Six beautiful Swiss villages located near the Austrian border

For anyone wanting to travel closer to home this year, a few kilometers from the Austrian border there are small gems to discover in every season.

Six beautiful Swiss villages located near the Austrian border
The Swiss village of Madulain. Photo: Association “Les plus beaux Villages de Suisse”

Here’s a list of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland located less than an hour from Austria, which are well worth a visit when you get the chance.

These six villages are members of the association Les plus beaux Villages de Suisse” (The most beautiful Villages in Switzerland), which aims to protect and promote those villages that have a distinct architectural, landscape and historical beauty.

READ MORE: Switzerland’s ten most beautiful villages you have to visit

A pleasant journey through these small villages to discover or rediscover in just one day or combining them together.

Have you already heard of them? 

Trogen (AR)

Trogen is a beautiful village nestled in the rolling hills of the Appenzell Ausserrhoden and has been the capital of the semi-canton since the division of the national territory in 1597.

Trogen. Photo: Municipality of Trogen

In the beautiful main square stand out majestic stone buildings and rustic wooden houses. In the 1940s Trogen gained fame thanks to the Pestalozzi Village: this children’s village was intended to welcome and train orphans from war-affected countries.

Must see: 

Zellweger stone palaces: buildings from the 18th and 19th century, especially on the main square, of the rich family of textile merchants Zellweger.

20 Km from the Austrian border

Schwellbrunn (AR)

Also in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden is the village of Schwellbrunn, located at 972m above sea level, which is the highest village in the canton.

Schwellbrunn. Photo: Municipality of Schwellbrunn

From here you have a magnificent view of Lake Constance and the beautiful Säntis mountain. In summer there is a dense hiking network with many attractive panoramic viewpoints, while in winter there are family-friendly ski lifts, cross-country ski runs and tobogganing possibilities. 

Must see:

The beautiful Reformed church, built in 1648 when the municipality separated from Herisau

40 Km from the Austrian border

Lichtensteig (SG)

Lichtensteig is a wonderful little town in the heart of the Tonnenburg region in the canton of St. Gallen. The old town of Lichtensteig is unique in its kind, the old town in fact tightens in a semicircle around the mountain and was originally defended by ditches and boundary walls.

For those who are also looking for a quiet place in nature, the magnificent Äulischlucht gorge with a beautiful waterfall and thick forests is also worth mentioning. 

Lichtensteig. Photo: Municipality of Lichtensteig

Must see:

The historical centre of the village with the church of St. Gallen.

50 Km from the Austrian border

Tschlin (GR)

The small village of Tschlin is hidden in the beautiful region of the Lower Engadin in Canton Graubünden.

Unknown to most people, this little gem seduces with its authenticity and the wonderful panorama towards the gentle Austrian Alps.

Tschlin. Photo: Association “Les plus beaux Villages de Suisse”

Between one barn and another there are elegant little squares and stone fountains.

Must see:

The beautiful fountains placed in the small squares like the fountain Donna Lupa.

15 Km from the Austrian border

Madulain (GR)

Not far from the chaotic Sankt Moritz is the best-preserved village in the Upper Engadin: Madulain. In this small village there are beautiful houses decorated with flowers as well as small squares.

The river Inn flows right nearby and offers stunning picture-postcard views.

Madulain. Photo: Association “Les plus beaux Villages de Suisse”

The village is also an important cultural centre: several temporary art exhibitions take place in the old barn “Stalla Madulain” dated 1488.

Must see:

On a steep rocky spur overlooking the village lies the ruin of the Guardaval fortified complex, built in 1251, the fortress was never inhabited and was abandoned as early as the 15th century.

70 Km from the Austrian border

Triesenberg (FL)

High above the Rhine Valley, like an eagle’s nest, lies the Walser municipality of Triesenberg. The sunny terrace of Liechtenstein is the highest and largest municipality in the Principality in terms of surface area.

Triesenberg. Photo: Association “Les plus beaux Villages de Suisse”

In the centre of the village stands the Rathaus, the unique “onion church” and two old wooden houses. Since 2019 the village has been integrated into the Swiss network of the most beautiful villages.

Must see:

At the Walser Museum in the centre of the village you can learn more about the origins of Triesenberg and this interesting culture.

