From water to wine: Aargau offers much more than the eye can see.
A few weeks ago I was kindly invited by Aargau Tourismus to discover this canton ideally located a half-hour ride away from Bern, Basel, and Zürich. And it turns out it has it all!
Among many others, here are five reasons for a weekend getaway to Aargau:
1. Aargau has lots of history to show
If you like a bit of history as I do, many places in Aargau have stories to tell. You may have heard about one family that is everywhere in European history: the Habsburg dynasty. Although the name is closely linked to Austria, it actually all started in Aargau.
Habsburg Castle is the historic seat of the dynasty, and Muri Abbey is where Habsburg rulers’ hearts are stored. With around 30 castles ready to welcome you, Aargau is a treasure trove for history buffs.
My favorite history spot is Lenzburg castle. After a leisurely walk uphill from the Lenzburg town center, I arrive at this gorgeous place that has evolved dramatically throughout the centuries. Hence, the Lenzburg castle showcases different styles of architecture.
After a guided tour of the castle, I participate in a medieval cooking workshop in the courtyard. (The castle’s team even published a book of medieval recipes to try at home.) Being the awful cook I am, I can now claim that I can cook more medieval dishes than contemporary ones.
2. Aargau is quite a food lover paradise
Did you know that Aargau is the fourth largest wine-producing canton in Switzerland? My weekend there is filled with exquisite whites and reds. Aargau also attracts exciting young cooking talents.
I recommend two Aargau restaurants in particular. Because after a busy week, who doesn’t deserve some good food and wine?
3. The lakes and rivers of Aargau invite for water sports
Water is everywhere in Aargau, even in its name. The word Aargau is derived from the River Aare which runs through the entire canton and city of Bern. Well after Lake Biel, the Aare ventures into Aargau until it meets the Rhine at the German border.
With over 3000 km of rivers, including 34 that are navigable, Aarau is ideal for canoeing, rafting, or a relaxing boat trip with Flussfahrten Aargau. A river adventure is such a fun thing to do on a fresh summer morning.
Baden is a historic spa town. (Once again, it’s in the name.) The River Limmat flows through its center, and even the Romans have enjoyed Baden’s warm water springs. Apart from the Limmathof Baden Spa, a new spa designed by Swiss architecture legend Mario Botta is set to open soon.
And as you stroll along the Limmat, why not stop for a free foot bath? You will surely discover the warm water basin located along the river trail.
4. Aarau, Baden, and Lenzburg are ideal for cosy city breaks
Depending on where you live, you may want to pick one particular city for your Aargau city break. For instance, Aarau is only 35 minutes from Bern and Basel. And Baden is reachable from Zurich within just 16 minutes. Friday afternoon after work, they make for a smooth transition into your weekend.
Which town to pick? In a nutshell, here is what each town offers:
5. If you prefer an outdoorsy Aargau weekend, you’ll be served, too!
The canton of Aargau may tick all the boxes for city slickers, but it also has plenty of natural escapes. Located at the foot of the Jura mountains, Aargau’s nature is lush, hilly, and green.
Route 8 of Schweiz Mobile makes for a nice bike trail along the Aare, allowing you to soak in Aargau’s nature.
And for an even more active weekend, Jurapark Aargau is an ideal area for mountain biking and hiking.