Knowledge & culture

Solothurn: Switzerland’s dazzling pearl of the baroque

Discover the unique atmosphere of Solothurn

Delve into the glorious past of this Swiss gem and discover a fascinating mix of ornate architecture, cultural treasures and picturesque scenery. From splendid baroque buildings to idyllic river banks, Solothurn offers an unforgettable experience that will transport you to a bygone era yet pulsates with modern life.

Travel in comfort by train to Solothurn. The town centre is around 10 minutes’ walk from the train station.

Sights

A guided tour? You’ll be better informed. Seeing behind the scenes, away from the beaten tourist track, and hearing about historical indiscretions? On the creative, amusing and professional city tours run by Solothurn Tourism, knowledge gaps are closed and questions raised.

St. Ursus Cathedral and Tower

A renowned baroque church with a breathtaking view

The cathedral in Solothurn is dedicated to St. Ursus and is an important religious building in Switzerland. It was built in the late eighteenth century in the baroque style and is an architectural gem, with a magnificent façade featuring imposing columns and adornments that draws visitors from all over the world. Inside the cathedral you’ll find rich furnishings, including ornate altars, statues and paintings. The huge dome and opulent ceiling paintings give the interior an impressive atmosphere. The cathedral also houses the largest baroque organ in Switzerland, which is regularly used for concerts.

The tower at St. Ursus Cathedral offers an impressive view of Solothurn city surrounding it and the landscape beyond. It measures 6 x 11 meters and houses 11 bells hanging in the belfry. Climbing the tower is definitely worthwhile to admire the beauty and splendour of St. Ursus Cathedral from an elevated perspective.

Jesuit Church

One of the greatest baroque buildings in Switzerland

The Jesuit Church in Solothurn is an outstanding example of baroque architecture. It was built in the seventeenth century and impresses visitors with its imposing façade and magnificent interior. The church was built by the Jesuits and served as the centre of their missionary activities. The interior of the Jesuit Church is richly decorated and adorned with ornate stucco work, paintings and sculptures. A particularly impressive feature is the main altar, which is adorned with fine carvings and gilded decorations. The Jesuit Church is not just a place of spirituality but also a cultural centre, regularly hosting exhibitions, concerts and cultural events in addition to church services.

Clock tower

The oldest building in the city

The clock tower in Solothurn is a historic symbol of the city. The tower, which the locals also know as the “Zytglogge”, dates back to the thirteenth century and originally served as part of the city walls. The clock tower is famous for its astronomical clock, which is one of the oldest and best preserved of its kind. The clock not only shows the time, but also various astronomical information such as the position of the sun, the moon and the signs of the zodiac. Visitors have the option to explore the clock tower and enjoy the view from the platform, and the tower also houses a small museum presenting the history of the tower and its clockworks.

Basel Gate

Where history and architecture meet

Basel Gate is a historic city gate in Solothurn and one of a total of five gates that have been preserved in the city’s medieval walls. Basel Gate was built in the fifteenth century and served as an entry and exit point for the city in the direction of Basel. The gate is an impressive example of medieval architecture and is built of solid stone. It features a large, arched passageway for traffic as well as a gatehouse with embrasures and battlements. The gatehouse once served as a guard post and defensive structure. Nowadays, Basel Gate is a popular landmark and tourist attraction in Solothurn, standing as a symbol of the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Märetplatz

In the heart of the old town

Märetplatz is a central square in Solothurn’s old town. It is a historical market place and a popular meeting point for locals and tourists. The name “Märetplatz” comes from the word “Märet”, which means market in the Swiss-German dialect, and in the past it was the site of regular markets trading various goods such as food, handicrafts and clothing. These days, there are still markets on Märetplatz, but they usually take place on certain days or on special occasions. There are numerous shops, cafés and restaurants around Märetplatz offering a variety of products and culinary specialities.

11-hour clock

The clock that shows only 11 hours

The Solothurn Clock is an originally designed clock located on the west façade of the UBS branch at Amthausplatz 1 in Solothurn. It is around three metres high and features a dial of only 11 hours, so shows “Solothurn time”. At certain times the clock plays the “Solothurner Lied”, the city’s unofficial anthem, on its 11 bells. A particular feature of the clock is the figure of Harlequin, who strikes the hours. This beautiful work of art was created by the artist Paul Gugelmann from Gretzenbach, Solothurn. The Solothurn clock is known for its beauty and quality craftsmanship and has become a major attraction in the city. Turn up at set times to hear the clock play the “Solothurner Lied” on its 11 bells.

Activities

Discover the city of Solothurn in a playful way, e.g. on the "urban nature" scavenger hunt or the detective trail. Do you like beautiful views? Then we recommend a trip to Oberdorf SO followed by a cable car ride up Solothurn's local mountain, Weissenstein.

Urban nature scavenger hunt

Enjoy fun and games for the whole family on an exciting scavenger hunt through the nature of Solothurn’s old town. Equipped with your smartphone or tablet, you’ll discover the city in a unique way, delving into its fascinating urban nature as you do so.

Further information on the urban nature scavenger hunt

Solothurn Detective Trail

Go on a treasure hunt through the baroque city and solve all the puzzles along the way. This is the only way to crack the secret code and open the mysterious treasure chest.

