A friendly hut serving local delicacies is a welcome delight while hiking in the Swiss Alps. The Beizli mountain pubs are an institution in their own right, and here's a definitive guide to find one that suits you.
The delight of sitting on the edge of a flower-draped meadow, sipping a cold beer, and filling up on something salty cannot be overstated. And it’s the Swiss Beizli mountain pubs that most embody this feeling. There’s an element of risk involved, though, as you can never be sure if they will be open.
Translated roughly as pub, a Beizli is a humble place that serves as the punctuation on your mountain roaming. It's a place to pause, take stock, eat and drink.
Stay seated on your wooden bench long enough and you’ll see every kind of person come and go. Elder ladies in pairs out for a mid-week jaunt, dads dismounting their hefty child-carrier - complete with sleeping toddler, and groups of twenty-somethings editing their #mountainlife Tiktoks. They’re a microcosm of the hiking community - and always welcoming.
What Beizli mountain pubs in Switzerland are all about
First and foremost, the staple nutrition of a Beizli mountain pub is a local cheese variety. Usually, the cheese is so local that you must have passed the very cows that made it on the way up.
The cheese would be presented in a variety of ways: chopped into sticks in a fan, arranged artfully with local wildflowers, or as a whole chunk on a breadboard. Underlined with mountain views and a beer, a Beizli's staple cheese is a match made in heaven.
The brave souls who run Beizli take great pride in the appearance of their mountain hut. As such you’ll find them adorned with items betraying a history of the place or the personality of the owners.
Whether it’s a gnome garden, hay-making tools affixed to the walls, or faded photographs in the toilets: make sure to pay attention to the small details as they’ll reveal the mysteries of the place you’ve stepped in.
In my own mountain adventures, I’ve come across all types of hospitality establishments - from five-star hotels to honesty fridges. But it’s the Beizli that hold a particular place in my heart. Sure, some call themselves Restaurant, Wirtschaft or Hütte - but who’s counting?
Here are 8 of my favorite Swiss Beizli mountain pubs:
If you’re walking the (very popular) Walenpfad to/from Engelberg, you’ll have passed by this little slice of Switzerland: Bannalp Chrützhütte. If you start your hike at Bannalp, some apple cake and coffee will set you upright. And if you end there, have a cold beer while looking back at the classic route you have just conquered.
Take time to admire the functioning miniature cable car, potted flowers, and wooden seats. They're just too cute.
Chli Aubrig, Vorderthal
This one is a little detour off the Sattelgg to Chli Aubrig loop, but it is well worth it. Situated on a grassy lawn opposite Chli Aubrig (and underneath Gross Aubrig) and surrounded by monstrous boulders, Alpwirtschaft Ahoreli comes with spectacular views.
When I visited, a party was served a huge wooden platter of meats and cheeses, complete with alpine flower adornments. I shared a doorstop of cheese and bread with my young son who loved running around the lawn and chasing chickens. Ask the landlady for tips on the ‘secret’ route up Gross Aubrig, which begins here.
Phone: +41 79 263 06 99
Not technically a mountain Beizli, this little farm shop sits in a valley between Engelberg and Wolfenschiessen. It is ideally located for those on the excellent cycle path route 85.
Hof Neufallenbach has a huge range of cold tea and herbal drinks for refreshment while you admire the spectacular, biodynamic garden. You can pick up their famous syrup, salt, or herbs to take home, too.
Hidden behind the popular tourist hotspot of Pilatus, this large beer garden has plenty to keep you occupied, with gems for sale, animals to meet, and the chance to stay overnight in a yurt or in the barn. In the winter there are Swiss folk tale evenings.
Alpwirtschaft Unterlauelen is on the superb hiking route up the Eigenthal, a good point to set yourself up for reaching Rägenflüeli via another great Beizli: Trockenmatt.
This extremely basic Beizli appears out of nowhere. Alpwirtschaft Rapperli sits on a tiny meadow as you emerge out of the ancient forest on your ascent (or descent) of Morgartenberg. To find this tiny hut serving beer is a wonderful surprise and makes for a great diversion from Sattel or the Aegerisee.
You can sit in the precariously placed beer garden at Restaurant Urmiberg and almost touch the cable cars as they come into the station just above you. This spot is just minutes from Brunnen, overflowing with geraniums and looking south over lake Lucerne, this location is truly remarkable and relatively little-known.
There’s a kids' room to keep the little ones occupied. Meanwhile, you could take a short and sharp hike up to Gottertli, a viewpoint and BBQ spot at 1366 meters above the sea. And for the more adventurous, there is always the alpine route to Rigi Hochflue.
Wander along the flat Sachentaler Höhenweg for half an hour from the popular Klausenpass and you’ll find that gnomes have taken over a rocky corner. With gingham tablecloths and higgeldy piggeldy seats, this Beizli has astounding views south towards Gross Windgällen.
This place may tempt you to venture further along the high road to Altdorf. Of course, it’s just as tempting to continue experimenting on cold meats and cheeses - and go nowhere at all.
Phone: +41 79 424 07 79
A breathtaking winter hike through the snowy silence takes you to La Posa, a small cabin perched at the end of nowhere. Enjoy the remoteness, friendly welcome, and peace, because after you’ve topped up on mulled wine, you’re invited to take a free sled for the ride down to Lü.