Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where to get cow bells in Switzerland

The search was on for these babies... well, sort of...

When my family visited in September, we went on the Swiss Tour to take on all tours... visiting Zermatt, St. Moritz, Stein am Rhein, Rapperswil, Appenzell, you name it. We were all over Switzerland. And naturally, my family wanted to take back something typically Swiss as a souvenier and well - it doesn't get more Swiss than a cow bell... however, being my family, it wasn't just a simple cow bell search. Oh no, actually, we wanted horse bells... ! There were horses all over Zermatt with horse bells, so it should be easy in the land of cow bells to find a few horse bells, right?! (Um... Wrong.)

Dog collars - often available at the same place as cowbells... love it.

You see, my family has grown up with horses their entire life - I somehow missed the horse gene - I love them but I was never really great at riding so the hobby was short lived in my case (sorry Mom and Dad about that trailer you got just months before I decided I was no good at riding!)... In any case, my aunt still has horses and wanted to get a few bells to use or give as gifts. And in the search for horse bells - which we eventually found at the Bürkliplatz flea market, at Bürkliplatz in Zürich on Saturday mornings - we found a lot of interesting places that sold cow bells... the best being this handicraft shop in Appenzell (where the bell straps are actually MADE and you can smell the leather and oils wafting down the street, long before you venture inside).

Just take a trip to Appenzell and on Poststrasse in the main town area this little shop is open from 13:30 pm to answer all your cow bell desires. We did buy some little bells here, although they were for cows, not horses, and you can get a wide array of brass (?) or metal decorations, including dog collars, cowbells, and the decorations used on Appenzeller's suspenders and belts... see the decorations on the dog collars above. Just like those!

I was keen to buy this bell as a souvenier, but for some reason the hundreds if not thousands of francs it cost were a bit out of my budget - plus I doubt I would have made it home with this on the train let alone plane! Nevertheless, I did get a very touristy little bell at one of the other shops in Appenzell. But if you want THE REAL DEAL, this is the place to go:

Kunstgewerbe Dörig (aka your one stop shop for Swiss cow bells)
Poststrasse 6
9050 Appenzell
Google Maps
Open Tuesday - Friday 13:30 - 18:00, Saturday 9:00 - 11:45 and 13:30 - 16:00

(Ps. Want to learn about the difference between 'cow bell' two words and 'cowbell' one word - check this out!)

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Nathan E. Hammer said...

Unfortunately, during my 2 years in Switzerland I wasn't introduced to Appenzell until near the end. What a fun/beautiful area. And Appenzeller Chäs is one of my favorites!

Jessica said...

It is a beautiful area. I admit, I think it is my favorite area of Switzerland as well. The countryside with the rolling hills is just enchanting. Love it!

And don't get me started about the cheese. We ONLY eat Appenzeller Fondue packets at home. We cannot bring ourselves to try something else that might not be as good!!!

Chantal said...

Great to know about this place. Somehow every visitor I have wants a bell. That is, until they see the prices. I still don't understand why these bells are so expensive. If you go to a Paris flea market, you'll find Swiss cowbells for half the price :)

Expat Traveler said...

I really wanted to bring home a cow bell my last visit too. I just couldn't crack down and buy one for the cost. I did more like what you did...

But as soon as I get the "oh I can handle not going to Switzerland"... It's back.. I just think there are too many places that are so interesting in this country!

Alexander said...

Beautiful details put together, I am from south asia, My brother works in ETH-Zurich, Happened to travel the beautiful city twice , Could not visit many of the places due to tight schedule, I bought some swiss cow bells on my way back for my friends & family on my first trip, Everyone liked them a lot, Some of my friends wanted to have couple of more cowbells , and then I tried to find if I could get one delivered to my country, Couldn't find many options though on Ebay, Amazon, etc.. I finally found a store called Erakart (, they offer some decent swiss cowbells, but I still could not find the exact design I purchased from Zurich. I am not sure why a product so popular is not available easily.. May be that is why its a treasured souvenir.


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