Things to do in St Gallen – Switzerland

Welcome to St Gallen, a captivating city in Switzerland that offers an array of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or culture vulture, there’s something here for everyone. From exploring the historical Abbey District to enjoying the natural beauty of Drei Weieren, St Gallen is a destination that will leave you wanting more.

Key Takeaways:

  • St Gallen offers a range of exciting activities and attractions for visitors.
  • The Abbey District is a must-visit, with its stunning cathedral and historical library.
  • Climb St. Laurence Church Tower for breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
  • Relax at Gallus Square and soak in the atmosphere of St Gallen.
  • Swim at Drei Weieren for a refreshing dip with a stunning backdrop.

Explore the Abbey District

The Abbey District is a must-visit in St Gallen. Start your exploration with a visit to the St Gallen Cathedral, a magnificent Baroque building that is free to enter. Step inside this architectural marvel and marvel at its intricate details and ornate decorations. The Cathedral is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of the city’s rich history and culture.

Don’t miss the opportunity to delve into the Abbey Library, one of the oldest and most important libraries in the world. Housing over 170,000 documents, including manuscripts that are over a thousand years old, it is a treasure trove for bibliophiles and history enthusiasts. Explore the library’s Rococo Hall, adorned with exquisite frescoes, and immerse yourself in the ambiance of knowledge and wisdom.

When visiting the Abbey District, take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets and squares, soaking in the atmosphere of this historical area. Admire the beautifully preserved buildings and discover hidden gems tucked away in every corner. Whether you are an architecture enthusiast or simply looking to experience the city’s rich heritage, the Abbey District is a must-see destination in St Gallen.

Explore the Abbey District:

St Gallen CathedralA magnificent Baroque building that is free to enter, showcasing intricate details and ornate decorations.
Abbey LibraryHouses over 170,000 documents, including manuscripts that are over a thousand years old, with the stunning Rococo Hall as a centerpiece.
Streets and SquaresCharming streets and squares that offer a glimpse into the city’s rich heritage, with beautifully preserved buildings and hidden gems.

Climb St. Laurence Church Tower

For breathtaking views of St Gallen, a visit to St. Laurence Church is a must. The church tower offers a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings, providing a unique vantage point to appreciate the beauty of St Gallen. To reach the top of the tower, you will need to climb 186 steps, but the effort is well worth it.

From the tower, you can marvel at the picturesque rooftops of St Gallen, with their charming architectural details. The view stretches across the city, allowing you to see landmarks such as the Abbey District and the St Gallen Cathedral, as well as the stunning natural landscape beyond.

As you take in the breathtaking cityscape, you’ll gain a new perspective on St Gallen’s beauty and appreciate the city’s unique blend of history, culture, and natural surroundings. Whether you’re an avid photographer, a history enthusiast, or simply someone who enjoys stunning vistas, climbing the St. Laurence Church Tower is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Relax at Gallus Square

Gallus Square is a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of St Gallen. As one of the city’s charming squares, it offers a tranquil oasis for visitors and locals alike. This picturesque square is surrounded by historic buildings and is the perfect place to take a break from exploring the city.

Take a moment to sit on one of the benches scattered around the square, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the laid-back atmosphere of St Gallen. The square’s beautifully landscaped gardens provide a soothing backdrop, creating a sense of serenity and relaxation.

While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in a delicious treat from the nearby chocolaterie. Whether it’s a creamy hot chocolate or a mouthwatering chocolate truffle, the sweet flavors are sure to delight your taste buds while you admire the surroundings.

Discover the Surroundings

If you’re looking to explore beyond Gallus Square, you’re in luck. The square is conveniently located near the celebrated Abbey District, making it an ideal starting point for further adventures. From there, you can continue your journey to discover the fascinating history and architectural wonders of St Gallen.

So take a moment to unwind and recharge at Gallus Square. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful spot to rest or a starting point for further exploration, this charming square offers a little slice of tranquility in the bustling city of St Gallen.

Relaxation SpotDescription
Gallus SquareA charming square located near the Abbey District. Perfect for relaxation and taking a break from sightseeing.
ChocolaterieA nearby chocolaterie where you can indulge in delicious treats while enjoying the surroundings of Gallus Square.
Abbey DistrictA celebrated area with historic buildings and architectural wonders, located within walking distance of Gallus Square.

