St. Gallen Travel Guide

St. Gallen is short form of its official name St. Gallenkappel. The city of St. Gallen in Switzerland is a popular tourist destination and an important economic center in the country. The city has been developed over the last two millennia, but its origins date back to the 6th century AD when a young Irish monk named Saint Gallus founded a monastery there. Despite the fact that this region was once part of Alsace, it is now considered part of central Switzerland due to its location on Lake Constance and proximity to Germany. St Gallen Travel Guide

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A view of St. Gallen in Switzerland

The city of St. Gallen is named after the Irish monk Saint Gallus, who founded a monastery in the area in 630. The city was originally called "Sankt Gallen," but its name was changed by French-speaking citizens to "Saint-Gall" in the 18th century.

The city's official name changed again to "St. Gallen" when it merged with Appenzell and Rheintal (the rural areas surrounding the city) in 2003 to become one municipality: Stadt und Landkreis St. Gallen.


Natural Life in St. Gallen

St. Gallen is the capital of the canton of St. Gallen and is one of the most important economic centers in Switzerland. The city has a population of around 300,000 people, while the canton has a population of over 400,000 people.

The canton was formed as part of Napoleon's Act of Mediation in 1803 to separate itself from Basel-Country and Appenzell Innerrhoden. Since then, it has become an important industrial center with several major companies headquartered there including Holcim (a cement company), ABB Group (an engineering firm) and Roche Diagnostics (a pharmaceutical company).

Major Area

Aerial View of Abbey Cathedral of Saint Gall

St. Gallen is one of Switzerland's oldest cities, and it has a population of around 100,000 people. The city was named for Saint Gallus, an Irish monk who lived in the area during the 8th century and founded several monasteries and churches. St. Gallen is also known as the "City of Students" because it has been home to many students in recent decades due to its close proximity to several other European universities including those at Fribourg, Zürich and Geneva (one hour away).

The city itself has many beautiful sights to see such as its Cathedral designed by Swiss architect Martin Gessner which features seven intricately carved portals leading into its main nave; St. Peter's Church built in 1185; The Abbey Museum which houses artifacts from local monasteries dating back centuries; The Old Town with cobbled streets lined with old stone buildings; And last but not least: There's no shortage of good food options here either!


Cafes in St. Gallen

The city of St. Gallen has a population of 75,833 (2018 Census) and a region that reaches into the canton of St. Gallen, which includes 120 other municipalities and over 200,000 residents. The canton is one of three in Switzerland with no maximum population limit (the other two being Appenzell Innerrhoden and Nidwalden).

St. Gallen's total area is 1,078 square kilometers (415 square miles), making it quite large compared to its neighboring cities—for instance, Basel takes up only 157 square kilometers (61 square miles). However, St. Gallen has a density similar to other cities in Switzerland: 675 people per sq km / 2 sq mi or 2,633 people per mi2 / 6471 people per km2.


St. Gallen is a town in Switzerland and it is short form of its official name St. Gallenkappel. The city has a population of 55,000 people and it is located in northeastern part of Switzerland near the German border. The city has been influenced by many cultures throughout its history, including Roman culture during the first century AD when there was a huge influx of Christianity into Europe, as well as Saxon culture during the 8th century AD.


In the German part of St. Gallen, the official language is German. In the French part of St. Gallen, French is spoken. Italian is also an official language in two municipalities (Arzo and Brione). The Romansh language is spoken in the Romansh parts of Arzo and Brione as well as in the village Lumbrein.


The city of St. Gallen is the capital of both the canton and district of St. Gallen in northeast Switzerland. It's also a municipality, but not as municipal seat; that role belongs to Metzgerthal. St. Gallen has an area of almost 30 square kilometers (11 square miles) and a population of about 60,000 people, making it one of Switzerland's largest cities by land mass and population respectively. The city itself is situated in between Lake Walen on one side and Mount Abendberg on another side at an elevation just over 1,000 meters (3,281 feet). It lies in a valley between two mountains: Mount Abendberg (1,430 meters or 4,693 feet) to its north west; and Mount Vorder Gaisberg (1,249 meters or 4,098 feet) to its south east.


The Abbey Cathedral St. Gallen

It was founded by St. Gallus around 670 AD and became the center of the Carolingian Renaissance during the ninth century. The city's history dates back to around 719 and its university has a long history that dates back to 1080 A.D., making it one of Switzerland's oldest universities! In 1218, it became a free city; since then, St. Gallen has always been an independent political entity with its own laws and constitution. One of its most famous sons is Paracelsus (1493-1541).

The Romans built a castrum at today's city center around 15 BC. They called it "Castra Albana" or "Alfena", meaning "White Fortress". In c. 612 AD, St. Gallus founded his abbey there and named it after himself; he became known as "the Apostle for Lower Germany" thanks to his mission work in what is now Switzerland and Germany (including parts of Belgium).

Where is Located St. Gallen & Geography

St. Gallen Province Map

St. Gallen is located in the canton of St. Gallen in eastern Switzerland on the northern slopes of the Appenzell Alps. It is about 30 km from Lake Constance and about 130 km west of Zurich (Switzerland).

It is close to the borders with Liechtenstein and Austria. It has a population of around 56,000 and is the capital of the canton of St. Gallen (also called "Canton de San Gallo").


St. Gallen has a moderate climate, with warm summers and cold winters. The average temperature in July is 21°C (70°F) and 0°C (32°F) in January, making it one of the most temperate regions in Switzerland's four main language areas. Rainfall is moderate at around 690 mm per year, but it can be quite foggy due to its location in a valley.


St Gallen in Winter

St. Gallen is the capital of the Canton of St. Gallen and has a population of about 68,000 people. The city is known for its history and culture, as well as for its universities.

