Solothurn is regarded as the finest Baroque town in Switzerland, where Italian grandeur is combined with French charm and German practicality. The so-called «ambassador’s town» is at the southern end of the Jura by the River Aare, about 30 km east of Biel/Bienne.
From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the Catholic town of Solothurn was the residence of the French king’s ambassador. Fine Baroque and Renaissance buildings, such as the noble Palais Besenval, and magnificent religious buildings meet the visitor at every end and turn – the Old Town has eleven churches and chapels and the same number of fountains and towers. Truly magnificent is the St.Urs Cathedral, with an Italian-style staircase in front. Inside are wonderful Baroque stuccos. The town walls, which are still intact in some places, were built according to the principles of the French military engineer Vauban.
Between the beautiful historic monuments, the patrician buildings and the sturdy fortifications, the traffic-free Old Town is a pleasant place to wander, with lots of small shops and inns. On warm summer evenings, it is very pleasant to sit in the garden restaurants and bars by the Aare.
The town has a range of cultural attractions going far beyond the regional, including the Solothurn Film and Literature Days. The museums range from the History Museum to the internationally acclaimed Natural History Museum, a Museum of Stones, the ENTER PC Museum and Schloss Waldegg, not to mention a collection of sentimental light fiction. Finally, in the «Old Arsenal» is one of the largest weapons collections in Europe.
Children feel perfectly at home in Solothurn. And the Natural History Museum is particularly popular with families and a fascinating way of viewing the region’s animal, plant and mineral life. Utterly unique are the 150 million year old fossilized turtles from the quarries of the city, the beautiful starfish from Weissenstein and of course the famous Lommiswil dinosaur tracks.
A little outside the town is the romantic Verena gorge with its chapel and hermitage, a popular destination for walkers. Hikers and cyclists will find an extensive network of footpaths and 600 km of cycle tracks in the surrounding area and along the Aare. Solothurn is on two national cycle routes: the Mittelland Route and the Aare Route.
Savoir vivre, Solothurn style!
Discover Switzerland’s most beautiful Baroque town through the eyes of a local: visit their favourite places, get insider tips, and see how they live. Visitors learn more about the history of the town and let themselves be inspired by its wide range of culinary offerings. More information