Swim at Drei Weieren

When it comes to outdoor swimming in St Gallen, Drei Weieren is the place to be. This recreational area boasts five picturesque ponds, two of which, Mannenweier and Frauenweier, are perfect for swimming. Whether you’re a local looking for a refreshing dip or a visitor seeking a unique recreational experience, Drei Weieren has it all.

The tranquil Mannenweier pond is a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming on a sunny day. Surrounded by lush greenery, it offers a serene escape from the bustling city. Take a dip in the clear blue water and enjoy the breathtaking views of St Gallen and Lake Constance from this idyllic location.

Swimming at Drei Weieren is a fantastic way to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of St Gallen. So, grab your swimsuit, soak up the sunshine, and take a refreshing plunge into the crystal-clear waters of Mannenweier or Frauenweier.

PondSwimming ConditionsScenic Views
MannenweierIdeal for swimmingBreathtaking views of St Gallen and Lake Constance
FrauenweierIdeal for swimmingScenic surroundings and serene atmosphere

Take the Mühleggbahn

When visiting St Gallen, taking a ride on the Mühleggbahn is a unique and efficient way to explore the city. The Mühleggbahn is an inclined lift that connects St. Gallen with St. Georgen, providing a convenient means of public transport. It is an iconic feature of the city and holds the distinction of being the oldest means of public transportation in St. Gallen.

The ride on the Mühleggbahn takes just 90 seconds, but during that short journey, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the Mühleggschlucht, a stunning gorge located behind the Abbey District. As the lift ascends, you’ll be able to appreciate the natural beauty of the gorge and its surroundings, making it a memorable experience.

“The Mühleggbahn provides a unique and picturesque way to travel between St. Gallen and St. Georgen, while enjoying breathtaking views of the Mühleggschlucht gorge.”

If you’re planning to explore both neighborhoods, the Mühleggbahn is a convenient mode of transport that allows you to save time and energy. It’s also a great opportunity to capture some amazing photos of the city’s landscape from a different perspective. Don’t miss the chance to experience this historic and scenic journey during your visit to St Gallen.

Table: Mühleggbahn Facts

LocationConnects St. Gallen with St. Georgen
Transportation TypeInclined lift
Duration of RideApproximately 90 seconds
Scenic ViewsOffers beautiful views of Mühleggschlucht gorge
Historical SignificanceThe oldest means of public transportation in St. Gallen

Visit the City’s Waterfall

The beautiful city of St Gallen is not only known for its historical attractions and picturesque landscapes, but it is also home to a mesmerizing waterfall. Located in the Mülenenschlucht gorge behind the Abbey District, this waterfall is a sight to behold.

To reach the waterfall, take a leisurely walk through the gorge and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings. As you make your way towards the waterfall, you will encounter a footbridge that provides a perfect vantage point to admire its power and grandeur. The cascading water creates a soothing soundtrack, and the mist that rises from it adds to the enchanting atmosphere.

The St Gallen waterfall is particularly impressive after heavy rainfall, as the water rushes down with even more force. Nature enthusiasts will be captivated by the raw energy and beauty of this natural wonder. It’s a must-see attraction for those seeking a connection with the natural world.

So, when you visit St Gallen, make sure to take some time to explore Mülenenschlucht and witness the awe-inspiring St Gallen waterfall. Whether you’re a hiker, a nature lover, or simply appreciate the wonders of the natural world, this is a sight that will leave a lasting impression.

Hiking Trails in Mülenenschlucht

If you’re an avid hiker, Mülenenschlucht offers some fantastic trails that allow you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings. Here are a few hiking trails in the area:

  1. The Waterfall Loop Trail: This trail takes you on a circular route that showcases the stunning waterfall and allows you to explore the picturesque gorge. The trail is well-marked and suitable for hikers of all levels.
  2. The Forest Trail: This trail leads you through the lush forests surrounding Mülenenschlucht, offering a peaceful and serene hiking experience. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
  3. The Abbey District Trail: Combine your visit to the waterfall with a journey through St Gallen’s Abbey District. This trail takes you through the historic heart of the city, allowing you to experience the best of both worlds – nature and culture.

