A Visit to the Prehistoric Caves of Wildkirchli, Switzerland

(Last Updated On: August 26, 2017)

Wildkirchli in Appenzell canton of Switzerland is popular for the Aescher mountain restaurant built onto the rock face. We were allured by the postcard picture of the spectacular restaurant perched on the edge of the cliff doing rounds on the social media. Initially, we kept postponing the idea for it needed trekking and we were traveling with a kid through the supposedly non-stroller friendly path. But then we finally made up our mind for the decision we would cherish forever.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

A train from Geneva to Gossau (St. Gallen) and then a train to Wasserauen took us around five hours. Though it seems like a long journey we never felt bored for the route has a plethora of picturesque vistas which kept our gaze fixed on the window. The lush green meadows crowned by pine forests and dotted with chalets and sometimes pretty churches left us in trance. Wasserauen is the terminal station and the scenic colossal hills make a ‘U’ turn forming a cradle of sloping green hills topped by dense forests and snow-capped peaks.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

The Ebenalp cable car station is right across the street. There were hundreds of cars parked along the street and we dreaded if it would be too crowded with a long queue. We crossed a beautiful stream running through the green meadow peppered with white and yellow alpine flowers. We could see small chalets adorning the green hills in the backdrop as far as our eyes could see. Nevertheless, we joined the queue and waited for our turn. Surprisingly it did not take us much time and we were soon ready to board the cable car for a breathtaking ride.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

The cable car runs every 15 minutes and transports up to 40 persons per ride. The steep seven-minute aerial ride up the hill to the summit of Ebenalp (1640 m) sweeps through dramatically changing landscapes. Beautiful rolling hills dotted with wooden cabins and grazing cows with tinkling bells is skimmed off half the way by high Ebenalp plateau covered by snow.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

As soon as we stepped out of the Ebenalp station a gust of fresh and chilly mountain air rejuvenated our spirit. Soon we learned that stroller wouldn’t work and Chhavi had to trek along with us. We made our way through the path winding through the thick and slippery snow on the rocky surface. The bright green undulating hills peppered with alpine houses spread in front of us into the never ending horizon. Initially skeptical, Chhavi soon was excited to walk along kicking through the snow.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

Heading downhill we soon reached gravel filled and dimly lit path into the prehistoric cave. We cautiously walked past the excavation area and through the dripping cave roof to the other end of the cave.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

Wildkirchli is also of interest to the archaeologists for the pre historic findings including the skeletons of cave-bearers and stone tools from primitive times. These caves are believed to be inhabited by the Paleolithic Neanderthal. The hermit’s hut at the end of the cave is supposed to house some of the indigenous objects excavated in the caves but we found none or we missed?. Though there were some boards illustrating some historical facts. The hut is also said to have bones of cave bear which we doubt if it is the same displayed at the Ebenalp station.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

The path leads from the Ebenalp station to the hermit hut at the end of the cave in less than 20 minutes. As we walked out of the dark caves we are greeted with a splendid panorama of the alpine massif with tips dusted with snow. We could even spot a tiny red cable car ascending towards the Ebenalp station.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

The path to the right led to the cave chapel. The 17th-century cave chapel is built into a cave along with its bell tower built of wood.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

The majestic views all around and the euphoria of making to this amazing locations doubles when your kid makes it along with you. Chhavi trekked all the way with us through the slippery path and dark gravel paths of caves.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

Few more minutes walk along the rock face and we got the first glimpse of the Aescher mountain restaurant. The vista was incredible! The wooden hut was clung to the mountain face with a sheer drop on the other side. A massif of snow-capped mountains and the deep blue Seealpsee Lake at its foothill made for a stunning backdrop.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

The restaurant was jam-packed. We somehow managed to find some place for us inside the restaurant. The back side of the room was open to the rocky cliff. The 170 years old restaurant is pretty small and can host a small bunch of people. The tables arranged on the terrace at entrance offers splendid views of the mountains and the valleys. We asked the owner for a recommendation and ordered Rosti and a dessert with a hearty topping of cream.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

The Ascher-Wildkirchli sits secluded from rest of the world amidst the awe-inspiring nature. We spent ample time marveling at the restaurant and the bounding mountain landscape. Definitely a wonderful experience to savor.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

We returned back to the Ebenalp cable car station to embark on our journey back to Wasserauen. One can also hike down to Wasserauen through paved paths meandering through the valleys though the route is said to pretty steep at several points.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

We spent some time taking in the magnificent view at Wasserauen while we waited for our train to arrive. We were back at the Wasserauen station by late afternoon hence we decided to stop by at Appenzelland village which was on the same train line.

Ebenalp Wildkirchli Caves Switzerland

w2 copy

The quintessential alpine village of Appenzell had long been on the list. We could easily combine Wildkirchli with Appenzell. As we had no idea on how long it would take to Wildkirchli so we headed straight to Wildkirchli and got down at Appenzell on the way back to Geneva.

Wildkirchi was a wonderful experience and this trip had crossed out yet another item from our bucket list. Have you visited Wildkirchli did you hike down to Wasserauen we would love to hear your experience.

Would you like to pin this post?

