Europe > Central Europe > Switzerland > Eastern Switzerland > Saint Gallen
Saint Gallen (St. Gallen, German: Sankt Gallen) is the main city of eastern Switzerland. For travellers, its main draw is the centuries old Abbey of Saint Gall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a world famous historic library. It's a place packed with listed heritage buildings and well-maintained museums. And if you are tired of all the urban highlights, Saint Gallen also serves as a gateway to the Appenzell Alps.
- Zurich International Airport (ZRH IATA is the closest international airport to St. Gallen. Direct trains between St. Gallen and the airport run twice an hour with a travel time of exactly one hour, see SBB
- 1 St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport (ACH IATA) (19 km (12 mi) north east of Saint Gallen). with connections to Vienna and seasonal to Mediterranean destinations
St. Gallen is the major hub for northeastern Switzerland. Trains between St. Gallen and Zurich depart twice an hour with a travel time of 1h10min. The St. Gallen train station is 500 m from the old town and is surrounded my numerous hotels, restaurants, and shops. If you want to get quickly to Munich, 3 times a day the Eurocity from Zurich stops at Saint Gallen. The main train station also acts as terminus for a number of local train lines running to Appenzell and Trogen.
Outside the main train station is a central hub for bus and Postbuses to get around St. Gallen and to surrounding smaller villages.
The Old Town of St. Gallen is almost void of traffic and is therefore best enjoyed on foot. The VBSG buses connect to the fringes of the city and run frequently and punctually. Bus tickets can be purchased at major bus stops or on the bus from the onboard vending machine. Standard fare is Fr. 2.50 and is valid for one direction only. Taxis are always waiting at the train station and along the Marktplatz in the old town.
The Trogenerbahn is your connection from St. Gallen to great hiking trails in Speicher and Trogen.
Bike rental is available at the train station, but check the opening hours before planning a trip.
Parking is available underground in the Migros shopping centre garage, near the train station. The garage is spacious and safe but like many things in Switzerland it closes on Sunday.
- 1 St. Gallen Stiftsbibliothek (Abbey Library of Saint Gall), Klosterhof 6D, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 10:00-17:00. Located in the Abbey of St. Gallen, it is St. Gallen's most famous tourist attraction. The Stiftsbibliothek contains many books dating back from the early Medieval times, and the library itself is a stunning piece of baroque architecture. The abbey itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site. For Baroque hall & Lapidarium: CHF12, Concessions CHF 9.
Within the city centre, just a short while from the Stiftsbibliothek, there are several museums:
- Kunstmuseum St. Gallen.
- Kunst Halle St. Gallen.
- Point Jaune Museum.
- Naturmuseum St. Gallen.
- Textilmuseum. Which displays St. Gallen's rich history as a centre for textile production and design.
If you are interested in beer, visit St. Gallen's local brewery, Schutzengarten. Schutzengarten also hosts a beer bottle museum and a restaurant next door to the brewery itself.
On top of the northern hill at Rotmonten there is the Peter und Paul Wildlife park.
On the top of the southern hill there are three little lakes called "die drei Weihern". In the summer you can swim there and you also have a nice view over the city. It is an excellent place to jog or simply spend an afternoon.
At the eastern corner of the city you can find the Botanical Garden which houses over 8000 plants.
In August there is the Inline one-eleven, 111km Inlining Marathon.
- Museum im Lagerhaus, Davidstrasse 44, ☎ . Museum for naive art and outsider art.
The best event guide (in German) can be found on the homepage of the cultural magazine Saiten at: http://www.saiten.ch/kalender/index.php
- Säntis and the Alpstein range are an easy and spectacular day trip from St. Gallen.
The area between the Bahnhof (railway station) and the Old Town is the Marktplatz, the main street of a collection of pedestrian-only streets filled with shops. Within the area, there are numerous shoe stores, tea shops, coffee houses, perfumeries, and mainstream clothes stores like H&M.
While the weather is nice, there are occasionally flea markets set up along the streets of Old Town, just a few streets away from the Abbey. If you happen to be lucky and catch a glimpse of some tents, check them out. There are some surprisingly good deals and treasures.
Nothing can be more St. Gallen than the OLMA bratwurst. You can get a juicy OLMA bratwurst, served with a hard roll, at a number of street stands around Marktplatz and around the entire city.
- Restaurant & Bistro Neubad, Bankgasse 6, ☎ . closed on weekends. Traditional Swiss restaurant with excellent kitchen and service in the heart of the Old Town.
- US-MEX, Marktplatz, am Bohl 4, ☎ . is a great place for US and Mexican style snacks and variety of drinks.
- Schwarzer Engel, Engelgasse 22, ☎ . Excellent cooperatively run restaurant, with organic food. Nice garden in the back.
St. Gallen has its own brewery that makes at least two beers that are definitely worth a try. These are the "St. Galler Klosterbräu" and the "Schwarzer Bär".
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||Under Fr. 150|
|Mid-range||Fr. 150 to 300|
|Splurge||Over Fr. 300|
- Youthhostel St.Gallen (Jugendherberge St.Gallen), Jüchstrasse 25, ☎ . Closed during Winter Fr. 30-100.
- Ekkehard Swiss Quality Hotel, Rorschacherstrasse 50, fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 3-star.
- 1 Oberwaid Hotel & Private Clinic, Rorschacher Strasse 311, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Wellness hotel situated near Lake Constance, featuring a private clinic and century-old Swiss healing tradition. The Tau Spa & Gym provides orthopaedic aftercare, psychosomatic care and rehabilitation. There are also various spa therapies like a sauna spa and hammam bath. 220 CHF.
- Rorschach is about 10 km to the northeast direct at the Lake Constance. Check it out for the lake and nice promenade. In August there is the international sand-sculpturing contest. From Rorschach to Kreuzlingen you have a nice 40 km route for biking and inlining.
South of St. Gallen is the Canton and Town of Appenzell and the Alpstein mountain range. This area of green pastures, steep wooded valleys, pretty farm buildings with a stunning mountain backdrop is picturesque and, apart from the town of Appenzell itself, little visited by tourists. The Alpstein range provides some spectacular mountain walks and is well served with mountain huts and cable cars.