Aescher Berg Gasthaus

Schwende, Switzerland | C.1846

Photo Credit: Clint McCowan

Welcome to the guesthouse with a built-in rock wall, a 100-foot vertical drop below the patio, and nowhere to actually spend the night. Aescher Berg Gasthaus is one with the cliffside it calls home (literally, its back wall is just the cliff), originally built in 1846 for the wandering farmers of the Swiss mountains. Nearly 170 years later, sheeps still graze the mountainside, but the rural regulars have been replaced by crowds of tourists, eager for a camera click at one of the most famed destinations in the world. 

While the scenery around the guesthouse makes it the most desirable of destinations, its precarious position makes it a bit of an adventure to get to. It’s only accessible after a steep trek along a winding hiking path or, for a more relaxing ride, via gondola. Open May through November, the summertime crowds are often large and rowdy — but without a direct road connection, supply runs can get a little dicey. 800 kgs of goods are delivered weekly, often with the help of a helicopter to complete the lift. 

Already world-famous, things really took off for the guesthouse in 2015 when National Geographic put its portrait on the front cover of the famed book, Destinations of a Lifetime. The cliffside haunt now graces coffee tables the world around, only serving to heighten the status and increase the crowd size when high season comes around. 

Much has changed over the years at the guesthouse (which, because of its bloated crowds, no longer accepts guests and is now only a restaurant). But, rest assured, a weekend visit will still elicit the energy of years past, with lively groups of Swiss hikers dancing and drinking the night away, soaking in the splendor of an evening spent below the very same stars of shepherds past.

One thought on “Aescher Berg Gasthaus

  1. sea-grape says:
    January 23, 2023

    I suppose that gracing the cover of a Nat Geo edition will come with some downsides… still, glad to learn more about this unique beauty.

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