Seealpsee Complete Guide: Hiking in the Appenzell Alps in Switzerland

February 2, 2024

The beautiful Seealpsee located among the stunning peaks of the Appenzell Alps is a popular Swiss destination, a true gem worth visiting when in Switzerland.

Switzerland is renowned for its rich natural beauty, impressive mountain peaks, and lakes. Among them, Seealpsee stands out as a truly amazing destination, showcasing the best of what Switzerland has to offer to tourists.

Seealpsee is an ideal spot for nature lovers, hikers, and photographers in the picturesque Appenzell region. Whether you seek a tranquil retreat, plan for a memorable hike, or intend to capture content for social media, Seealpsee and its surroundings rank among the best places in Switzerland for these activities.

Our article is inspired, among other things, by our opinion that Seealpsee is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes. The breathtaking scenery of Seealpsee and its surroundings is truly awe-inspiring, and we are not alone in this sentiment. Seealpsee has gained increasing popularity in recent years, especially on social media.

With this guide, we aim to provide comprehensive information about Seealpsee. We’ll cover essential details about the lake, how to reach it, the activities awaiting you, and highlight the best photo spots. Our goal is to gather all necessary information to ensure your trip to Seealpsee is as fulfilling as possible.

So, here’s everything you need to know about visiting Seealpsee.

Where is Seealpsee located in Switzerland

Seealpsee is located in eastern Switzerland, near Appenzell, specifically in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. The exact coordinates of the lake are 47.268387, 9.400428.

The lake is surrounded by spectacular mountains such as Ebenalp and peaks of the Alpstein mountain range, including Säntis. These stunning natural features create a truly unique setting for outdoor activities.

How to get to Seealpsee

Getting to the Seealpsee is one of the easiest you’ll find in the area. In other words, we don’t know of any spectacular lakes in the area that are easier to get to, although the journey to Seebensee needs some explanation.

How to get to the nearest car park or station

Seealpsee can be reached from the village of Schwende-Rüte. You’ll find it at the end of this village, near the parking lots next to Wasserauen train station.

So, you can get to Wasserauen by car or train, as it is the end point of the road accessible by these modes of transportation.

By car

Firstly, you need to get to Appenzell, which you can do from the largest nearby city, Sankt Gallen, as well as from the countryside via routes 8 and 13. From Appenzell, continue driving south towards Schwende-Rüte. After a few kilometers, you’ll reach the end of the road called Wasserauen. Here, you’ll find a train station and some large parking lots.

By train

If you’re traveling without a car, taking the train is an option. Getting to Wasserauen by train may seem easy at first, but it actually involves transfers. There is a train service from Sankt Gallen to Appenzell, and from there, you can transfer to reach Wasserauen.

By bus

There isn’t a regular bus service that directly takes you to Wasserauen. However, you might consider booking an organized bus trip arranged by travel companies for this specific route.

How to get from the car park/station to Seealpsee: Hiking trails

After you’ve arrived in Wasserauen or parked your car, the hike begins.

There are two routes available to approach Seealpsee.

One is the easier, asphalt route (Route A), and the other is the more challenging, mountainous, gravel route (Route B).

Route A

Length: 2.8 km one way

Elevation gain: 330 meters

Difficulty: Easy

Route A is the easier way to reach Seealpsee, mostly suitable for walking.

If you choose this route to Seealpsee, then start walking towards Hotel Alpenrose to the southwest and follow the asphalt road named Wasserauen/Ebenalp. This road leads you all the way to Seealpsee.

While it starts as asphalt at the beginning, it transitions into a gravel road after a while.

Due to the significant elevation gain, we do not recommend it for strollers or wheelchairs. We tried it with bicycles, but it was too difficult, and we left the bikes halfway.

At times, there are steep inclines that may be strenuous for some. While hiking poles are not necessary, considering wearing hiking shoes is advisable.

Route B

Length: 3.3 km one way

Elevation gain: 380 meters

Difficulty: Moderate

Route B is the more difficult hiking trail to Seealpsee. This is a gravel road that is less easy to walk on, also featuring significant elevation gains.

It is recommended for those who prefer less crowded routes and want to hike to Seealpsee in a more natural environment.

If you choose this route, shortly after the train station (through the large parking lot), turn left onto the narrow, winding gravel trail. This path goes through a field, then through a forest, and later transitions into a slightly wider, once again meadowy trail leading to the lake.

Along this hike, you can also see waterfalls, as well as picturesque Alpine wooden houses and a local cheese maker (Alpkäserei Grosshütten).

Whichever route you take, once you arrive at Seealpsee, you’ll be greeted by beautiful mountain scenery and two guesthouses on the north side of the lake.

It’s well worth spending some time at the lake and enjoying the opportunities it offers.

Best time to visit Seealpsee

Seealpsee is accessible throughout the year. Although the landscape transforms into a winter wonderland in the winter months, or in autumn, the colorful trees create a magical autumn atmosphere, we would still recommend the period from early summer to early autumn as the best time to visit.

From June to September (possibly until October), most mountain hiking trails are easily navigable, and everything is open. The scenery is adorned with beautiful green hues, and the surroundings of the lake are suitable for various outdoor activities.

The only drawback of summer is the relatively high amount of rainfall, so it’s essential to check the weather forecast in advance and prepare for the hike accordingly.

Where to stay near Seealpsee

Near Seealpsee, you can find several mountain huts, hotels and guesthouses where you can stay overnight.

What we recommend are the following:

  • Hotel Hof Weissbad: This hotel is one of the closest to Seealpsee, offering slightly higher prices but with good amenities and excellent reviews

Additionally, in nearby towns such as Appenzell and St. Gallen, there are plenty of accommodation options:

If you are looking for more budget-friendly options, you might also consider crossing into nearby Austria, such as Dornbirn, where accommodations are generally slightly cheaper:

Best things to do at the Seealpsee

Nestled in the breathtaking Alpine region, Seealpsee offers a range of activities that promise an unforgettable experience. Here are some of the best things to do at this enchanting lake:

Walk around the lake

Discover the stunning scenery by walking around the Seealpsee. The lake is easy to walk around, the loop is only about 2 km long, so you can admire the beautiful scenery from all angles.

Visit the chapel by the lake

There’s a small chapel on the northern shore called Bruderklausenkapelle. If you’d like, take a walk and check it out.

Boating on the lake

Experience tranquility as you row on the crystal-clear waters of Seealpsee. Boats are available for rent, allowing you to enjoy the serenity of the lake while surrounded by stunning mountains such as the peaks of the Alpstein.

Picnic by the lake

For a more relaxed experience, pack a picnic and find a peaceful spot by the lakeside. Whether you choose a grassy meadow or a shaded area, the breathtaking views will accompany your meal, creating lasting memories.

Dining in one of the lakeside restaurants

By the lake, you’ll find two larger guesthouses with restaurants: Berggasthaus Seealpsee and Forelle, both offering stunning views of the lake and a similar selection of food. Whichever you choose, don’t miss out on trying the local dishes!

Additionally, on the opposite (southwest) side of the lake, there is a cheese-making house called Seealpkäserei. Here you can buy locally made cheeses.

Swimming in the lake: For cold water lovers

Enjoy a cool swim in Seealpsee. Great for those who like cold water, the lake offers a unique swimming experience surrounded by Alpine beauty.

Continue hiking into the mountains

The areas around Seealpsee offer numerous trails for hikers seeking more significant challenges. Paths lead to peaks such as Altenalp Türm and Ebenalp.

These are roughly the things worth and doable when visiting Seealpsee. It’s worth spending a few hours by the lake, relaxing in nature, trying local foods, and enjoying the stunning Alpine scenery.

And if you’re heading back to Wasserauen, the two routes mentioned earlier are available for your return journey.

The Appenzell Alps, alongside the enchanting Seealpsee, present numerous other captivating attractions for tourists to explore when they have more time in the area.

The best places in the area that we recommend are:


Ebenalp is a famous mountain in the Alpstein massif, providing stunning views.

You can get to Ebenalp from Wasserauen by taking the Ebenalp cable car.

On the mountainside, discover Äscher, a guesthouse built into an impressive rock face, offering a truly unique experience.

Another highlight of Ebenalp is the Kapelle St. Michael (Wildkirchli), a small chapel in a cave.


Fälensee is one of the most beautiful lakes in the region, similar to Seealpsee, surrounded by stunning alpine scenery. Perhaps even more photogenic than Seealpsee, reaching Fälensee is not straightforward. You can embark on a long hike from Brülisau or take the Staubern cable car from Frümsen, followed by a steep mountain trek. Fälensee is recommended for those interested in exploring Switzerland’s more unique landscapes and are not discouraged by long and challenging hikes.


Sämtisersee, another of the beautiful alpine lakes in Switzerland, is visible on the way to Fälensee when hiking from Brülisau. It might be slightly less spectacular than Fälensee or Seealpsee, but it’s worth a visit.

Saxer Lücke

If you’ve browsed Swiss photos, you’ve likely come across Saxer Lücke.

This gap is on the eastern ridge of the Alpstein mountain range, situated at an altitude of 1649 meters above sea level.

You can reach it with a 3-kilometer hike from the Staubern cable car station. Another option is a steep hike upward from Fälensee.

Since it’s one of Switzerland’s most photogenic (and Instagrammable) spots, the hike is highly recommended if you have more time in the area.

Lake Constance

While not directly in the Appenzell Alps, Lake Constance (Bodensee) is nearby and offers a different kind of beauty.

Explore charming lakeside towns, take a boat trip, and enjoy the breathtaking views of this stunning lake.

These other mentioned attractions can add variety to your journey to Seealpsee, offering unique experiences for nature enthusiasts and those seeking adventure. Whether it’s the mountain lakes, the thrilling hikes or the panoramic views that capture your interest, the region of Appenzell and its surroundings have something special around every corner. Make sure not to miss out if you’re exploring Switzerland!

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