Top Things To Do In Baden
Baden is a spa town famed for its curative thermal waters since Roman times when it was known as “Aquae Helveticae”. Located just 20 or 30 minutes by train from Zurich it’s an easy day trip or indeed a great place to go for a weekend spa break.
Often referred to as “Baden bei Zürich” or “Baden im Aargau” to distinguish itself from other towns of the same name, this cute little town is full of interesting and historic buildings and is steeped in history.
Famous people such as Goethe, Nietzsche and Dürrenmatt came here and made it popular and today it’s still well known as a place to relax and enjoy the natural “wellness” facilities.
Top Things To Do In Baden
Spa and Wellness
The 18 sulphurous springs in Baden have the highest mineral concentration in Switzerland and they come out of the earth at a temperature of 47 °C! Cooled down in the spas to a more comfortable 36 to 38 degrees, the water is well known as a popular cure for rheumatism and circulatory disorders. These days Baden’s spas attract people as a destination for wellness and relaxation.
Thermal Baths – Private and Public
There are a number of hotel across the town offering spa facilities. The Atrium-Hotel Blume dating back to 1421, is a Swiss Historic Hotel and the oldest hotel in Baden. It offers a sauna, steam bath and in-house thermal spring. The Limmathof Hotel and Spa consists of two buildings, the original hotel as well as a modern block on the other side of the river. It offers a variety of wellness areas with one main spa area, the Novum Spa in the main building, which has massage jets and bubbling rails as well as a sauna, steam and ice room (see photos below).
The Limmathof also offers spa suites in the modern part of the hotel which you can hire privately.
Then of course there is the public thermal seat outside the Limmathof for the general public to rest their weary feet free of charge in the curative waters, whilst taking in the views over the river Limmat.
There is a new spa project underway right now by the renowned architect Mario Botta which will transform the thermal springs into a brand new visitor attraction, and become a new landmark for the city of Baden. The building should be completed by 2020. In the meantime you can take advantage of the free temporary facilities and thermal waters on the banks of the Limmat which are open to the public – see below!
When we visited we took a tour of the city organised by Stadt Baden with a fabulous and entertaining guide called Freddy Hauser. Freddy took us through all the key sights of the town, telling us fascinating stories about the history of each of the different areas.
He showed us where the hangman lived in Mediaeval Times (his house was painted yellow as this was the colour associated with shame in those days) and pointed out the small doors to the houses as in days gone by people were much shorter.
The centre of the old town is car-free old town and there are plenty of municipal buildings, theatres and notable museums to admire.
The City Tower / Stadtturm
The Stadtturm of Baden is the only remaining defence tower dating back to the city’s medieval fortifications. Built in the 15th century, it was formerly known as the Bruggerturm or Baderturm, and during the 1441 to 1448 war it even housed a three-story tower with a prison inside.
The tower was last renovated in 1925, and the gate was widened in 1961. From 1846 to 1985 it served as the district prison. It is not in regular use today except for public events.
The Ruins of Stein Castle
Said to have been founded by the counts of Lenzburg in the 11th century, the medieval castle of Schlossberg was the seat of administration of the Habsburg Swabian territories in the 14th century. Conquered by the Swiss in 1415, Stein Castle was captured after heavy fighting and demolished. From the old town, there is a stairway up the hill and when you get to the top you will find the ruins of the castle with some of the retaining walls intact and amazing views.
This vantage point really give you 360 degree views of the whole of the city and you can even see as far as Zurich and the Üetliberg mountain.
The Landvogteischloss (Bailiff’s Castle)
Landvogteischloss or Bailiff’s Castle, seen below, dates back to the 13th century and has been used as a school, a hospital and a prison but since 1913 it has been a museum.
Covered Wooden Bridge
The banks of the River Limmat were first connected by a bridge at the narrow point between the Landvogteischloss (Bailiff’s Castle) and the lower lying left bank in the 13th century.
The wooden bridge across the Limmat has had several incarnations over the years and originally dates back to the 13th century, connecting the two banks of the river Limmat at a narrow point next to Landvogteischloss. Blasius Balteschwiler designed the current bridge which was built in 1809.
The Lion’s Fountain
Built in 1822 by Hieronymus Moser, a stonemason from Würenlos, the city’s Löwenbrunnen or Lion’s Fountain is made of sandstone and has had many different forms over its lifetime. The decoration has changed over the years from a classical knob, to an urn, to the the current lion which is said to be growling at the Stadtturm with its back to the Catholic church.
The Grand Casino
The Grand Casino Baden offers a variety of games in a relaxed atmosphere. Located conveniently close to the train station, there is a small entrance fee but no strict dress code. Games played include roulette, black jack and poker as well as slot machines and the staff are very helpful and friendly.
They also have a restaurant and we enjoyed a delicious dinner there. Don’t forget to take your ID! Address: Haselstrasse 2, 5400 Baden
For more information take a look at the Grand Casino website here.
Many festivals take place in Baden and whilst we were visiting in February the One In A Million Music Festival was taking place.
Museums and Art
The Langmatt Foundation is one of Switzerland’s finest art collections with paintings and furniture dating from the impressionist period. Villa Langmatt is open to the public. For more inforamation please visit the website here.
There are lots of other museums ranging from a Teddy Bear Museum to a Power Station Museum. For a list of museums in Baden see here.
Baden Hotel Special Offers
Hotel Limmathof Baden
Atrium Hotel Blume Baden
Baden is running a number of great special offers on hotel accommodation. You can book a night for two people in the 4 star Hotel Limmathof Suites where we stayed which includes a full breakfast and an activity in the city of your choice- see more details below.
The modern block is the Hotel Limmathof Suites & Private Spa Baden
Baden Hotel and Accommodation Offer
One night for 2 people from CHF 109 per night including breakfast + Leisure Option staying in the Youth Hostel. We stayed at the Hotel Limmathof Suites which costs CHF 199 per night for 2 people inclusive of breakfast and leisure option.
With thanks to Stadt Baden.
All photos by Christina Fryer except for top photo with snow scene which is courtesy of Stadt Baden
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