St. Gallen Mini Guide
What is St. Gallen Like?
St. Gallen is an attractive small city, the capital of the canton of the same name, found 2,300 feet up in the Appenzell Alps in Eastern Switzerland. It’s not far from the German and Austrian borders which offer alternative days out for the visitor. The city’s Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and founded in the 8th century, houses one of Europe’s most important collections of medieval literature. The city’s economy is largely built on services including the travel industry. In the winter the city and surrounding area has heavy snow fall making it an ideal winter sports destination.
How do I get There?
Whilst there is a local airport, St. Gallen-Altenrhein nearby, it deals mostly with domestic flights. The city is about an hour away by train from Zurich International Airport
and is also only an hour away from Munich
on the high speed train. Check over here
for all car hire locations in Switzerland, rental agent ratings and hints and tips on driving in St. Gallen.
What Should I see When I’m There?
A must is the Abbey with its stunning collection of books and manuscripts. There’s also a museum detailing the founding and development of the city. Nearby there’s an excellent art museum but for those less interested in the cultural aspects there you could visit the brewery museum which has tours as well as a fascinating beer bottle and label collection. Finally you can visit the Textilmuseum which highlights the importance textile manufacture played in the growth of the city in the 18th and 19th centuries.
And What can I do?
For the active you can swim in the three lakes called ‘die drei Weihern’ on the hill outside the city, you can ski in winter, visit the wildlife park or visit the botanical gardens which have over eight thousand specimens of plants. To find out more about the town, take a guided tour that leaves the main square at 10 am and 2 pm each day.
What can I buy in St. Gallen?
There are a number of high street names in the shopping streets of St. Gallen but for souvenirs try the traditional hand made clothes, shoes and perfumes. Often there’s a little flea market which sells trinkets and local bric-a-brac such as goat bells and shepherd’s flutes amongst other things.
What Should I eat There?
Being so close to the German and Austrian borders, much of the food there is influenced by German cuisine. A speciality of the city is the local bratwurst washed down with the two excellent local beers; Klosterbrau and Schwarzer.
St. Gallen is an attractive city high up in the Appenzell Alps. Nestled in a valley, it has good links to beautiful Lake Constance which makes for a great day out if you have hired a car in St. Gallen. On the lake it’s possible to take a cruise, hire boats, swim or just take in the gorgeous scenery.
In St Gallen city itself, the main attraction is the Stiftsbibliothek found in the Abbey. There, in a stunning Baroque building, books and manuscripts from medieval times are lovingly preserved - some of the manuscripts are nearly 1,200 years old storing the history of St. Gallen.