Whether you choose to hike to the waterfall or explore the surrounding trails, Mülenenschlucht is a hidden gem in St Gallen that should not be missed.

TrailDifficulty LevelTrail Length
The Waterfall Loop TrailEasy2.5 km
The Forest TrailModerate5 km
The Abbey District TrailEasy3 km

Explore the Stairs of St Gallen

St Gallen is a city known for its unique hilly terrain, and one of the best ways to navigate the slopes and explore the city is by taking on the challenge of its numerous stairs. These St Gallen stairs not only provide a practical means of getting around but also offer stunning views along the way. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or simply looking for a different perspective of the city, climbing these stairs is a must-do activity.

As you make your way up the stairs, you’ll pass through picturesque neighborhoods, charming alleys, and hidden corners of the city. Each staircase has its own character and allure, offering a glimpse into the daily lives of the locals. Don’t forget to take breaks and admire the breathtaking panoramas of St Gallen’s rooftops, historic buildings, and surrounding landscapes.

Exploring the Stairs

One of the most famous staircases in St Gallen is the Schmidgasse, a narrow and winding staircase that leads you up to the Abbey District. This staircase is adorned with colorful buildings and vibrant flower pots, creating a picturesque setting that is perfect for capturing memorable photos. Another notable staircase is the Blumenbergsgasse, which offers a glimpse of the city’s medieval architecture as you ascend to the higher parts of St Gallen.

For a more challenging climb, head to the Drei Weieren stairs. These steps take you up to the recreational area of Drei Weieren, where you can enjoy a swim in the ponds or simply relax and take in the tranquility of nature. The climb may be steep, but the reward of panoramic views and the refreshing atmosphere make it well worth the effort.

A Unique Perspective

Climbing the stairs of St Gallen not only provides a scenic workout but also allows you to discover hidden gems and secret spots that are often overlooked by tourists. You’ll stumble upon quaint cafes, boutique shops, and local businesses that add to the charm of the city. The stairs offer a unique way to immerse yourself in the local culture and get a true sense of what life is like in St Gallen.

So, put on your walking shoes, embrace the challenge, and embark on a stair-climbing adventure in St Gallen. The city’s slopes are waiting to be explored, and the stairs are your gateway to discovering the heart and soul of this Swiss gem.

SchmidgasseA narrow and winding staircase adorned with colorful buildings and flower pots. Leads to the Abbey District.
BlumenbergsgasseA staircase showcasing medieval architecture and providing access to the higher parts of St Gallen.
Drei WeierenSteep steps leading to the recreational area of Drei Weieren, offering panoramic views and access to swimming ponds.

Take a Nature Walk

If you’re a fan of nature and enjoy exploring the outdoors, St Gallen offers a variety of nature walks and hiking trails to satisfy your wanderlust. These scenic routes allow you to immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings and appreciate the natural beauty of the area.

One highly recommended nature walk is through Bernegg Forest. This tranquil forest is located just outside the city and provides a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle. The trail winds its way through the forest, offering serene views of towering trees, colorful flora, and perhaps even some local wildlife. It’s the perfect escape for those seeking a moment of tranquility.

Another notable trail is the one that passes through the monastery in Notkersegg. This route combines history and nature, as you can explore the monastery’s grounds while enjoying the picturesque landscapes. The trail allows you to experience the serenity of the monastery and its surrounding gardens, providing a glimpse into St Gallen’s rich cultural heritage.

Bernegg Forest TrailNature Walk7 kmEasy
Notkersegg Monastery TrailHiking Trail5 kmModerate

Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply enjoy taking leisurely strolls in nature, St Gallen’s nature walks have something to offer everyone. So put on your walking shoes, grab a bottle of water, and embark on a memorable adventure amidst the breathtaking landscapes of St Gallen.

Walk the Trail of Bridges

If you’re looking for a scenic and unique way to explore the natural beauty of St Gallen, walking the Trail of Bridges is a must-do activity. This two-hour walk follows the picturesque Sitter River and takes you past 18 charming bridges, viaducts, and boardwalks. As you traverse the trail, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and have the opportunity to admire the impressive architecture of these structures.

