Ebenalp Mountain, Switzerland: a full day of bucket list worthy experiences to delight the sense
Updated: Apr 21
When a photo of Berggasthaus Aescher, a hotel built into the side of a mountain, came across my Facebook feed, I knew I had to go. As if meant to be, we already had plans to visit the Black Forest in Germany so it wasn't that far out of our way. It turns out that after visiting this magical place, I would have went a lot further out of my way to spend a day there!
We booked rooms at Hotel Alpenrose, an adorable little alpine hotel at the base of Ebenalp Mountain. It is right down the road from the Ebenalp Cable Car, which that takes you up the mountain. It was nearly dark when we arrived. As we exited our car, we were immediately delighted by the sounds of running water off the mountain from the melting snow.
Our drive down from the Moselle River Valley in Germany, and a short stop over in Triberg in the Black Forest, took much longer than we expected, causing our late arrival. The staff were so nice and didn't make us feel bad about it. They even offered to let us eat in the restaurant, even though they were about to close. At dinner we had our first experience with the creamy but quite pungent Appenzeller cheese. Although we were somewhat put off by the smell, the Swiss love it!
We were given a large room with a balcony facing the mountain. The air was chilly at this altitude, yet we still managed to keep the balcony door cracked most of the night to let in that crisp mountain air, and listen to the water run off of the mountain. Magical.
getting up the mountain
The next morning, after the tasty breakfast that was included in our room rate, we headed for the Ebenalp Cable Car for transport up the mountain. For 20 Swiss Franc, they will take you up the mountain. (31 CHF for a return trip, but we intended to walk back down.) Afraid of heights? Yeah me too, but I was determined to get up that mountain. I just closed my eyes on the journey up, no problem!
treats at the top
There are direction signs at the top, but basically just head for the trail going down the mountain. Unfortunately, our reward for an early start was fog at the top, lots of fog. Those picturesque panoramic views that we had hoped for were at the moment eluding us ☹ We headed for the Berggasthaus Aescher hotel and restaurant, which is tucked away in the side of Ebenalp Mountain. A the time they were not taking overnight guests, but the restaurant was open for refreshments. (As of the date this article was written, it appears that they are accepting overnight guests again!)
The locals told us that the fog would likely clear off around noon, so we settled down in the dining area to wait it out. My husband and his sister ordered a warm liqueur coffee drink. We tried the Rösti, a potato dish similar to hash browns, smothered in creamy melted Appenzeller cheese. We didn't notice any strong smell from the cheese this time.
HERE IS WHERE THE MAGIC BEGAN. As we sat in an isolated overflow area enjoying our refreshments, the locals who were gathering for church services on the mountain began to sing. It was beautiful, like a mixture of a hymn and a yodel. Someone kindly opened the door to the overflow, to make sure we could hear the delightful sound. Our server informed us that they were headed to church….IN A CAVE! ON A MOUNTAIN!….in Switzerland! We were fortunate enough to be visiting on a Sunday, and to be present for their choir practice! I highly recommend going on a Sunday morning for this once in a lifetime experience.
(Thank you Angela M. Kunze for sharing these videos with me.)
Since the fog had not yet cleared and we had time to kill, we decided to attend Wildkirchli Cave Church services. This church is 400 years old, monks worshiped her centuries ago. The service was in German, and although we couldn't understand what was being said, it added to experience. With their singing voices now warmed up, the choir again sang their beautiful praises high up on that beautiful mountain.
Church...in a cave! on a mountain! in Switzerland!
Eventually, the fog cleared and down the mountain we went. Here is a map to help you plan your route down the mountain. We headed from Ascher (hotel in the mountain) to the picturesque Seealpsee lake, and eventually from there back down to our hotel in Wasserauen.
The trails were a little treacherous, steep and wet, but the views were astonishingly beautiful. I managed to fall once, but me being me...well it was to be expected 😊 Hiking poles would be helpful for stability.
We finally made it to Seealpsee Lake and as you can see, it is breathtaking.
Check out this video on my youtube channel of the hotel on the banks of Seealpsee Lake and the emerald green lake surrounded by mountains ....divine!
There is a hotel with a restaurant here on Seealpsee lake, Berggasthaus Seealpsee. According to their website it "can only be reached on foot from Wasserauen via a well-developed hiking trail in about 50 minutes." (or you could walk down from Ebenalp.)
Switzerland is like a piece of heaven on earth, and you will pay for the privilege of seeing it. Compared to some of the surrounding countries in Europe, it is quite expensive. However, such is it's astounding beauty and complete and total peacefulness, you won't mind the expense at all!!! Switzerland is, without a doubt, one of the top locations in the entire world, and I am ever envious of those who are so fortunate as to call it home.