Nestled in the heart of Switzerland’s Far East lies a hidden gem that calls upon the adventurous traveller– Toggenburg in St. Gallen & the neighbouring zone in Appenzell. A region where nature reveals its untamed face. Where the untouched beauty unfolds like a tapestry woven with mountains, ridges, rivers, and meadows. With a sense of anticipation and a touch of wanderlust, we set out on a journey to immerse ourselves in Toggenburg’s wilderness. From awe-inspiring hikes to tranquil riverside strolls, from centuries-old castles to the soothing sanctuary of Hotel Hirschen Wildhaus, our adventure became a testament to the captivating allure of this enchanting corner of the world.
Hiking to SaxerLücke and Fälensee: Nature’s Embrace
Our journey started with a hike that promised both challenge and reward. The trail to SaxerLücke led us through a landscape that seemed straight out of a fairy tale. As we ascended, the air grew crisper, and the scent of pine enveloped us like a comforting embrace. The hike was full of anticipation and teasing. We started with the fog covering the whole valley(s) left and right. Not even a glance of what we are looking for! Bit by bit the fog started to clear and our hearts started beating at the scenes that were gradually unfolding. At the summit of the hike, SaxerLücke ridge revealed itself, a natural gateway to a world of untamed beauty. The view stretched out before us, a mosaic of rolling meadows and distant peaks.
But the real treasure awaited our descent, as Fälensee serene waters beckoned us. The lake’s tranquil surface mirrored the surrounding mountains, creating a surreal reflection that seemed to merge earth and sky.
Venturing to Voralpsee: Peaks and Tranquility
With a sense of anticipation, we set out for Voralpsee, a destination known for its breathtaking vistas. The trail meandered through alpine meadows, where wildflowers painted the landscape with vibrant hues. As we went further, the panorama unfolded in all its glory. Peaks stood tall against the azure sky, and the distant jingle of cowbells serenaded us, a melodic reminder of the region’s rustic charm. Surrounded by nature’s beauty, we found ourselves immersed in a timeless moment of tranquility. In the middle of the lake on a wooden platform, we sat to observe someone fishing patiently. While on the near by banks there was a couple of families, having a picnic and barbecue in a specific designated area. While the children were chasing each other on the green meadows, the parents were preparing lunch. Such a place to enjoy an outdoor meal with family and friends!
Thur Waterfall: Nature’s Cascade
The path to Thur waterfall was a show of sights and sounds. The sound of rushing water grew louder with each step, creating a crescendo of anticipation. And there it was, a magnificent display of nature’s force. The waterfall cascaded down the rugged rocks, sending sprays of mist into the air. We stood mesmerized, feeling the cool droplets on our skin and witnessing the raw power that shaped the landscape overtime. It was a humbling reminder of the earth’s boundless energy. However as if the sprays of the waterfall were not enough, the sky decided to roar at that moment and pour on us its heavy rain. It was such an experience!
Thurweg: A Riverside Serenade
Hand in hand, we embarked on a leisurely stroll along the banks of Thur river. Thurweg hike or the path along the river was a blend of dappled sunlight and shade, inviting us to explore at our own pace. Tall trees stood as silent witnesses, while their rustling leaves a gentle accompaniment to our conversation. The river’s current seemed like a background music, and the occasional splash of a fish added an element of surprise. Nature’s simple beauty enveloped us, and the world outside faded into insignificance as we reveled in this intimate serenade.
Picnic by Thur River: Nature’s Banquet
Beside Thur’s murmuring waters, we spread out a basket of local delicacies that celebrated the Toggenburg region culinary treasures. Local cheeses, artisanal bread, and fresh produce formed a vibrant tableau that paid homage to Toggenburg gastronomic heritage. We were very thankful for the hotel for preparing such a delicious basket!
Werdenberg Castle: A Glimpse of History
The steps that led us to Werdenberg Castle felt like a journey through time itself. The cobbled path echoed with footsteps from eras long past, and the castle’s weathered stones bore witness to centuries of history. As we explored the rooms and walls, our imaginations ran wild, envisioning the lives that once unfolded within these walls. Climbing the tower rewarded us with a panoramic view that stretched over the rolling hills and the small lake nestled below. It was a snapshot of the past, framed by the present beauty of Toggenburg. The village of Werdenberg is a gem on its own! Ornamented houses with the style of the region and cobbled passages running in-between. Such an idyllic village that captured our sights. We spent some time discovering the narrow streets and wondering at the colourful facades of the houses.
After the castle and as the sunshine dominated we took a stroll around the small lake neighbouring the castle. It was such a scene to watch the swans glide over the water in such an elegance, with the castle backdrop.
One key enabler is the Oscar card, which can be purchased upon having a minimum 3-day stay. It costs 15 CHF per day per person and allows access to many sites, free public transport and most cable cars in the region.
Hotel Hirschen Wildhaus: Oasis of Relaxation
Nestled in the embrace of Toggenburg natural beauty, Hotel Hirschen Wildhaus became our haven of relaxation after our day hikes and rides. The spa welcomed us with open arms, its warm ambiance melting away the fatigue of our adventures. The whirlpool’s gentle bubbles embraced us, soothing our muscles and taking us into a state of blissful tranquility. In these moments, time seemed to slow down, allowing us to fully recharge before the next day’s exploration. The stormy weather had its unexpected benefits. It allowed us more time to relax in the whirlpool and enjoy as we watch the rain showering heavily the outdoors.
“Simply Thai” and “Hirschen Stubli”: the Culinary Treasures
At Hotel Hirschen Wildhaus, dining was an experience in itself. The culinary offerings spanned continents, from the exotic flavors of Simply Thai to the hearty traditions of Hirschen Stube. Each meal was a celebration of taste, a testament to the diversity that enriched our experience. In the warm ambiance of the restaurants, we found ourselves immersed in a world of flavors that mirrored the hotel’s own eclectic charm.
Breakfast Bliss with a View
Mornings at Hotel Hirschen Wildhaus were a merge of flavors and sights. The breakfast buffet was a treasure trove of delights, with local cheeses taking center stage. As we indulged in a leisurely morning meal, the view from our balcony unfolded before us. The Toggenburg panorama was a work of art, with the surrounding landscape bathed in the soft hues of dawn. Each bite was accompanied by a breathtaking vista, a reminder that even the simplest moments can be transformed into unforgettable experiences. On a clear day, you can spot the famous seven Churfirsten or the stunning mountain ridges that borders Toggenburg. Actually if you want a closer look, a short bus ride from Wildhaus, you can take the historic Iltios funicular up. The view up on a clear day is breathtaking!
In St. Gallen & Appenzell embrace, we found ourselves “lost” in nature’s grandeur. From soaring peaks to historic castles, each landmark whispered stories of old and new. As we ventured through this far east gem of Switzerland, Hotel Hirschen Wildhaus became our sanctuary, ensuring our days were filled with exploration and evenings with relaxation. With hearts full of memories, we left Toggenburg, forever captivated by its wild beauty.