The highlight of the Trail of Bridges is the Sitter-Viaduct, which happens to be Switzerland’s tallest railway bridge. Standing at an impressive height, crossing this viaduct is an exhilarating experience. From its vantage point, you’ll be able to enjoy panoramic views of the city and the peaceful river flowing beneath.

As you walk along the trail, take your time to appreciate the tranquillity of the Sitter River and the lush greenery that surrounds it. The trail is well-maintained and easy to navigate, making it suitable for visitors of all ages and fitness levels. Whether you’re a photography enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape from the city, the Trail of Bridges offers a delightful experience.

Noteworthy Bridges along the Trail

Bridge NameKey Features
Sitter BridgeA beautiful stone bridge with intricate details and arches.
Holenstein BridgeA wooden bridge with a rustic charm.
Kanal BridgeA modern, steel bridge with a sleek design.
Mill BridgeA charming covered bridge that adds a touch of nostalgia to the trail.

Don’t forget to bring your camera along to capture the beauty of the Trail of Bridges. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and pack a bottle of water, as you’ll want to take your time and fully immerse yourself in this enchanting experience. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, exploring the Trail of Bridges is an unforgettable way to appreciate the natural wonders of St Gallen.

Visit the Weekly Markets

St Gallen is a city that offers a vibrant market scene, with various weekly markets that are a delight to explore. From farm-fresh produce to local delicacies, these markets provide an immersive experience into the city’s culture and culinary offerings.

One of the must-visit markets in St Gallen is the farmers’ market, where you can find an abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables, artisanal cheeses, and homemade preserves. It’s the perfect place to stock up on fresh ingredients for your own culinary adventures or simply to savor the flavors of the region.

But the markets in St Gallen are not just about food. You can also find a range of other goods, including handicrafts, clothing, accessories, and souvenirs. Whether you’re looking for unique gifts or simply want to browse through the stalls, the markets in St Gallen have something for everyone.

Discover St Gallen’s Cultural Offerings

St Gallen is a city that is rich in cultural attractions, offering visitors a diverse range of experiences. Whether you’re a fan of art, history, or theatre, St Gallen has something to captivate your interest. Explore the city’s museums and art galleries, immerse yourself in theatrical performances, and discover the vibrant cultural scene that St Gallen has to offer.

Visit Museums and Art Galleries

One of the highlights of St Gallen’s cultural offerings is its collection of museums and art galleries. The Kunstmuseum St.Gallen is a must-visit for art enthusiasts, showcasing a wide range of Swiss art from different periods. From contemporary pieces to classic works, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of Swiss artistic expression. Additionally, the Naturmuseum St.Gallen offers a fascinating insight into the natural history of the region, with exhibitions that feature local flora and fauna.

For those interested in history, a visit to the Historical and Ethnographical Museum St.Gallen is highly recommended. The museum houses a collection of artifacts that tell the story of St Gallen’s past, providing valuable insights into the city’s heritage. From archaeological discoveries to cultural traditions, this museum offers a comprehensive exploration of the region’s history.

Experience Theatrical Performances

St Gallen boasts a vibrant theatrical scene, with several theaters offering a diverse range of performances. The Theater St.Gallen is the city’s main theater and hosts a variety of shows, including operas, musicals, and plays. With its impressive lineup of performances throughout the year, Theater St.Gallen is a cultural hub for both locals and visitors.

In addition to the main theater, St Gallen is also home to smaller theaters and performance venues that showcase a wide range of artistic expressions. From experimental performances to contemporary dance shows, these venues provide a platform for emerging artists and innovative productions.

Engage with Cultural Events

St Gallen is not only home to permanent cultural institutions but also hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year. From music festivals to literary gatherings, there is always something happening in the city. One popular event is the St.Galler Festspiele, a music festival that features both national and international artists. This festival attracts music lovers from all over and offers a unique opportunity to experience live performances in a beautiful setting.

Another notable cultural event is the St.Galler Literaturtage, a literary festival that celebrates the written word. Authors, poets, and literary enthusiasts come together to participate in readings, workshops, and discussions. The festival’s program encompasses a wide variety of genres, ensuring that there is something to intrigue every literary taste.