19 thoughts on “A Visit to the Prehistoric Caves of Wildkirchli, Switzerland

  • April 5, 2017 at 7:41 am
    Permalink

    I remember some years ago, I was reading about Switzerland and its hidden caves, inside the mountains. But they were speaking about military bunkers/installations or stuff like that. I don’t think Neanderthals had any issues with adjacent countries, but a mountain cave is always a good spot to hide into. Unless there’s a bear in it.

    Reply
  • April 5, 2017 at 8:42 pm
    Permalink

    I love everything about Switzerland; I went for the first time last year and am already ready to go back! Your photos of the red cable car brought me back. I didn’t know anything about these caves when I was there, but it sounds like an awesome combo of history with beautiful views on the way there. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • April 9, 2017 at 10:32 am
    Permalink

    This post is just what the doctor ordered for a sultry, summer Bangalore afternoon. Looking at the beautiful pictures has transported me into the cooler environs of Switzerland. The Ascher-Wildkirchli is really spectacular What beautiful views, would never want to leave this place.

    Reply
  • April 9, 2017 at 11:05 am
    Permalink

    Switzerland is such a stunning place. We would love to be here this year. The train and the landscape look so amazing. Love the photograph from the cable car.

    Reply
  • April 9, 2017 at 12:16 pm
    Permalink

    first of all you look so amazing with your little one 🙂 and yes I so badly want to go to this place. it looks the perfect place to enjoy the nature with your loved one. thanks for sharing this piece with good tips! I’m gonna forward it to few of my friends! Cheers!

    Reply
  • April 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm
    Permalink

    Sometimes I wonder where the best place to visit in Switzerland is as it all looks pretty good. This trip looks absolutely incredible though with the path on the side of the mountain and going through caves. This seems like a must see when visiting Switzerland and cool that it is accessible by train.

    Reply
  • April 10, 2017 at 3:53 am
    Permalink

    This restaurant is nothing less than an ultimate travel destination. The whole train ride and the cable car ride sound so wonderful. Indeed I can see through your pictures, the Swiss landscapes are unparalleled in their beauty!! Beautiful and refreshing story and beautiful pictures too!!

    Reply
  • April 10, 2017 at 9:30 am
    Permalink

    The whole of Switzerland is so picturesque and these landscapes and snow clad mountain peaks are out of the world. I love your picture from the cable car. The secluded restaurant serving from past 170 years in the beautiful mountains is a real wow. Cheers and real applauses for your kid too, she trekked with you till the end.

    Reply
  • April 10, 2017 at 11:46 am
    Permalink

    This is such a lovely experience… Not only is the place gorgeous… The whole journey is so much fun. Loved the way you have captured it.

    Reply
  • April 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm
    Permalink

    Switzerland is full of breathtaking sceneries and it’s a blessed country with such a beautiful location in the Alps. I have seen photos with the Aescher mountain restaurant but I didn’t know where exactly or how to get there. I like the contrast between the vibrant green of the grass in the valley and the white of the snow up in the mountains.

    Reply
  • April 19, 2017 at 7:35 am
    Permalink

    This does look like something right off of a post card! Or right out of a movie. I don’t know much about Switzerland but I like to consider myself an outdoors person so I can definitely appreciate the beauty of the country.

    Reply
  • April 20, 2017 at 12:54 am
    Permalink

    I just loved this post so much. Hats off to little Chhavi for a great effort! There is so much useful information about your trip here to inspire others to follow you. Not to mention that each and every photo was just stunning, showing Switzerland to be a must-visit destination. And all so doable from Geneva via train. Just fabulous!

    Reply
  • April 20, 2017 at 3:51 am
    Permalink

    Your pictures have reminded me of Shahrukh Khan movies…its all so perfect! Switzerland is beautiful, especially during summers. I would love to be here and eat loads of Swiss chocolates as well!

    Reply
  • April 20, 2017 at 4:03 am
    Permalink

    Traveling by train in Switzerland is amazing, such wonderful scenery! Wildkirchli looks so much fun trekking through caves with those views picturesque, loved it.

    Reply
  • April 20, 2017 at 6:09 am
    Permalink

    The Swiss technology always amazes me, these places would be so out of reach in other countries. The Swiss just put a cable car in place, all very organized and it makes visiting sites so easy! You took some amazing photos here, so colourful.

    Reply
  • April 20, 2017 at 6:40 pm
    Permalink

    This sounds like such an amazing experience and I am so glad that Chaavi was able to do the trek with you guys. This definitely sounds like a restaurant at the end of the world and that dessert must have tasted delicious after the trek up. Switzerland is on my wish list and hopefully I will get there soon.

    Reply
  • April 20, 2017 at 6:45 pm
    Permalink

    I got so excited to see this. I went there last year (and slept at Ebenalp guest house at the top of the mountain) and this post brings back positive memories. Though it was summer I visited it was not crowded and was lucky enough to grab an outdoor seat for lunch. Beautiful pictures.

    Reply
  • April 21, 2017 at 4:33 am
    Permalink

    This view from the mountain tops is seriously spectacular. How they managed to tuck a restaurant in the mountain is a curiosity of mine. Just another reason to make a trip to Switzerland. I will add this sight to my list of places to see!

    Reply
  • August 4, 2017 at 6:10 am
    Permalink

    What a lovely place! I’m Swiss but learn about my country from travel bloggers around the world. I’ve to visit the Prehistoric Caves of Wildkirchli!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: