Switzerland’s Famous Cliffside Restaurant Just Reopened for the Summer

May 17, 2019

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Would you make the trek to the remote region of Alpenzell to eat at one of Switzerland’s most iconic restaurants?

If you said yes, you’re not alone. Äscher Restaurant — famous for its stunning cliffside location in the Swiss Alps — opened for the summer season on Tuesday, 14 May after a slight weather delay. And you can bet it’s going to be busy.

According to The Local, “The Äscher’s managers warned that one of the hiking routes up to the restaurant (via Blättli and Alp Bommen) remains closed because of an elevated avalanche risk.” Some of the other paths are still snow-covered, but remain open.

The remote restaurant is about 60 miles from Zurich and is built right into the side of a cliff. You can either hike about three hours, past Seealpsee lake and up a rocky path that leads to the Elbenalp, or take a cable car up the mountain and then walk down about 20 minutes through a prehistoric cave and a 400-year-old church. Intrepid travelers who make the trek are rewarded with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Alps and valleys below.

You might encounter a scene like this on your way to the restaurant. Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash
You might encounter a scene like this on your way to the restaurant. (Photo by Claudio Schwarz via Unsplash)

But there’s concern that the 170-year-old restaurant has become a victim of its own success, as it has struggled to handle the large numbers of tourists who visit. It first rose to prominence in 2014, when it was named one of the five most interesting restaurants in the world by the Huffington Post. Then, in 2015, it was featured on the cover of the book “Destinations of a Lifetime” published by National Geographic. Reviews on TripAdvisor rave about the incredible setting and the delicious food, but warn that the restaurant can get very busy.

The Äscher’s previous managers, Nicole and Bernhard Knechtle-Fritsche, threw in the towel at the end of the 2018 season because the restaurant became too difficult to manage. “There are constant shortages in terms of space requirements and water and electricity supply, which could intensify in [the] future,” they said in a statement.

There used to be an inn with a few guest rooms attached to the restaurant, but it shut down last year. If you’re hoping to see this incredible place, you might want to go sooner rather than later, as its future is uncertain.

Featured photo by Christian ReggUnsplash.

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