12 Best Things to Do in St. Gallen, Switzerland: Medieval Marvels, Alpine Adventures, & Cultural Gems

by Jem
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St. Gallen is calling with its mix of old-school charm and green spaces. From the majestic Abbey of St. Gall to the tranquil beauty of the Drei Weieren ponds, we’re diving into everything. Get ready to uncover the top attractions and things to do in St. Gallen!

When I first set foot in St. Gallen, I didn’t expect to be so captivated. But that’s exactly what happened. This city, with its deep history and lush natural landscapes, offers far more than you might first imagine.

It’s the unexpected discoveries and hidden spots that really show you what St. Gallen is about. From tranquil ponds at Drei Weieren to the ancient Abbey Library, each experience brings something special to the city’s vibe. If you’re in search of an adventure filled with culture, history, and nature, St. Gallen has it all.

In this guide, I’ll share twelve of the best things to do in St. Gallen. These spots made me fall in love with the city, and I’m pretty sure they’ll win you over too. Ready to uncover what makes St. Gallen a hidden gem in Switzerland? Let’s jump right in.

The top things to do in St. Gallen, Switzerland right now

Best places to visit in St. Gallen, Switzerland

Ready to explore St. Gallen? From the stunning Abbey of St. Gall to the cozy streets of the Old Town, filled with inviting cafes and unique shops, there’s no shortage of exciting things to do in St. Gallen.

Whether you’re taking in the views from the Drei Weieren or delving into the history at the Textile Museum, every step is an adventure. Here’s your ultimate guide to the best attractions in St. Gallen – each one a must-see!

1. Visit the Abbey of St. Gall

Stepping into the Abbey of St. Gall, it’s like you’re walking straight into a history book, but way cooler. This place is a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the 8th century. Imagine that! The library here is something out of a fantasy novel, filled with ancient manuscripts and books that make you want to whisper, even if you’re not the library-whispering type.

It’s not all about the books, though. The abbey itself is a masterpiece, with architecture that’ll have you snapping photos at every turn. And the Abbey Cathedral? Absolutely stunning. The attention to detail in the carvings and the art – it’s like nothing you’ve seen before.

When traveling to Switzerland, I always recommend the Abbey of St. Gall to those wondering what to do in St. Gallen. Whilst the history is incredible, it’s also a peaceful spot to just sit and soak in the atmosphere.

Visiting the Abbey of St. Gall is like stepping into a history book, only much more awesome.
Visiting the Abbey of St. Gall is like stepping into a history book, only much more awesome.

2. Stroll through the Old Town

There’s something magical about wandering through the Old Town of St. Gallen. It’s like stepping into a different era. This part of town is a maze of narrow streets, bursting with color and life. From the historic buildings that line the pathways to the cozy cafes tucked away in hidden nooks, there’s a surprise waiting at every turn.

What I love about the Old Town is how it blends the old with the new. You’ve got these incredible centuries-old buildings, and then you’ll turn a corner and find a funky shop or modern art sprinkled in. It’s this mix that gives St. Gallen its unique charm.

And let’s talk about the vibes at night. As the sun sets, the streets take on a whole new life. It’s one of those places to go in St. Gallen where you can just feel the history around you while enjoying a lively evening out. Whether you’re grabbing dinner or just meandering through the streets, the Old Town is a must-experience. Don’t miss it!

Strolling about St. Gallen's Old Town has a certain charm.
Strolling about St. Gallen’s Old Town has a certain charm.

3. Hike to the Drei Weieren

Let me take you to one of my favorite escapes in St. Gallen – the Drei Weieren. Hiking here feels like uncovering a secret garden nestled right in the heart of the city. Picture this: tranquil ponds, lush greenery, and views of St. Gallen that’ll have you reaching for your camera every few steps.

The path up there isn’t too tough, which makes it perfect for a leisurely day out. I always find something special about the peace up at the Drei Weieren. It’s a place where you can just sit, take a deep breath, and enjoy a moment of calm. Plus, the ponds themselves – they’re just beautiful, reflecting the sky and trees around them.

If you’re looking for beautiful places in St. Gallen where you can truly relax and soak in the beauty of nature, this is it. It’s my little haven for when I need to clear my head or just want a break from the hustle of everyday life. Trust me, you’ll love it here.

It's like discovering a hidden garden in the middle of the city when you hike here.
It’s like discovering a hidden garden in the middle of the city when you hike here.

4. Attend a Performance at the St. Gallen Theatre

Ever think a night at the theater could be as thrilling as a concert or a movie? The St. Gallen Theatre will change your mind. This place has an electric vibe, blending classic and modern in an utterly captivating way. Whether it’s opera, ballet, or drama, there’s always something on that’s bound to catch your interest.

My favorite aspect of the St. Gallen Theatre is the buzz you feel in the air as you walk in. You’re going to see a performance, stepping into a night of storytelling that’s alive and immersive. The talent is top-notch, too. The performers here have a way of pulling you into the story, which makes you forget the world outside.