Cultural OfferingDescription
Museums and Art GalleriesExplore St Gallen’s art and history through its diverse collection of museums and galleries, such as the Kunstmuseum St.Gallen and the Historical and Ethnographical Museum St.Gallen.
Theatrical PerformancesExperience the vibrant theatrical scene in St Gallen with performances at the Theater St.Gallen and other smaller venues that showcase a wide range of artistic expressions.
Cultural EventsEngage with St Gallen’s cultural events, including the St.Galler Festspiele music festival and the St.Galler Literaturtage literary festival, which bring together artists, musicians, authors, and literary enthusiasts.

Immerse Yourself in St Gallen’s History

When visiting St Gallen, it is impossible to ignore the city’s rich historical heritage. Throughout the city, you will find a plethora of attractions that offer a glimpse into St Gallen’s fascinating past. From architectural marvels to centuries-old libraries, this city is a history lover’s dream.

One must-visit attraction is the Stiftsbibliothek, also known as the Abbey Library. This iconic building houses a remarkable collection of over 170,000 documents, some of which date back over a thousand years. Step inside and marvel at the stunning Rococo Hall, a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship.

Another significant historical site is the Abbey of Saint Gall. Take a guided tour and explore the abbey’s beautifully preserved architecture, including the cathedral and its Baroque splendor. Learn about the daily life of the monks who once resided here and gain insight into the city’s religious history.

As you wander through the streets of St Gallen, you will be captivated by the historical architecture that surrounds you. Admire the intricate details of the buildings, from medieval towers to elegant townhouses. The city’s architectural heritage is a testament to its rich history and will transport you back in time.


What are some popular tourist attractions in St Gallen?

Some popular tourist attractions in St Gallen include the Abbey District, St Gallen Cathedral, and the Drei Weieren recreational area.

Can I visit the Abbey Library in St Gallen?

Yes, the Abbey Library in St Gallen is open to visitors. It houses over 170,000 documents, some of which are over a thousand years old.

How can I enjoy panoramic views of St Gallen?

To enjoy panoramic views of St Gallen, you can climb the St. Laurence Church tower or take a ride on the Mühleggbahn inclined lift.

Where can I relax and soak in the atmosphere of St Gallen?

Gallus Square is a charming square located near the Abbey District and is the perfect place to take a break and enjoy the city’s atmosphere.

Are there any outdoor swimming spots in St Gallen?

Yes, the Drei Weieren recreational area has two ponds, Mannenweier and Frauenweier, which are suitable for swimming.

How can I reach St Georgen from St Gallen?

You can take the Mühleggbahn inclined lift, which connects St Gallen with St Georgen, offering beautiful views of Mühleggschlucht, a gorge behind the Abbey District.

Where can I see a waterfall in St Gallen?

The Mülenenschlucht gorge, located behind the Abbey District, is home to a beautiful waterfall that you can witness by taking a walk through the gorge and reaching the footbridge.

Can I explore St Gallen using its stairs?

Yes, St Gallen is known for its numerous stairs that provide a unique way to explore the city and offer stunning views along the way.

Are there any nature walks in St Gallen?

Yes, there are several nature walks in St Gallen, including a walk through Bernegg Forest and a trail that passes through the monastery in Notkersegg.

Is there a scenic trail in St Gallen?

Yes, the Trail of Bridges is a two-hour walk that follows the Sitter River and passes 18 bridges, viaducts, and boardwalks, allowing you to appreciate the city’s natural beauty and impressive architecture.

Where can I find markets in St Gallen?

St Gallen has a vibrant market scene, with weekly markets offering a variety of goods. The farmers’ market is a great place to find fresh produce, local cheeses, and regional specialties.

What cultural offerings does St Gallen have?

St Gallen boasts a range of museums, theatres, and art galleries. The Kunstmuseum St.Gallen is a great place to appreciate Swiss art, and the city’s theatres offer various performances.

How can I learn about St Gallen’s history?

You can take a guided tour of the Stiftsbibliothek or visit the Abbey of Saint Gall to learn about St Gallen’s rich history. The historical architecture throughout the city also provides insight into its heritage.