Solothurn, Switzerland's finest baroque city.
The cobbles, walls and façades narrate the history of Europe. Solothurn, a small town nestled on the banks of the Aare, will be love at first sight for anyone wanting something different without having to fly. Here are 11 compelling reasons for a visit to the town:
1. A way of life
The finest baroque town in Switzerland, Solothurn exudes a special atmosphere all of its own – a Mediterranean aura which whisks away our everyday cares.
2. The river
The Aare is the ideal place to cool off in summer – whether for a swim or, even better, to drift with the current in a rubber ring with your feet in the water.
Solothurn is a compendium of the history of Europe: from the Roman Empire to the end of the 19th century, every era has left its mark on the town. Its position as the one-time centre of European diplomacy has led to Solothurn being dubbed “the city of ambassadors”.
4. The hermitage
Take a walk along the Sainte-Vérène gorges and you will suddenly find yourself at a real hermitage, still inhabited to this day. With a bit of luck, you can have a chat with the hermit about his unusual lifestyle.
5. Stroll in the Old Town
It was not by chance that Casanova spent some time in Solothurn. There is something slightly romantic about the Old Town, something unique in Switzerland. It is also the ideal place to savour an ice cream on a shady terrace.
6. Make the most of the riverside quays
In summer, Solothurn’s riverside quays take centre stage. Their many restaurants and terraces
are a good reason in themselves for a visit. Take “The Dock”, for example – a traditional pub and the only one with direct access to the Aare.
7. Chat with the locals
The locals and shopkeepers are proud of their town, and each one has their own tale to tell about what makes Solothurn so special in their eyes and particularly their heart. Ask them about their secret places, their favourite events and their most enjoyable moments.
8. The museums
History is synonymous with museums, so take a trip back in time by visiting some of the town’s museums. The Natural History Museum (no entry fee) merits a special mention. Your children will be thrilled.
9. The Jesuits’ Church and Saint Ursus cathedral.
Neighbouring buildings, but completely different in style. Two quite splendid edifices! And as a bonus, the top of the cathedral’s bell tower offers a fantastic view over the entire region.
10. The restaurants
The retailers and traders have taken back their town to offer the visitor a huge choice of restaurants in places which are very different from each other, for example the Restaurant Salzhaus located in a former salt warehouse or the mythical ar Restaurant Lounge Solheure, which breathed new life into a former slaughterhouse.
11. The number 11
Solothurn and the number 11 have a long history together. 11 like the cathedral steps, its entry into the Swiss Confederation, the number of fountains, the hours on its clock face. Everything depends on 11 in Solothurn, including the time for an aperitif. The Tourist Office offers an impressively wide range of guided tours.
(Compiled by Joram Vuille)