One of the best things to do in St. Gallen at night, I highly recommend grabbing tickets for a show. It’s a fantastic way to experience the city’s cultural scene and have a great night out.

The St. Gallen Theatre exudes an electrifying atmosphere that masterfully combines traditional and contemporary elements.
The St. Gallen Theatre exudes an electrifying atmosphere that masterfully combines traditional and contemporary elements.

5. Enjoy the Views from Mühleggbahn

Have you ever taken a ride that left you speechless? That’s the Mühleggbahn for you. This isn’t just any cable car – it’s your ticket to the most stunning views in St. Gallen. Riding up, you’re treated to a panorama that stretches across the city, over the rolling hills, and right to the edge of Lake Constance. It’s breathtaking.

I always make sure to ride the Mühleggbahn whenever I’m in town. There’s something about seeing St. Gallen from above that puts everything into perspective. Plus, it’s the perfect way to start a hike or just enjoy a leisurely afternoon at the top. Don’t forget your camera – you’ll want to capture this.

So, if you’re asking me where to go in St. Gallen for unforgettable views, the Mühleggbahn is my top pick. It’s a simple pleasure that delivers big on beauty and calm. Believe me, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss!

A ticket to the most breathtaking vistas in St. Gallen, the Mühleggbahn is not just any cable car.
A ticket to the most breathtaking vistas in St. Gallen, the Mühleggbahn is not just any cable car. | Image Credit: Flickr

6. Shop at the Market in Marktplatz

There’s nothing like a market day in Marktplatz to feel the pulse of St. Gallen. Imagine stalls overflowing with fresh produce, artisan cheeses, and handmade crafts. Every visit turns into a treasure hunt, whether you’re after the juiciest fruits or a unique gift.

When visiting Marktplatz, make sure to chat with the vendors. You get the real scoop on what’s good. And the samples? Don’t get me started! Sampling local cheese and sausages turns shopping into a mini adventure. It’s a vibrant spot where locals and visitors mix, sharing stories and laughs.

If you’re jotting down fun places to visit in St. Gallen, pencil in Marktplatz on a bustling market day. You get to meet the locals, hear their stories, and even snag some insider tips on what to try or see next. Honestly, spending a morning or afternoon here is like a shortcut to becoming part of St. Gallen’s fabric for a day.

Nothing beats a market day at Marktplatz to get a sense of St. Gallen's energy.
Nothing beats a market day at Marktplatz to get a sense of St. Gallen’s energy.

7. Climb to the Top of St. Laurenzen Church

You know, one of the fun things to do in St. Gallen that I always recommend is making the climb up St. Laurenzen Church. It’s not every day you get to scale a church tower, but this one? It’s totally worth it.

The climb itself is a bit of a workout, but as you step up and out onto the viewing platform, the city unfolds beneath you in a breathtaking panorama.

What gets me every time is the mix of architecture you can spot from up there. From centuries-old buildings to modern touches, it’s like a live map of St. Gallen’s history. You can even see the Alps in the distance, and they’re stunning.

Up for an adventure with a unique city perspective? Climbing to the top of St. Laurenzen Church is a must. Plus, it’s a great way to work off any indulgent Swiss treats you’ve been enjoying!

The city opens up in front of you in a stunning view.
The city opens up in front of you in a stunning view.

8. Relax in the Botanical Garden

Looking for a peaceful spot in St. Gallen? The Botanical Garden is my go-to place. This lush oasis in the middle of the city is a breath of fresh air, literally. With thousands of plant species from around the globe, it’s like a mini-world tour of flora.

Wandering through the garden paths, you’ll find everything from exotic orchids to ancient trees. Each section has its own vibe, which makes it easy to lose track of time as you explore. It’s the perfect place to unwind, read a book, or just enjoy a moment of solitude.

The Botanical Garden is a wonderful space where you can recharge and connect with nature without leaving the city. Spending an afternoon here is as refreshing as it gets. What’s more, it won’t cost you a dime. It’s the perfect spot if you’re after free things to do in St. Gallen.

Without having to travel outside of the city, the Botanical Garden is a fantastic place to unwind and re-energize.
Without having to travel outside of the city, the Botanical Garden is a fantastic place to unwind and re-energize.

9. Take a Day Trip to Appenzell

Ever feel like you just need to escape to the countryside? That’s Appenzell for you. Just a short journey from St. Gallen, this place is a burst of color, tradition, and landscapes that’ll have you pinching yourself to make sure it’s real. I always tell my friends, if you’re in St. Gallen, you’ve got to make the trip to Appenzell.

Walking through Appenzell is like stepping into a storybook. The houses are painted with scenes that seem to tell tales of the past, and the rolling green hills are something out of a dream. It’s incredibly vibrant, filled with local culture and traditions that are alive and well.

And let’s talk about the cheese. If you’re a fan like I am, you’re in for a treat. The local cheese here is something else, and you can even visit some dairies to see how it’s made. Trust me, it’s a tasty way to dive into the local culture.

