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St. Gallen Switzerland Travel Planner

An hour from Zurich, St. Gallen has plenty of things to keep you busy.

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Map of Switzerland

Map of Switzerland showing St. Gallen.

James Martin

St. Gallen - Reasons to Visit

  • Well preserved Medieval Old Town
  • Side Trips to Lake Constance
  • Ornate Oriel Windows
  • Abbey Library of St.Gallen

St. Gallen History

St. Gallen was founded around 612 AD by a careless monk forging his way through the valley of the river Steinach. Yes, the good but clumsy St. Gallus fell into a briar patch, considered it a sign from God, and, legend has it, built a hermitage there with the help of a bear. The place became St. Gallen, and the bear is still found in the city's standard. From this prickly beginning, St. Gallen developed into a thriving cultural center by the 8th century, and today is Switzerland's seventh largest city.

Getting to St. Gallen

St. Gallen is an hour from Zurich by train. Trains leaving St. Gallen for Zurich also stop at the Zurich airport, which makes it a convenient place to stop in the last leg of a trip when you're flying out of Zurich.

For those coming from Germany, St. Gallen is on the Munich-Zurich train line.

Internet Access

The Media Lounge at Katharinengasse 10 is open from 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday and when they feel like it on weekends.

Hotels in St. Gallen

Ok, here's a tip for you. If you like interesting, quirky hotels--boy, do we have one for you. The Hotel Am Ring on Unterer Graben 9, a short walk east from the train station, is crammed with antiques and curiosities throughout. Every one of them has a price tag. Plus, if you choose your room right, you'll see the outside world though a stained glass window. The bathroom fixtures are pretty interesting as well. See the pictures to see what we mean. Rooms 2, 6, and 10 have stained glass windows but face out to the street in front and can be noisy on weekends. A double at the Am Ring goes for a reasonable (for Switzerland) 130 Swiss Francs (CHF) with breakfast (including multicolored boiled eggs), about $90. See pictures of Interior of our room, or the ornate sink.

For a splurge, try the Einstein Hotel, a grand old hotel housed in a former textile factory. Double rooms from 330 - 370 CHF.

If you'd rather be located in a vacation rental in Switzerland's rural countryside near St. Gallen, HomeAway lists a few vacation properties scattered around St. Gallen.

St Gallen's youth hostel is at Jüchstrasse 25 (071/245 47 77, fax 245 49 83; a; open March to mid-Dec) - take the orange Trogenerbahn narrow-gauge train from outside the main station to the Schülerhaus stop and walk up the hill. Dorms are 24 CHF. You can make a reservation online here.

Attractions - The Cathedral

The present cathedral building was constructed by Peter Thumb between 1755-67. Restoration of the cathedral was done in 1961-1967, in the course of which Josef Wannemacher`s ceiling frescoes were discovered and restored. [see photo]

Opening hours
Generally 9am - 6pm daily, except during church services
Saturday: 8am - 9.15am and 11am - 5.30pm
Sunday: 8am - 9.15am and 11am - 7.30pm

Attractions - The Abbey Library

is the world's oldest monastic library. The baroque interior filled with ancient tomes and old maps is an awe-inspiring sight, well worth the 7 frank admission fee. You'll have to put on fuzzy felt slippers to protect the floor that'll make you feel like clumsy monk Gallus, but it's all part of the fun. No photos are allowed.

Near St. Gallen

St. Gallen is close to Lake Constance. You can spend weeks discovering the area.

Other Attractions - Ornate Oriel Windows

These windows, found all over medieval Europe, are more ornate here than other places. Follow along to page two for pictures and information.

Next page > Oriel Windows of St. Gallen > Page 1, 2

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