The economy of St. Gallen has traditionally been dominated by machinery manufacturing (ITM Industrietechnik AG) and transportation equipment production (Gurtenfahrzeuge AG).


St Gallen and Konstanz Lake

The culture of St. Gallen is similar to that of the rest of Switzerland. The town has a strong tradition of folk music and dance, and visitors can enjoy this during various festivals throughout the year. It's also home to an interesting museum dedicated to the history of such traditions, which dates back hundreds of years when this area was part of a monastery.


Rural Areas in St. Gallen

St. Gallen is also home to a professional ice hockey team called EHC St. Gallen, which plays in the National League A, Switzerland's top tier of ice hockey. The club has won six championships since its inception in 2004.

Additionally, there are many other sports teams that play out of St. Gallen:
  • Football club St. Gallen (Stadtliga)
  • Rugby union club SG Rugby 78 (2nd division)


The Abbey Cathedral of Saint Gall

The St. Gallen Museum is a museum in the city of St. Gallen in Switzerland. It is located in the Abbey Church of St. Gall, which was founded in the 7th century by Irish monk Saint Othmar. The museum houses many important artifacts from this period, including manuscripts and other written works, as well as paintings, sculptures and architectural elements from both the cathedral itself and other churches across Switzerland that were built during this time period.


As the capital of the canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland, St. Gallen is a media hub in Switzerland. It has a very well-developed media sector and is home to many newspapers and magazines. The most important newspapers are:
  • SonntagsZeitung
  • Tages-Anzeiger (TA)
  • Der Bund


St. Gallen is an important place for sports, as it hosts the annual St. Gallen Open tennis tournament and is home to FC St. Gallen, a professional football club that plays in the Swiss Super League (the highest-level football league in Switzerland).

The town has a long history of hosting international sports events; in addition to hosting the first ever European Athletics Championship in 1914 and being home base for Switzerland's National Hockey Team, it was chosen as one of eight host cities during Euro 2008—a major international soccer tournament held across Europe between June 8 and July 1—and staged matches between Germany and Turkey on June 10th, 10th and 11th 2007.


St. Gallen Old Town

The cuisine of St. Gallen is influenced by the traditions of its surrounding regions, such as Appenzell and Rorschach. One traditional dish that has been popular for centuries is Appenzeller cheese, which originated in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. It's a semi-hard cheese made from cow's milk; it has a mild flavor and soft texture with small holes throughout it. Another regional specialty is Appenzeller wine, which has been produced since 1667 when monks planted their first vines on the slopes behind Abbey St. Gallen (also known as Abbey Church). The most well-known variety of this wine is Kalterersee Schillingsberg Riesling Trocken Beerenauslese (dry), but there are many other types available too including Veltliner Blaufrankisch Grauer Burgunder Zweigelt Rotenbodensteiner Weissburgunder Schwarzer Burgunder Pinot Noir Spätburgunder Chardonnay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Gewürztraminer Muskateller Grauwiler Riesling Spätlese Trockenbeerenauslese Gelber Muskateller Silvaner Scheurebe Zierfandler Dornfelder anisette


Sailing in Konstanz Lake St Gallen

The city is home to two universities, the University of St. Gallen and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). The University of St. Gallen was founded in 1898 and offers undergraduate programs, master's degrees and doctoral studies. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) was founded in 1969 and offers undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs at master's degree level.

Universities and Colleges

If you're attending one of the universities or colleges in St. Gallen, there's a lot to look forward to. The city is rich with history and boasts a modern feel that makes it an ideal place for students to live and study.

The most popular majors for students who attend universities and colleges in St. Gallen include business administration, economics, psychology/communication sciences and arts/media studies. Students can also choose from a wide range of other subjects including: law; engineering; education; theology; chemistry; political science; computer science; biology etc…

If you want to study abroad as an exchange student or work towards getting a student visa (if you are from outside Europe), then applying early will give you more time to prepare your documents before departure date!


St. Gallen City Center

St. Gallen is a major transport hub in Switzerland. It is the most important railway junction in eastern Switzerland with lines from Zürich to Bern, Basel and Chur, as well as from Olten and Biel/Bienne to Zurich. The bus network covers the whole canton of St. Gallen and neighbouring cantons, including Appenzell Outer Rhodes, Thurgau and Ticino.

There are also two international airports in the region: St. Gallen Altenrhein Airport at Altenrhein north-west of Rapperswil and Samedan Arosa Airport on Pizol mountain (2½ hours' drive from St. Gallen).


If you're looking for a place to get healthier, St. Gallen has some great options. The city has its own hospital and a number of clinics, as well as a variety of specialist doctors and dentists on offer. There are also physiotherapists, psychologists, speech therapists and more available in the area.


St. Gallen and Alps in Winter Time

The energy mix in St. Gallen is dominated by electricity (85% of total energy consumption), which is generated mainly from hydroelectricity, followed by oil and natural gas. The share of coal in the overall energy supply has declined substantially since 1990s; it currently accounts for only 1% of the total consumption. There are two large power plants located on the river Rhine: Schaffhausen and Stein am Rhein. Hydroelectricity makes up more than three quarters of all renewable energy production in St. Gallen (79%). Wind power has seen a rapid growth over recent years due to technological advances and financial incentives introduced by the federal government to incentivize its deployment; wind farms now account for 10% of renewable production.

Please view more St. Gallen Photos

St Gallen Switzerland

St Gallen Switzerland

St. Gallen and Mountains

St. Gallen and Mountains

St. Gallen Harbor

St. Gallen Harbor

The Abbey Cathedral of Saint Gall in St Gallen

The Abbey Cathedral of Saint Gall in St Gallen