Taking a day trip to Appenzell turns any visit to St. Gallen into an adventure filled with color and joy. You really shouldn’t skip this piece of Swiss perfection. It’s one of the best places to visit in Switzerland that makes your trip unforgettable.

Visiting Appenzell is similar to entering a narrative book.
Visiting Appenzell is similar to entering a narrative book.

10. Explore the Textile Museum

Did you know St. Gallen is world-renowned for its textiles? It’s true, and there’s no better place to get wrapped up in this fascinating part of the city’s heritage than the Textile Museum. I had a blast the last time I went. There’s everything from intricate lace to bold prints that have made their mark on fashion worldwide.

The museum does an amazing job of showcasing how St. Gallen became a textile powerhouse. The interactive exhibits are great fun, too. You get to touch some of the materials, which brings the experience to life. Plus, they often have workshops and events where you can try your hand at textile art.

I recommend popping into the museum shop before you leave.

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It’s filled with unique gifts and souvenirs that are a far cry from the usual tourist fare.

Believe me, visiting the Textile Museum is one of the coolest things to do in St. Gallen if you’re looking to understand the city beyond its beautiful sights.

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It’s a great way to see how tradition and modern creativity weave together here.

The way the museum portrays the development of St. Gallen as a major textile hub is superb.
The way the museum portrays the development of St. Gallen as a major textile hub is superb.

11. Sample Seasonal Beers at Schützengarten

St. Gallen isn’t just about textiles and scenic views. It’s also home to Schützengarten, Switzerland’s oldest brewery. If you’re anything like me and enjoy discovering local flavors, you’ve got to check this place out. The seasonal beers here are top-notch.

Taking a tour of Schützengarten was a highlight for me. You learn all about their brewing process, steeped in tradition yet embracing modern innovation.

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And the best part, of course, is the tasting session at the end.

Don’t leave without trying their limited editions. There’s always something unique on tap, giving you a real taste of St. Gallen’s brewing expertise. It’s the perfect way to unwind and soak in the local vibe, especially after a day of exploring.

Wrapping up a day with a visit to Schützengarten is one of those unique things to do in St. Gallen that you just can’t skip. Hanging out here, trying those special brews, feels like you’re part of an exclusive club – the St. Gallen locals’ club, that is. It’s a laid-back, tasty way to connect with what this city is all about.

For me, the best part was touring Schützengarten.
For me, the best part was touring Schützengarten.

12. Visit the Art Museum (Kunstmuseum St. Gallen)

Diving into the heart of St. Gallen’s art scene, the Kunstmuseum is an experience I always rave about. When listing St. Gallen things to do, this place deserves a spot. You’ll see everything from breathtaking ancient art to thought-provoking modern pieces. It’s the kind of place where each visit opens your eyes a little wider to the world.

I always make a point to drop by, especially for their special exhibits – they never fail to impress. The building itself is pretty impressive, too. It makes the art inside feel even more special.

A tip from me: don’t miss out on their evening events. It’s a relaxed way to take in some culture and meet locals.

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You can find an up-to-date schedule on their website.

Adding the Kunstmuseum to your St. Gallen itinerary is a no-brainer. You’ll leave not just with photos, but with stories and inspirations that stay with you long after.

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Touring the Kunstmuseum, the center of St. Gallen's art scene, is an experience I always recommend.
Touring the Kunstmuseum, the center of St. Gallen’s art scene, is an experience I always recommend.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the best things to do in St. Gallen:

Looking for more content on the top things to do in St. Gallen? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to one of Switzerland’s best places.

Is St. Gallen worth a visit?

Absolutely, St. Gallen is a hidden gem in Switzerland that’s worth exploring. From the stunning Abbey of St. Gall, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to its vibrant textile history, there’s so much to discover. The city’s blend of cultural richness and natural beauty makes it a unique spot. Trust me, you’ll find its charm hard to resist.

What is St. Gallen, Switzerland, known for?

St. Gallen is famous for its remarkable Abbey Library, one of the oldest and most beautiful in the world. It’s also a city with a deep-rooted textile industry, hosting an impressive Textile Museum that showcases its global influence on fashion and design. Walking through St. Gallen, you’ll quickly notice its differing architecture, from historic buildings to modern art installations.

This city provides far more than you might initially think, with its rich natural surroundings and extensive history.
This city provides far more than you might initially think, with its rich natural surroundings and extensive history.

Is St. Gallen walkable?

St. Gallen is super walkable, with most of its key attractions like the Old Town, Abbey District, and various museums within easy walking distance. I’ve spent days just wandering its streets, discovering cozy cafes and unique shops along the way. It’s the perfect way to soak in the city’s atmosphere and find those hidden gems.

Is St. Gallen French or German-speaking?

St. Gallen is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. While you’ll find that many people speak English, especially in tourist areas, German is the main language used in daily life and signs around the city. It’s always fun to know a few German phrases to blend in a bit more with the locals!

The top things to do in St. Gallen, Switzerland for all type of travelers
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