In the centre of St. Gallen is the UNESCO World Heritage Abbey. Start by visiting the library. It costs 12 CHF and spend the extra 5 CHF to get the audio guide. They told me there was information inside written in English but there is absolutely no information once you get in the library. You drop off your belongings in a locker and need to put slippers over your shoes (and no cameras/pictures!).
The room is stunning. I gasped when I entered and heard almost everyone else gasp as they entered too. It is really the most beautiful library you have ever seen and that doesn’t even begin to describe how incredible this small room is. The manuscripts throughout are gilded in gold and are still used for research. The ceiling is covered in frescos, all picturing pretty dark and stormy times. There is a cabinet of curiosities filled with little bits and pieces and a real Egyptian mummy complete with his sarcophagus (because don’t all old libraries need an Egyptian mummy?) No pictures allowed but there is a very cheesy selfie spot at the front entrance where you can take a picture of a picture…pictured here.
Next to the library is the Baroque cathedral itself. Although pretty plain from the outside, inside it is a mix of light and dark. The ceiling, again, is dark and stormy, not at all a place I want to visit while the main part of the church is light blue and gold, bright and inviting.
Now to top everything off, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has a Chocolaterie right next to it, Chocolaterie Koldenier. From here you can admire the abbey, listen to the bells and watch the locals walk by. They gave me the choice of dark or milk and it came with a little bit of brown sugar on the side. Given this is a chocolate shop it was just ok, more milk than chocolate. But when the milk is this good…and the view…who can complain really. From the terrace make sure you look to the left at the church with the incredible mosaic roof and as you leave take a look at the front door that has the word chocolate written in 20 or so languages.
The tourism office, which is right next door to the Chocolaterie, has a little map of the old part of town with a suggested walking route and notes on what you will see along the way. It doesn’t take very long but it was definitely worth it, pointing out some beautiful buildings and details that I might have missed had I not had the map. The key here in these Swiss towns/cities is to not forget to look up. Street level is interesting enough, lots of little stores but when you look up you see the colourful buildings, 16th to 18th century burgher houses, intricately painting balconies and historic paintings dotting the different buildings.
Verdict: A great spot to admire the stunning city of St. Gallen. Chocolaterie Koldenier, Gallusstrasse 20, St. Gallen, Switzerland