Holidays to Switzerland Travel Podcast Episode 50 Visiting St. Gallen and Bodensee
Podcast Episodes

Episode 50: Visiting St. Gallen and Bodensee

July 13, 2022 Last Updated on March 19, 2024

Interview with Tobias Treichler, Deputy Director of St. Gallen Bodensee Tourism

Which cities and towns in Switzerland are on your so-called bucket list? Are you planning to visit Zurich, Lucerne, the Jungfrau Region and Zermatt?

For most visitors – especially first time visitors – to Switzerland these are the destinations they head to.  You won’t be disappointed if these places are included in your itinerary – they are all very special places with plenty of Swiss charm and stunning landscapes.  They are, after all, Swiss hot spots for a reason.

But why not mix your itinerary up a bit and include a destination that’s still mostly off the tourist radar, especially for international tourists?  You don’t have to go far out of your way and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful scenery and some pretty impressive architectural delights.

I’m talking about the city of St. Gallen and its neighbour Bodensee (or Lake Constance) which is in Eastern Switzerland.  St. Gallen is just an hour from Zurich and is home to the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage-listed Abbey of St. Gall.

To tell us all about the many highlights of St. Gallen and Bodensee, I’m joined today by Toby Treichler, Deputy Director of St. Gallen Bodensee Tourism.

Toby has lots to share about St. Gallen including what to see and do, what local specialties to try and he reveals a couple of secret places to visit, too.

St. Gallen is definitely worth visiting when you are planning a tour of Switzerland.  

And remember, if you need to go on a tour, you need Switzerland – so why not make St. Gallen a part of your tour?

[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]

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As always, a big thank you to Switzerland Tourism for sponsoring the podcast.  Make sure you visit their website for heaps of information and inspiration to help with your trip planning..

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Show Notes

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Toby’s background and his role at St. Gallen Bodensee Tourism
  • Important things to know about St. Gallen
  • St. Gallen’s highlights and must-visit attractions
  • Culinary specialties of St. Gallen
  • Other destinations that St. Gallen Bodensee Tourism are responsible for
  • Best time of year to visit St. Gallen
  • Toby’s tips for spending one day in St. Gallen
  • ‘Secret’ places to visit near St. Gallen
Abbey Library in St. Gallen, Switzerland
Abbey Library © Roland Gerth

Places, food and things to do mentioned in this episode

>> St. Gallen – The 8th largest city in Switzerland is located in Eastern Switzerland and is located in the ‘four country corner’ of Switzerland, close to the borders of Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein.

>> Abbey District – Home to the Abbey of St. Gall, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, and its library, Cathedral and exhibition halls. This is the third oldest library in the world and is home to 170,000 books and manuscripts. The ceiling is richly decorated. Construction of the monastery started in 715 AD.

>> Old Town walking tour – A great way to learn more about St. Gallen is on a walking tour. Both guided and self-guided tours are available through the Tourist Office.

>> Red Square – Nicknamed ‘the living room’ by locals, Red Square is a public space in St. Gallen that is covered by a spongy red carpet. It was designed by architect Carlos Martinez and multimedia artist Pipilotti Rist.

>> Three Ponds – Built in the 17th century to supply water for the local textile industry, today the Drei Weieren (Three Ponds) are used as a natural swimming area. The ponds are situated just a short walk from the Old Town and there’s a great view over St. Gallen.

>> The 4 Bs of St. Gallen – 1. Bratwurst – a thick sausage and known locally as the Olma sausage. Locals know that it must not be served with mustard. 2. Beer – there’s a long history of brewing in St. Gallen and it is home to the oldest brewery in Switzerland. 3. Bread – with so many delicious varieties to try you can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 4. Biberli – a local gingerbread speciality.

Historic Abbey District in St. Gallen, Switzerland
Abbey District © Roland Gerth
Three Ponds bathing area at St. Gallen, Switzerland
Three Ponds © Mattias Nutt Photography

>> Rorschach – an idyllic harbour town on the Swiss shore of Lake Constance (Bodensee). A highlight of the town is the wooden bathing shed, dating back to 1924, which stands on pillars in the lake.

>> Wil – once the holiday residence of the abbots of St. Gallen, the Wil has what is considered to be one of the best preserved Old Town’s in Eastern Switzerland.

>> Rhine Valley – this picturesque region is well-known for its wines and as a destination for hiking and cycling. It is also possible to cross the Rhine to visit Austria and Liechtenstein.

>> Appenzellerland – a proudly traditional region, Appenzellerland is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in Eastern Switzerland.

>> St. Gallen Christmas lights – every year, from the end of November until January 6, 700 lights are installed around the streets of St. Gallen giving the city the nickname ‘City of 700 Stars’.

>> Toby’s ‘secret’ places to visit – 1. Get fantastic views of five different region from Fünfländerblick. 2. Visit the restaurant built into the side of a mountain (restaurant Wildkirchli) above Wasserauen. 3. Take a boat trip to the Rhine delta near Rheineck. There you can see over 300 species of birds, grasses, trees, herbs and aquatic animals.

Red Square in St. Gallen, Switzerland
Red Square © Giglio Pasqua
The historic Rorschach Boathouse on Lake Constance, Switzerland
Rorschach Bathhouse © Mattias Nutt Photography

Useful Resources

For more information about visiting St. Gallen and Lake Constance, visit the St. Gallen Bodensee Tourism website or

Holidays to Switzerland Resources

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This episode is sponsored by Switzerland Tourism

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