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The Beautiful Village of Lichtensteig, Switzerland

Last Updated on November 29, 2023 by Darla Uhl

Lichtensteig was founded by the Toggenburgers in around 1200. Lichtensteig has a gorgeous historic small village center. It is not to be confused with the principality of Lichtenstein. 

Overview: Lichtensteig, Switzerland

Image of Lichtensteig by TouringSwitzerland.com

Lichtensteig is the smallest municipality of the Toggenburg by area, at just 2.8 km2 (1.1 mi2). According to Census 2000, 350 people are working in Lichtensteig, and 704 commute from outside the township. In 1975, the Council of Europe honored the town for the preservation of its historic site. A big part of the place is events like Christmas markets and jazz days.

Lichtensteig is situated in the Thurtal. In this area, you’ll find chimneys, the Äulischlucht gorge, a waterfall, gravel banks, viewpoints, forests, and bathing facilities. 

History of Lichtensteig

Image of Lichtensteig by TouringSwitzerland.com

Lichtensteig was founded by the Count of Toggenburg in the 13th century, being first mentioned in 1228 as Liehtunsteige. After Toggenburg was bought by the Abbey of St. Gallen in 1468, Lichtensteig became a bishop’s chamber. In 1803, it came under the district capital of Neutoggenburg. Lichtensteig was once protected by a moat and wall. The gates were destroyed in 1828. 

During the 19th century, Lichtensteig gained prominence as a market town, thanks to the textile industry in Toggenburg. 

Commercial and residential buildings flourished together in the 13th century. The alleyways are full of cafes, restaurants, and shops. You can spend a lot of time exploring them. 

Things to Do in Lichtensteig

Lichtensteig Tour

Guided tours are available for you to get to know Lichtensteig. Among the tour, themes are a historical tour, culinary tour, wine tour, and church tour. The meeting point is the town hall steps. On the website lichtensteig.ch, you’ll find set dates. Some of the spots that you should not miss are the following:

  • The Catholic Church of St. Fallen
  • Äulischlucht
  • The Town Hall
  • The Chapel of Loreto
  • The Trellis houses
  • Toggenburg Museum

Fredy’s Mechanisches Musikmuseum

Instruments from three centuries are on display at the Fredy’s Mechanisches Musikmuseum in Lichtensteig, Switzerland – the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Fredy Künzle maintains mechanical musical instruments for music enthusiasts and collectors around the world. His instruments are always in good shape and make music the way it was in the early 18th-20th century.

Whether it’s a small music box or a huge orchestra, the displays can be enjoyed not only as a testament to their time but as the epitome of music. The melodies and movements speak for themselves and their inventors, most of whom aren’t around anymore. 

You can see the whole museum in two to four hours. Music boxes show the mechanical advancements of the 18th and 19th centuries. Also, tourists can see and hear orchestras from the period between 1900 and 1928. The collection includes a Ditch dance organ, barrel organs, self-playing violins, and carousel organs.

Toggenburg Museum

Image of the Toggenburger Museum by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Toggenburg Museum in Lichtensteig, Switzerland is the most popular museum in the Necker Valley and Thur. The Toggenburg Museum is also one of the oldest regional museums in Switzerland.

The old Toggenburg landscape is preserved, documented, and communicated here. Eleven rooms show off the extravagant culture and rich history of the region on three floors. The exhibition moved from the old office building to its current location in 1920. You can find the Toggenburg Museum in the stately merchant’s house of the cloth merchants Leiter and Lorenz.

Kägi Chocolate Shop

The Kägi Shop in Lichtensteig Switzerland brings an ecstasy of joy. You can hop onto a wide assortment of Kägi varieties of chocolate, coffee bars, gift boxes in different variations, and other lucrative offers in the 162 m2 shop. 

You can pick and mix Kägis to your liking and also try the world’s best chocolates at the Kägi Chocolate Shop. Furthermore, you can expect the following at the Kägi Chocolate shop:

  • Chocolates from other brands
  • Beautiful gift boxes
  • Exciting offers
  • Kägi souvenirs
  • Coffee bar for a quick relaxing break

Final Thoughts: Lichtensteig, Switzerland

Lichtensteig, Switzerland is a pretty village that’s often overlooked. With its pretty houses and shops, it reminds me of nearby Appenzell. While walking from the train station to Lichtensteig, you can take nice pictures of the village.

It takes about an hour to tour the village of Lichtensteig. You can add another hour if you want to visit the shops and museum. It’s a good stopover on the way to Lake Constance or St. Gallen. If you are visiting St. Gallen, you can also take a day trip to it.  

In general, I think it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area. It’s a cute little place worth spending an hour or so in.

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.