Further information about the Solothurn Detective Trail

Weissenstein

Travel comfortably by train from Solothurn in the direction of Moutier to the "Oberdorf SO" stop. From there, the Weissenstein cable car takes you up Solothurn's local mountain in 11 minutes. A winter paradise awaits you here with fantastic views of the Alpine panorama as far as Mont Blanc, culinary delights, sledging, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing fun for the whole family.

Further information about the Weissenstein winter paradise

Museums

Solothurn is not only known for its picturesque old town and and baroque architecture, but is also home to an impressive variety of museums that offer visitors a fascinating insight into the history, art and culture of the region. Whether at the Solothurn Nature Museum, which reveals the wonders of nature, the Solothurn Art Museum, which presents works of art from different eras, or the Blumenstein History Museum, which brings the city's past to life - there is something for everyone to discover here.

Historical Museum Blumenstein

Fascinating insight into the past

The Historical Museum Blumenstein in Solothurn is a fascinating museum that presents the rich history of the city and region to impressive effect. Immerse yourself in times gone by and discover a multitude of exhibits that recall the culture, everyday life and important events of the past. The museum is located in the impressive Blumenstein-Haus, a historic building with its own intriguing history. Enjoy an informative and inspiring journey through the history of Solothurn at the Historical Museum Blumenstein.

More information about the historical museum

Solothurn Art Museum

The cultural treasure in the city of Solothurn

The Kunstmuseum Solothurn, the city’s art museum, is an impressive attraction presenting a varied collection of contemporary and modern art. Immerse yourself in a world of creative forms of expression and discover works by renowned artists as well as emerging talents. The Kunstmuseum offers a broad range of paintings, sculptures, installations and photographic works that captivate visitors. Dive into the inspiring atmosphere of the Kunstmuseum Solothurn and let the diversity and beauty of the artworks inspire you.

Further information about the art museum

Nature Museum Solothurn

Learn all about the flora and fauna of the region

At the Natural History Museum of Solothurn, the museum of nature, you’ll gain a fascinating insight into the region’s natural treasures. Discover the various eco-systems, learn about evolution and discover the wonders of nature. From impressive taxidermy to informative exhibit panels, the museum offers an educational and entertaining experience for young and old.

More information about the Nature Museum

Stone Museum Solothurn

Fascinating collection of stones and minerals

The Steinmuseum, Solothurn’s Stone Museum, is a unique museum that is the only one of its kind in Switzerland. It is located in the heart of the picturesque old town, right next to the baroque Jesuit Church, and is housed in a historic cloister with an inner courtyard. The charming Stone Museum extends over one level and delights visitors with a diverse collection of unique stone monuments from different eras. A highlight is the Roman Epona Altar from the year 219 AD, which features the oldest mention of Solothurn.

More information about the Stone Museum

Events

Solothurn Film Festival

Major film festival in Switzerland

The Solothurn Film Festival is considered the most important festival for Swiss cinema. Every January, the festival presents a representative selection of current Swiss films in the “Panorama”, including feature films, documentaries, short films and animated films. It offers film-makers the opportunity to present their works to a broad audience and promotes exchange and discussion about Swiss film-making. Alongside the film screenings, the festival also offers discussion rounds, panels, workshops and other events related to film.

Further information about the Solothurn Film Festival

Solothurn Carnival

The colourful and lively festival

Solothurn Fasnacht, the city’s carnival, takes place in February every year and goes on for several days. The festival is known for its colourful parades, masks and costumes, and throughout Fasnacht the city is transformed into a merry and lively festival site where people of all ages come together to celebrate. Solothurn Fasnacht has a long history and is deeply rooted in the local culture.

Further information about the Solothurn Carnival

Baroque Days Solothurn

An impressive cultural experience

The Baroque Days form an annual festival in Solothurn dedicated to baroque music and culture. This year, the festival will take place from 12 to 20 August. The festival offers a diverse selection of concerts, performances, exhibitions and other cultural events and aims to preserve and promote the rich heritage of baroque music. Performances feature both famous works by baroque composers as well as lesser-known pieces. They contribute to the cultural diversity of the city of Solothurn and offer a multifaceted program for music enthusiasts and interested people from all over the world.

Further information about the Baroque Days

Solothurn Street Food Festival

The culinary experience for the whole family

The Solothurn Streetfood Festival creates a lively, convivial atmosphere where people come together to share food, explore new flavours and enjoy the diversity of street-food cuisine. There is often also musical entertainment, live performances and activities for the whole family that make the festival a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The Streetfood Festival 2023 will take place from 25 to 27 August.

More information about the Streetfood Festival

Art supermarket

Promotion of the local art scene

The Solothurn Art Supermarket creates a lively and accessible platform for the presentation of artworks, fostering direct contact between artists and buyers. Visitors to the Art Supermarket have the chance to view various artworks, talk to the artists themselves, and even purchase their favourites if they wish. The 24th Art Supermarket in Solothurn will take place from 10 November 2023 to 14 January 2024.

More information about the art supermarket

Food & Drink

Here are a few suggestions for delicious food or refreshing drinks:

How to get there Vom Bahnhof Solothurn ist die Altstadt bequem zu Fuss erreichbar. Bis zur Kathedrale benötigen Sie ca. 7 Minuten.

Travel in comfort by train to Solothurn. The old town is within easy walking distance of Solothurn railway station. It takes about 7 minutes to reach the cathedral.

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