St Gallen
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The main urban centre of eastern Switzerland, ST GALLEN is a relaxed and conservative provincial city set amidst rolling countryside between the Appenzell hills to the south and the Bodensee to the north. It’s a gentle place, with a busy modern centre and a beautiful Old Town, and is worth a night or two on a journey through the region. The city’s centrepiece is an extraordinarily lavish Baroque abbey: the cathedral is impressive enough by itself, but the abbey library is celebrated as Switzerland’s finest secular Rococo interior and contains a world-class collection of ancient books and manuscripts.

Arrival, orientation and information
St Gallen’s train station is 200m southwest of the Old Town, with the tourist office opposite at Bahnhofplatz 1a, on the far side of the square as you emerge (Mon–Fri 9am–noon & 1–6pm, Sat 9am–noon; 071/227 37 37, www.stgallen-i.ch). As well as providing maps and guidance for the city, staff can supply information on the whole Ostschweiz region. In their Tourist Information booklet you’ll find various discount vouchers for, amongst other things, the Appenzeller Volkskunde Museum in Stein, and the Säntis cable-car. The two-hour guided city walking tour starts from the tourist office, and takes in the Textilmuseum, cathedral, abbey library and bits of the Old Town (June–Sept Mon, Wed & Fri 2.30pm; Fr.15).

St Gallen is a stop on the summer rock-festival circuit, with the Open Air festival taking place over the last weekend in June and pulling in a varied range of musical attractions – 1999 attendees included Van Morrison, Blondie, the Asian Dub Foundation and Metallica. Information and tickets can be had from the tourist office, or from a dedicated hotline (071/222 21 21, www.openairsg.ch).

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