Solothurn, Switzerland

Kreuzackerbrücke foot bridge

Solothurn (founded 1218) is small enough to be easily explored on foot. The old town is 500 m north of the train station, across the river. The best view when approaching the old town from the train station is attained by using the Kreuzackerbrücke foot bridge, not one of the larger bridges. For destinations outside of the town center a number of regional bus/train/tram routes service the area, or a taxi rank can be found at the station.

Kreuzackerbrücke foot bridge

With a population of 17,000, Solothurn is small even by the standards of Switzerland. The town and canton are traditionally Catholic, but not strictly so and the only concern for the average visitor will be if the shops are closed for a holiday. There are churches of various denominations in Solothurn.

Gateway to the old town
Gateway to the old town
Monument – Solothurn Clock

Solothurn is all about the number 11. (Look at the clock, there is no number 12! )

For starters, you’ll find 11 historical fountains scattered throughout the old town. There’s a total of 11 museums, 11 churches/chapels, this crazy clock that counts only 11 instead of 12 hours and a local beer called öufi. Which, who’d have thought, is how they say eleven in the local dialect. 😊  Öufi = 11

But it doesn’t stop there. 

St. Ursus Cathedral, the city’s landmark, is where it gets even more interesting. The designer of this masterpiece was so fascinated by the number 11 that he built the whole construction around it.

Saint Ursus Cathedral
Saint Ursus Cathedral

The bell tower measures 6 times 11 metres and comes with 11 bells. There are 11 altars inside the cathedral, which can all be seen from the 11th black stone. The kneelers are arranged in rows of 11 and the staircase outside the cathedral counts three times 11 steps.

I’m going to let you guess how many years it took them to build the cathedral… 😊 

Saint Ursus Cathedral´s Tower

Speaking of the cathedral, the views from the top of its tower are fantastic. On a clear day, you can see the Bernese Alps in the south, including the famous mountain-trio Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. 

To the north you can admire the Jura mountains with Weissenstein, Solothurn’s backyard mountain.

Old town
Biel Gate
Biel Gate, address: St. Urbangasse 3, 4500 Solothurn
Old town
Fortress Riedholz Redoubt

Fortress Riedholz Redoubt. In 1667, Solothurn began building a redoubt fortification system, beginning with the Riedholz Redoubt. The fortifications were built in response to the many wars of the 17th century. It is noteworthy that Solothurn built a complete set of fortifications with a bastion system, something that was otherwise done … 

Aare River

In addition to these alpine views, you have the River Aare and the entire old town at your feet. You will find it fascinating to check out those rooftop terraces and watch the city from a bird’s-eye view.

The tower is open from April through October. Once you’ve climbed the 249 steps, you can buy your ticket (3 CHF) from the friendly person awaiting you at the top.

Oh yes, in case you’re a little disappointed that you can’t divide 249 by eleven, you’re not the only one.. 😊

River cruise at the Aare river  

River cruise at the Aare river. Take a trip along the Aare from Solothurn to Biel, Switzerland´s longest and most beautiful river cruise serves up an impressive array of scenery. The cruise Solothurn – Biel takes 2h.35m one way.

Solothurn’s food scene is legendary. The baroque city and surrounding region have always been known for innovative restaurants, local produce and world-class chefs. Those looking to discover all Solothurn has to offer are spoilt for choice: cool/historic, young/romantic, or cosmopolitan/rural? Solothurn scores highly for both creativity and culinary expertise.

This is hands down the best ice cream place in town. If you’re in Solothurn between March and October, please don’t leave without exploring their impressive ice cream selection. 

3-Must-see in Solothurn if you have short time:

1. Enjoy the view from St. Ursus Cathedral

2. Old Town – Restaurants – Culinary delights

3. Enjoy the River Aare. The cruise Solothurn – Biel takes 2h.35m one way.

More choices here:

Baden, Switzerland
Fribourg, Switzerland

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