The Swiss region of Appenzell, about an hour and a half's drive from Zurich, is cuteness with a capital C. With its rolling green hills - home to thousands of cows - the area is well known for its production of Appenzeller cheese but the little villages and towns that dot the region are worth a visit in their own right, and none more so than the town which also bears the name of Appenzell. Here are six reasons to visit Appenzell.
1. Delicious cheese
On your way to the town of Appenzell, make sure you stop at the Appenzeller Schaukaserei (Showcase) in Stein where you can see the famous cheese being made and enjoy a free tasting.
2. Cute cows
Of course with so much cheese being made, lots of milk is required and cows are in abundance in Appenzell. These cows are special, too. Milk for Appenzeller cheese comes only from cows that are fed exclusively with grass and hay on pastures between Alpstein and Lake Constance to ensure the cheese taste remains consistent and unique.
3. Pretty shops
Hauptgasse, the main street, and many of the streets in town, are beautifully decorated. Shops have intricately painted facades and wrought iron signs which give the town an instant appeal.
4. Gorgeous houses
Just like the beautifully maintained buildings in the main street, lots of Appenzell houses are also a feast for the eyes. I loved the gelati-coloured houses a couple of streets away from Hauptgasse.
5. Lovely countryside
The gently rolling countryside, scattered with typically Swiss chalet-style houses and dotted with cows, is the perfect backdrop.
With an abundance of cafes to choose from, Appenzell is a great place to take a break from the city and enjoy country hospitality with delicious coffee and cakes.
Did you know?
It wasn't until the early 1990's that women in Appenzell were given the right to vote - and that was only after the Federal Court forced the Canton to change their laws. The region is a very conservative one and is proud of its strong farming traditions.
If you don't have a car, Appenzell can be reached by train from Zurich in around 90 minutes. Trains depart every 30 minutes or so. I visited Appenzell as part of a 'Swiss Traditions' day tour which also included a stop at the Lindt Chocolate Factory in Altendorf and the Schaukaserie in Stein.
Can you add to my 6 reasons to visit Appenzell? Please share in the comments below.