Eastern Switzerland offers the Rhine Falls, the orchards of Thurgau, the city of the Prince-Abbots of St. Gallen and – beyond the Appenzell hills – the impressive Alpstein range, Toggenburg, the Rhine Valley and the Glaris region.

In St. Gallen a visit to the abbey library, a World Heritage Site since 1983, is highly recommended. The cathedral with its baroque style façade is the town’s cultural emblem. The abbey buildings house one of the world‘s oldest and finest libraries. Pass by the lakes where St. Gallen bathed and follow the road which leads upwards to the Appenzell region. The cantons of Appenzell Inner Rhodes and Appenzell Outer Rhodes offer a succession of stunning land-scapes.

The route may not seem long in terms of distance, but offers a multitude of things to see and do. You will notice that the houses are different and that people here are shorter than elsewhere… which they make up for with their legendary sense of humour. And if it sometimes has a bite to it, it‘s a quality they share with the Appenzeller Mountain Dog, which is both watchdog and sheepdog. You won’t be breaking any speed limits as you enjoy the many panoramic view points, picturesque villages, medicinal herb gardens, museums and convivial inns!

After the Appenzell region we climb upwards to Schwägalp, alpine pastures at the foot of the Säntis, a spectacular summit in the Alpstein range which can be reached by cable car. The leg ends in Toggenburg, the home of double Olympic ski-jumping champion Simon Ammann, with Wildhaus as the final destination.

The route
Leaving from St. Gallen, roam through the Appenzell region passing through Gais and the picturesque village of Appenzell. Then skirt around the Alpstein until you reach Alt Toggenburg.
Distance: 71 kilometres
Photo opportunity: The Appenzell hills with the historic site of Vögelinsegg, Speicher, Teufen and Gais. The route from Urnäsch to the Schwägalp Pass (1,278 m), then the Säntis and Neu St. Johann

Excerpt from "Grand Tour of Switzerland" / Leg St. Gallen – Wildhaus