City guide St. Gallen
St. Gallen’s most famous landmark is its Baroque cathedral with the Abbey Library, which houses some 160,000 documents – in part hand-written and over a thousand years old. The library probably also has Switzerland’s most beautiful Rococo hall. The entire Abbey precinct was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1983.
The name and foundation of the town stem from the Irish missionary monk Gallus who founded a hermitage here around 612. From 747, the then St. Gallen monastery was already following Benedictine Rule, which required the contemplative study of books and accordingly also stipulated the presence of a library. In the Middle Ages, the town developed into an important hub of culture and education in Europe. Later, the St. Gallen embroideries attracted international recognition and brought prosperity to the town.
St. Gallen is a university town with a focus on the economic sciences. The home town of the renowned «Mummenschanz» theatre group offers a varied cultural offering with theatres and museums. In summer, the romantic art-nouveau Dreilinden-Weiher open-air pool with its splendid views over the town attracts visitors to swim.
The excellent location in the four-country corner Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein make St. Gallen the best starting point for excursions into the Appenzellerland with the Säntis, and to Lake Constance. Whether by rail or bicycle, the cycling and inline paradise of Lake Constance can be reached quickly along the Lake Constance Cycle Path. The combination of rail ‘n’ bike allows captivating tours to be undertaken which cross national borders. For walkers, the ‘Bridge Trail’ which passes over 18 brides in the Sittertobel near St. Gallen is an experience: much about the design and construction of bridges is learnt en route. A six-hour section of the ‘Route of St. James’ leads from Rorschach to Herisau via St. Gallen.
The Voralpen-Express connects Lake Constance with Lucerne via St. Gallen in 2:45 hours. This 149-km-long transversal travelling across the foothills of the Alps is interesting from a technical rail viewpoint, but also impresses with stunning landscapes such as the Toggenburg, Lake Zurich, and hill moor of Rothenturm.
- Abbey precinct with cathedral and Abbey Library – landmark of the town, library with 140,000 documents, some of which are over a thousand years old.
- Old town – charming, traffic-free old town for shopping and strolling; typical features are the burgher houses with colourfully painted oriel windows dating from the 16th to 18th century; excellent gastronomy.
- Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen – doesn’t see itself as a museum, but as an experimentation venue for contemporary art, international and regional projects.
- ‘Schoggiland’ - Maestrani chocolate factory in Flawil, production can be followed from the visitors’ gallery, no prior booking required.
- Textile museum & library – embroideries from Switzerland and abroad from the 14th to 20th century.
- Abtwil Säntispark – many-facetted leisure and water park with wave pool, water slide, brine baths and sauna village.
- Säntis – lookout point at 2502 metres in the Alpstein rambling paradise, offers views of the ‘Alpenkranz’ (crown of Alps) and into 6 countries (cableway from Schwägalp).
- Children’s festival – large town festival in which the bratwurst reigns supreme; a large part of the population participates, originated from old school festivals (every three years in May or June, 2012, 2015 etc.).
- St. Gallen OpenAir Festival – one of Switzerland’s older and larger open-air festivals takes place in the Sittertobel near St. Gallen (June).
- CSIO Switzerland International Show-Jumping Event – highlight of the equestrian sports calendar.
- St.Galler Festspiele- Classic Music Festival (From June).
- Military Tattoo Sankt Gallen – artfully choreographed bagpipe spectacle with more groups from different countries (July).
- St. Gallen Festival – summer town festival with pubs, live bands and shows throughout the town (August).
- St.Galler Genusstag (Indulgence Day) – on the Indulgence Market regional exhibitors present their produce – here you can take the opportunity to sample, compare, and of course, to buy (September).
Very well laid-down and presented. Paves the way to enshrine a discovery tour whether alone, family or by group. I have been to Bern and Geneva, and will want to visit St. Gallen Bodensee and discover its unique history, culture, cuisine.