechtenstein Alpine Association (LAA), walking and hiking has a high profile in the country. There are around 160 kilometres/100 miles of way-marked trails in Alpine Liechtenstein and the lowlands are criss-crossed with a large number of woodland walks and trails leading to some of the country’s key historic and prehistoric sites.