St Gallen, Switzerland Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

St Gallen, Switzerland

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St Gallen is a town in the east of Switzerland with a population of about 70,000. It is a very neat town with beautiful houses, an antique city centre, a cathedral, and an historic library with a mummy. There is also the town brewery and about 350 restaurants. It's also a great place to stay overnight or for a bathroom stop.

This brings us to the topography. The town is nestled on the north and south between two hillsides and also spreads up on the slopes thereof. Since it is additionally cut of on to the west by a 300ft deep gorge and somehow tapers out down towards Lake Constance on the east, it never really sprawled out and stayed rather compact.

It is not easy to park in the town but you may try one of the roads up on the hills on both sides of the town where there are countless little roads. You will never find your car again, but this gives you plenty of time to look at the town.

What to Do

There is rarely a town in central Europe where you can get drunk at a more leisurely pace. Good places to achieve this are:

  • Extrablatt on Marktplatz caters a young and student-oriented crowd. It has a music-bar on the first floor.

  • Christina's on Webergasse is a very laid back small restaurant, bar and coffee place with sofas. If you get a seat, kick back and enjoy. It serves a great cappuccino.

  • Camillo at the Grüninger-Platz is a neat coffee and snack bar.

  • Faccincani on Gallusstrasse serves good Italian food but can be expensive.

  • Letzte Laterne on the Schwertgasse has original HR Giger1 paintings hanging on the wall.

  • Vinoteca on Englegasse serves Italian wine and snacks.

  • Engel on Engelgasse is a restaurant for the alternative crowd with organic food and filterless cigarettes.

  • Einstein is for the posh.

  • Gallusplatz is for the even posher.

  • Seeger-Bar is for the yuppie crowd.

  • Splügen on the St Georgenstrasse is a charming museum.

  • Barcelona is a bar and restaurant for Spanish snacks and food.

  • Hörnli on Marktplatz is open non-stop from Friday morning till Sunday evening. They always have warm food and a plethora of beers, including the best local beer, Klosterbräu. Schützengarten, the regular beer you usually get, is nothing special.

  • Media Lounge on Katharinegasse - A good place to check your email. They also carry all kinds of cool video game stuff.

The hotels are on the expensive side, but there is also a youth hostel, which is about 15 minutes walk from the city centre.

Apart from getting drunk, which is not to be considered a full time occupation, and looking at the cultural treasures, the nicest thing to do around here is take walks or ride a bike through the beautiful landscape around the town. There are different small railways running up to the hills, and you can basically walk for hours while always having a pleasant view both of Lake Constance and the mountains. You might want to get a hiking map first, though. The Rösslitor-Bookshop on Webergasse should have them.

In the summer, you can also go for a swim in the little artificial lake on one of the hills above town, the so-called Weiern. Admission is free and the swim most refreshing. And afterwards you can rest on the grass or enjoy the view over the town.

All in all it is a quiet but charming town with enough beer and hills around to last a lifetime.

1HR Giger is a surrealist painter, sculptor and designer. He is also the man responsible for the aliens in the Alien film series.

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