St Gallen Travel Guide

St Gallen Switzerland

Highlights and top attractions in St Gallen

St Gallen is positioned between the Appenzeller region and Lake Constance. This compact town in eastern Switzerland is famed for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Abbey Precinct, which includes the Abbey Library and 8th Century Abbey as well as the cathedral.

The baroque cathedral is St Gallen’s best known landmark, while the Abbey Library is famous for its breathtaking Rococo Hall. An Irish missionary monk founded a monastery on the site around 612, and the town thus became known by his name, Gallen.

Now the town is an important educational and cultural hub, with a university and a respected theatre group. During summer, visitors also flock to the town to swim in the art nouveau, open-air pool, from which there are magnificent views over the area.

Major events in St Gallen

Open Air St Gallen

St Gallen’s major musical festival plays host to pop and rock bands and artists each year. This takes place during late June.

St Gallen Festspiele

The annual Festspiele in St Gallen takes place in the town square by the cathedral, and consists of a fortnight’s opera season. It is held during late June and early July.

St Gallen Christmas Market

More than 18,000 lights decorate the area around the Abbey during the festive season with a giant Christmas tree taking centre stage.  Market stalls, selling handmade goods and local specialties, line the streets, creating a magical ambience. The Christmas Market is held from late November.

How to get to St Gallen

St Gallen’s location near the borders of Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein makes the town easy to reach. This makes it a great starting point for those exploring Appenzellerland

St Gallen can be accessed via car or train. From Lucerne, visitors can take a trip on the Voralpen-Express, which travels between the two cities in around 2 hours and 45 minutes. This scenic journey of about 150 kilometres passes Lake Zurich and crosses Rothenthurm Hochmoorebene, the highest railway viaduct in Switzerland. 

There are also direct trains from Zurich main station and Zurich-Kloten airport. Both services take around 1 hour. 

St Gallen’s small regional airport mainly offers domestic routes or flights to and from Vienna in Austria.

St Gallen is close to the A1 motorway, and is therefore well connected to major Swiss cities as well as destinations in France, Germany, Italy and Austria.

St Gallen Info

Population: 75,800

Canton: St. Gallen

Average high temperatures: January – 2.5C / 36.5F;  April – 11.5C / 52F; July – 21C / 71F; October – 12C / 54F.

Christmas market dates: 28 November to 24 December (More info here)