20 Km from the Austrian border

All of these villages and many more feature in the Les plus beaux Villages de Suisse free app available in English for iOS and Android. 

By the way, Austria also has many beautiful villages, if someone would be interested in setting up a similar network in Austria feel free to contact us! [email protected]

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Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

Passengers with Europe's low-cost airlines are facing more strikes this summer as staff announced new walkouts on Tuesday.

Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

Trade unions representing Ryanair cabin crew in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain have called for strikes this coming weekend, while easyJet’s operations in Spain face a nine-day strike next month.

Damien Mourgues, a representative of the SNPNC trade union at Ryanair in France, said the airline doesn’t respect rest time laws and is calling for a raise for cabin crew still paid at the minimum wage.

Cabin crew will go on strike on Saturday and Sunday.

READ MORE: What’s the latest on the Ryanair strike in Spain?

A strike on the weekend of June 12th and 13th already prompted the cancellation of about 40 Ryanair flights in France, or about a quarter of the total.

Ryanair’s low-cost rival easyJet also faces nine days of strikes on different days in July at the Barcelona, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca airports. 

The provisional strike dates for easyJet are the weekends of July 1st-3rd, July 15th-17th, and July 29th-31st, as announced by the Spanish union USO. Approximately 450 staff members are involved.

READ MORE: EasyJet adds to Spain’s summer travel woes with 9-day strike

The union said Tuesday that Spanish easyJet cabin crew, with a base pay of 950 euros per month, have the lowest wages of the airline’s European bases.

The strikes come as air travel has rebounded since Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.

But many airlines, which laid off staff during the pandemic, are having trouble rehiring enough workers and have been forced to cancel flights, including easyJet, which has been particularly hard hit by employee shortages.

On Monday, the European Transport Workers’ Federation called “on passengers not to blame the workers for the disasters in the airports, the cancelled flights, the long queues and longer time for check-ins, and lost luggage or delays caused by decades of corporate greed and a removal of decent jobs in the sector.”

READ ALSO: Strikes and queues: How airline passengers in Europe face summer travel chaos

The Federation said it expects “the chaos the aviation sector is currently facing will only grow over the summer as workers are pushed to the brink.”

Aviation sector ‘chaos’

In Spain, trade unions have urged Ryanair cabin crews to strike from June 24th to July 2nd to secure their “fundamental labour rights” and “decent workconditions for all staff”.

Ryanair staff in Portugal plan to go on strike from Friday to Sunday to protest work conditions, as are employees in Belgium.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has been dismissive of the strikes.

“We operate two and half thousand flights every day,” he said earlier this month in Belgium.

“Most of those flights will continue to operate even if there is a strike in Spain by some Mickey Mouse union or if the Belgian cabin crew unions want to go on strike over here,” he added in a media conference.

In Italy, a 24-hour strike is set to hit Ryanair operations on Saturday with pilots and cabin crew calling for the airline to respect the minimum wages set for the sector under a national agreement. 

Aircraft technician strike grounds flights from Norway 

More than 50 departures out of Norway’s airports have been cancelled so far due to an aircraft technician strike.

Widerøe has cancelled 38 flights so far, while Norwegian Air Shuttle cancelled five departures on Tuesday morning and announced a further 17 trips wouldn’t go ahead on Wednesday.

The Norwegian Air Traffic Technician Organisation (NFO) currently has 106 workers out on strike. The organisation could take out 39 more staff on Friday if an agreement on pay isn’t reached.

Travellers are advised to contact the airline they are meant to be flying with directly if their flight is delayed or cancelled. You can check scheduled departures out of Norwegian airports here

Widerøe has urged travellers not to contact them unless their flight has been cancelled, disrupted, or they are unhappy with the alternative travel arrangements that have been offered to them.

“If you have not heard anything from us, then you can be sure that your trip is still planned and carried out and behave in the usual way when you go out and travel,” a press officer for the airline told public broadcaster NRK.

Norwegian said it was working to rebook customers whose flights had been cancelled. 

“Almost everyone has been offered to rebook to an alternative route, and then there is one flight where we are still working to solve it,” Esben Tuman, communications director for the airline, told newswire NTB.

READ MORE: Flights in Norway cancelled due to technician strike