St. Gallen is an absolutely stunning Winter destination in Switzerland. Beautiful views, unbelievable history, and great food can definitely be found here. Whilst many dismiss St. Gallen in the winter, there are so many things to do in this beautiful city. Here’s what to do in St. Gallen in Winter.
Is it worth visiting St. Gallen in Winter?
I’m a girl who’s been used to Singapore winters. In other words, I’m a baby when it comes to the cold. That being said, I think St. Gallen is a stunning winter destination. You’ll definitely want to bundle up, but there are so many indoor activities in St Gallen. In my ‘what to do’ section, I’ve also listed some outdoor things. These are activities that are excellent, especially during the wintertime. To sum up, I hate the cold but I loved St. Gallen in Winter. THAT’s sayin’ something. It’s absolutely worth visiting this winter gem.
How to get to St. Gallen, Switzerland
The great thing about Switzerland is that it’s super easy to access most cities. There are plenty of ways to get to St. Gallen, but I definitely recommend by train or by car.
Getting to St. Gallen by train
You can access St. Gallen from most places by direct train or journeys with one change. As always, booking ahead of time will significantly lower the cost of train travel. Look for super saver tickets on the SBB website!
Bern – St. Gallen: direct, 2 hours 3 minutes
Zurich – St. Gallen: direct, 1 hour 3 minutes
Basel – St. Gallen: 1 change, 2 hours 2 minutes
Geneva – St. Gallen: direct, 3 hours 50 minutes
Getting to St. Gallen by car
St Gallen is accessible by the A1 motorway and is a relatively easy drive, as it’s on the motorway pretty much the whole time and there are no mountain passes where there’s a lot of traffic.
Parking in St Gallen is readily available. There are a few streetside parking spaces but I’d definitely recommend parking in a lot for ease. There are quite a few just outside the city centre. We liked the Rathaus Parking Garage because it was really centrally located and easy to drive to. Parking costs around CHF 2.30 per hour or 13 francs for the day.
Things to do in St. Gallen during the Wintertime
To be honest, Winter weather shouldn’t be a reason to skip exploring this city. While winters in Switzerland can be harsh, St Gallen has plenty of indoor activities and outdoor walks that will get your heart pumping and keep you warm. Whilst St Gallen is a stunning Summertime destination, it’s equally as charming and beautiful during the winter months.
Abbey Library of Saint Gall
The Abbey Library of St. Gall is the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen. It’s a medieval monastic library full of old books and records. It’s also home to an old glove that shows the medieval view of the world and a mummy. Construction of this library started in 1758. St. Gallen in winter is cold – make sure you bring a sweater into the library because it’s a little chilly inside!
Address: Klosterhof 6D
Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily
Ticket Information: There are two options when visiting the Abbey Library of Saint Gall. You can either visit just the library for 12 francs (9 francs for students), or you can visit the library as well as the vaulted cellar AND the exhibition space for 18 francs (12 for students). I recommend doing the latter, as the vaulted cellar and exhibition space explain a lot of history and have some incredible pieces displayed. You can also purchase an audio guide for 5 francs more.
St. Gallen Cathedral
This Cathedral was built in 1767 and is a beautiful place to pop in. The Cathedral, along with the Abbey Library and Archives, is a UNESCO heritage site. St. Gallen’s religious history dates back thousands of years, and though the Cathedral is only a few hundred years old, is worth visiting.
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 6 am – 6:30 pm, Thursday-Saturday 7 am – 6:30 pm, Sundays 7:30 am – 8:30 pm.
Ticket Cost: Free!
These free gardens are a spectacular way to enjoy a sunny winter day in St. Gallen. There’s an inside section and an outside section, so bundle up and get back into nature. It’s a great place to wander around, and I highly recommend getting a tea or coffee and cosying up in a cafe afterwards.
Address: Stephanshornstrasse 4
Hours: 8 am – 5 pm daily
Take the Mühleggbahn
This train-type lift takes you up a steep incline towards Drei Weieren (Three Ponds). This was the first public transport introduced to St. Gallen. It costs 2.40 per one-way journey.
Alternatively, you can walk up a steep trail near St. Gallen’s little waterfall. It’s not a natural waterfall, but a manmade one. Either way, it’s quite beautiful and walking up near it is beautiful. It takes roughly 15-20 minutes to get to where the Müleggbahn ends up and there are some great views along the way.
Hours: 5:45-12:50 am
The Three Ponds (Drei Weieren)
There’s no better way to warm up than by going for a little walk uphill. After you’ve taken the Mühleggbahn up to the top (or walked!), follow the signs up to the Drei Weiren. You’ll walk up a pretty short but steep hill, with an incredible view over St. Gallen. From there, just continue towards the Three ponds.
Natural History Museum
Come here if you need to escape the cold! It’s warm inside and you get to see a 3D model of St. Gallen and Lake Constance beyond. The museum is dedicated to showing the life around St. Gallen, specifically in the terrain and the natural predators that can be found here.
Hours: Thursday – Sunday 10 am – 5 pm
Address: Rorschacher Strasse 263
Wildlife Park Peter and Paul
The wildlife park is where to go when you want to see some amazing animals in their natural habitat. You follow a path, which is also wheelchair accessible, and get to view a few different kinds of deer, ibexes, wild boars, and lynx. In the wintertime, this is especially stunning (though bundle up!).
Where to Eat in St. Gallen
My biggest tip for visiting St. Gallen in winter is to eat a hearty, hot lunch that will fill you up and keep you warm. Food is something I love to talk about – there’s something magical about food that brings people together. My favourite memories often involve food, and one of the things I’ll definitely remember about St. Gallen is sitting around with my family, laughing and sharing some seriously good food. Here’s my recommendation.
EAT HERE. This brewery is beautiful, warm, full of delicious food, and it has tonnes of natural light. All the things that I look for in a restaurant. The prices are typical Swiss prices, but this is one place I truly think is worth it. We had chestnut gnocchi, malt beer soup, the chicken tenders, and meatloaf. All were absolutely delicious. The malt soup was surprisingly buttery and super filling, and the chicken and meatloaf both came with an incredible potato cucumber salad. And the homemade bread?! Amazing. And we ended the meal off with dessert – a läckerli pineapple dessert and an apple turnover. This is a must if you’re looking for food in St. Gallen.
St. Gallen is a destination that’s amazing for the wintertime. The winter isn’t so busy, which makes it the perfect place to relax and explore. The viewpoints are less crowded and you have the space to truly enjoy all of the things you’re seeing. It’s also an incredible summer destination, but the city feels totally different. I guess that’s just reason to visit twice!
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