At a glance
- Largest town: Aarau (21'473 inhabitants) and Wettingen (20'960)
- Specialities: Aargauer Roast, Fricktaler bisquit roulade, Spanischbrödli, carrot cake, Badener Steine
- UNESCO World Heritage: Beinwil-Aegelmoos and Seengen-Riesi lake dwellings
- Hotel industry: 161 hotels (3,665 rooms)
- Overnight stays/year: 0.805 million
«What's Aargau got to do with tourism?» some people might think. Many Swiss people associate motorways and agglomerations with this region. But on this page we show you that the region west of Zurich has much more to offer.
Aargau is often referred to as the moated castle of Switzerland. No wonder, since the canton has numerous lakes and rivers. Did you know that four of the longest Swiss rivers flow through the Aargau? Apart from the Rhine, which forms the border between Aargau and Germany, these are the Aare, the Reuss and the Limmat.
In the region of Brugg/Windisch, Gebenstorf/Turgi and Untersiggenthal/Stilli, these three rivers flow together, only to join the Rhine a few kilometres further on - after the Klingnau reservoir. The idyllic landscape where the Aare, Reuss and Limmat rivers meet is called a moated castle. Occasionally, however, the whole canton is given this name because it is rich in water. The Hallwilersee is particularly popular for day trips. But more on this below.
Region of castles and palaces
The numerous castles and palaces in the Aargau tourist region show that it also has a lot to offer historically and architecturally. In total there are more than 40 castles and palaces in Aargau. The oldest is the Altenburg Castle near Brugg, which was built in 370. Today it is a Jurgndherberge. The Baden ruins of Stein, Habsburg Castle and Lenzburg Castle are all around 1,000 years old. Also famous and popular with visitors are the castles of Böttstein, Wildegg, Brunegg, Hallwyl and Biberstein and the fortress of Aarburg, built in 1123.
Perfectly suited for day trips
Thanks to its central location, the Aargau region is perfectly suited for day trips, as most of the sights in this well developed part of the country can be reached in a short time both by public transport and by car.
Diverse offers in Aarau and Baden
The cities of Aarau and Baden have a lot to offer culturally. Theatres, cinemas, sports centres, but also a wide range of restaurants and bars make these two places popular destinations for excursions. Both Aarau and Baden have beautiful, medieval old towns. Baden is famous for its Badenfahrt folk festival which takes place every 10 years. More than one million people populate the small spa town.
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Aargau Region in summer
Although the Hallwilersee is not particularly well known, with its 10 square kilometres it ranks 15th in the list of the largest Swiss lakes. Unlike many other lakes in the Swiss midlands, its banks are largely undeveloped, which makes it attractive. The Hallwilersee is a popular destination for day trips. Beach resorts can be found in the villages of Seengen, Meiserschwanden, Aesch LU, Beinwil am See, Birrwil and Boniswil. In Mosen, at the southern end of the Hallwilersee, you will find camping Seeblick: ideal for guests who want to spend more than a day at the lake. There are also numerous restaurants on the Hallwilersee. Especially worth mentioning is the Seerose Resort & Spa, which has several restaurants. This traditional establishment, which opened back in the 1880s, stands for upscale cuisine and excellent service. If you like sports, you can hike around the entire Hallwilersee lake. The route is 22 km long; the hike takes about 5.5 hours. As the path is mostly along the lake, the route is easy to manage: There are only 240 meters of altitude difference to master. Tip: Start at the northern end of the lake at Hallwyl Castle, where a visit to the museum is recommended. What hikers particularly appreciate is the fact that the lakeside path is closed to cyclists. If a hike is too strenuous for you, you can explore the Hallwilersee by boat. In the summer months, the Hallwilersee shipping company offers a variety of course and extra ships. The company exists since 1888.
This hike is not for the faint-hearted, because it leads along the Lägerngrat, which in some places drops almost vertically. The most difficult passages are in the first part, when you walk high above the valley from Baden to Wettingen. At the level of Otelfingen, you are already in Zurich territory. The route now becomes a pleasant walk in the woods. On the way you pass the Planetenweg, which shows in an impressive way how unbelievably large the distances between the different planets are. The destination is the pretty little town of Regensberg, idyllically situated at the end of the Lägern. Tip: Be sure to put on hiking boots.
Vindonissa Legionary Trail
Vindonissa was the name of a legionary camp of the Romans. Today the Aargau community of Windisch is located there. The Romans were stationed there from 14 to 101 AD. You can still see the traces of the Roman settlement today - on the legionary trail, which is open from April to October.
Aargau Region in winter
Aquarena Fun is the name of the thermal bath of Bad Schinznach. The highlight of the facility is the 65-metre long grotto slide. You can also warm up in the 35 degree pool in winter temperatures. Or you can simply let yourself drift in the 50-metre long river bath.
Place: Bad Schinznach
Thermal bath Bad Zurzach
Even warmer are the springs of the thermal spa in Bad Zurzach in the north of Canton Aargau. The 39.5 degree Celsius warm water from the Glauber salt spring comes here from a depth of 400 metres. The water is particularly helpful in treating all kinds of rheumatic diseases and injuries. But even if you are healthy, the thermal baths in Bad Zurzach are a real treat: underwater massage glands, a river bath and the natural brine bath, where you can float on the water, provide relaxation.
Place: Bad Zurzach
Spreitenbach is mainly known for the Tivoli shopping centre, but the community in the east of the Aargau has more to offer. The Environmental Arena is equally exciting for adults and children: various exhibitions are dedicated to topics such as the environment, energy and sustainability. Among other things, you can take test drives with electric cars or visit an exhibition about insect food,.
Hot spots in Aargau Region
Baden is pure history. The more than 1,000-year-old ruins are enthroned above the town, and the historic spa quarter is located on the Limmat. For more than 2,000 years, Switzerland's most mineral-rich thermal water has been bubbling from 18 different springs. The Romans, who founded the settlement "Aquae Helveticae" on the Limmat, already swore by this. The spa quarter is currently being completely renovated under the direction of star architect Mario Botta.
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The 1st Friday in July is the most important public holiday on the Aarau city calendar. For 400 years, the Maienzug, a large folk festival, has taken place every year. The highlight is the parade of children and young people, but the celebrations continue throughout the day. The evening before is also legendary, when concerts take place in the alleys of the old town, where people sing, drink and laugh. If the May procession weekend is too noisy for you, you can of course visit the pretty old town of Aarau on any other day.
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Never heard of it? Quite possibly, because the municipality of Möriken-Wildegg is rather small with its 4'500 inhabitants. All the more famous, however, is the 13th century Wildegg Castle, which towers above the municipality. This imposing architectural monument can be visited and guided tours of the castle are also available. The castle is surrounded by a baroque garden with 300 different plants. ProSpecieRara offers garden tours there.
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