For centuries the Wildkirchli area has exerted a singular appeal and is still today one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Appenzellerland. A cable car transports visitors in comfort from Wasserauen up to Ebenalp. From Ebenalp, a short walk on a well-maintained hiking trail passes through the Wildkirchli Caves to the hermitage and the chapel. The trail then continues eastwards along a rock face, through a wooden gallery, to Berggasthaus Aescher, a mountain inn and restaurant.
The Cave Chapel was established in 1621; the Hermit’s House was built in 1658 and offered sanctuary to hermits until 1853. It later became an inn. Today the small museum is a reconstruction of the former Hermit’s House and was built in 1972 on the site of the old inn.
The hermits and herdsmen began selling food and drink on Alp Aescher as far back as 1800. During the early 19th century, the mountain chalet gradually evolved into Berggasthaus Aescher, one of the oldest inns in Switzerland.
Enjoying a spectacular location nestled on a rock face 100 meters high, the mountain hostelry has always been – and continues to be – extremely popular. Indeed, the Aescher was named “Mountain Inn of the Year 2012” by a jury comprising experts from the fields of conservation, architecture, history and the hotel and restaurant industry.
Take the train to Wasserauen, a lovely picturesque train journey, then take the cable car to Ebenalp. From Ebenalp, walked down the cave for about 30 minutes to the Aescher-Wildkirchli Gasthaus. Hiked back to Ebenalp after eating and walked back down the cable vehicle. Many others were choosing to hike down to Wasserauen, which is about a 2-hour hike. The whole experience is picturesque, with incredible views of the Swiss Alps. The restaurant has a distinct TA evaluation. For this journey, an individual should be in excellent physical condition or a frequent hiker, it is not available to the disabled.
Learn more at https://www.ebenalp.ch/en/summer/wildkirchli-aescher
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