CANTON OF ST. GALLEN
St. Gallen, the capital of the canton, is a university town dating back to the 7th century when the Irish missionary Gallus founded a hermitage there. Historically the textile industry was a key factor in the city’s growth and it is still recognized for its beautiful hand & machine made embroideries. The landmark of the city is its magnificent baroque Cathedral and Abbey Library located in the center of town. Each May the City of St. Gallen hosts an International Busker Festival which takes place in and around the cathedral area. For two days buskers from all over the world join in the fun and entertain visitors to the city. Speaking of fun, St Gallen is the home of the world-famous Mummenschanz theater group which is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.
The Toggenburg region of the Canton of St. Gallen is only an hour from Zürich. It is the largest winter sports resort in eastern Switzerland and a marvelous destination for summer holidays. One of the most visible landmarks of the region is the Säntis mountain which is shared by Appenzell Ausser & Innerrhoden and St. Gallen. For a great experience, catch the Säntis cable car from Schwägalp to the summit. Although modest in height for Swiss standards, on a clear day a splendid panorama is presented from its summit giving a view over six countries. On the way back to the City of St. Gallen you might consider returning via Lichtensteig to visit the Toggenburg Adventure World to see Europe’s largest miniature train exhibition. Covering an area of over 5000 square feet it has a 4600ft network of railway tracks, over 30 locomotives, hundreds of passenger & freight cars.
Returning to Zürich from St. Gallen, you might consider an alternate, yet very interesting and scenic route. If you are travelling with children, a stop at the Fägnäscht Indoor Playground in Rorschach is a must. They turn the tables on you. Entrance for adults is free while kids between 3 to 16 pay SFr 14. The playground is spread over 2000 square meters featuring climbing mazes, trampolines, electric cars, etc. Their “Chäferfest” is a playground especially for toddlers. Continuing on your journey, visit the historical market town of Altstätten before heading off to the Werdenberg region in the St. Gallen Rhine Valley. From there you’ll take the road to Zürich along the Lake of Walen (Walensee). The road was hewn out of the rock face, passing through galleries and tunnels not unlike the Axenstrasse offering some incredible views. Some of the villages & hamlets along the lake such as Quinten can only be reached by boat or on foot. We’ll take a closer look at this region in future spotlights.
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