Thurgau is one of Switzerland's 26 cantons. Found in the northern part of the country, the canton sits on the border alongside Germany. However, the two states are more or less naturally separated by Lake Constance, Untersee, and the Rhine River, which together form part of the state border. Within Switzerland, Thurgau neighbors the cantons Sankt Gallen on the south and Zürich and Schaffhausen on the west. From a geographical point of view, the canton's territory can be divided into three subunits, the southern part, along the shoreline of Lake Constance; the central part, located between the Thur river and Murg river; and the third, southernmost part, being the Hörnli mountain of the pre-Alpine region. Thurgau's landscape is mainly characterized by apple orchards, which cover approximately 1600 hectares of the canton's territory. The local nature serves as a tourist destination for numerous outdoor activities, such as hiking, walking, cycling, or swimming, namely at Lake Constance. Frauenfeld, the canton's capital city, is often visited for a number of historical attractions. Another historical destination is the city of Arbon, on Lake Constance's shores, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for the prehistoric stilt-dwelling settlement found within the town's borders.
Thurgau's capital city, Frauenfeld, is located near Thurgau Canton's western borders. The town, founded by the Kyburg counts, has a relatively rich history. One of the town's historical sites is the Frauenfeld Castle, whose tower dates back to 1227. Beyond the castle, historical legation houses from the 18th century are found in Frauenfeld's old town as well. Additionally, several museums are located in Frauenfeld and its immediate areas, such as the Historical Museum Thurgau, Thurgau Nature Museum, Museum of Archeology, and Wellenberg Castle, to name a few. Apart from historical heritage, Frauenfeld also serves as a starting point for various cycling, skating, and hiking routes. Some of the destinations within reach from Frauenfeld are Seebach Valley, several castles, panoramic vistas, and a former monastery, Kartause Ittingen, a few kilometers away from the capital city.
One of the natural destinations within Thurgau Canton's borders is Lake Constance, which also forms the region's northern borders. There are several places on Lake Constance's shoreline where beaches and restaurants are located, allowing tourists a variety of water activities. Güttingen lido, Badi Kesswil, and Altnau Bathing Beach are some relatively sunny and warm areas along the shore. Apart from bathing, there are other activities available at Lake Constance. For example, sea-crossing trips to the German shore to Hagnau or Immenstadt on ships are another option for tourists. Furthermore, hiking trails offer panoramic views of the lake and its adjacent area. Arbon, Thurgau's third-largest city, is on Lake Constance's southern shores. Arbon's history dates back to prehistoric times, with proofs of pile dwellers and Roman inhabitation that can be found in the town to this day. In current times, Arbon is a World Heritage Site protected by UNESCO, as there is a well-preserved stilt-dwelling settlement under one of the parking lots. An exhibition of the settlement can also be seen in the Historical Museum in Arbon Castle.
Thurgau is found in the northern part of Switzerland, with a natural border formed by lake Constance to the north and the Rhine River to the northwest. The canton stretches across an area of 991 square kilometers, which is divided into three natural hill masses. The first one is found along Lake Constance, in the northern part of the territory. Further to the south, between the Thur River and Murg River, is located the second hill complex. The third complex forms along Thurgau Canton's southern borders, merging with the Hörnli Mountain of the pre-Alpine region. The region's highest and also the southernmost point is Dreiländerstein, which sits at an altitude of 992 meters above sea level. In terms of natural conditions, approximately 61% of Thurgau Canton's surface is used for agriculture. One of the predominant nature areas of Thurgau Canton is the shores of Lake Constance and Untersee, which are home to approximately 600 plant species. Additionally, the lake area is a living space for various bird species, with tufted ducks from Siberia and thousands of cob ducks from Spain spending the whole winter on the Untersee. In general, the nature of the Thurgau Canton is characterized by relatively extensive apple orchards. Thus, presumably, the best time to visit the canton is reported to be in spring, when the apple trees bloom. However, apple orchards characterize the local landscape in all seasons, as the apple trees cover approximately 1600 hectares of the region's surface. Reportedly, circa 210,000 standard apple trees compose the orchards, resulting in the area producing around 200 different kinds of apples.
Concerning the average temperatures in Frauenfeld, Thurgau Canton's capital city, the warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 25°C. January is the coldest month, with 4°C being the average temperature during that time. February tends to be the driest month in Frauenfeld due to having 60 mm of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during June, receiving about 130 mm on average.
The Pfyn culture of lake dwellers inhabited the Thurgau area in prehistoric times. Later, during the era of the Roman Empire, the territory became part of the province Raetia, which lasted until 450 AD. Alemanni Clan, a Germanic tribe, then ruled the region. From the 8th century onwards, the Thurgau region formed a political unit extending from the Reuss River in the west to the foothills of the Alps in the south. During the European Middle Ages, namely the latter part, Thurgau, then reduced in size, belonged to the dukes of Zähringen and later to the counts of Kyburg. However, the Kyburg line went extinct in 1264, and Thurgau county passed to the possession of the Habsburgs.
Thurgau became part of the Old Swiss Confederacy in 1460 when the region was seized from Habsburgs and became a subject territory of seven Swiss cantons (Zurich, Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Zug, and Glarus). During the Protestant Reformation, subject domains, such as Thurgau, stood in the middle between Catholic and Reformed parties, both trying to swing the lands to their side. In 1524, resulting from religious disunity, local peasants occupied the cloister of Ittingen in the Thurgau, destroying valuable documents and wine cellars. After this incident, most of Thurgau's population adopted the "new Reformed faith" that was spreading through the area. Religious tensions also caused the First War of Villmergen in 1656, during which Zürich occupied the Thurgau region.
In April 1798, Thurgau became part of the Helvetic Republic. By the Act of Meditation, the region became a full member of the Swiss Confederacy in 1803 as a canton. Later, in 1831, the new "liberal cantonal constitution" was created, and in the following years, Thurgau also sided with the anti-Catholic party, dissolving its monasteries in 1848. Over time, the cantonal constitution was renewed, strengthening elements of direct democracy and elections.
Click a state below to find a Campground near you.